Miami Beach Dodges a Coldfront

MIAMI BEACH on a recent Sunday hardly felt like a city experiencing the aftermath of a real estate collapse. There were cars backed up all along Ocean Drive, pedestrians jostling for shady sidewalk space in the heat and buff bodies dancing to a thumping beat along the beach.

...Brokers are quick to point out that all the gloomy headlines about Miami’s condominium glut and Florida’s foreclosure crisis describe the situation on the other side of the causeway, not in the city of Miami Beach, especially the fashionable enclave of South Beach.

While South Beach has certainly cooled — inventory is up, prices are down, and agents say they’re working harder than ever to put together deals — anyone expecting to snap up a vacation getaway with views of the Atlantic for a song better search in a much less desirable part of the state...

But the properties most second-home owners seek in Miami Beach — condos in luxury high-rises with views, beach access and pools — are still typically priced from $500,000 to $1 million on the low end (smaller apartments on lower floors that may need updating) and at $1 million to $5 million for the condos celebrities, athletes and moguls favor.

For instance, the former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza has listed his three-bedroom condominium for $4.3 million, a reduction from the previous asking price of $4.9 million. Situated on the 31st floor of the Murano at Portofino near the tip of South Beach, it has panoramic views of Biscayne Bay, downtown Miami, the beach and the ocean, visible through floor-to-ceiling windows or from the wraparound terrace.

“There is no better view in the city,” said Jill Hertzberg, half of the Jills, a high-end Coldwell Banker brokerage in Miami Beach. Even so, the apartment has been on the market for more than half a year — typical these days, whereas condos in prime buildings used to sell in a few weeks.

“We’re starting to see deals now,” Ms. Hertzberg said, citing a three-bedroom condo in the Sunset Harbour complex, with views of Miami and Biscayne Bay, that just went into contract for $810,000, after the asking price was reduced to $949,000 from $1.2 million.

“He decided he really wanted to sell, and the price changed, and we sold it,” she said. “It was below the market, and that’s what this is all about.” ...