Monday, February 2, 2009

Fisher Island real estate hurt by economic downturn

By Nick Porcell

“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.”

A real estate broker on Fisher Island, Denise LeVine, calculates that 30 homes were sold last year, compared with 100 in 2005. She said one condominium that sold recently for $3.4 million had been bought just two years ago for $4.2 million. (The Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches does not have definitive data because Fisher Island is not an incorporated city.)

One British family has put two oceanfront condos on the market for $2.99 million each, said Elena Bluntzer, the broker who is listing them. She promoted one of the units in a flier as a possible short sale, which means the selling price could end up less than the mortgage.

“Some of the homes have been on the market for a year,” Ms. Bluntzer says.

In the meantime, Fisher Island Holdings, which owns the island and is the sole builder, has chosen not to start work on a planned condominium building. The company is controlled by Joseph Kay, an entrepreneur from Georgia in the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Kay declined to comment for this article.

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