As you may recall from past columns, the median sales price of a single family home in Wilton Manors (arms length transactions only) is now in the $360,000 range. That’s well beyond the affordability of the typical person (or even couple).

However, there are other nearby options. Last time I wrote about the North Andrews Gardens neighborhood of Oakland Park. Another alternative is the South Middle River neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. Geographically, that’s south of the river from WilMa, and bounded by Powerline Road, Sunrise and NE 4th Avenue.

Restoration activities are evident as you drive through this neighborhood of about 2,000 homes. Generally the area east of Andrews and north of 15th Street has the strongest price points; homes north of 13th Street have also seen brisk price improvements.

Much like North Andrews Gardens, South Middle River has seen a great deal of “fix n flip” activity. The neighborhood was hit hard in the real estate bust of 2006-2011. Homes that sold at the peak for $300,000 could be bought as bank-owned for under $100,000 – sometimes much under.

The graph here shows what has happened since 2010. As recently as early 2014 you could still get the occasional home in South Middle River for under $100,000. And just like you see on popular reality TV shows like “Flipping Vegas,” such homes could be gutted, rebuilt to more contemporary standards, and then sold in the 180-200k range. Or occasionally even higher, especially if a pool was installed.

As with North Andrews Gardens, pricing in South Middle River runs half of pricing in the Island City, despite being maybe seven minutes drive from the heart of Wilton Drive.

Price increases in South Middle River have not been as dramatic as in North Andrews Gardens, but appreciation over the last three years has run about 20 percent annually. Not too shabby. Perhaps understandably, inventories of available homes in both neighborhoods are the tightest of any of the neighborhoods I follow. Shop accordingly.

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