'Vultures' Descend on Cheapened Properties

<p>Housing price drops in cities like Miami have "vulture-like" buyers swooping in to snatch up properties.</p>
March 10, 2008, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Home buyers from around the U.S. and abroad are descending on Florida to buy condominiums that have suffered sharp price drops amid the housing glut, subprime-mortgage crisis and credit crunch. Some are searching for investment properties, confident home prices will eventually rebound. Others are hunting for vacation or retirement homes. Yet pitfalls abound, and experts warn that prices could dip even further."

"In hard-hit Miami-Dade County, condos originally costing as much as $1.4 million at the peak of the market now sell in some cases for $840,000, a 40% drop. Farther north, a coming auction at Solaire at the Plaza, a new condo tower in downtown Orlando, has set a minimum selling price of $170,000 on 24 one-bedroom units once priced as high as $296,000."

"Florida is a microcosm of what's happening across the country. As the price of condos -- which tend to be popular among investors, retirees and second-home owners -- take a dive in many once-hot markets, buyers are emerging to grab properties on the cheap. They're finding plenty to choose from."

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Published on Friday, March 7, 2008 in The Wall Street Journal
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