Monday, August 16, 2010

Looming Housing Crisis

North Bay Village is facing a housing crisis. It is not the sort of crisis that has been discussed in the past where there is an inadequate supply of housing. Most cities have learned to deal with that, but a new kind brought on by over-supply, bad mortgage decisions and declining demand.

The building pictured, 7525 East Treasure Drive, is one of several abandoned projects in the city. There are others, vacant lots, unsold units, abandoned houses, all throughout our community.

The Lexi filed Chapter 11 on June 23, 2010, with 50 unsold units out of 164. www.trulia.com, a website that consolidates real estate listings shows 553 homes for sale in North Bay Village, with 255 in distress or foreclosure, 46% of the total properties. It is not restricted to condos, 26% of the single family homes listed are in distress.

The existing condo buildings are in bad shape according to www.condoreports.com, a site that rates the health of the association on a scale of 100 with 100 being the healthiest. Their breakdown is frightening. Here are some samples:

  • 360 A 26th percentile
  • 360 B 18th percentile
  • Breeze 28th percentile
  • North Bay Villas 6th percentile
  • Grandview Palace 6th percentile
and there are more out there.

When buildings are so poorly rated, the property values decline, the risk of foreclosure increases and the risk of board bankruptcy is overwhelming.

North Bay Village has taken very few steps to address this issue. It's established that our property values fell 26% in the crash, that only Homestead saw a worse decline with a marginal difference, HUD (Federal Housing and Urban Development) ranked us the highest in Miami-Dade for neighborhoods at risk and we can see it. A simple walk around the islands confirm that.

The only real attempt so far was an effort, introduced by Rey Trujillo, for the city to condemn under eminent domain a vacant lot on Harbor Island, leased to Al Coletta, and turn it over to Scott Greenwald, to build new low income housing. It failed as it should have. It would have been just another North Bay Village Trujillo Tax spending money we don't have for things we don't need.

We don't need new buildings - we need to rehabilitate the old ones and create a city initiative to address this crisis. It's not going away and it's going to get worse.

There is federal, state and county help to address these issues but the commission needs to act now to be able to take advantage of the help, and we've seen nothing. These are questions we need to put to all the candidates for this November's election:

  • What is your plan to reduce foreclosures in North Bay Village?
  • How do you propose to address the abandoned buildings?
  • What's the next step to stabilize North Bay Village?
  • How will you ensure that the development money flying around North Bay Village is used transparently?


Kevin Vericker
August 16, 2010

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