Experts take grim view on residential real estate
BY NANCY DAHLBERG
More troubled waters in residential real estate.
This view comes from the trenches: More than 70 percent of real estate professionals in a University of Florida survey last week said it was a bad time to build condos; 46 percent said the same thing about single-family housing.
There’s more: Nearly half of this often-bullish group expects not just condos but also single-family home prices to drop. The number in the bearish camp has doubled in just two months.
The one upside: Real estate professionals were much more upbeat about the outlook for commercial real estate. Occupancy rates appear to be stable or increasing around Florida, noted Wayne Archer, who directs UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies.
Affordable housing, exasperated by insurance costs, is so out of reach that many South Floridians are giving up and moving out, as The Miami Herald reported in August [You can view the report at MiamiHerald.com/business.] From other sources come other troubling indicators:
• According to Leadership Florida’s recently released Sunshine State Survey, 93 percent of South Florida respondents view affordable housing as a serious problem facing current residents, people moving here, or both.
• Research from Florida TaxWatch shows that in 2005, Miami-Dade led the state in the percentage of residents unable to afford a median 2-bedroom rental: 68 percent. Broward’s 55 percent exceeded the state average.
• In 2005, as many as 1.1 million households in Florida — 17 percent — actually confronted a serious problem with affordable housing, according to UF data.
We need solutions.
Some companies have instituted programs to help workers. I’d like to help share the good ideas. What has worked for you? And what do you think businesses should be doing to fight this problem? E-mail ndahlberg@Miami
Herald.com and I’ll share the responses in a future column.
I leave you with one thought: It could be worse. In Amsterdam, young workers are living in shipping containers.