Miami Herald, July1st, 2016
By Douglas Hanks
Miami-Dade’s real estate market grew faster than first thought, with a new report showing a 9.1 percent surge at the start of 2016 in the county’s property rolls.
The latest accounting from Miami-Dade’s Property Appraiser’s office upped the growth ratereported just 30 days earlier, when countywide real estate values clocked in at 8.6 percent higher than in 2015. The higher values in both reports detailed strong growth in values that will mean higher revenues for local governments if they don’t roll back property-tax rates later in the year. They also provide broad details for the county’s ongoing real estate recovery from a historic crash nearly a decade ago.
“Miami-Dade County continues to see a surge in the real estate market,” Pedro Garcia, the county’s elected property appraiser, said in a press release announcing the new numbers Friday. “While property values have risen higher than ever before, the difference this time is that certain segments show signs of a more sustained growth.”
Overall, Miami-Dade’s property rolls have never been higher, worth about $251 billion, which is is about 2 percent above the last peak in 2008, Garcia said. That includes commercial properties, condos and new construction.
Pricing data for single-family homes — considered the most stable measure of a housing market’s condition — show prices in the Miami area remain about 20 percent lower than when prices peaked in late 2006 and early 2007, according to real estate indices published by Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The bullish property-values report comes at a time of hand-wringing about Miami-Dade’s real estate market, with a second boom of condo towers facing a sales slowdown. Manuel Lasaga, a financial consultant in Miami, said he’s wary of where prices on condos may be heading amid a possible glut brought on by the aggressive high-rise construction that’s helping fuel the tax-value surge.
“I’m beginning to see some possible supply issues,” said Lasaga, CEO of Stratinfo and a clinical professor at Florida International University. “Single-family homes continue to do well.”
The final property-value report, which follows the June 1 preliminary report, kept the same city atop the leader board in terms of tax-roll growth. North Miami Beach remains in first place, with growth of 16.5 percent. (That’s down slightly from the June 1 growth estimate of 16.6 percent.) Virginia Gardens also remained in the basement, with growth of just one-third of 1 percent. (No change from the June 1 report.)
About $178 million in new construction boosted North Miami Beach’s numbers. When looking at just organic growth in values — how much existing properties increased in worth — tiny El Portal took the top spot, with nearly 14 percent growth in a city of about 2,500 people.
Miami Beach boasted the most raw new construction: $1.2 billion, or roughly $3 million per day. The coastal city bested Miami’s new construction total of $970 million, which amounted to about $2.6 million of new building per day.
By one measure, West Miami saw the most new construction. Its $28 million of new building in 2015 equaled 9 percent of its tax roll from the prior year. That’s the highest share in the county. Mayor Eduardo Muhiña credited more permissive zoning laws that allowed apartment buildings and ground-floor retail in the center of West Miami, where Marco Rubio used to serve on the city council.
Muhiña, an architect, recalled the dark days of the real estate crash, when city finances took such a hit that he signed on with a 2010 plan to allow digital billboards in town, including on city-owned properties. Residents complained, and Muhiña said he regrets the change. “We were scrambling everywhere for revenue,” he said. “That was a mistake. But we were scrambling.”
With property-tax values up 15 percent this year, Muhiña said he’s not expecting many wrenching moments when it comes to the city’s spending plan.
“I’m looking forward to this year’s budget,” he said. “Absolutely.”