INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA REAL ESTATE DEALS
Up and Away
Dan Swanson had no buyer for the spec house he built this year at 589 North County Road when it was priced under $40 million. So, he raised the price to $45 million. A few months later, with much interest but still no offer, he bumped it up to $47 million. Swanson's philosophy is that land and construction prices go up constantly, making it harder to find land to build incredible estates. "He prices lower in the pre-construction phase to entice a buyer," says Corcoran's Jim McCann. Keep that in mind if you're looking for a 17,000-square-foot French-inspired lakefront mansion. Swanson's latest project, located at 1275 South Ocean Boulevard, is currently priced at $28 million. When it's completed in 18 months, the price is expected to reach the mid- to upper-30 million range.
Optimism Despite Skepticism
While it may seem that Florida's real estate industry remains in line with the national trend of a higher inventory of homes and a slowdown in actual sales, analysts and investors are giving buyers (and sellers) solid reasons not to panic. Says Dr. Wayne Archer, director of the University of Florida's Center for Real Estate Studies: "Florida will be less effected by a nationwide downturn in the housing market because of the insulating effect of its high population growth rate." He adds: "Despite some people's worst fears, housing is unlikely to suffer the same fate as tech stocks at the beginning of the decade. Unlike tech stocks, housing has a real use, which means it can't just evaporate."