Well okay, maybe London’s housing market will take a hit, but not Fisher Island (FL, not NY) – it’s different

Different or not, 25% of the properties on Fisher Island are for sale, and few are selling.

But even here, a haven for wealthy families since the late 1980s, the economic storms are bearing down. About a quarter of the island’s 695 condos are up for sale, roughly double the number on the market in recent years, and few are finding buyers. Sellers are cutting prices, brokers say, and one unit is in foreclosure, a surprise to some residents of a place where home prices range from $335,000 to $30 million.

“Nobody has unlimited net worth,” says Ted Pincus, a retired public relations executive who owns a five-bedroom home here. “Fisher Island has been hit like everybody else.”

Wealth is no immunization against this downturn. Across the country, the sinking economy is affecting even the most luxurious communities and causing anxiety among residents. On Nantucket, the value of homes sold last year was $445 million, down almost 50 percent from 2005.

In Southhampton village on Long Island, the real estate market dropped by a third last year, to $346 million. And the Yellowstone Club, a retreat for the superrich in Big Sky, Mont., filed for bankruptcy last year.

“The wealthiest people are cutting back, too,” says James D. Hardesty, of Hardesty Capital Management. “They are scared. This has been a very tough market for a lot of people, and of course they have lost money.”

 

Until last year, some residents of the island thought it had special features that would help shield it from economic hurricanes. It’s only 20 minutes from Miami International Airport, and it attracts a wide range of buyers. About 70 percent of residents come from outside the United States. Moreover, its appeal extends beyond retirees, or families looking for a second home; many residents live on the island year-round.

 

When the economy was soaring, few worried about the high cost of living here. But the downturn has created tension, and many residents are trying to rein in spending.

That’s tough to do when you live in a place where the board of the country club recently approved a plan to spend $60 million in upgrades. That has caused some tenants, like Mr. Goodwin, whose annual expenses run to $80,000 for a 720-square-foot home, to put his property up for sale.

“It was a grandiose program that went directly into the eye of the storm,” he says. “I used to be rich and by American standards, I still am. But now it is a time for people like me to hunker down.”

 

the market sucks!

Ok, Farricker - you be Frank, I'll be earnest: the market sucks!

 

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

10 responses to “Well okay, maybe London’s housing market will take a hit, but not Fisher Island (FL, not NY) – it’s different

  1. anonymous

    Takes a special lack of taste to want to live anywhere in FL (incl PalmBch) at any price…sadly, many tasteless buyers aren’t creditworthy these days…sniff, sniff

  2. christopherfountain

    I haven’t been there in 15 years but when I was, I liked Marathon Key. It’s as tacky as the rest of Florida but, at least then, it was tacky in a 1960 kind of way which I found appealing. The rest of the state can be given back to the Canadians, for all I care.

  3. Barbara

    I of course thought you meant Fishers Island.

  4. Retired IB'er

    Chris,

    I disagree. Between “hanging chads” and the Terri Schiavo saga, Florida has more than carried its weight recently as one of the 50 colonies.

  5. christopherfountain

    Barbara – it would be interesting to know how things are on Fishers. Probably not much better, I’d imagine.

  6. christopherfountain

    Ib’er, isn’t Canada one of our colonies? I know that they claim they beat us back in 1812 but ….

  7. pulled up in OG

    Thought Fishers Island here too, until . . . ‘695 condos’ . . . huh?

    RHC has a fair representation out there.

  8. christopherfountain

    I’ve clarified the slug. But if RHC members own out on our local Fishers, and they were big investors with Walt, things could get interesting offshore by spring.

  9. Red

    Gotta love a guy who can understand the appeal of Marathon Key. But please keep it quiet, we don’t want it to change. Since they stopped the regular commercial flights from Miami, it’s a lot harder to reach. That’s helped it retain its character (I describe it as the anti-Nantucket).