Archive for the 'Properties in Focus' Category

2805 Columbus Boulevard Sells for $527 Per Square Foot

posted on January 18th, 2012 filed under: Financial Responsibility, Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data, Real Estate News

The home at 2805 Columbus Boulevard recently sold for $3.3 million.  Just a couple of shady blocks up the tree-canopied street from the elegant Biltmore Hotel, it’s easy to see the attraction.

2805 Columbus Blvd

2805 Columbus Blvd.

But the sale will pose a challenge for anyone trying to understand the value of luxury real estate in north Coral Gables.  At 6,255 square feet and built in 2004, the home sold for $527 per square foot.  The lot is 16,500 square feet, and not on water or a golf course.

Compare the recent sale of nearby 1260 Anastasia Avenue, an 8,701-sf Mediterranean built in 2001 on a 24,400-sf lot.  Located directly on the Biltmore golf course, the home sold in August for $3.05 million.

1260 Anastasia Ave.

1260 Anastasia Ave.

Granted, the clean lines of the architecture and interior at 2805 Columbus might have resonated especially well with today’s luxury home buyer.  But are Mediterraneans really going out of style, to the point that you can get 25% more house on 50% more lot, throw in the Biltmore golf course location, and still pay 13% less?

No, there is no objective explanation for the disparity in these two sales.  In real estate, subjective factors sometimes dominate.  That’s troubling if you want to believe that the market is rational.  But it’s also promising, because it means the market will occasionally present you with opportunities.

In the case of 2805 Columbus, the buyer was a Puerto Rico limited liability company, and the same agent both listed the property and found the buyer.  The transaction is essentially opaque.

The buyers of 1260 Anastasia, meanwhile, were James and Pamula Schlesinger.  Mr. Schlesinger appears to be the president and CEO of AWE Talisman, a real estate development firm.  Obviously, Mr. Schlesinger would not be likely to overpay for real estate.

If you, too, would like to avoid overpaying for a home in Miami, Miami Beach or Coral Gables, REF Real Estate will be glad to assist — and give you a hefty commission rebate.

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1248 Coral Way Auctioned for $1.175 Million

posted on December 20th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate News

The federal government recently auctioned a significant property in Coral Gables.  This was no distressed property, though.  Uncle Sam came to own 1248 Coral Way when the prior owner died and left it to help pay the federal debt.  (Yes, really.)  On a recent Saturday, the home was auctioned to the highest bidder for $1.175 million.

The 3,887-sf house, built in 1928, has seen better days.

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- 1248 Coral Way (Exterior)

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- 1248 Coral Way (Exterior 2)

Most of the rooms are a gut job, but some nice details remain.

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- 1248 Coral Way (Interior)

The value primarily resides in the land: two 17,500-sf lots, one with the historic but decrepit house on it, and the other an adjacent vacant parcel.

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- 1248 Coral Way (Land)

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What You Get for $900,000 in Sunset Neighborhood of Coral Gables

posted on November 2nd, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus

Perhaps the strongest pricing in Coral Gables is in the vicinity of the highly regarded Sunset Elementary School.  As REF has explained here and to customers, buying a house in the Sunset neighborhood does not mean you get to go to the school.  Really, the alarm cannot be sounded too often on this point.

With that in mind, what are people getting for their money in the Sunset Elementary area of south Gables?  Two recent sales show just how divergent the current real estate market can be.  For $849,000, a Bahamian corporation took 743 Tibidabo Avenue off the hands of the people who bought it for $820,000 in January 2008.  Who knew the market went up since then?

743 Tibidabo Ave.

743 Tibidabo Ave

The price of $849k works out to $430/sf for this 1,972-sf pillbox.  The house was already updated in 2008 (I know — I was in it), so that’s not the explanation.

On a brighter note for buyers in the Sunset Elementary neighborhood of Coral Gables, the classic French Village home at 1013 Hardee Road sold for $880,000, or $256/sf for the 3,431-sf beauty.

1013 Hardee Rd.

1013 Hardee Rd

Yes, it needs updating and maybe some repairs.  But you could put $100,000 into it and still be at just $285/sf.  Heck, you’d have to put $600,000 into it before you’d hit the $430/sf that the other people paid for 743 Tibidabo.

Plain ranch-style homes are a fact of life in South Florida.  And maybe I’m a bit of an aesthetic or architectural snob.  But there’s something to be learned here.  It’s actually a guiding principle here at REF.  The real estate market is inefficient, and there is value to be had . . . or not.

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Two Luxury Homes Sell on Santa Maria Street in Coral Gables

posted on September 12th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate News

Santa Maria Street is one of Coral Gables most desirable addresses.  The street runs up the middle of Riviera Country Club, and houses on both sides have golf course views.  Numerous historic homes and a canopy of old oak trees make Santa Maria and the surrounding neighborhood one of the most picturesque places to live in Coral Gables.

The grand home at 4415 Santa Maria changed hands at $3.5 million, or $607/sf.  It appears to have been a private sale, because the property was not really listed on the MLS (although the sale has been reported there).  Last sale was in October 2003 for $2.875 million.

4515 Santa Maria Ave.

4515 Santa Maria St.

Another fine historic home, at 4412 Santa Maria, sold for $2.7 million, or $456/sf.  Last sold in March 2006 for $3.78 million.

4412 Santa Maria Ave.

4412 Santa Maria St.

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The Premium for New Construction in Coral Gables Real Estate

posted on July 14th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

As noted previously, big old houses in Coral Gables have been selling for about $200 per square foot.  What about big new houses?

One of those will cost you quite a bit more, if recent sales are any indication.  The luxury home at 3716 Durango Street sold for about $375/sf, and the luxury home at 2000 North Greenway Drive (which has a golf-course view) sold for about $425/sf.

3716 Durango St.

3716 Durango St.

A premium for new construction may be worth paying to avoid the delay and disruption of renovations.  But are new homes really worth $200 per square foot more than existing homes?  That’s almost the cost of building from the ground up.

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More Big Homes Sell for $200/SF in Coral Gables

posted on June 15th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

Continuing to validate the proposition that price declines are migrating up the food chain to bigger, costlier homes in Miami and Coral Gables, several Gables homes in the 5,000-sf range have recently sold for about $200/sf.

The 5,530-sf historically designated home at 2027 Alhambra Circle sold for $1,025,000, or $185/sf.

2027 Alhambra Cir.

2027 Alhambra Cir.

Around the bend and toward town, the 4,960-sf 1930s manse at 756 Alhambra Circle sold for $1,138,000, or $229/sf.

756 Alhambra Cir.

756 Alhambra Cir.

Another classic old home, the expanded 6,528-sf spread at 2200 Segovia Circle, sold for $1,350,000, or $206/sf.

2200 Segovia Cir.

2200 Segovia Cir.

If you’ve been planning to buy a big house in Coral Gables, your patience has been rewarded.  Now you can shop and negotiate with much less fear of loss.  Properties like these were selling for more like $400/sf at the peak.  That was maniacal, of course.  But at $200/sf, these classic Coral Gables homes are back to roughly 2001 prices, completely unwinding the excess appreciation of the bubble years.

Of course, any collapse in asset values can overshoot to the downside, and there is risk of further price declines.  But the risk of loss is a lot less than it was before.

Stay tuned for another post with charts showing the trajectory of prices for big homes in the 33134 zip code of Coral Gables.

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Mini Land Rush in High Pines, Ponce-Davis, Hammock Lakes Neighborhoods

posted on May 13th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

Looking to build your dream home in the estate areas of Miami and Coral Gables that lie south of Sunset Road (SW 72 Street) and east of South Miami?  Several of the lots listed for sale in the estate neighborhoods of High Pines, Ponce-Davis and Hammock Lakes have recently either sold or gone pending.  The property at 5490 Hammock Drive in Coral Gables sold for $1.25 million.  It’s in the soon-to-be-gated Hammock Lakes neighborhood.  Two other lots, each about one acre and listed for about $1 million, went pending in the High Pines / Ponce-Davis neighborhood of Miami.

5490 Hammock Dr.

5490 Hammock Dr.

There wasn’t much buildable land in the first place, and it just got a bit more scarce.

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More Signs of Ice Breaking in Upper-Middle Real Estate Market in Coral Gables

posted on March 21st, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

Despite the greatest real estate bust of all time, it’s been tough for buyers in the upper-middle bracket to find better homes at reasonable prices in Coral Gables.  Some recent sales suggest sellers’ intransigence may be thawing.

The classic Old Spanish on a 12,500-sf double lot at 1240 Castile Avenue sold for $605,000, or $255.38/sf.  Previously sold for $650,000 in 2002 and $750,000 in 2003, so it’s back to roughly a 2000 price.

1240 Castile Ave.

1240 Castile Ave.

The big old colonial on over half an acre at 758 University Drive sold for $950,000, or $201.48/sf.  Needed lots of work by most buyers’ standards, but at a compounded appreciation rate of about 3.53% since its last sale in 1990, there’s money for a few improvements while still getting a good deal.

758 University Dr.

758 University Dr.

The bank-owned (REO) foreclosure at 1010 Asturia Avenue, which the Real Estate Fountain brought to your attention when it was listed at a rock-bottom price, sold fast for $530,000, or $198.80/sf.  It’s located a block away from the Granada Golf Course.  Prior sales: $315k in 1998, $830k in 2005, $1.189 million in 2007.  Of course, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s a million-dollar house.  That was mania and manipulation.

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Recent Sales in Coral Gables: Two Homes on Stately Boulevards Sell Below $200/sf

posted on February 25th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus

Two homes recently sold for less than $200 per square foot on a couple of the grand old boulevards of Coral Gables.

The 5,145-sf home at 1710 Granada Boulevard sold for $960,000, or $186.59/sf.

1710 Granada Blvd.

1710 Granada Blvd.

The 3,286-sf home at 1125 Coral Way reportedly sold for $620,000, or $188.68/sf.  This one was REO (bank-owned).

1125 Coral Way

1125 Coral Way

Sure these are busy streets, but they’re also stately and historic, lined with old trees and subject to zoning regulations that ensure generous setbacks and lot sizes.

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Recent Sales in Miami Real Estate: 5001 Pine Drive Sells for $3.8 Million (Or Is It $4.05 Million?)

posted on January 29th, 2011 filed under: Properties in Focus

The grand home at 5001 Pine Drive in the Ponce-Davis neighborhood of Miami near Coral Gables sold recently.  A significant concentration of luxury homes dots the landscape in Ponce-Davis.  Right next door to 5001 Pine Drive is the monumental home that Facundo L. Bacardi (yes, of the adult beverage dynasty) is building on 3.65 acres at 4975 Pine Drive.

5001 Pine Dr.

5001 Pine Dr.

Valuing this luxury real estate sale will be a challenge for brokers in the Miami and Coral Gables market.  There will be two big points of contention.

First, the deed, as recorded, indicates a price of $3.8 million (or $422.55/sf).  But on the MLS, the sale is reported at $4.05 million (or $450.35/sf).  Word has it that the difference is that the sale included the furniture, and the parties subtracted $250,000 for the value of the furniture when the deed was recorded.

If you were really cynical, you’d say the seller overstated the value of the furniture to save on deed recording taxes.  But seriously, is someone selling a $4 million-ish mansion in Ponce-Davis — who just accepted about half a million less than the asking price — really going to openly cheat on their taxes in order to save a relative pittance on the measly deed recording tax?  We’re talking about a deed recording tax of 0.60%, which amounts to $1,500 when applied to the $250,000 at which the furniture was apparently valued.

I’m going with $3.8 million as the true sale price of this Miami mansion.  The buyers could easily have spent $250,000 if they hired an interior designer and redecorated.  Kudos to them for slumming it and living with the used furniture that outfitted every room perfectly well.  It was all high-end stuff, of course, and now the buyers can enjoy their lives instead of hassling with a design project.

The second problem in valuing this comp sale is that the listing stated the square footage as 10,900.  That was an “according-to-owner” figure.  Miami-Dade County land records, on which listing square footage is usually based, put the square footage at 8,993.  At 10,900 square feet, either sale price ($3.8M or $4.05M) looks like a good deal at well under $400/sf.  At 8,993 square feet, the deal is more in line with recent sales in the low- to mid-$400/sf range.

I would look to the Miami-Dade public records on this one, to be consistent with the way properties are usually listed.  That’s what the foregoing $422.55/$450.35 figures reflect.  Gotta compare apples to apples when doing comp sales analyses.

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