Residential market: a white-hot 1Q in Miami

The first quarter of 2011 might be Miami’s strongest three-month period since the housing bubble popped.

After the last six months of 2010 saw a cooling down after federal tax stimuli expired, inventory of both single-family homes and condominium units is falling dramatically.

“The market is ‘en fuego,'” meaning “on fire,” said Nelson Gonzalez, a senior vice president at Esslinger-Wooten Maxwell in Miami Beach. “I’m working seven days a week.”

Gonzalez said there was no comparison between the activity he saw in the first three months of 2010 and the same period this year.

“How do I compare a snail with a cheetah?” He said.

In the single-family market, for example, there were 3,348 closed deals in the first quarter, according to Miami MLS data provided to The Real Deal by the Keyes Company. That represents a nearly 9 percent increase over the same period in 2010, and a 173 percent jump over the first quarter of 2008.

“We’ve not only had a good, solid closing first quarter, but the second quarter will be outperforming any quarter we’ve seen in the last few years in units sales, because of what we’ve already seen that’s pending,” said Keyes CEO Mike Pappas.

The jump over the first quarter of 2010 was significant because it came without the help of federal tax stimuli, Pappas said. “Last year you were going up against the end of the stimulus tax credit. The volume we did in March was as big as any month since 2007.”

According to data from the Miami Association of Realtors, pending home sales (which include single-family homes and condos), jumped 18 percent last month compared to March 2010.

The activity hasn’t come without casualties, however. While volume has more than doubled since the time the bubble burst, prices are now down to about half of what they were, he said.

While the median sales price of a single-family home in Miami in the first quarter of 2008 was around $310,000, it’s now around $150,000.

In the city of Miami (as opposed to county-wide, which was the region covered in the rest of the data here), the median sales price was $199,600, according to the most recent 2011 numbers from, in the first quarter. That was a drop from a peak of $339,000 at the end of 2008.

Gonzalez said the activity he’d seen in Miami Beach’s high-end market was coming largely from buyers, typically end-users, afraid to miss the bottom.

“The people that had the money — and again, everything is all-cash — there’s not financing involved — are getting off the fence because they’re seeing that the bottom happened a year ago and don’t want to miss the boat at the bottom,” he said.

By Alexander Britell

South Florida home values down 15.4 percent

South Florida home values down 15.4 percent

February 09, 2011 12:00AMBy Alexander Britell

Home values in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area fell 15.4 percent year-over-year from the fourth quarter of 2009, according to a report released today by

The Zillow Home Value Index for the metro area fell to $139,100 in the fourth quarter, compared to around $160,000 at the end of 2009. The index looks at the value of all homes in 25 metro areas, not just those sold in a particular period.

The report showed a national index of $175,200.

Of all single-family homes with mortgages, 42.8 percent in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area were underwater, which was an improvement from a 43.8 percent rate in 2009.

“Miami is following a trend that a lot of the rest of the country is seeing,” said Katie Curnutte, a spokesperson for Zillow. “Home values stabilized a little bit, but are falling faster right now because of the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit.”

Values in the area are now down 54.7 percent from their peak in June 2006, compared to a national fall of 27 percent.

“There is a little bit of good news in [the fall],” Curnutte said. “The fact that home values are falling a little bit faster [in Miami-Fort Lauderdale] means we’re probably going to get to the bottom before too long. Nationally, we’re thinking we’ll see the bottom by the end of this year.”

According to the report, 46.7 percent of all homes in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area were sold for a loss in December, which represented an improvement from a 50.4 percent rate in December 2009.

After the national foreclosure-document scandal put foreclosures in hard-hit Florida on temporary hiatus, Curnutte said Zillow did not see a long-lasting impact in the state.

“We don’t think the foreclosure moratorium is going to have a long-lasting substantial effect on the market,” she said.

It often takes a significant amount of time for foreclosures to go through the entire process, and with the months it can take for a home to go back on the market, any impact will be slight, she said.


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Condo Market already rebounding in Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami’s condo market saw marked improvement over the first six months of the year, according to a new study from the Miami Downtown Development Authority. Despite rampant over-development during the housing boom, which by many accounts caused the market to go bust, the area is already making a comeback. Sales accelerated, with 1,933 units sold during the first two quarters, up 110 percent from the same period in 2009. Prices rose in the first half of 2010 by roughly 16 percent. Unsold new inventory has also been steadily declining, reaching around 5,400 units by June 30, all of which are on track to be absorbed over the next 18 months. Of course, that doesn’t count the 870 new units at the Mint at Riverfront and Paramount Bay condos, which have been completed and are set to hit the market shortly. Nor does it include the resale inventory that is expected to come back online but is, for now, in the hands of investors. [Miami Herald]

Peace of Mind for Tenants

New condo, bulk buyer law takes effect today
July 01, 2010 12:00PM
The Distressed Condominium Relief Act, which was signed by Gov. Charlie Crist June 1, took effect Thursday, giving condo associations the right to demand that renters in delinquent units pay their rent directly to the association, not the unit owners. Those who don’t comply now face eviction. “It gives tenants more peace of mind,” said Jon Mann, owner of Five Star International Realty in Miami. “They can pay the association a portion of their rent and they know they won’t be kicked out.” Among the law’s many provisions, it also shields bulk buyers from so-called successive developer liability. [Miami Herald]

Commercial and Residential Real Estate in Miami and Palm Beach Florida

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