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Sales have hit a record high, but prices remain very low. And many foreign buyers are taking advantage of the depressed prices. "About 60 percent of the buyers are international," said Levine. "They are from South America, Europe and Canada." And lots of them pay cash, so they avoid the glacial financing process - a boon to sellers in financial hot water. Brazil is the top foreign market investing in Miami currently, and real estate agents are travelling there and to countries like Venezuela to entice buyers up north. Miami's stable community makes it an attractive option for those who experience political and financial turmoil in Latin America.

Condos are still the best option for a second or third home, or as a rental investment, and, at an average of $97,000, they are going fast. "The 'over-built' condos in Biscayne and Brickell - there were 20,000 units built - have 85 percent occupancy," said Levine. "They are a mix of rentals and owner occupied." In fact, the rental market is so hot right now that it can be tight to find one. Many people who lost their homes due to foreclosure have swelled the rental pool and that sucked up additional inventory.

"Distressed" properties and short sales make up about 70% of sales, and the farther inland you go away from Miami, the cheaper they are. But as splashy condo buildings like the Vizcayne downtown throw launch parties and a unit at Apogee on South Beach goes for $11.5 million, it looks like the good times may be rolling once more.

Further reading
Miami New Times: Local blogs, city coverage and cultural calendar
: Clubs, restaurants, events, gay and lesbian scene
Eater Miami
: From new restaurants to the best food trucks
Flavorpill Miami
: Culture, events and reviews

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