Lawrence Yun, an economist with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), made headlines late last year with his bold prediction of 12 percent appreciation for the Miami real estate market over the next two years.
While Nevada, California and Arizona have long vied for top spots in the foreclosure mess, Florida—with its glut of empty condos—has also run in the top 10 for quite some time.
NAR’s Ken Fears says the association hasn’t made any predictions for Las Vegas this year. But high sales volume (topping 48,000 units in 2011, an all-time record) and lower unemployment are good signs. “We definitely could expect positive appreciation over the next two years,” he says.
Still, why does Miami get a resounding thumbs-up today while Las Vegas gets its usual wait-and-see? Two big reasons: Miami’s unemployment rate is about 9.4 percent, while ours is 13 percent. And Miami has a far more diversified economy. Plus, Miami’s port system, dominated by export-import activity from Latin America, has been the kind of job-creator Las Vegas can’t duplicate. In the past 12 months, the Las Vegas metropolitan area has added about 11,500 jobs, while Miami-Dade has added 30,000. (The latter’s population, it should be noted, is about a half-million higher.)
Of course, it may be good news that we haven’t gotten the NAR stamp of optimism. Last January, during a Las Vegas visit, Yun said the city could see up to 15 percent price appreciation in the next two years. One year after that remark, pricing is down 9.1 percent in Las Vegas and 11.2 percent statewide.