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Viewpoints: Kevin Tomlinson, Vice President, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, Miami Beach

By Peter Ricci

Every week, we ask a Miami real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before.

This week, we talked with Kevin Tomlinson, the vice president of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami Beach, who, in addition to being a member of the Master Brokers Forum and one of the top-performing agents in the South of Fifth community, is a highly respected blogger and SEO specialist, whose blog, South Beach Condo Blog, has been touted by the The New York Times Style Magazine for its quality.

Miami Agent (MA): We’ve been following the housing inventory situation in Miami quite closely, and how with every passing month, the supply of available homes drops further and further; how do you continue to service your clients, when inventory is so low?

Kevin Tomlinson (KT): The market that I work in is the ultra-luxury market, so the people that I work with, there’s not a “must-buy” situation. So they just wait or don’t buy, and that’s the downside of a super hot market – in Miami Beach, there’s really nothing to sell right now.

I did the calculations not too long ago, and we have 11 projects in Miami Beach that are new projects with a total of about 875 units. When those come on the market, they sell out in a week, or two weeks. They just sell out.

There was an article in the Miami Herald not too long ago that said Miami Beach is “overheating.” It can’t be, because of the laws of supply and demand. There’s no supply, and the prices are only going up because the law of supply and demand is taking over. Is it overheating? No, it’s just staying true to supply and demand – when there’s no supply and a lot of demand, prices go up.

MA: Given the clientele and properties you work with, do you use online syndication sites to market your properties, or do you pursue other methods?

KT: I joined Sotheby’s because Miami is such an international market, and you can’t sell locally to an international market; so I went to Sotheby’s, which is truly an international company. They have two levels of syndication sites. The first, “gold tier” syndication sites, include the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, that cost us anywhere between a few hundreds dollars to over a thousand dollars per listing, and every one of Sotheby’s listings are on there, 24/7. The second tier listings are Zillow, Trulia, Home.com, those sites. I almost prefer my listings not to be on there.

I think Sotheby’s is constantly evolving with their listing syndication, but they’re very protective of their brand, and how their properties show, especially on the Internet. They’re not of the mindset that more is better; they think more of the right is better. The people that would buy our types of properties read the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, and we’re heavily invested in that because that is our demographic. Trulia and Zillow are not our demographic, though we do push our listings to that.

MA: Finally, where do you see the Miami market heading in the next six months or so?

KT: More of where we are now. Miami Beach never really dropped during the financial crisis; our biggest drop was probably 8 or 9 percent. There were no foreclosures and no short sales.

I see more of the same. I see very low inventory, and prices going up, because Miami as a city is really going to the next level. We’ve got major projects that are critical, like the Genting project and a stunning new convention center that is right out of Vegas; plus, Miami Beach is getting a new convention center as well. The only thing we don’t have here is studios for the film industry, but I’ve heard of that being spoke of that those are coming. I’m positive that Miami is the second-most important city right now in the United States, and I think it continues to grow and evolve.


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