Art Basel jumpstarts residential sales activity in Miami Beach

Dec.December 07, 2010 03:31 PM

The curators and artists are on their way back to their galleries, but a number of attendees could be returning to ink deals on homes after a highly active Art Basel Miami Beach this past weekend.

Brokers say this year’s Art Basel — the art showcase that began its Miami iteration in 2002 — was one of the best in years for the Miami Beach market, following a couple of slow ones during the downturn.

“It was amazing — great for business,” said Miami-Beach-based broker Franck Dossa. “It came exactly at the right point, where the dollar is really low, and the market has kind of stabilized.”

Dossa, like most brokers over the weekend, didn’t have any direct sales, but said activity buyers was up.

“I had a lot of callbacks and a lot of interest,” Dossa said. “I spoke with a few colleagues and heard the same thing. It was a big time, no question.”

There tend to be few direct sales during the days of the event, brokers say, but would-be buyers who look at homes and condos during the weekend have a history of eventually buying something in the area, said Kevin Tomlinson, a vice president at One Sotheby’s.

“Typically, I don’t think deals are immediately inked on this trip,” he said. “The interest, especially in the high-end condos on Miami Beach was incredible, which is the kind of product that Art Baselers buy.

“One of my listings [at Apogee] I showed, I think, nine times,” he said, counting Brazilians, Italians and New Yorkers. “They were all Art Basel-related.”

This was a marked shift from the last few years.

“In the earlier years of Art Basel, it was great for our business,” Tomlinson said. “But during the troubled times the last two years, there hasn’t been much activity if any. Last year we called it ‘the year that Art Basel didn’t happen.’ This year it was out of control.”

With the Miami market seeing a trend of foreign buyers, this week was no exception.
“I would say 75 percent of the galleries that come to Art Basel are foreign galleries, especially European and Asian, and for them, the dollar is really low.

For me, this is the best Art Basel I’ve seen” since the inception of the weekend art gala, Dossa said.

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