Miami in a Vice

<p>In Miami, speculators inflated the housing market by buying and flipping condos. Now with the market deflating and a host of condo towers still under construction, Miami may be the worst major real estate market in the world.</p>

March 16, 2008, 7:00 AM PDT

By Michael Dudley


"As credit conditions tighten around overstretched buyers, Florida is rapidly climbing to the top of the foreclosure list. Unlike Ohio or Michigan, where job losses have pushed homeowners out of their homes, here the culprits are speculation and overbuilding. The percentage of Florida home mortgages entering the foreclosure process tripled between the fourth quarters of 2006 and 2007, according to the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association.

Miami now enjoys the dubious distinction of being the worst major real estate market in the United States, perhaps the world.

Prices citywide were 17.5 per cent lower in December than a year earlier, according to the latest S&P Case-Schiller national home price index - easily eclipsing other speculative hot spots, such as Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego.

The market value of downtown condos has plunged as much as 50 per cent, from a peak average price of $500 to $700 (U.S.) a square foot to as low as $300 a square foot - or less than it costs to build a condo.

And the bottom may still be nine months or more away because a giant wave of new units is about to hit the market, sending prices tumbling further.

More than a dozen cranes dot the downtown skyline as work continues on several new projects. Mr. Zalewski estimates that as many as 25,000 condo units are under construction in a six-kilometre stretch of downtown. That's more than twice the number of new condos all of Miami-Dade County typically absorbs in a year.

...[At the height of the boom] the city went on a spending spree, pouring money into roads, parks, police and fire stations, a cultural centre and a new town hall.

Now, city officials, struggling to deal with state-mandated tax reform, are looking at a looming budget crunch. Like countless U.S. towns and cities, its tax receipts are stagnant or falling, and demand for its services is way up.

The sobering message from Miami: The worst isn't nearly over in the real estate market - here, and across the United States."

Friday, March 14, 2008 in The Globe & Mail

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

San Francisco Houses

‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters

As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.

May 15, 2022 - The Hill

Downtown Dallas

Short-Term Rentals Vex Dallas City Council

Residents complain that vacation rentals exacerbate the city’s housing shortage and bring traffic and noise to residential neighborhoods, calling on the city to impose—and enforce—stricter regulations.

May 17 - The Dallas Morning News

Traffic Safety Advocates

Traffic Fatalities Set Records as Pandemic-Era Road Carnage Shows No Signs of Stopping

An estimated 42,915 people died in automobile crashes in 2021, according to recent federal data. The increasing fatalities continue a trend that began with the outset of the pandemic.

May 17 - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Driver Shortage Undercuts the Potential of L.A.’s Recent Bus System Redesign

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority implemented a complete overhaul of its bus system in three waves over the course of 2021. A shortage of drivers for the system has made it impossible to implement that vision.

May 17 - TransitCenter

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.