Sunday, August 10, 2014

Is Money Laundering Driving Real Estate in Miami?

In many ways, shrinking cities like Flint don't have a functioning real estate market, because supply is so high and demand is so, so low.

Miami doesn't really have a housing market as we would traditionally define it, but for the opposite reason.

Henry Grabar at Salon reports:
"But the crop of downtown Miami condos from the last cycle, according to the Downtown Development Authority, are over 95-percent occupied, whether by part-time owners or, more likely, by tenants. Miami neighborhoods may lack the organic texture of 57th Street or Mayfair, but their buildings are not lacking for people. 
"Is it crazy to add 23,000 units – the crop of the current cycle – to a market with scant local demand, in a metro area with the highest foreclosure rate in the United States? Is downtown Miami a bubble? 
“'Greater Downtown Miami is always in a bubble,' the report finds, 'because 90 percent of the demand is external, and hence not tied to economic fundamentals.' 
"Whereas a traditional housing market draws its strength from job growth and new residents, 'safe haven' housing markets are fueled by global instability. And there’s certainly plenty of that to go around."

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at