M IAMI IS hot—especially if you are selling a home. House prices are 20% higher than a year ago. And unlike other big American cities, rents are up too (by 24% year-on-year), as the Magic City soaks up newly untethered teleworkers. Ecstatic estate agents describe a bonanza. Sellers are waiving inspections and appraisals entirely, buying units sight unseen, and aggressively bidding up prices. One agent tells of a client bidding $50,000 above the appraised value of a home—and still getting rejected. Another admits sheepishly to recently buying a house of her own without an inspection. All the usual gaudy accoutrements of the city are here: the ostentatious sports cars, the well-trafficked designer stores, the planes circling Miami Beach advertising a prominent rapper playing at a nightclub. Yet amid this exuberance, almost 8% of mortgage-holders in Miami are delinquent, among the highest share in the nation. Meanwhile, people renting housing face the end of a federal moratorium on evictions at the end of the month. A moratorium on mortgage foreclosures ends at the same time, raising fears of a spike in houses lost amid a house-price boom. Surveys conducted by the Census Bureau do indeed show worrying signs. One in four… Read full this story
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