Welcome to another edition of the Miami Beaches Market Pulse! This article covers August 2016 versus August 2015. The Miami Beach Real Estate Markets have now been in a correction for at least 18 months and an equilibrium has not yet been established. Listing Volumes are at or near 3 year highs and Sales Volumes (in so far as MLS is concerned) have been seeing a 2nd year of substantial declines.
Market Activity & Neighborhood Reports by Zip Code for the Miami Beaches
33139 – South Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $392K, Down -1.3%; Median Est. Listing Price: $272K, Up 8.1%; Median Days in RPR: 130 Up 5.7%; Sales Volume: 44, Down –68.3%
MLS Sales Volume is at a 3 year low. Listing Volume is near a 3 year high.
Estimated Home Values have begun to correct; as I have indicated earlier, the values have been increasing despite the correction beginning more than 1 year ago. Median Listing Price has been up, but there are a large number of new and renovated units hitting the market, listing volume remains near a 3 year high, and in kind, transaction volume has plummeted. In the basic course of economics, prices must go down for equilibrium to be established. Transaction Volume will continue to fall barring more macro-economic considerations, such as a substantial fall in the Dollar, which would bring in another round of Foreign Direct Investment.
33140 – Mid-Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $527K, Up 7.9%; Median Est. Listing Price: $475K, Up 20.3%; Median Days in RPR: 128, Up 1.6%; Sales Volume: 60, Down –34.1%
MLS Sales Volume has ticked up and is approaching it’s 3 year average. Listing Volume remains at a 3 year high.
This year in 33140, half of all transactions were over 600K! Mid-Beach appears to have rebounded to a degree off of it’s lows. It is still too early to tell if this is merely a bounce, or a greater change in trend. Of note though, nearly 50% of all units sold were between 50-60 years old, which can possibly be attributed to entire building(s) being taken over by developers. Despite the activity of the year, sales volume is still off by 34% August 2016 versus August 2015.
33141 – North Beach & North Bay Village
Median Est. Home Value: $266K, Down 0.5%; Median Est. Listing Price: $276K, Up 20%; Median Days in RPR: 116, Up 6.4%; Sales Volume: 23, Down –75%
MLS Sales Volume is at a 3 year low, possibly an all-time low. Listing Volume is at a 3 year high.
North Beach & North Beach Village continues to be the laggard among the 5 zip codes of the Miami Beaches; and in my opinion, this makes it a great buy and is very likely going to see the greatest improvement in the next real estate boom. Nearly half of all transactions in the past year have been in the 200-300K range, making it by far the most accessible location from a financial perspective for the average income. Given it’s extraordinary location and ongoing development, I think, of all the zip codes, this is the place to find opportunities and Buy, Buy, Buy!
Furthermore, this area is displaying great chart & number characteristics pertinent to the subject of economics. As listing volume remains flat at a 3-year high and sales volume plummets, the median listing price has finally begun to correct in kind. I expect this trend to continue, minimally, perhaps bottoming out between 225K and 250K, telling me that we are at or near a Buy point.
33154 – Bal Harbour & Bay Harbor Islands
Median Est. Home Value: $682K, Up 8.4%; Median Est. Listing Price: $535K, Up 27.5%; Median Days in RPR: 130, Down –3.7%; Sales Volume: 12, Down –70.7%
MLS Sales Volume is at a 3 year low, possibly near an all-time low. Listing Volume is at a 3 year high.
The vast majority of sales over the past year have been under 600K. However, Bal Harbour and Bay Harbor Islands have seen substantial sales in pre-construction & new construction as it is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States and therefore is one of the most desirable places to live. Median listing price corrected from near 600K to 525K over the past 3 months and while we continue to be in a market correction, Bal Harbour & the Bay Harbor Islands will weather the storm far better than any of the other zip codes of the Miami Beaches. They are few and far between in this area, but focus on distressed asset purchases in this area if you are looking to build in some cushion to your investment. Now is definitely not a market where you should feel incentivized to over pay.
33160 – Sunny Isles Beach, Eastern Shores & Golden Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $360K, Up 1.1%; Median Est. Listing Price: $330K, Up 31.5%; Median Days in RPR: 144, Up –15.2%; Sales Volume: 26, Down –84.1%
MLS Sales Volume is at a 3 year low. Listing Volume is at a 3 year high.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in both the microeconomic and macroeconomic environment due to the forthcoming Presidential Election, and, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that the past 8 years of fiscal & monetary policies have created yet another asset bubble. We stand between a couple of very likely alternatives, as the Federal Reserve is basically out of bullets. There are three possibilities – either we will see massive inflation/hyperinflation, deflation on a scale that is unprecedented, or a volatile mix of both. Keep in mind that the Miami Beaches are amongst the MOST desirable places in the world to live; so even if the Dollar tanks/is-devalued, we have the privy of very probably influx of Foreign Direct Investment; and this could cushion if not buoy the local beach markets.
As I indicated in my prior article, if you were planning to sell within the next 3 years; Sell Now! You, the Owner/Seller, have control of the contract you sign with your Broker. Keep the term short (3-6 months) and ensure you can withdraw the listing with minimal notice (2 weeks to 1 month). Be sure to get 2nd and even 3rd opinions from reputable Brokers regarding your property’s value. Don’t be bullshitted by Brokers who simply will tell you what you want to hear for your listing!!!
The first half of the year has begun to demonstrate a substantial shift towards a spike, and potentially continued growth, in the Distressed Market. Note that I am saying “spike”, as at least one to two more data points would really be needed to see a marked change in the inclination of the overall foreclosure trend (and by then, it will be too late though to do anything about it). In this dataset I go back to as far as my Tax Record Application, provided by the Miami Association of Realtors, allows: 2008. Prior to 2007/2008, either the computer’s database records do not go back that far, or Lis Pendens filings were not specifically tracked until then. Regardless, with nearly 10 years of data, covering the very beginnings of the prior distressed market until present, there is a disturbing increase in filings throughout the Miami Beaches.
For the most part I am displaying data and encourage my readership to draw their own conclusions, but I have provided commentary in places so as to properly set the context (as best as I can for the purposes of this article) of the time period as a backdrop for the actual number of foreclosures occurring in, what are, 5 of the wealthiest and most desired zip codes in the United States. Please note I have pulled data on many other areas in the Southeast Florida area; with few exceptions thus far in my experience, the results for those areas parallel those below.
To provide a better frame of reference, and perspective, to the data-by-zip code below, I am providing this Historical Key, chart of the US Dollar, and Commentary to historical & present events in the Macro Economy:
Year | Event(s) & Commentary
2008 | The single biggest set of financial beatings in history begin! Unprecedented institutional actions are implemented in an effort to restore confidence in the financial system and prevent a global financial system collapse. By comparison, the Savings & Loan Crisis of 1985-1995, + the Dot Com Bubble + the Enron / Worldcom disasters of the 2000-2002 era, combined, pale in comparison! The largest bailouts and bankruptcies in US history begin with the failure of two of the most storied US based investment banking firms, Bear Stearns & Lehman Brothers.
2009 | Asset purchases by the Federal Reserve begin with extreme prejudice. By the end of the year, 1.75 Trillion USD are on the Federal Reserve’s books, and more debt in the history of mankind is monetized than all previous civilizations combined….and they are just getting warmed up!
2010 | Scandal (“robo-mortgages” / “robo signings”), unprecedented backlog of foreclosure filings, nationwide, in the courts, loan modifications, and tons of cheap money slow & dull the pain! This drives the Dollar into the depths of Hell over the next couple of years, setting a new historic low exceeding the lows of the late 1970s, the mid-1990s and, of course, 2008; 2008 being a period of what nearly amounted to a complete loss of faith in the financial system and fiat currencies virtually everywhere.
2011 | By the end of 2nd quarter 2011, nearly another 600 Billion Dollars worth of defaulted assets were purchased by the Federal Reserve The Buying spree continued through the year while loan modifications (and related businesses) popped up everywhere. Whole real estate brokerages became founded upon Short Sales & REOs. Special access to Fannie Mae, HUD and Freddie Mac portfolios were granted to large institutional buyers leaving a multitude of smaller investors out in the cold and only able to select from what was getting listed by licensed brokerages.
2012 | The economic stimulus (economicheroin), and massive backlog in the courts as a result of both volume and scandal, continued to slow the number of foreclosures. Globally however, money pours into the United States in the form of foreign direct investment. With the resulting “cheap Dollar” coming off of a historic low, real estate in the USA, especially Florida, looks “cheap” and the wealthy of other nations, many of whom were seeking to escape Socialism, Communism, and Austerity Measures of all kinds in their own home countries, flee to US Assets and begin driving the Dollar up, along with asset prices across all industries.
2013 | Continued talk of “improving economy”, and of a forthcoming “tapering” of the Quantitative Easing from the Federal Reserve, build confidence in the Dollar driving it higher well into 2014, simultaneously beginning a driving up of actual carrying costs, via currency risk,of US Assets by foreign investors who borrowed.
2014 | The 3rd round of Quantitative Easing ends in October…the money printing subsides…(for now).
2015 | After nearly 24 months of talk by the Federal Reserve, in order to maintain confidence in the US Dollar, the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in December 2015 by 25 basis points (0.25%) despite worsening, lackluster economic data.
2016 | Talks of additional rate hikes continue, however, by mid-2016 this appears to be a non-starter rate-hiking cycle. Economic data continues to worsen, with record lows in the Workforce Participation Rate & the manufacturing indexes, an obvious spike in foreclosures, and what appears to be a looming sovereign debt crisis which, if a recent Federal Reserve Paper in favor of a 4th Round of Quantitative Easing comes to fruition, is a likely scenario. As of right now, we as a nation are painted into a corner it seems. There is a high probability, if the Federal Reserve chooses to do another round of Quantitative Easing (printing more money), a currency crisis will ensue (the value of the Dollar i.e. the Dollar’s purchasing power), will diminish in potentially spectacular fashion. At the same time, if the Federal Reserve chooses to raise interest rates, this will crash the stock market and absolutely obliterate the bond market; it may also push the United States into a Sovereign Debt Crisis.
In the first scenario, more Quantitative Easing, Dollar Prices of real estate will increase substantially, but the purchasing power of those Dollars will simultaneously be diminished (i.e: while prices may rise, the cost of living will increase at a dramatically faster rate); this is bad for both prospective Buyers as well as Sellers. In the second scenario, and this has happened throughout history, if interest rates are raised, real estate values will decline commensurate with the interest rate, and with respect to both Sellers and prospective Buyer-Investors, higher capitalization rates will be required in order for any particular asset to clear the market (this is very bad for Sellers who may end up under water as a result of declining prices).
33139 – South Beach & The Venetian Islands
Year | Number of Foreclosure Filings
2008 | 10
2009 | 21 – 200% increase over the prior year.
2010 | 63 – 300% increase over the prior year.
2011 | 21
2012 | 12
2013 | 33
2014 | 27
2015 | 28
2016 | 55 – UP 196% YTDversus the same time period in 2015! Uh oh…the drugs are wearing off…More “stimulus”?
33140 – Mid-Beach
Year | Number of Foreclosure Filings
2008 | 4
2009 | 18 – 450% increase year over year.
2010 | 26
2011 | 6
2012 | 8
2013 | 8
2014 | 16
2015 | 23
2016 | 21 Slightly down – but this could be considered within a certain standard deviation models as normal or, at best, “a slight downtick”.
33141 – North Beach & North Bay Village
Year | Number of Foreclosure Filings
2008 | 5
2009 | 31
2010 | 44
2011 | 12
2012 | 26
2013 | 27
2014 | 21
2015 | 20
2016 | 31 – Up 150% from 2015!
33154 – Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands & Surfside
Year | Number of Foreclosure Filings
2008 | 4
2009 | 5
2010 | 21
2011 | 3
2012 | 5
2013 | 13
2014 | 7
2015 | 9
2016 | 11 – Up, but this could be considered within a certain standard deviation models as normal or, at worst, “a slight uptick”.
331460 – Sunny Isles Beach, Golden Beach & Eastern Shores
Year | Number of Foreclosure Filings
2008 | 14
2009 | 37
2010 | 79
2011 | 12
2012 | 28
2013 | 27
2014 | 18
2015 | 21
2016 | 46 – Up over 200%!
New foreclosure filings are up substantially on the Miami Beaches, and while I do not publish reports for other zip codes, I have performed these same analysis across three counties for my customers & clients. There is A LOT of this going on. I have nearly 100 short sale listings on MLS; only last year I had none. It is a growing business again. 33140 and 33154 have not seen much action, yet, but I will be keeping tabs on them as I expect the tide to start sinking all ships at some point.
If you are a property owner and had plans to sell within the next 3 years, I strongly urge you to SELL NOW and immediately trade out of Dollars for either real estate (real estate of the same class, but perhaps a different location), that can fetch a higher capitalization rate if you were to rent/lease it, or plan to do so (view all purchases, even if it is your own home, from an investor’s perspective) or physical currency in the form of Gold and/or Silver, or a combination of the two. Every situation is different, and I am happy to advise you.
If you are a Buyer/Investor, the distressed market is expanding once again. Buy/Rehab/Flip and Buy/Rehab/Rent/Flip continues to be a working model. What you need to be careful of is the potential loss of purchasing power of the Dollar. I believe that locking in low interest rates at 50-75% Loan-To-Value, and thereby strategically increasing your Cash-on-Cash Return, is the best path to follow to protect yourself from the potentially damaging effects of inflation. Thus, If inflation begins to kick in substantially, the only real estate you want to be left holding is that which is in a fantastic location; as you will continue to be able to raise your rental rate commensurate with what is appropriate for the location of Demand. Following the same strategy; if Deflation occurs, your financial leverage will work against you on paper, however, as long as you are able to continuing to leasing your real estate at or near current rents, your return on investment should continue to provide substantial returns despite the value of the property declining; and income should really be your primary goal as a long-term investor in real estate; not property appreciation.
I also like certain REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) investments, Gold/Silver and other niche areas & industries where money can best be shielded from the consequences of the long-standing poor monetary & fiscal policies of our government. Call me to discuss!
Forthcoming – I will be publishing July’s & August’s data on the Miami Beaches over the next few days as I am winding up for a close of 3rd Quarter Edition of the Miami Beaches Market Pulse coming in October.
Christopher J. Lazaro, MBA
Licensed Real Estate Broker at Metro International Investments
The Miami Beaches Market Pulse – April 2016 versus April 2015
It is a beautiful Saturday morning on the Miami Beaches as I write this blog post, which is a month overdue. In my previous articles, particularly the February & March Market Pulse editions, I expounded upon existing & potential threats to the Miami Beaches Real Estate Markets (February), and I demonstrated 1st quarter sales volumes for the first quarter of the past 17 years according to tax records on the Miami Beaches.
Yes, it is true that existing home sales have taken a beating over the past two years with only a moderate drop in Median Sales Prices, but this has been due, largely, to 1) New Construction / Pre-Construction Sales (which are generally non-MLS sales) and 2) The falling in value of virtually every currency in the world relative to the US Dollar. I am sure that the talking heads may also cite “political uncertainty” ahead of what is perhaps one of the most unique election cycles in more than 100 years; but I have yet to see an authoritative poll indicating such.
I will be more brief than usual and simply publish the April 2016 versus April 2015 MLS data (and May’s is next) this month as I am winding up for an extensive 2-part edition for June 2016 where I will cover the first half of the year compared to prior years (should I go all the way back to 2000 like I did in March? Comments? ), and publish a separate, but related issue covering the Distressed Property Market. Look for these in early to mid-July!
Market Activity & Neighborhood Reports by Zip Code for the Miami Beaches
33139 – South Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $391K, Up 0.2%; Median Est. Listing Price: $275K, Up 1.9%; Median Days in RPR: 120 Up –; Sales Volume: 72, Down –55.6%
MLS Sales Volume is at a 3 year low. Listing Volume is at a 3 year high.
Summary & Conclusion
In all 5 zip codes, MLS Sales Volume is abysmal and at a 3 year low, while listing volume is at a 3 year high. What we are seeing (or a good part of it), is new construction (as much as 10-15% of units in each new building) are being listed / flipped on to the market by the original Buyers, thus raising the Median Estimated Home Value calculation AND the Median Estimated Listing Price. I have noticed older units (Existing Homes greater than 1-2 years old), prices have been dropping on a per square foot basis, which explains the reduced time on market for MLS listed properties. However, listing volume continues to increase monthly, and in order for the market to come into equilibrium, prices must come down, OR, the US Dollar needs to weaken against foreign currencies sufficiently enough in order to spur sales of existing homes and thus reverse the upward trend in listing volume and the downward trend in sales volume.
If you are planning on making a purchase that is 500,000 USD or more, I would recommend Bal Harbour. It is a thriving and affluent community with great long-term prospects in terms of resilience of home values. If you are planning a purchase of home and looking to invest less than $500,000USD, I recommend the 33141 zip code, North Bay Village and North Beach, where I have been seeing some fantastic values / “bang for the buck” (and location); AND condos are selling in some cases for less than what it would cost to construct new. It is definitely a good time to be buying in this emerging area while it is on the cheap!
This concludes my April Edition of the Miami Beaches Market Pulse. I will publish May’s results AND year-over-year-over-year comparisons this forthcoming week.
The Miami Beaches Market Pulse – February 2016 versus February 2015
Welcome to this month’s edition of the Miami Beaches Market Pulse! I apologize for the delay, as it was my original intention to publish the January results circa the middle of February, however, recent business did not allow for the time and concentration required to perform a reasonably decent analysis; and THEN I seemed to have lost all the data files for the month of January!
Recent evidence suggests that the 16+ month long market correction on the beach has even impacted the luxury market. I witnessed & read an article in February where the both famous & beautiful Anna Kournikova sold her Miami home for a tremendous 2 million under ask price! See Details of this here! Even the famous “Jills” (arguably the de facto sales associates for the rich & famous) are feeling the pain (from a “typical” commission of 3-6% perspective) of a $60,000-$120,000 dollar “loss” in projected commission revenue! This saddens me, of course, as every Realtor® wants to be participating in a thriving market and given the usual Co-Broker nature of the business we generally all want to see each other succeed and make more money. They are great agents with an excellent reputation, so if you choose not to use me, I would definitely look into using them for your luxury residential real estate needs.
Over the past month I have been speaking to a number of experienced real estate investors and brokers. The general consensus is that a larger dip in the real estate market is forthcoming after the election. I will not, at this point venture to guess the future as I am a data driven individual; however, I do see certain underlying, and as-of-yet, unquantifiable threats to the residential real estate market. These “threats” are, admittedly, in one respect, conjecture; only because none of us are omnipotent, but the possibilities are significant enough to, at the very least, justify maintaining a watchful eye and remain cautiously optimistic at best. In this issue I begin with the usual publication of the comparative numbers (February 2016 versus February 2015) by zip code, and provide commentary. Then I go into what I perceive to be the top 4 threats to the South Florida Real Estate Market, something I should have probably expounded upon some time ago.
Reports by Zip Code
33139 – South Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $385K, Up 0.3%; Median Est. Listing Price: $275K, Up 1.8%; Median Days in RPR: 117, Down –7.1%; Sales Volume: 80, Down –27.3%
As I published in the December Report, I saw the market, specifically in Bal Harbour, showing signs that the Beaches were reaching an inflection point. It does not surprise me that the downward trend in the data has been leveling off, after all, how low can it go? This is Miami Beach! However, let us keep in mind that the data you are seeing is suggesting that Sales Volume (for MLS related sales only) is down 27% year over year, and it is currently at a 3 year low. Last year, this number was showing a drop (from 2014 year over year) as well, into the -30-50% range. This indicates the Market Sales Volume is actually off by as much as 75% when compared to the Sales Volumes of the years 2013 & 2014. The long and short of it is: yes, we are seeing an uptick; but to get back to normal conditions we need to see a sustained surge in transactions on existing home sales, which is the benchmark for home valuations. Valuations being supported at lower volume, to me, indicates weakness in the market and market vulnerability to surges in new inventory. Current Listing Volume (see the Neighborhood report for this) has passed the 3000 mark, a 3 year high. So we have the most supply in three years, and the least demand in three years. For sure, I believe prices are susceptible to further correction, especially if any of the “threats” I discuss later in this article begin to weigh on the market more heavily than they already have.
33140 – North Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $484K, Up 5.3%; Median Est. Listing Price: $426K, Up 20.9%; Median Days in RPR: 114, Down –20.3%; Sales Volume: 35, Down –41.7%
Following suit with 33139, Sales Volume for 33140 is down a whopping 41.7%, a 3 year low; and Listing Volume is at nearly 1500, a 3 year high! I do not think much commentary is needed given my commentary for 33139. We are certainly seeing an uptick, which arguably could be seasonal, or due to an influx of retirees etc. One thing remains certain, the market is nowhere near it’s recent “healthiest” which we saw in 2013 & 2014.
33141 – North Bay Village
Median Est. Home Value: $270K, Up 9.8%; Median Est. Listing Price: $245K, Up 1.7%; Median Days in RPR: 101 Down –17.2%; Sales Volume: 35, Down –66.7%
I stand by my comments regarding this area from my December analysis; this area, I believe, has the greatest potential for long-term gains. It is ideally situated, and a wonderful town to live in. It is also the most affordable housing in the Miami Beaches by far.
Following suit (I rarely repeat myself as a practice of good writing, but I have a feeling I will be saying that statement another two times in this article; and I cannot understate, therefore must emphasize, the market action of the past 16 months plus), 33141’s Existing Home Sales Volume for MLS listed homes is off by a massive 66.7%. Considering that is circa how much it was off this time last year as well, it means the sales volume is off by as much as 80-85% versus the 2013 & 2014 numbers. The Realtors in the area must be hurting! Sales Volume is currently at 35, a 3 year low, and Listing Volume is over 1500, a 3 year high!
This begs the question why so many people, when they find out I am in real estate, say “Oh, you must be doing great then!”. It is truly amazing how long the sentiment created by the bounce of 2010 into 2013/2014 is lasting; and I find it surprising how many are simply unaware of the more-than-a-year-long correction in the Real Estate Market…even other agents & brokers (surely they have to notice they are not making as much money?!). The fact is that my real “bread & butter” is commercial real estate. I practice in residential real estate because I truly enjoy it; and residential Realtors® throw parties! Nothing like a good Broker’s Open House 🙂
33154 – Bal Harbour
Median Est. Home Value: $665K, Up 22%; Median Est. Listing Price: $469K, Up – (flat); Median Days in RPR: 119, Down –7.8%; Sales Volume 31, Down –44.6%
Incredibly, the Median Estimated Home Value is up a tremendous 22% year over year. How this is possible against the backdrop of a market correction evades me (for right now). I am going to call my reporting company and see if they can tell me how they are calculating Median Estimated Home Values. As of right now, I do not know; but I will. Regardless of this, the same thing holds true in Bal Harbour as it does on the previously reported zip codes. Sales Volume is at a 3 year low (down by 44.6% year over year) and Listing Volume is at a 3 year high with just under 900 units currently listed on MLS.
33160 – Sunny Isles Beach
Median Est. Home Value: $345K, Down –0.3%; Median Est. Listing Price: $285K, Up 10%; Median Days in RPR: 115, Down –11.5%; Sales Volume: 132: Up 11.9%
Sunny Isles Beach is where I call home. Surprisingly, Sunny Isles Beach has bucked the trend of the rest of the zip codes on Miami Beach! Sales Volume is actually up, a first in more than a year of looking at these specific reports. I believe this may be due to something unusual skewing the data, such as Pre-Constructions and unsold New Constructions being listed on MLS, and therefore when the sales of these new projects ultimately close, they get logged. Most pre-constructions and new constructions are never listed on MLS as they are typically absorbed by the market via the Builder’s own sales office.
Listing Volume is at a 3 year high, and Sales Volume, while not at a 3 year low, is close to the 3 year low. Median Sales Price has spiked, markedly from the low 200Ks to the high 700K range. This tells me that one or more VERY expensive properties sold this past month. Regarding Sales Volume, please keep in mind that most of last year (you can check my May 2015 report and others) regularly demonstrated, month after month. Sales Volume being off by 50+% every month year over year. While this spike in activity is encouraging, as I said before, we will need to see a sustained surge in market activity before anyone can begin declaring the market correction is over.
Lastly, I do not believe that Home Values have truly begun to reflect the market correction. When I find more on how this is being calculated, I will update this article further and, with any luck, have something cogent to share regarding Home Values respective of actual market activity.
Potential Market Threats
First and foremost in my mind is the result of the appreciation of the US Dollar against virtually every other currency in the world; and in many respects, currency appreciation is a good thing (unless you are and exporter or producing goods to sell abroad, which equates to your goods & services being more expensive than similar goods and services produced in a nation with a weaker currency). However, after the mortgage crisis, foreigners “ran towards the blast” (Peter Schiff, Las Vegas Money Show Lecture – 2013). As a result of this substantial foreign direct investment, our currency has been enjoying a “propping up” effect. I will explain further but for a really good (and funny) analysis, I recommend clicking the Money Show Link above. I do believe that this recent boost in the dollar is temporary as our increasingly socialist policies have put the Dollar in a downtrend starting as far back as the 1960s. Here is a long-term chart of the US Dollar:
Several years ago there was a deluge of foreign direct investment into the United States (especially in South Florida) as foreign nationals sought to:
1) take advantage of the distressed asset market which was the result of the 2008-2010 mortgage crisis,
2) expatriate capital from more socialist countries where the government risk to their capital is greater (reference the austerity measures in Cypress, where nearly every wealthy citizen with more than 100,000 USD equivalent on deposit in the country saw an overnight, and substantial, haircut out of their bank accounts), and escape ludicrously abusive tax policies to fund their extraordinary entitlement programs,
3) gain permanent resident status (“Green Card”) via the United States EB5 program (or other methods) by investing substantial (at the time, 500K and 1M dollar investments) amounts of capital into the United States.
Threat #1 – Currency Risk: In many cases, international financing was used, typically 50% equity & 50% financing. When this occurred (for example purposes we will use a Canadian citizen using Canadian Dollars), the Canadian Dollar was par with the US Dollar (meaning one US Dollar was equal in value to one Canadian Dollar. This has changed significantly over the past couple of years. Now, the Canadian Dollar is approximately one half the value of the US Dollar. Understand that US Dollars were borrowed, and now it takes nearly 2 times the number of Canadian Dollars to pay for each US Dollar that was borrowed. In this non-fiction example, the drop in commodities prices, specifically oil, has crushed the Canadian Dollar versus the US Dollar over the past several years.
The example is +/- true & valid with numerous currencies throughout the world, such as the Russian Ruble (right, which “fell out of bed” in late
2014 into early 2015), Brazilian Real (right, major political upheaval in progress as a decade plus of corruption and embezzlement is being exposed AND the fall in commodity prices, especially sugar, has weighed substantially on their currency, which has also moved into double digit inflation!), the Argentinian Peso (below, where long standing socialist policies have made the currency virtually worthless), and the Venezuelan Bolivar (below, whose chart clearly demonstrates the effects of communism).
To make matters potentially darker, these international loans have a 3-7 year lifespan. They are NOT 30 year mortgages! At the very least, even if only 5% of all international borrowers get
hammered by the result of the Currency Risk they are now getting burned by, we are still looking at thousands of distressed assets flowing onto the marketplace nationwide; especially here in Southeast Florida, which has rapidly grown into a top international destination that has attracted billions of dollars in foreign direct investment!
I should note that my firm’s best opportunities & customers are Argentinian and Venezuelan groups who are, for lack of a more accurate term, “Crowd Funding”, and bringing large amounts of capital into the United States. These investors are doing everything they can to expatriate money from their home nations and invest in the United States; which begs the question in our own political forum; “If Socialism works so well, why are so many people trying to come to the United States to escape it?”. It should be obvious in the charts that socialism is not healthy for a nation’s currency. This leads me to my next “threat”.
Threat #2 – Our Government: The Democratic Party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have either stated (Bernie) or all but stated (Hillary), they wish to lead our nation down the same path (to ruin it would appear). This year is an election year, and I believe that the United States is at a precipice, and never before has an election carried such weight on both the near and far future of our economy; and socio-economic stability. These two candidates wish to create and expand entitlement programs, to be fueled by greater taxation and use of our nation’s printing press. Members of the Democratic Party and Congressmen have floated ideas on doing away with your ability, as a homeowner, to deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxable income. To do away with it entirely would be catastrophic to average households throughout the United States! Others have suggested “modifying” it further than it already has been; and in my experience the government has a short-sighted habit of throwing boulders into a lake not realizing the tsunami it creates at the other side of that proverbial lake.
Consider this, a $200,000 home at 4%, on the first year of purchase, would allow you to deduct $8,000 from your taxable income; and this benefit allows you to essentially save $2,000 on your tax bill if you are in the 25% tax bracket (making between 37,650 and 91,150 if you are a single filer. See picture for more detail below). These two politicians would have you believe that the US Economy is recovering due to the policies their party supports; however, data suggests otherwise. Money Magazine published an article in September 2015 entitled “Typical American Family Earned $53,657 Last Year”. It is good reading and can certainly help put things into perspective, especially when evaluating how, if we should see yet another Democratic Party Candidate ascend to the Presidency, home values & net incomes may be effected.
This equates to about 3-5% of total gross income FOR THE YEAR for the average tax paying citizen! That $2,000 is extremely important to many American families; and even if it is not (for some), it has a wide array of better uses than in the Federal Government’s hands! This is money that can be invested (for college, retirement etc), or can be spent on goods & services, thus further fueling our economy and increasing our economy’s Velocity of Money, which today is abysmally and historically low (see chart from 1959 until end of 2015 below):
The Democrats/Liberals/Progressives/Socialists (all synonyms) claim that the 100+ Billion dollars that would be generated in tax revenues by eliminating deductions for the “rich” could be used to reduce the national debt, and they are correct; those revenues could be used in such a manner. However, all of them have been pontificating about expanding entitlements and creating new ones. In my view, should they move ahead with further reforms, they will find new and interesting ways of squandering our nation’s (your) wealth. In addition, once you start taking money away from the “rich”, a better term for them would be “The Employer Class”, they (the “rich”) begin to pull back (i.e: they start firing people and cutting expenses and limiting new investments which create jobs), and so goes the cascading tsunami across the lake (borrowing from my previous analogy). Furthermore, according to the National Association of Realtors, home values would see upwards of a 15% decline, on average, throughout the country if this is done away with.
Lastly, these candidates have a “print more money” policy, as if this does not have consequences. Every nation in the world has begun hedging away from the US Dollar as it is nearly obvious to anyone with a reasonable amount of education that The Dollar’s status as a Reserve Currency is in serious jeopardy. The media deliberately does not put this in front of you, but the fact remains you can only print money for so long before it becomes valueless. If the United States continues on this path, it will eventually find itself (sooner than later many reputed economists believe) in the midst of a Currency Crisis. To explain this; if I had a way of turning all the sand of Florida’s beaches into gold, how valuable would gold be? I conclude “Threat #2” with the chart below which depicts the United States Money Supply.
Threat #3 – New Construction & Glut of New Inventory
Last summer I read an article in the Miami Herald. It is entitled: At least a dozen new South Florida condo projects in limbo amid changing market conditions. I have been hearing rumblings that pre-sales have slowed, and while it could be the market pulling back to do some digesting, it could also be the “inflection point” they mention in the last paragraph of the article; meaning we have possibly seen the peak of this real estate cycle. In either case, we have many thousands of new units on hand in inventory, and should it be the end of the most recent boom in the market, developers will rush to finish their projects as fast as possible and dump the new inventory on the market. If we are not at the end of the boom, we have already seen over 3000 new units come online, over 10,000 more currently being built, and a projected 28,000 in the planning stages. Should all of these come online, it will only put further pressure on the existing home sales, and in my opinion, drive prices down as listing volume rises and sales volume continues to plummet due to already deteriorating global macroeconomic fundamentals.
Threat #4 – The Weather
I believe I am stating the obvious here, however, it is worth mentioning as it is a factor. It has been over 10 years since the last major hurricane struck South Florida. In that time tens of thousands of people from all over the nation, and the world, have moved here to make Florida their home. I was here during the 2000s, and I can tell you that after Hurricane Wilma (October 2005), the entire South Florida Real Estate Market completely stalled, as the shock and awe of the event set in to the population. I am fairly confident that a strong Category 2, to (God forbid) a Category 5 hurricane making landfall between Homestead, FL and West Palm Beach, FL would create a rush to sell in this region as there are many people who will be panicked after such an event, and currently cannot comprehend the vast power of one of these storms. Following such a storm, they will strongly reconsider their wanting to live in a place where such a beast is possible. While I hope the current pattern holds and these storms continue to remain out at sea, we are fast approaching Hurricane Season 2016 (beginning in June).
That concludes my analysis for this month. If you have any questions, comments, feedback or would like to explore purchasing a home; give me a call any time. Keep in mind you can always use http://REBroker.Miami to browse Homes for Sale and For Rent on the Miami Association of Realtors MLS.
Hello and Happy New Year to All! I am a little late in publishing this; life & business sometimes gets in the way; but 2015 is now history (as well as January 2016!). However, data driven bloggers, like myself, and other analysts continue gathering and compiling their numbers (and putting their tax returns together like everyone else 😦 ) to make their reports. Heck, it takes whole quarters (or more) for our own government to figure out if & when we enter a recession (obviously they are too wealthy for our own good 😉 ).
I pulled the latest & greatest RPR Market & Neighborhood Reports for the 5 zip codes constituting the Miami Beaches and present to you the December 2015 versus December 2014 Report. Here are the results:
33139 – South Beach
While I cannot speak for other agents, my firm saw the most sales activity in South Beach compared to anywhere else on the Miami Beaches. South Beach continues to have a tremendous allure both nationally and internationally.
Median Est. Home Value: $397K (Up 4.2%) / Median Est. Listing Price: $237K (Down –5.2%) / Median Days in RPR: 110 (Down –13.4%) / Sales Volume: 95 (Down –26.9%)
The 33139 Market Activity Report for December 2015:
Sales volume continues to decline in year over year comparisons of each month; however, I am noticing signs of an inflection point in that the number of days listed before a property sells has dropped by nearly 14%. If sales volume in the coming months flattens (by comparison to the prior year’s month being compared) or rises, it could potentially indicate a good time to buy in 33139. My recommendations are based on long term (for the purposes of this blog); 5-10 years or more. This blog is not intended (unless I specifically say so in a specific article) for Buy/Flip or Buy/Rehab/Flip strategies to be implemented upon.
Listing Volume (number of homes currently listed for sale) is 50% higher than January of 2013. This means there is a much greater number of choices available to the buyer. While oceanside condos are holding steady, a now 13 month long correction in ask prices for homes being listed continues. In addition, I recall 2 & 3 years ago there not being a large amount of high-end rentals available anywhere on the beaches during the October-April season. This season I did a quick search on MLS spanning all 5 zip codes of the Miami Beaches for rentals that range between $7000 and $10000 dollars per month and found more than 300 of them! Further analysis is necessary, but I am fairly confident the luxury market is taking a hit too.
33140 – North Beach
I am not quite sure what the problem is with this market but after several thousand dollars in Realtor.com advertising to acquire buyers for this zip code, I have yet to even show a property in this zip code over the past 2 quarters! As a result I am on the verge of dropping it all together and seeing if I can buy another slot elsewhere. Perhaps my luck will change? With that said, here are the December 2015 versus December 2014 numbers:
Median Est. Home Value: $481K (Up 2.1%) / Median Est. Listing Price: $377K (Up 5%) / Median Days in RPR: 110 (Down –24.7%) / Sales Volume: 49 (Down –10.9%)
The December 2015 Market Activity Report for 33140:
Clearly a rebound is occurring in this area (and I do happen to love the area personally…it just has not been my best zip code this year). Sales volume has started to flatten (as I mentioned earlier how this might be a good thing) compared to prior month comparisons, where it was off 50% year over year, and the average number of days a property is listed before it sells has plummeted by 25%. This is great news for Sellers in this market and a potential warning to Buyers who are looking.
Listing Volume is 50% higher than it was during the same time period in 2013, however, over that same period of time home values and asking prices have remained stable / mostly unchanged. This is an area that is currently undergoing many changes in terms of both demographics, new construction, and rehabilitation of older buildings. I believe it represents a great investment opportunity and it is genuinely a very safe, beautiful area to live.
33141 – North Bay Village & Atlantic Heights
This area, in my opinion, represents one of the greatest values anywhere for the location alone. The median home value is 100,000+ dollars less than ANYWHERE else on the Miami Beaches. Average Income Families can actually afford to buy and live here! I think it is grossly undervalued relative to it’s long term (5-10 years) potential. In addition, it has a wonderful “small town” / “village” feel & appeal. New construction is on the rise, and that will absolutely, at some point, begat more assemblage deals for the real estate brokers and developers; and ultimately this area will begin to resemble the other 4 zip codes. My recommendation is to buy, hold/rent and buy often.
Median Est. Home Value: $271K (Up 10.7%) / Median Est. Listing Price: $185K (Down –22.6%) / Median Days in RPR: 95 (Down –18.8%) / Sales Volume: 60 (Down –38.1%)
The December 2015 Market Activity Report for 33141:
Once again, listing volumes are over 50% higher than two years prior, sales volume is lower than any time over the past 2 years, and the median listing price is substantially lower, which I attribute to an increase in the number of 1 and 2 bedroom homes in older buildings that quite probably need either rehabilitation or demolition. I believe this area is two or three real estate cycles from achieving a peak in greatness and desirability; but I would hesitate to call investment here speculation given the values I have personally found, shown and sold in this area (I will not be discontinuing this zip code with Realtor.com if that tells you anything). To boot, the neighborhood is wonderfully better than it was 10 years ago. Change is happening; but as we all know in real estate, it happens over years, not days or weeks.
Certainly one of the most desirable zip codes to live in within the continental United States. Bal Harbour represents the epitome of affluence with a far more conservative appeal than anywhere else on the Miami Beaches.
Median Est. Home Value: $648K (Up 22%) / Median Est. Listing Price: $387K (Down –7.8%) / Median Days in RPR 119 (Down –9.8%) / Sales Volume: 60 (Up 17.6%)
This is perhaps the best report and comparison I have seen since I began reporting on the beaches just after the market correction began. 33154 has begun to rebound strongly. Sales Volume is up, Average Number of Days on the Market is down, and the estimated home values have rocketed by 22% in a single year! In my opinion, an investment in Bal Harbour is akin to buying a “blue chip stock”. Even during the recent correction it suffered the least, and it appears that it is the first to begin rallying back.
The December 2015 Market Activity Report for 33154:
Sales Volume, when compared over a 2 year period is above average. Listing Volume is also higher than at any time in the prior two years, however, median listing prices have sharply moved higher since July of 2015. Median listing prices continue to find support at 375k.
33160 – Sunny Isles, Golden Beach & Eastern Shores
HOME…that is what I am proud to call Sunny Isles Beach. Ever since I was a child and my family would vacation here (when it was still North Miami Beach), I always knew I wanted to live on this little stretch of sand. Back in those days, this was one of the seediest places in all of Miami-Dade County. However, in the past 20 years Sunny Isles Beach has seen one of the greatest booms and gentrifications in US History (I am willing to bet). Where once stood small, dilapidated hotel/motels, now stand massive, high-end towers reaching into the sky. Where rag tag shops used to litter the shopping centers now stand 3 star or better restaurants and designer boutiques, not to mention the sheet concentration of real estate brokerages here is pretty amazing!
Median Est. Home Value: $352K (Up 3.6%) / Median Est. Listing Price: $225K (Down –9.6%) / Median Days in RPR: 113 (Down –11.7%) / Sales Volume: 97 (Down –32.6%)
The December 2015 Market Activity Report for 33160:
Considering where the numbers started when I began blogging the Miami Beach Market Pulse, 33160 appears to have improved somewhat. Sunny Isles Beach was particularly sensitive to the investment appetites of foreign nationals, and as the Dollar appreciated against every other currency in the world, this led to a drying up of buyers in the general market. It also exposed foreign buyers to a greater debt load as the dollars they borrowed became more expensive to repay (and this is an ongoing fact that has not fully resolved or come to a head yet). In addition, a great deal of foreign economies are net commodity exporters; and since commodities of virtually every kind (oil, sugar etc) have crashed, I imagine business is not booming the way it was in the prior decade as commodities soared before and during the mortgage crisis.
A broker out of Idaho posted a response to the article I shared on the 8th: Here is my response, followed by his reply to the aforementioned article.
Jim, regarding your comment about Shadow Buyers. I do not claim to know your market sir, but I can tell you that a great number of real estate agents here in South Florida will run the opposite direction of any buyer who needs financing. Cash is still king, so even if these Shadow Buyers have rebuilt their credit, they are still up against the wall as there are an innumerable amount of All Cash Buyers in the market. Combine this with, what is perceived to be a Government induced, artificial rise in asset prices; and the facts that wage growth is at a historic low, jobs are scarce for those looking & tenuous at best for those who have them; there is no hurry for anyone in the middle & lower classes to take on a major purchase like buying a home unless they can do so without the monthly obligation of a mortgage. Of the more than 200 residential buyers I have interviewed in the past year, less than 5% were requiring financing.
Your market is likely to be very different; Miami is a major international destination and has been seeing large sums of capital flowing in from Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Russia, France, the UK, & Germany. Given the more than 50% depreciation in the dollar we have seen over the last 10 years versus the rising strength of the currencies that are flowing in, the average American family’s purchasing power simply does not support a competitive position versus the position Foreign Direct Investors are in.
Shouldn’t Realtor Mag elaborate on the potential errors in this instead of just “forwarding” what I believe to be bad information?
For example, the very first sentence conflicts with the first sentence of the third paragraph. Which is correct “Foreclosures have been falling in recent months” or is “”Not only are current REO inventory levels elevated ..”?
How does 1.7 million borrowers being delinquent compare to this time last year? That would be more telling of trends to me. Is this 1.7 million properties or if a buyer had a first, a second, and a HELOC, is the data reported as “3 borrowers”?
If we are talking about “shadow inventory” – why not balance it with “shadow buyer’s”? Look at how many people lost their homes to short sale or foreclosure that are already past the time frame to “re-qualify” as buyers again!
I know bad news sells better than good news but I say “Bah Humbug”!