08 March 2013

Preservation Efforts: In Vain?

When one looses two important modernist architectural works in one week, one must wonder how effective efforts to save threatened properties ever can be. 

The last week of February brought two major losses: James Fitzgibbon's Paschal house in Raleigh, NC and Richard Neutra's Cyclorama building in Gettysburg, PA.

Not that everyone was asleep at the wheel. 

Quite in contrast, the Paschal house, on the National Register of Historic Places, was demolished by the heirs after an eight-year effort to work out a solution; the Cyclorama was destroyed after what the non-profit Triangle Modernist Houses describes as a valiant ten-year fight against the National Park Service.

But as I mentioned before before, preservation starts with the owner, not the buyer.

Paschal house in Raleigh, NC:

James Fitzgibbon Paschal house - http://www.modernsouthflorida.com/preservation.html

Cyclorama at Gettysburg, PA:

Richard Neutra Cyclorama - http://www.TheModernistAngle.com/
Richard Neutra Cyclorama - http://www.modernsouthflorida.com/preservation.html
Photos: Paschal house by Raleigh NewsObserver, Cyclorama by TMH

01 March 2013

Review: The 2012 South Florida Housing Market

A brief look at the 2012 market for Single Family Homes (condominiums, townhomes, and commercial properties not included here) in the three counties Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade confirms what market participants - buyers, sellers and certainly every active Realtor – know:

Inventory continued to shrink, asking prices went up, so did selling prices – in some market segments dramatically so – and: if you snoozed you loosed (impressed by my rhyming talent?).

Step by step:

Relative inventory: expressed in months, it indicates the time it would take to sell every property at the current absorption rate if no new homes came to market. This benchmark fell substantially in 2012: 38% in Palm Beach, 29% in Dade and 39% in Broward county, on average from 8.2 to 5.3 months.

Absolute inventory: the number of homes available for sale dropped 23% in 2012, from 19,319 to 14,824, with the highest decline in Broward county.

Southeast Florida total housing inventory 2009-2012
Median asking prices: increased 22% in 2012. However, different from the airlines, sellers were not able to actually turn the full price hikes into reality - with several exceptions, see below.

Median selling prices: a plus of 19% (absolute) and 14% (price per square foot under air) during 2012 are substantial enough, but don’t show the whole picture – the good and the great locations, especially waterfront, Bayfront (Miami-Dade) and oceanfront, pulled these numbers up, with hefty annual increases exceeding 27% in some segments.

Days on market: measures how long a property spends on the Multiple Listing Service until it goes into contract. To be taken with a grain of salt, as some sellers re-list their property over and over again attempting to make it appear “fresh”. Never mind that is has been for sale forever (1,918 days in one case, a record in my observation). 2012 saw a DoM drop of 11%, in line with the diminishing inventory. As some of my clients know first-hand, even five to ten days on the market for an interesting well-priced house in a good area is not uncommon.

The modern market: as this database is much smaller (approximately 2% of the overall market) and contains perhaps 95% of the market, not 100% as above, the numbers have to be regarded with a bit of caution. But in general, the modern market mirrors the overall SFH market, only on a substantially higher price level, absolute and per square foot. Inventory, especially under $600,000, continued to get very tight in 2012; asking prices per square foot under air rose 20%, selling prices by 13%.

Advice to sellers for 2013: if you consider selling soon, it’s a very good time to start the process in the first half of the year. Prep your house, best with professional help, and be very realistic in your pricing right from the start. Don’t be greedy if you want a speedy sale.

If you do have a modern home you consider selling, I urge you to contact me for a free consultation, especially tailored and targeted to the modern market.

Advice to buyers for 2013: Prep yourself and do your homework up front: define what you want, where you want it, and know your price corridor. If you finance, before even looking at the first house you should have a (free and recent) mortgage pre-approval in hand (not a pre-qualification). Be ready to act on a moment’s notice, and be loyal to your Realtor if you found a good one: that element alone can make the difference between a great purchase or something resembling a root canal without anaesthesia.

Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you - call or email me anytime please!