Hot home market bubbles in Miami Springs, pop. 13,000
Miami Springs, a community of 13,000 tucked into a tiny triangle between Miami International Airport, industrial Medley and mammoth Hialeah, has come into its own as a desired location, realtors there say.
"The basic appeal of Miami Springs is the small-town atmosphere, a very good police department and very good schools," said Jean English of Hutchings Realty, who has been selling real estate in Miami Springs since 1960. "We're convenient to all of the expressway systems and you can be most anyplace in minutes," including Miami Beach, downtown Miami, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove.
"We have a very good set of recreation programs that cover everyone from toddlers to senior citizens - I don't think anyone is left out. I can't say enough good things about Miami Springs."
"It's really hot in Miami Springs," said Phil Webb, a real estate agent there since 1970. "There are only 27 listings on the Multiple Listing Service. A couple of years ago there were usually 105 to 108 listings. Values have gone up tremendously - I've seen houses go up $100,000 in one year."
He agrees that "for most people, the location is key. Traffic is terrible all over Miami-Dade and most people want to be 15 minutes from work. In Kendall, they'll drive one to one and one-half hours."
As far as market price in Miami Springs, "there's nothing really desirable under $200,000. Really small houses, the 1,100-square-foot boxes, are going for $189,000 to $190,000."
On the other end of the spectrum, houses larger than 3,500 square feet with amenities are priced at about $400,000 to $500,000, he said.
Most of the housing stock dates from the 1930s, '40s and '50s, but "if the kitchen and baths are renovated, they bring top dollar," Mr. Webb said.
"It's good construction. The roofs are tongue-in-groove. It's plaster, not drywall. These are not zero-lot-line houses."
For Vicki Pruitt, selling real estate for nine months in Miami Springs, the rise in values has not seemed as dramatic but it has been steady.
"The way I do comparables is to go back to see what they did a year ago, to take out the highs and the lows and look at the averages."
Ms. Pruitt said the average sale price for home in November and December of 2001, excluding extremes at both ends of the market, was $170,000. For the same period last year, using the same criteria, she said, it was $197,000.
"That's a very good indication of the way value is increasing and that makes me really happy that I live and sell here. It's great for me."
As for extremes in the market, "I sold a two-bedroom, one-bath wood frame house recently for $170,000," Ms. Pruitt said. Conversely, a four-bedroom, three-bath home on the Miami Springs Golf & Country Club was recently listed at $799,999.
"There's quite a range of product," she said.
While there is a scarcity of listings on the Multiple Listing Service, "right now there are more listings that are for sale by owner," Ms. Pruitt said. "It's a sellers' market for sure. You can put a sign out and do quite well."
Part of the reason is that interest rates are low. "When rates are higher and more homes are available, that's when people run to the realtor."
Ms. Pruitt started a career in real estate after selling her successful restaurant, Cisco's Cafe, in neighboring Virginia Gardens.
As a Miami Springs resident, she says "we have a wonderful community here. When people come to Miami Springs, they see the trees, they see that we have a friendly atmosphere. Even though we're next to Miami International Airport, it's quiet. That's what drew me to Miami Springs - it's become a little haven. People are finding out about it. Once they're here, they'll continue to search until they find right house. They don't want to go anywhere else."