Be Realistic About Insurance Costs When Buying a Home in Miami

posted on November 20th, 2010 filed under: Financial Responsibility, Real Estate News

Your monthly payment for a home — assuming you take out a loan — consists of principal, interest, taxes and insurance.  PITI for short.

If you’re not from South Florida, you might not appreciate how expensive insurance is here.  Homeowner’s insurance can easily cost 1% to 1.5% of the home’s value per year.  And those are non deductible, after-tax dollars.

But you can’t do without it.

Hurricane Andrew -- NOAA Radar Image

Hurricane Andrew

Insurance varies depending on the size of the home, the exact location and the type of construction, among other things.  Older homes like the classic Old Spanish houses in Coral Gables can be very costly to insure, not because they aren’t generally built well but because their roofs are not fastened to the rafters and exterior walls the way current building codes would require.

Windstorm mitigation can make a huge difference in your premiums.  On an old house, going from no mitigation to impact windows and a roof retrofit can probably save 25% to 50% on premiums and pay for itself in a fairly small number of years.

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Donations Sought for Repairs to Alhambra Water Tower in Coral Gables

posted on November 19th, 2010 filed under: Miami and Coral Gables Living

Everybody loves the Alhambra Water Tower in Coral Gables.  It’s one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- Alhambra Tower & Blooming Mimosa 3

In 2006-07, Coral Gables and the State of Florida together spent about $700,000 repairing the facade after the active 2005 hurricane season.  But apparently it needs more repair work just because of its age.  The Save the Alhambra Water Tower Project is seeking donations to complement a $200,000 commitment from the city.

From a real estate perspective, property values in north Coral Gables depend on maintenance of the many beautiful public landmarks that dot the landscape.  The north side of Coral Gables is where most of the city’s historic features are found.

A ceremony to kick off the fundraising drive will be held at the Water Tower on December 9, 2010.

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Coral Gables Real Estate and the White-Collar Blues

posted on November 18th, 2010 filed under: Financial Responsibility, Real Estate Market Data

It can be hard for working professionals to find a nice home at a decent price in Coral Gables.  Seriously.  Even here, in boom-and-bust South Florida.  And even now, well into one of the worst real estate downturns of all time.

If you’re a hard-working professional making a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, you ought to be able to buy a handsome home by levering that income three to four times, as the old conservative banker’s formula would permit.

Unfortunately, that puts you in a price range — say, $750,000 and up — where sellers remain stubborn about lowering prices.  In recent market activity, sellers in the $500k to $750k price range were nearly twice as likely to reduce their prices as sellers in the $750k to $1 million price range.

Percentage of Listings Reduced in Price -- Area 41 (Incl. Coral Gables) -- Nov. 2010

Someone buying a in the $750k to $1 million price range is probably not much more wealthy than someone buying in the $500k to $750k price range.  Yet sellers’ behavior appears to be much more demanding.

Maybe that’s why there’s such an unusually dramatic inverse correlation between price ranges and sales activity, as noted previously.

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Friday Fountain Photo

posted on November 13th, 2010 filed under: Fountains

Fountain on grounds of Church of the Little Flower, 2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables, Florida:

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- Fountain at Church of the Little Flower (St. Teresa) (2)

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Recent Sales: 741 Tibidabo Sells for $904,000

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

The 2889-sf ranch home at 741 Tibidabo Avenue in Coral Gables sold for $904,000.  O.k., it was updated, but there’s only so much you can do to dress up a 1954 rambler.

741 Tibidabo Ave.

741 Tibidabo Ave.

The house previously sold for $1,050,000 in November 2006 and $845,000 in October 2004.  Diving deeper, it sold for $265,000 in April 1989, which works to a compounded annual appreciation of 5.84%, and $169,800 in November 1983, which works to a compounded annual appreciation of 6.38%.  Those annual rates of appreciation suggest that the recent sale was overpriced relative to other market opportunities.

I wonder if the buyers thought they were getting a key to the magnet language program at Sunset Elementary School.  As explained previously here (and probably nowhere else), living within the traditional boundaries of Sunset Elementary does not assure you admission to the magnet language program, and does not even assure you admission to the regular program at the school.

Whatever the explanation for this richly priced transaction, watch out for listing sheets in Coral Gables that purport to tell you which school your kids will attend.  In many instances, they are misleading.

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Friday Fountain Photo

posted on October 29th, 2010 filed under: Fountains

Wall fountain at 2728 Ponce de Leon Boulevard (Los Ranchos Restaurant):

Coral Gables Real Estate Photos -- Wall Fountain -- 2728 Ponce de Leon Blvd (Los Ranchos Restaurant)

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Q2 Review: Closed Sales in Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables Real Estate, Zip Code 33156

posted on October 29th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

The table below reports closed sales of single-family homes in zip code 33156, encompassing parts of Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables, FL.  Recently closed sales are the principal guide to current property values in a local real estate market.

Coral Gables Real Estate -- Closed Sales -- Single-Family Homes -- Zip Code 33156 -- 2Q10

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

9050 Hammock Lake Dr.

9050 Hammock Lake Dr.

Data are from tax records, and thus are not limited to MLS transactions.

10300 SW 61 Ave.

10300 SW 61 Ave.

What someone got for $730k:

6000 SW 104 St.

6000 SW 104 St.

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Months’ Supply of Homes in Coral Gables — Luxury Real Estate Sellers in Denial

posted on October 25th, 2010 filed under: Real Estate Market Data

The months’ supply of homes for sale is one the real estate market’s vital signs.  A previous post explained this indicator and noted that Coral Gables had been in relatively stable condition, with about a 14-month supply of homes for sale.  That was quite a bit higher than the 6-8 months in a normal market, but way down from the 40 to 50 months’ supply seen during the height of the credit crisis.

The number deteriorated in September to 23.7.  That’s very high.  Stability has given way to instability.

Another previous post noted that the luxury real estate market in Coral Gables was stuck in the muck, with a 30-month supply of homes over $1.5 million, well over the 10-12 months’ worth that is normal at the high end.

And now?  Based on September sales, there is an 82.5-month supply of homes for sale in the real estate market in Coral Gables.

Granted, September is not high season for closings, but this is dreadful.  Sellers of high-end homes in Coral Gables need to wake from their dreams and lower their prices.

Meanwhile, at the low end, the months’ supply figures are normal, even robust.  Segmenting the market by price range shows just how healthy the low end is, and just how sick the high end is.

Months' Supply of Homes for Sale -- Coral Gables -- Oct. 2010A picture is worth a thousand words:

Months Supply of Homes for Sale -- Coral Gables -- Oct. 2010

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Q2 Review: Closed Sales in Miami and Coral Gables Real Estate, Zip Code 33143

posted on October 24th, 2010 filed under: Properties in Focus, Real Estate Market Data

The table below reports closed sales of single-family homes in zip code 33143, Miami and Coral Gables, FL, for the second quarter of 2010 (April 1 to June 30).  Recently closed sales are the principal guide to current property values in a local real estate market.

Coral Gables Real Estate -- Closed Sales -- Single-Family Homes -- Zip Code 33143 -- 2Q10Because The Real Estate Fountain focuses on mid-range to luxury properties, the table may exclude sales of smaller homes on smaller lots, or outside the usual areas of interest.

7901 Los Pinos Blvd.

7901 Los Pinos Blvd.

Data are from tax records, and thus are not limited to MLS transactions.

621 Gondoliere Ave.

621 Gondoliere Ave.

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Friday Fountain Photo

posted on October 22nd, 2010 filed under: Fountains

Photo of fountain at Jade Condominium, 1331 Brickell Bay Drive in the Brickell neighborhood of downtown Miami.

Miami Real Estate Photos -- Fountain at Jade Condo Condominium -- 1331 Brickell Bay Dr. (5)

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