The Florida hotels that are selling holiday homes - Property - Extras - The Independent

The Florida hotels that are selling holiday homes

It's now possible to buy a bolthole in an Art Deco landmark on Miami's South Beach, reports Laura Latham

The US property market might be on the slide, but in Miami's South Beach, you wouldn't know it. Partly because, whatever the economic climate, this is likely to remain one of the coolest places on the planet. Prices, so the agents say, are holding up healthily, and besides, developers here are embracing the concept of the "aparthotel" more wholeheartedly, perhaps, than anywhere else on earth.

Aparthotels, or "condohotels" as they're known in the States, are a blend of buy-to-let and permanent holiday homes. Still a relatively recent concept, they bridge the gap between private ownership and hotel rooms. The idea is that you buy the room or suite outright but the hotel chain managing the building takes day-to-day charge of it for you, including filling it with guests and paying you a cut of the proceeds.

"The condohotel market is different to other markets," says Brigitte Hunt of Bridgemon International Realty, "it's a commercial as well as a lifestyle property option, good for people who want a holiday home with as little hassle as possible. There's no need to furnish or maintain a suite, as the hotel will do that for you. The hotel will also sort out any problems with the room because if they can't rent it they aren't making money."

Profits from rooms vary depending on the hotel and the rates charged. A 60/40 split in favour of the hotel is common, but Hunt says it can be 50/50. Buyers usually also have to hand over 4 per cent of the rental profit each year to be held in case of necessary repairs. If the money isn't used, it's returned or rolled over.

Most Florida aparthotels are backed by well-known brands, such as Ritz-Carlton, St Regis or Trump and this means buyers not only get high-quality furnishings but access to the best on-site facilities such as pools, spas, restaurants and concierge services, just as the hotel guests do.

Prices vary widely depending on location, quality of building and services. In sought-after Miami Beach you shouldn't expect to buy into somewhere good for less than around £235,000, with the best properties fetching at least double that. Rooms in the swanky Art-Deco gem The Tides on Ocean Drive, a stone's throw from South Beach, are selling from around £500,000. That gets you one of the most famous addresses in one of the most iconic buildings in the area, and a home likely to be visited by stars of the calibre of Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez. Such people don't balk at paying £400 or more per night to stay there either.

Also on South Beach and selling at similar prices is the hip W aparthotel, with rooms starting at £390,000 and the new Gansevoort South, sister to the celebrated New York boutique hotel, where rooms cost £442,000 and rent for around £370 per night. The elegant new Viceroy is another building everyone is expecting to sell well, even though prices start at £526,000 for a room measuring just 70sq m.

Look further afield or keep your ears open for early deals, however, and things get considerably cheaper. The highly-rated Italianate Hollywood Grande, right on Hollywood Beach near Miami, for example, is selling from £325,000, a 60 per cent appreciation from when it was launched two years ago. However, a new phase is in the pipeline and, according to Hunt, will start from around £158,000 off-plan.

Popular Florida locations with a bit less celebrity cachet, such as Tampa Bay or St Petersburg, offer properties that rent well and cost from around £110,000 to buy into. And though Orlando may be tarred as a hang-out for the theme-park brigade, there are plenty of families looking for rooms to rent there. You could own a family-size suite for around £100,000 and reap year-round income from it.

Hunt also points out that the Orlando Convention Centre runs events all year and there's a shortage of quality rooms, so buying into a new-build aparthotel nearby is a realistic investment, especially with starting prices hovering around the £100,000 mark.

So what happens when you need a break yourself? Most aparthotel contracts allow you a set number of days at no extra cost, and if your room is being rented during that period, you'll be assigned an available one of the same standard. Average holiday periods are around 45 to 90 days per year, if you don't want to use them, you simply hand them back to the hotel to carry on renting. As Brigitte Hunt says, "It's a win-win situation."

Bridgemon International Realty: 001 954 618 8240; www.bridgemon.com

Buyers' guide

* In addition to tax on profits you'll need to factor in annual property tax, which varies depending on the property, and monthly maintenance charges of around £200.

* It is illegal for agents in America to sell or advertise aparthotels as an investment product with guaranteed returns.

* If you ask an agent for yield figures they can only give you guide numbers.

* Aparthotels have an edge when selling over standard buy-to-let properties as you will be able to show a statement of income to prove rental returns.

* If you buy an apart-hotel room as a company (which costs around an extra £180) you will be able to offset expenses against tax, such as travel and living costs while you are visiting your property.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week