Although the air is filled with unsure eyes in the Miami real estate condo market, there are still some people who consider Miami is the condo hot spot in the nation. The sunshine in Miami Beach was as blistering as every time I passed through the area it is always special. It was only a year since I last visited but beneath the belly of the city something had subtly, almost imperceptibly, changed.
When you go to Miami you’ll see that the beach was still full of holidaymakers sweltering in the sun, but by my reckoning it was less packed, as were the shops along the art deco streets. There were still small planes dragging banners through the air but whereas last year they were invariably about parties and new shop openings, this year they advertised foreclosure auctions and closing-down sales. To make the long story short, Miami is still Miami. Even in South Beach, one of the smartest parts of town, there were “for sale” or “renting” signs on almost every street. The skyline was still littered by cranes, but most of the buildings were close to completion, and there were few construction projects starting. Signs that there is future which ligers around the area, Look hard enough and there is no mistaking the fact that the United States is in the midst of a recession and the worst housing crash since the Great Depression.
As unemployment in the Sunshine State has hit the highest level in four years and is still rising. Meanwhile, properties in Miami have already lost a fifth of their value in the past year alone. That is not a nice news to hear but it is out there and it is the truth. You can buy a condo with a sea view for $5,000 or so – although as with the $100 Detroit house I mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re talking about the depths of dinginess here. But more expensive $1m-plus homes have also fallen to only a fraction of their value at the height of the boom. As a result, the place is littered with bargains, but potential
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