Miami Beach Sellers “Starting To See The Light”

bryan halda

Bryan Halda, a senior vice president at Gray & Associates Properties in Miami Beach and the Meruelo mansion at 5745 Pinetree Drive.

The start of the new year may be the point when the upper end of the Miami Beach market found its hardwood floor. After luxury property sales in Miami Beach slowed in 2008, lower prices caused a rebound in the second half of 2009 — and inventory is shrinking in 2010.

Miami Beach luxury waterfront home prices for all of 2009 fell 25 percent year-over-year, according to data from Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell.

Kevin Tomlinson, a realtor with the brokerage, said that data surprised him.

“Sellers are starting to see the light. They are hearing what the market is saying — and they are lowering prices,” Tomlinson said. “Homes on the market for an average of about 200 days were causing a backlog in inventory in the first half of the year, but sales velocity picked up toward the end of 2009 for homes with lower prices.”

In 2008, there were 49 sales and the average price of a Miami Beach waterfront home was $934 per square foot. Prices fell to $702 per square foot by the end of 2009. That means a seller who owns a 7,000-square-foot waterfront home that was worth $6.53 million in 2008 saw his home drop in value to $4.91 million in 2009.

Tomlinson expects the luxury home market to find its bottom this year as some sellers seek to avoid foreclosure.

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