Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Renters and the Mini-Boom in Miami

by Bill McBride on 5/31/2011 03:43:00 PM

From Arian Campo-Flores at the WSJ: Miami Renters Fuel a Boomlet

When the real estate market collapsed five years ago, this city's downtown soon became an emblem of the worst excesses of the building boom. Glittering new towers sat mostly vacant.

Those towers are filling up much sooner than some analysts predicted. The new arrivals, mostly renters, are spurring the establishment of restaurants, bars and shops.
...
Condo sales here began surging after property owners slashed prices about two years ago, sometimes by 50% or more. ... Fewer than 4,000 out of the 22,000 new units built since 2003 remain unsold, according to Condo Vultures.
This is an example of excess inventory being absorbed. Many of these condos were bought by international buyers and / or investors, and many are now occupied by renters. These are not "accidental landlords" (homeowners who rented their homes because they couldn't sell) - these are cash flow investors. Yes, some investors will sell if prices start to increase, keeping prices from rising quickly, but they can also be patient since many paid cash - so I wouldn't count this as shadow inventory.

Note: The Case-Shiller index indicated prices in Miami are off 50.4% from the peak - and many of these condos sold for more than half off.

Earlier ...
Case Shiller: National Home Prices Hit New Low in 2011 Q1
Real House Prices and Price-to-Rent: Back to 1999
The Excess Vacant Housing Supply
Home Prices Graph Gallery