After a nerve-racking week of waiting and watching, South Florida was spared the worst of Hurricane Irma’s 185 mph winds.
It’s too soon to tell if Irma will have any substantial impact on South Florida real estate. Empirical evidence will take a few months to show whether the storm scared away potential buyers in significant numbers
But the images of the storm’s destruction beamed around the world could have a chilling effect on the local real estate market, which relies heavily on foreign and out-of-town investors, according to real estate experts. Home and condo cash purchases account for 20 percent of all Miami-Dade real estate transactions — double the national average.
But some analysts think that Irma could prove to be a boon to the stagnant luxury market, scaring sellers into lowering their asking prices to move pricey properties before another major hurricane threatens the region.
Although at least 42 Floridians died as a result of Irma, everyday life is getting back to normal for most South Florida residents.
Home and condo prices keep rising
For the real estate industry, the question is whether the market will follow. According to the August home sales report released by the Miami Association of Realtors on Wednesday, the number of mid-market single-family home sales (priced between $300,000-$600,000) jumped 9.5 percent over the same period last year, from 462 to 506 sales. Mid-market condo sales (from $200,000-$600,000) went up 9.8 percent, from 509 to 559.
But year over year, the county’s total number of residential transactions — including single-family homes and condos — went down 9.7 percent, from 2,389 to 2,158.
Coral Gables Realtor Christopher Zoller, the 2017 chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors board, said the August figures were incomplete, due to disruptions caused by Hurricane Irma.
“Miami-Dade September housing statistics will also be impacted as some area closings will be delayed due to power outages and minor damage from the storm is repaired,” he said. “Nevertheless, August data shows a continued rise in mid-market home sales.”
In Broward, sales of single-family homes went down 8.1 percent in August over the same month last year, from 1,658 to 1,524, according to the Realtors of Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Condo sales also fell 10.6 percent, from 1,522 to 1,360.
But year-over-year median sales prices in both counties continued to climb.