•Buyers Sue Trump in Miami Condo Glut as Values Seen Returning to '89 Level

Discussion in 'Economics' started by ByLoSellHi, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. As in 1989. Wow.

    Buyers Suing Trump in Miami Condo Glut as Values Return to 1989
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    By John Gittelsohn

    Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) --
    Robert Cooper says he has found a way to make money in South Florida’s real estate bust.

    Cooper, an attorney in Aventura, Florida, sues for refunds on deposits in the nation’s largest condominium market. In the last two years, he filed lawsuits for about 1,500 buyers against companies and individuals including the Related Group of Florida, Dezer Development LLC, Corus Bankshares Inc., Donald Trump.

    More suits seeking refunds under a federal law regulating condo sales have been filed in South Florida than in the rest of the country combined, according to a search of federal court records. Fueling the litigation is a price crash that makes buyers unwilling to pour more money into bad investments -- even if they can get financing. Condos on which they made deposits of up to $1,000 a square foot in 2006 are now selling for $125 to $350 a foot, said Jack McCabe, a real estate consultant in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

    “If you’re thinking you can come here and buy and sell condos for a profit in less than five years, you’re sadly mistaken,” said McCabe, whose clients have included Credit Suisse Group AG and Pulte Homes Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder. “You need a seven- to 10-year range.”

    Prices could fall to $100 a foot, less than half the cost of construction, and a value not seen in 20 years, he said.

    Vacant Condos

    In Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, there are more than 43,000 condos and townhouses on the market, almost 1-1/2 times the number of single-family homes, according to Condo Vultures LLC, a Bal Harbour real estate brokerage. In downtown Miami, more than 8,000 condos stand vacant and unsold, relics of a building binge that added 23,000 condos from 2003 to 2008, said Peter Zalewski, principal of Condo Vultures.

    Over the past 12 months, condo prices fell 15 percent in the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area to a median of $112,200, 36 percent in Fort Lauderdale to $85,100 and 31 percent in Miami to $144,700, according to Florida Association of Realtors data.

    Those prices are likely to fall more when the $1 billion portfolio of South Florida condos financed by Corus Bankshares, the Chicago lender seized by federal regulators, goes on the market, Zalewski said.

    Investors led by Starwood Capital Group LLC won a bid for Corus’s loans. Two-thirds of the 2,537 condo units Corus financed in downtown Miami are unsold and unoccupied, Zalewski said...