Miami-Dade Real Estate Had A Rough 3 Months

By Nicholas Nehamas

Miami-Dade County real estate came crashing back down to earth in July, August and September.

Sales for existing homes fell to 6,751 in the third quarter of 2016, down 15.3 percent year-over-year, according to a report released Thursday by the Miami Association of Realtors.

The condo market was hit particularly hard. Condo sales declined 19.1 percent, compared to a drop in single-family home sales of 6.8 percent. As homes take longer to sell, inventory is rising. The number of homes on the market rose 16 percent, to 20,375 listings. One bright spot has been mid-market homes, those priced between $200,000 and $600,000. Sales in that range were up 10.3 percent.

Total sales volume dipped to $2.7 billion in the third quarter, down from $3 billion over the same period last year.

But prices, which lag sales as a market indicator, are still going up. The median price for a single-family home rose to $300,000, up 9.8 percent annually. Condo prices reached $217,000, up 8.9 percent year-over-year.

A lack of affordable homes for locals is driving up prices as buyers get caught in bidding wars.

Luxury woes

At the other end of the market, a strong dollar has kept foreign buyers from scooping up luxury properties at the heady pace of recent years. So has increased federal scrutiny of money laundering. Developers have delayed several planned condo projects since the market began sliding.

And it doesn’t look like expensive homes will start selling again at record levels anytime soon, said Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of EWM Realty International.

The numbers for October, which haven’t been officially released yet, showed about 100 sales for million dollar-plus homes in Miami-Dade, according to Shuffield.

That’s down from 145 in October 2015 and the lowest October total since 2011.

A strong dollar wasn’t the only thing that hurt the luxury market in October, Shuffield said.

“Hurricane Matthew cost us a week, even though we fortunately didn’t have any damage,” in addition to Zika fears and uncertainty over the presidential election, Shuffield said. “There’s been an enormous amount of distraction over the last year. ... More astute sellers are recognizing that what motivates buyers standing on the sidelines is better value. The amount of pent-up demand is enormous, but they’re not willing to pay the prices that we’re currently asking. The sales that we are making are coming with some pretty significant reductions in the original asking prices.”

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