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Few “Leftover Houses” Left In Miami Beach

By Alexander Britell

They were built at the peak of the market -- most in 2005, with finishes seen in few homes: Italian limestone, the best European flooring. Some were priced over $20 million; the ultra-luxury houses sat on the market, however, idle through the end of the boom.

Now, these super high-end homes on Miami Beach, which realtor Nelson Gonzalez calls "leftover houses," are selling quickly.

"They put in all the best appliances, doors, hardware, landscaping, moldings, where before people used to skimp a bit," said Gonzalez, senior vice president at Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell. "It was in the finishes -- Lutron lighting, Crestron electronics. The developers thought that the market was never going to end, and put in all the best of the best."

The downturn has made these otherworldly homes a bit more affordable, and there are fewer and fewer left, Gonzalez said.

These homes are among several of the highest Miami Beach sales of the year.

A home at 88 La Gorce Circle sold for $16 million. Another home on Palm Island sold for $12 million, and a third, on lower North Bay Road, Gonzalez said, was asking $17 million and ended up selling the home for $9.7 million.

Despite the high-level finishes, the buyers of the North Bay Road home ended up completely tearing up and changing the house.

The "leftover homes" included other, less noticeable features, like poured concrete on the second floor as opposed to wooden joists, making for quieter, stronger second floors.

Among the leftover houses that are still on the market are the 12,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom house at 6396 North Bay Road, listed for $14.97 million, and 4580 North Bay Road, which is listed for $15.9 million and has eight bedrooms among its 13,618 square feet.

"Coupled with the time they've spent on the market, and the fact that the prices are more reasonable now, those are the properties that are selling," said Kevin Tomlinson, a realtor with ONE Sotheby's in Miami Beach.

He said that 88 La Gorce Island, which sold for $16 million in the summer, started off at $25 million.

"The owner probably had hopes of getting above $20 million, so he realized the new market. At some point the market speaks to you, and it's up to you whether you want to listen to it or not."

Tomlinson said it was the truly high-end homes that were moving in Miami Beach.

"It's either the really spectacular -- those are the homes that are selling -- or the lower end ones, which aren't really selling. There is not really any middle ground."


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