Archive for the 'Properties in Focus' Category

Firm Demand for Real Estate in the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Near Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables

posted on August 20th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus

A steady supply of buyers is supporting the real estate market in the Golden Triangle neighborhood of Coral Gables, near the Biltmore Hotel.  Recent sales illustrate the reasonably firm demand for older homes with character.

The home at 3408 Toledo Street sold for an even $900,000, or about $273 per square foot.  The previous sale was in 1993 for $388,000, so the recent sale represents about 4.9% annual appreciation over the last 17 years.  That’s pretty normal, not any kind of fire sale, especially considering that the house could use some updating.

3408 Toledo St.

3408 Toledo St.

The home at 923 Escobar Avenue sold for $930,000.  The previous sale was in 2007 for $769,500.  According to the sales pitch, a whole lot of money was spent on improvements, so the seller did not exactly perform a miracle by making a big profit in a down market.  But at $347 per square foot, the buyer paid a handsome price.

923 Escobar Ave.

923 Escobar Ave.

Two other homes in the Golden Triangle area of Coral Gables were listed recently and quickly disappeared from the market.  You can assume they are under contract.

The property at 1115 Anastasia Avenue, across from the entrance to the Gables Stage theater at the Biltmore Hotel complex, was advertised for just under $1 million.  It has 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, if you count the little maid’s quarters by the garage.  Lots of character inside, but lots of termite damage too.  The seller reportedly got a cash offer reasonably close to full price, from a buyer with peculiar reasons for wanting to be as close to the Biltmore as possible.

Another sale that seems to be in the works is at 3717 Toledo Street.  For this run-down, older house with character, the sellers were reportedly seeking at least $850,000.  Interest seemed strong, and they probably got at least that much, despite the need for a couple hundred thousand dollars’ worth of renovations.

3717 Toledo St.

3717 Toledo St.

Granted, these old Coral Gables homes probably would have sold for more a few years ago at the height of the real estate bubble.  But today’s buyers are hardly getting bargains.  These are not elite luxury homes.  Residents in the area are typically white-collar workers and retirees, not international jet-setters.  Paying $900,000 for a home implies about $90,000 a year in ownership costs — maybe $80,000 at today’s low mortgage rates.  Not cheap.

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Recent Sale: 2525 Indian Mound Trail in Coral Gables — $1.72 Million ($162 Per Square Foot)

posted on July 11th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus

The sale of 2525 Indian Mound Trail, near the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, was recorded recently at a price of $1,720,000.  The house is 10,646 square feet, which means the buyer paid just under $162 per square foot for a luxury home in Coral Gables.  Arguably, the interior spaces were more about size than style, but the price still brings to mind the uber-annoying Staples commercial (Wow, That’s  a Low Price!).  Doesn’t appear to have been a fire sale, either.  The house just sat on the market and was gradually reduced until a buyer was found.

2525 Indian Mound Tr.

2525 Indian Mound Tr.

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Recent Sale: 909 North Greenway Dr., Coral Gables

posted on July 2nd, 2010 filed under: Financial Responsibility, Properties in Focus

This recent sale in Coral Gables may be challenging for potential home buyers and their agents to understand.  At 5,405 square feet according to public records, 909 North Greenway might seem to have sold recently for an inordinately low price at $842,500.  That’s just shy of $156/sf.

909 North Greenway Dr.

909 North Greenway Dr.

Indeed, it was cheap, even considering the need for some serious updating.  But the key to understanding the price is that a big portion of the square footage –over 2,000 square feet according to public records — is in a second building out back that houses a couple of apartment units.  That might be great for an extended family that wants a compound, or for someone who wants rental income.  But it’s not for everyone.  The main house is just over 3,000 square feet.

And the master bedroom and bathroom were both tiny.  Typical of many of the older two-story homes in Coral Gables, the second story has a much smaller footprint than the first.  Sometimes there’s nothing but a single bedroom upstairs (here there were three, but with a pint-sized master).

Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance are additional factors when considering a property like this.  All that extra square footage in the thing out back might be nice, but you’d better really want it, because you’re going to pay for it whether you want it or not.  Property taxes are about $20,000.  Insurance would be about $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the carrier and coverage limits.  And remember, insurance is not tax-deductible.  For those uninitiated to home ownership in South Florida, the carrying costs can be quite shocking.

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Coral Gables Buys Out Developer Using County Funds

posted on June 13th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate News

In April, the city commission in Coral Gables approved the city’s purchase of an empty lot at 4650 Alhambra Circle, to be used as a park.  The lot is two blocks north of Blue Road, on the west side of Alhambra.

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Map

Three cheers for parks.

Here’s the problem.  The city paid $1,000,000 for the lot.  The seller paid $950,000 in 2005, at the top of the real estate market.

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Sale DataDoes anybody think property values have risen since 2005?

Not the county property appraiser, who puts the value at $635,760.

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Assessment

The city, however, found its own appraisers to justify the million-dollar price tag.

Appraisal #1 was based on “comparable” sales on Valencia Avenue (prime real estate near the Biltmore Hotel and Venetian Pool), and on Tigertail Avenue, far away in north Coconut Grove:

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Appraisal #1Appraisal #2 was based on a bunch of sales from 2008 and 2009:

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Appraisal #2.pt1

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Appraisal #2.pt2

Appraisal #3 was based on sales including the one on Valencia, one in Coconut Grove and one on School House Road in the estate area known as Ponce/Davis.  Oh, and a fourth one that wasn’t a sale but a listing — a property that sold in 2003 for $650,000 but which the appraiser estimated at about $1.1 million after discounting from the asking price of $1.395 million.  (That property apparently never sold.)

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Appraisal #3.pt1

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Appraisal #3.pt2

Seems it was more important to find vacant land, no matter how remote in time and space, than to consider comparables like the property at 4607 Alhambra Circle — a mirror image of 4650 occupying the same size and shape lot right across the street from 4650 Alhambra.  The property at 4607 sold in 2008 for $1.855 million — with a 5351-sf house on it.  And that was in 2008; the county appraiser says it’s now worth $1,325,535.

But of course, none of this really matters, because Coral Gables wasn’t spending its own money anyway.  This bailout was courtesy of county taxpayers.

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Source of Funds

As everybody knows, Miami-Dade County has plenty of money to throw around for things like parks in Coral Gables.

The biggest shame is that the would-be developer’s dreams were never realized.  After obtaining approval to split the lot in two, the project never materialized.

4650 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables -- Building Site SeparationThank heavens the good taxpayers of Miami-Dade County were kind enough to make this poor developer more or less whole.  We can’t have people failing at the things they try to do.  Then nobody would ever try to do anything.

Right?

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Default and Foreclosure Suits Litter Old Spanish Village in Coral Gables

posted on May 31st, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate News

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- Old Spanish Village -- Sales Office

According to the promotional materials, Old Spanish Village was supposed to be a refined, old-world oasis in the heart of downtown Coral Gables:

Live the Glamorous Lifestyle Found Only in This Village

Spanning seven beatifully-planned acres, Old Spanish Village brings the spirit of ancient towns in Andalusia into the vibrant heart of Coral Gables.  Its cobblestone lanes and plazas, vine-clad pergolas, and splashing fountains create an authentic sense of place.  Within this urban village, residents will greet their neighbors across flower-rimmed pocket parks, then stroll beneath shady porticos to the sidewalk cafe or neighborhood bakery whose delicious aromas scent the air.

– Sales Brochure

Maybe someday.  But for now, the Old Spanish Village development next to Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park, a few blocks south of Miracle Mile, is bogged down in foreclosure lawsuits.

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- Old Spanish Village Map

The South Florida Business Journal reported in December that TotalBank brought a $2.4 million claim against two of the developers personally, after they allegedly began missing monthly payments last August.

Now, the Journal reports that although the TotalBank suit was settled for partial repayment, a much bigger problem has emerged.  FirstBank Puerto Rico has filed a foreclosure suit on the development’s main $42 million mortgage.  The bank wants the property.

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- Old Spanish Village -- Completed Phase One Town Homes

It always seemed a little hard to believe that a luxury real estate development would succeed on the fringe of downtown Coral Gables, with rather underwhelming neighborhoods to the south and east.  And breaking ground in 2007 was a bit bold, to put it charitably.

At least the promo parties they threw in Ponce Circle Park were fun.

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Basketball Star Wade’s House Sells for $2.5 Million

posted on May 23rd, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade and his wife sold their 9,035-sf home at 9330 SW 59 Place for $2.5 million, according to public records.  They paid $3.975 million for the house in July 2005, and supposedly put a couple of million into renovations.

At $276.70 per square foot, it’s one of the cheapest sales of luxury properties in North Pinecrest since the boom went bust.  The ailing real estate market, widely reported marital problems and the cushion of a pro sports star’s salary probably all contributed to the Wades’ decision to unload this property at a substantial discount to their investment.

9330 SW 59 Pl.

9330 SW 59 Pl.

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Real Estate Values Decline in Gated Community of Hammock Oaks in Coral Gables

posted on May 12th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus

A recent post compiled first-quarter home sales in Coral Gables 33156.  One of those sales suggests that real estate values in the gated community of Hammock Oaks may be down 18% since 2007.

11097 Paradela Street is a 3239-sf home on a 20,475-sf lot, and sold in March for $930,000.

11097 Paradela St., Hammock Oaks

11097 Paradela St., Hammock Oaks

11060 Paradela Street is a 3170-sf home on an 18,678-sf lot, and sold in August 2007 for $1,135,500.

11060 Paradela St., Hammock Oaks

11060 Paradela St., Hammock Oaks

Down 18% since 2007 seems pretty good compared to the nearly 50% decline in greater Miami.  Is that because wealthier communities will decline less in this downturn?  Or are they just lagging behind, still working their way down?  The truth is probably a little of each.

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Q1 Review: Closed Sales in Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables Real Estate, Zip Code 33156

posted on May 2nd, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

The table below reports closed sales of select single-family homes in the portion of zip code 33156 east of Ludlam Road (SW 67 Ave.), including neighborhoods in Pinecrest and Coral Gables.  The 33156 zip code extends from Kendall Drive (SW 88 St.) south to Howard Drive (SW 136 St.), and thus includes the waterfront gated communities of Gables Estates, Journey’s End, Hammock Oaks and Gables by the Sea, as well as the gated lakefront community Snapper Creek Lakes, and the soon-to-be-gated lakefront community Hammock Lakes.

Coral Gables Real Estate -- Closed Sales -- Single-Family Homes -- Zip Code 33156 -- 1Q10

Recently closed sales are the principal guide to current property values in a local real estate market.  Data are from tax records, and thus include transactions not appearing on the MLS.

Because The Real Estate Fountain focuses on mid-range to luxury properties, the table focuses on the more desirable homes and locations in the covered area.

9801 W. Suburban Dr., Pinecrest

9801 W. Suburban Dr., Pinecrest

Although this is a first-quarter review, closed sales from December 2009 are included.  The originally scheduled November 30 expiration of the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit makes December 1 a more interesting time to start the real estate sales “quarter.”  The $8,000 credit should not have made much difference to buyers of mid-range to luxury real estate in Pinecrest and Coral Gables, but no market with human participants is fully rational.

11097 Paradela St., Hammock Oaks, Coral Gables

11097 Paradela St., Hammock Oaks, Coral Gables

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Q1 Review: Closed Sales in Miami and Coral Gables Real Estate, Zip Code 33143

posted on May 1st, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

The table below reports closed sales of single-family homes in the portion of zip code 33143 east of Red Road (SW 57 Ave.), including neighborhoods in Miami and Coral Gables.  In that area, the 33143 zip code extends from Sunset Drive (SW 72 St.) south to Kendall Drive (SW 88 St.).

Coral Gables Real Estate -- Closed Sales -- Single-Family Homes -- Zip Code 33143 -- 1Q10

Recently closed sales are the principal guide to current property values in a local real estate market.  Data are from tax records, and thus include transactions not appearing on the MLS.

Because The Real Estate Fountain focuses on mid-range to luxury properties, the table may exclude sales of smaller homes on smaller lots.

7270 W. Lago Dr., Cocoplum

7270 W. Lago Dr., Cocoplum

Although this is a first-quarter review, closed sales from December 2009 are included.  The originally scheduled November 30 expiration of the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit makes December 1 a more interesting time to start the real estate sales “quarter.”  If buyers behaved rationally, the $8,000 credit should not have made much difference for mid-range to luxury real estate in Miami and Coral Gables.  But you cannot assume the real estate market is rational.

510 San Servando Ave.

510 San Servando Ave.

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Q1 Review: Closed Sales in Miami and Coral Gables Real Estate, Zip Code 33146

posted on April 27th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

The table below reports closed sales of single-family homes in zip code 33146, Coral Gables, FL.  Recently closed sales are the principal guide to current property values in a local real estate market.  Data are from tax records, and thus includes transactions not appearing on the MLS.

5201 Alhambra Cir.

5201 Alhambra Cir.

Because The Real Estate Fountain focuses on mid-range to luxury properties, the table may exclude sales of smaller homes on smaller lots.

Coral Gables Real Estate -- Closed Sales -- Single-Family Homes -- Zip Code 33146 -- 1Q10Although this is a first-quarter review, closed sales from December 2009 are included.  The originally scheduled November 30 expiration of the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit (since extended to April 30 for contracts, June 30 for closings) makes December 1 a more interesting place to start the real estate sales “quarter.”

1221 Campo Sano Ave.

1221 Campo Sano Ave.

An $8,000 tax credit credit, however, should not have had much effect on buyers of mid-range to luxury real estate in Coral Gables.

4100 Anderson Rd.

4100 Anderson Rd.

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