Hurricane Real Estate: High Inventory, Low Prices and the American Nightmare

Sat Jun 4, 2011 by on Florida Law News

Hurricane season just started, but Florida homeowners are already seeking shelter from a string of gloomy real estate headlines.

The biggest story this week: Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index released new data indicating the real estate crisis is far from over. National housing prices have hit lows not seen since 2002, falling 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Experts underline there has been “no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession,” excluding the first-time home buyer tax credit.

Closer to home in the Sunshine state, the news is slightly better. The Miami Herald reports that 20 cities in South Florida have higher taxable property value than a year ago. While overall property values were still down 3.3 percent in Miami-Dade County and 1.9 percent in Broward County, 2010 was definitely better than the two years prior, when the declines were in the double-digits.

“We’ve got 10 cities whose taxable estimate went up, and we have 21 cities whose taxable estimate went down,” Broward County property appraiser Lori Parrish told The Herald. “We’ve seen several areas where the values have gone up—predominantly on the east side of town near the water and in some higher-end communities out west.”

Downtown Miami continues to make headlines as an anomaly in today’s market, with the tax base growing 10.9 percent in 2010, after shrinking 11.2 percent in 2009. This uptick was largely due to new construction downtown valued at $1.4 billion.

The bottom line: Wall Street Journal headlines such as ‘Jobless Rate Rises and Hiring Slows’ do not help. Until consumer confidence returns and the stormy job market returns to normal, the age-old American Dream is of little merit to today’s homeowner. Most Americans remain guardedly pessimistic, reporting they don’t expect the housing market to recover until 2014 or later. Keeping in mind the current excess of housing inventory and consistently falling home prices, the nightmare is far from over.

From The Trenches,
Roy Oppenheim

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