miami

Miami cuts the weather a break

February 10, 2011: 3:07 PM ET

Sick of lame weather-related excuses? Miami's real estate agents have just the antidote.

The Miami Association of Realtors actually attributed a rare bit of good housing news to the bad weather that swept the nation in December.

When it rains...

House sales in the nation's 42nd-biggest city rose 23% from a year ago in the fourth quarter to 4,710 houses and condos, the group said, thanks in large part to the "harsh winter" prevailing elsewhere.

Blaming the weather is a time-honored tactic, invoked recently to explain away Monster Worldwide's (MWW) fourth-quarter revenue miss and the United Kingdom's latest economic setback.

But breaking from that crowd, the Miamians actually applauded the wintry mix that they are hoping will turn more people into snowbirds.

"The unusually harsh winter season experienced by most other states is benefitting South Florida, as we see increased interest from U.S. buyers looking for moderate weather and an exciting lifestyle," said the Miami Realtors' chairman, Jack Levine.

Owning real estate in Miami has been nothing if not exciting lately. Prices fell 7% from a year ago in December, according to data tracked by Zillow. That is, absurdly, their best performance since the bubble popped in 2007.

Since the flipping days ended, prices in Miami have tumbled 49% (see chart, right) -- and with tax breaks having ended and employment growth still sputtering, it would not be shocking to see further declines.

But if they do, at least we can count on the Miamians not to blame the weather.

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