Sky’s the Limit

Miami is home to a wealth of affluent areas. There’s Aventura and Key Biscayne, as well as Fisher Island, Indian Creek and the Venetian Islands. In south Miami-Dade County, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove boast some of the most expensive homes in the area.

But in the last 20 years, Pinecrest has become one of the county’s fastest-growing upscale neighborhoods. In 2017, the neighborhood was ranked among America’s most expensive ZIP codes, by Forbes. It made the top 200 of more than 29,500 ZIP codes. And in November, real estate agent Marianna Dubinsky of Brown Harris Stevens sold a nearly 18,000-square-foot residence for $7.4 million. Dubinsky says it’s a record sale for Pinecrest.

“Sales like this continue to validate Pinecrest over and over again,” she says. “People are picking Pinecrest over the beach and the Gables. It’s unique because Pinecrest offers a tremendous family setting, but also offers a lot of value and accessibility.”

At 8 square miles, Pinecrest is south of downtown Miami and Miami International Airport; it offers access to Miami’s metro hubs, such as downtown, Brickell and Miami Beach, but is far enough away to maintain a quiet and residential atmosphere.

Luxury developer Frank Mendez, owner of Pioneer Inter-Development, built the record setter Dubinsky sold. It’s the third time his work has set a local record. Three years ago, one residence sold for $4.21 million. Last year, another went for $5.8 million.

“This is one of the most luxurious properties in all of north Pinecrest,” Dubinsky says of the latest sale. “This is opulent living at its best. It’s even large enough to play basketball inside.”

Set on 2 acres, the modern Polynesian-style mansion features nine bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a pool in the entry way, 20-foot ceilings, three massive master suites, and multiple indoor and outdoor kitchen areas. It also includes a teppanyaki (iron plate) grill and a built-in barbecue and bar area.

“We do everything in house,” Mendez says. “We design it, build it and work with the clients throughout the process. It’s unique in the sense that, compared to other builders, we’re a one-stop shop. It’s more of a boutique service where we work with the clients on every aspect until we hand over the keys.”

Mendez, who has lived in Pinecrest for more than 20 years, has been at the forefront of Pinecrest’s luxury evolution.

“I believe in Pinecrest wholeheartedly,” he says. “I saw the opportunity 20 years ago and I still see it today. Residents are able to design and build their dream homes here. Because of the land size, it allows clients the ability to build houses they could never have imagined. In other Miami neighborhoods, there isn’t that kind of space.”

Since that $7.4 million sale, Mendez has taken on a 2-acre plot in north Pinecrest, where he plans to design and build a 20,000 square-foot residence. “I think this one will be another record-breaking sale,” he says. “Maybe over $10 million.”

Pinecrest will continue to soar, Mendez says.

“There’s the older generation of Pinecrest pioneers that are seeing how much value they can get for their land,” he says. “As more people sell, there will be more opportunities to build these kinds of homes.

“Pinecrest has become such a desirable area that it’s difficult to find real estate for less than $700,000. I see a great future for the area just like how I saw it 20 years ago.”

Pinecrest on the Rise

Pinecrest Lifestyle asked real estate agent Christine Stiphany to share her thoughts about Pinecrest’s growing luxury market. Here’s what she had to say:

“When looking at the next five years, I see the population of South Florida continuing to grow, and, subsequently, Pinecrest housing sales rising as well. I’d bet that we see even more record-breaking sales, beyond $7.4 million. Given the area’s acre-plus lots, luxurious mansions, and A-rated schools, I believe Pinecrest will continue to draw in buyers. Keep in mind that the federal tax reform may be instrumental in driving buyers from the northeast, where there are high state taxes, to our South Florida communities, where we enjoy no state income tax.

“In addition to buying a home that offers creature comforts, most buyers want assurance that their purchase has an upside. Pinecrest will continue to appreciate and be a good investment. But interest rates will continue to increase, too, so buyers on the fence should make a decision soon.”

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