The Real Deal Miami

A house you can almost drive away

By P. Douglas Filaroski | September 23, 2009 05:38PM

For about the price of a Buick, realtor Sammy Giordano will put you in a cozy, two-bedroom home in Port Charlotte, in Charlotte County.

“It’s a great investment property,” said Giordano, a broker with Horizon Realty International in Venice, of the 900-square-foot home, with public utilities, central air conditioning, new paint and carpeting, listed for $29,900. “Or it would be great for a single mom with a child.”

Giordano’s listed home has a leaky roof over the master bedroom.

If you don’t want to fix it, Adrian Waring, a broker with Douglas Realty & Development, has about 20 single-family homes in move-in condition in Cape Coral, in Lee County, for under $50,000. And there are other five-figure priced houses in the swollen inventory of one of the hardest hit regions of Florida’s housing market crash.

“The market got ahead of itself to where it basically collapsed,” Waring said of the price escalations in 2005 and 2006 and the current prices. “[Now] the cost of a new car is about what some homes are going for.”

Since last summer, Florida’s median home price dropped another 24 percent. In places like Cape Coral and Miami, the decrease was about 40 percent, after similar drops the previous year, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index and local multiple listing service data.

The result is homes in move-in condition in South Florida and Southwest Florida selling for less than half their value of 2006 — or for about the same price as a luxury car.

A search on Homefinder.com of single-family homes in Miami listed for under $50,000 turned up 326 hits. Many were “fixer-uppers,” or “handyman specials,” but quite a number were in move-in condition, according to area brokers.

Delia Hollingsworth, a Miami Lakes broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, recently sold a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Miami Gardens for $47,000. It needed new flooring and upgrades in the kitchen, but was in livable condition, she said.

Hollingsworth said she is selling homes for up to a third of what they would have once gone for — or in one case, did sell for in 2006.

Giordano said the home he is offering at a price of a 2010 Buick LaCrosse would have listed at about $100,000 three years ago.

“It is definitely priced to sell,” he said.