27 February 2012

Fort Lauderdale leads Inventory Decline

Housing inventories declined month-to-month

The streak of declining inventories of homes listed for sale nationwide continues into its eighth month. Inventories in January fell 6.6 percent to 1.77 million last month from December 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported from a Realtor.com tally.

The largest year-over-year decline occurred in Fort Lauderdale, Fla, in January. Compared with one year earlier, listings were down by a whopping 55%.

Other cities which saw large annual declines were Miami, Phoenix, and Bakersfield, Calif., where the number of listings fell by nearly half. Both New York and Philadelphia ranked among cities with the smallest declines: 1.7 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Month-over-month, four Florida-based markets saw increases between December 2011 and last month. On the other hand, both San Francisco and Boston showed respective 16 and 10 percent declines since December.

The Wall Street Journal said that low housing inventories are a normal part of any housing recovery. But it remains to be seen whether these figures show true signs of improvement in the market. [WSJ]

24 February 2012

Property Values: What you get for $2m - $3m

The price range between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 hardly appeals to the first-time-homebuyer, fresh out of college. Unless you're a college drop-out and own a social media site.

But the 37 modernist homes in this bracket which are on the market in South-East Florida make up 14% of the total modern inventory for sale, and contribute 11% of the total Dollar volume, so it's rather significant.

While the price tendency for these homes seems stable, exceptional locations and waterfront homes are becoming increasingly rare. That is especially true for Key Biscayne, the small island connected to Miami by causeway, which is slowly developing into a little hotbed of contemporary modern design. A recent street-by-street survey there showed nearly all new single family home construction to be modernist.

A $2m-to-$3m South Florida market overview:

Miami: 5 bedrooms, 6.5 baths pool home, built 1973. Ca. 5,700 sf under air. #0594, $2,375,000
Key Biscayne: pool home with 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, ca. 4,050 sf, built 1973. #5141, $1,975,000
Lighthouse Point: Pool home w/ocean access, 5 BR, 5 baths, ca. 6,090 sf. #6150, $2,999,000
Key Biscayne: 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, pool, ca. 3,525 sf, new construction. #1490, $2,700,000
Fort Lauderdale: Intracoastal pool home, 4 BR, 4.5 baths, ca. 5,000 sf, built 1973. #1062, $2,795,000
Fort Lauderdale: 6 BR, 7.5 baths, pool, riverfront w/ocean access, ca. 4,545 sf. #5407, $2,250,000

Miami Beach: 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, ca. 5,900 sf, lap pool, built 2004. #2521, $2,950,000
South Miami: 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, pool, ca. 6,080 sf, built in 1980. #2556, $2,999,900
Fort Lauderdale: 4 BR, 3.5 baths, ca. 4,080 sf, pool, across A1A from beach, #7971, $2,295,000
South Miami: 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, ca. 5,000 sf on over one acre, built 1972. #3971, $2,379,000

If you are interested in one of these properties (or any other modern home) or have a question, please feel free to post here or to email me - thank you!

More modern homes for sale can be seen on ModernSouthFlorida.com.

20 February 2012

Helau and Alaaf - Carneval Monday in Germany

Today is "Rosenmontag", Rose Monday, in Germany, when most cities celebrate Carneval (Munich does it on Tuesday). 

What you may not know is that the floats are traditionally used for political satire and skewering, with no holds barred. A few examples below from today's parade in Düsseldorf – enjoy.

Merkel and Sarkozy

Iran's premier lights up with "Nuclear Program"

Merkel on the coalition bicycle, with the Freed Democrats, down in the polls, as a skeleton barely hanging on
Germany's President Christian Wulff stepped down on Friday over inappropriate behaviour and a request from the state DA to lift his immunity. Caption on the float: "...and so long!"

10 February 2012

Market Data South Florida January 2012

Several readers have suggested to bring the monthly market data for home sales in Southeast Florida back to this blog. I'd be happy to try it out: Starting this month, they will appear here as well as on http://www.modernsouthflorida.com/current-market-data.html.

January mostly continued the December trend – a dwindling number of houses on the market, increased asking prices overall but softer asking and selling prices for those homes that actually closed. 

Are sellers asleep at the wheel? Because why would anyone increase the asking price, when in actuality prices are giving in (4.5% month-over-month and 6.8% year-ver-year)? Doesn't make much sense.

What I suspect is typified by a modernist seller in North Broward: the property is on the market with different four agents since 2008, so they just raised the price again by $100k. Clever; they must know something no one else knows ("my property is so much better than the rest"). Too bad buyers are too dumb to see the light. I don't see it, either.

In general, the market is far from homogeneous: trophy properties as well as those sectors most in demand – say $200,000 to $500,000 – are rapidly disappearing, and there is no sign this will change. In modern architecture, the availabilities are even tighter (as regular readers know, I compile but do not publish monthly market data for modern home sales anymore. They are available for clients and appraisers on request).

There is also a distinct incline heading north from Dade to Broward to Palm Beach, both in regards to asking as well as to selling prices, absolut and per square foot.
The January numbers:

Single family home data per month’s end for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade (Florida) counties.

And the matching chart:

Single family home data Feb 2011 to Jan 2012. Red: median list price, green: median selling price, blue: inventory in months. – Data compiled from SEF-MLS

If you have any questions, or would like more detailed data pertaining to a purchase or sale you consider, please let me know – I look forward to hearing from you.

08 February 2012

Mies' Villa Tugendhat in Brno reopens

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Tugendhat residence, a masterpiece of the Modern Movement in architecture and a Unesco World Heritage site located in Brno in the Czech Republic, reopens to the public on March 6 after a two-year renovation. 

The famous house was also the subject of Simon Mawer's interesting (part-fiction) book "The Glass Room", describing – with a writer's liberties of course – Fritz and Grete Tugendhat's journey, from commissioning the house to their live in it to fleeing to the US from the Nazis in 1938.

A detailed piece about the villa, its history and its renovation is published here. A photo gallery with 70 (!) pictures can be viewed on the Tugendhat site, and an even more interesting virtual tour (in Czech, but pretty much self-explanatory if you ever saw a 360° tour) is also available.