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Robert Trigaux

Razing nice homes that don't sell: Start of a new Florida trend?



Wake up and good morning. Not sure whether to give this homeowner an award for creativity, guts or desperation. Maybe all three. A couple in tony Longboat Key near Sarasota, unable to find a buyer for their 13-year old, 2000-square-foot, 5-bedroom, 4-bath house (a property once assessed at $1 million), chose an unusual strategy. Carl and Susanne Wise had their home razed, demolished so they would not have to fiddle with the headaches and costs of upkeep or improving the home to rent. They plan to sell the land, which by location they consider the chief value of their property, when prices improve.

The Wise's conclusion: It's smarter (or perhaps cheaper, at least) to demolish than rent a home that may be on the market for a long time. As owner Carl Wise, a commercial real estate agent, told the Sarasota paper: "The real value is going to be in the next deal." And selling the house? "It would have sold for about the dirt value."

The Wise tale was reported here (there's a photo of the demolition on the link) in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Monday. But its novelty in the real estate world was remarked upon here in the Wall Street Journal. Blogged Journal real estate writer Dawn Wotapka: According to the Tribune, this isn’t the only Sunshine State house being razed. Like the Wises, some decide that the cost of maintaining a home that has seen its value plunge and the headache of being a landlord aren’t worth it. Others are snapping up bargain-priced homes just for the lot, with plans to rebuild in the future.

"While this is one of the first such cases we've heard about," the Journal notes, "we wonder if more frustrated homeowners will bull-doze their way out of the housing crisis. Readers, what do you think?"

Indeed, Venture blog readers, are we getting to the point in costs-versus-selling-prices in some Tampa Bay markets where we will see a trend of razing perfectly adequate (or even upscale) homes? Is the housing glut going to make this a reasonable idea for some?

-- Robert  Trigaux, Times Business Columnist



[Last modified: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 6:21am]


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