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Fisher Island falls once again in Forbes Most Expensive Zip Codes List

Ines Hegedus-Garcia
ines@miamism.com

What's going on with Fisher Island Condos? In 2007, Fisher Island tied with Alpine, NJ for first place in Forbes "America's wealthiest Zip Codes". In 2008 it was number 1 again! and all of a sudden dropped to 33 in 2009 and now to 37 in 2010. You have to admit that making the top 50 mark is no easy task, but a 32 spot drop while other small, wealthy and exclusive communities around the US are climbing, does make you think.

The good news is that Fisher Island is not the only one seeing the downward trend - other elite cities in the US are seeing similar trends.  According to Francesca Levy from Forbes.com,

The median price of America's high-end homes continues to slide, but not as fast as it did last year.  our index of 500 high-end ZIP codes saw the average home price fall 5%, to $1.2 million, from the same time last year.  In 2009 the markets on our list saw a 7% price drop.

About 35% of the ZIP codes in our index saw median prices increase or stay flat, but that's likely because more high-priced homes are coming to the market, while more affordable housing continues to falter.  "The year-over-year price changes we're seeing here aren't necessarily the change in price for your house, if you have a house in this area," says Simonsen.  "It's a change in the mix of homes on the active market."

Here's where I'm so glad Francesca went with her article and it's something I repeat over and over again.....REAL ESTATE IS UBER LOCAL! (as to avoid the term "hyper-local" which makes a few colleagues chuckle).

Real estate trends are highly localized.  Most cities are a collection of dozens of mini housing markets, so we bore down to the granular level to find out what neighborhoods are really on the rise.

Priciest ZIPs in Devastated Markets
On the ZIP code level some housing markets contrast dramatically with their surroundings. Miami, for example, where housing prices have plummeted and foreclosures continue to mount, still contains some of the most expensive homes in the country, with four ZIPs on the list, including 33109, in the No. 37 spot. This ZIP code, for celebrity enclave Fisher Island, boasts a median home sale price of $2,295,291.

So what could be the reasons for Fisher Island Condos numbers decreasing?  Believe it or not, even speculators bought in the island a few years ago.  We know people that bought 3-4 condos hoping to make a pretty penny and are ending up short selling them or giving them away at a loss.  But please don't assume by any means that Fisher Island is in peril and residents are jumping ship (figuratively speaking since you do get there by Ferry).  On the contrary, there have been major improvements in the last couple of years and some wealth pumped into the island's infrastructure.  There just have been very few sales and that will always affect generalized numbers.


Alex Cortez 1st October, 2010

Even with a volatile real estate market and a possible double dip, the high-end market has its own conditions. Here in Maui, just a few months ago (in what many would call the 'bottom' of the market), the highest sale of Maui condo took place for over $12M. Sure, the wealthy have taken a beating in a downturn economy, but if you could afford $12M for a vacation home (whether it's a 2nd home, or a 5th home) the likelihood is that you still have a pretty penny stashed away. I'm glad to see that Fisher Island is still doing well, regardless of speculators jumping ship (or ferry). I remember it as a truly unique location, which will weather any storm in the FL real estate market. Aloha Friday, Ines.

Ines Hegedus-Garcia 2nd October, 2010

Hi Alex,
I am so glad you mention the (2nd home, or a 5th). These top zip codes are there because of a reason and sometimes a bad market just means the seller will just wait and not sell (which obviously then shows only the ones that do HAVE to sell). The Mega-Luxury market does not work like the rest of the real estate market and the media is always trying to find a way to dramatize it.

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