September 19, 2017

Special Report

Southeast Fla.: How Bad Is It?

Ellen Forman | 11/1/2008

Al Redlhammer
[Photo: Matthew Pace]
Weak Dollar Boon

“We’re in the import/export business. We primarily move cargo into Europe and Scandinavia, and right now, business is pretty good. The weak dollar is the major thrust of this. Buyers in Europe have had an effective discount of almost 40% compared to what they were paying recently because the goods are still quoted in U.S. dollars. U.S. goods are substantially less expensive than what they were 20 years ago. It’s a reverse of what happened in ’07, when imports grew significantly.”

— Al Redlhammer, president,
Seariders Brokerage Corp.,
Fort Lauderdale

Marc Cannon

Credit Problems

“The credit issue is the major concern right now. We’ve got ample floor traffic at auto showrooms, but we’re losing about 20% of the sales because credit is so tight. South Florida has been in a recession for over a year — we uniquely felt it, as did California — with an oversupply of housing and housing that’s still being built. The housing situation is not improving, and autos and other big-ticket items are being affected.”

— Marc Cannon,
senior vice president of communications,
AutoNation, Fort Lauderdale

Palm Beach Lexus
Lexus dealership, Palm Beach

Real Estate
Pricing Down

“Our closed units — people moving in — are up 7% from July 2007 to July 2008. We’re selling properties quicker because they’re priced correctly. Our agents are working with clients to counsel them on pricing properties to sell in today’s challenging market. All-cash buyers are also up as a percentage of business — 55.2% of our business, compared with 38% a year ago. Getting a mortgage is extremely tough. People are not putting their money in the stock market, and Baby Boomers from the Northeast have properties they’re starting to sell, and they’re bringing cash down. Nobody really knows the depth of foreclosures. We just don’t know what’s still out there.”

— Linda Lafferty,
regional senior vice president,
Coldwell Banker, Palm Beach County

Projecting Declines

“Everyone is doing a little less than they were projecting, but I wouldn’t say people are hurting. The big-boat business is strong — in the last few days, we sold a yacht for over $15 million — but I would hate to be selling 18-foot entry-level boats. We also have an overpopulation of inventory in the $500,000- to $1-million range. These are buyers who have a note out on a boat and need to divest before they buy another. At the $10-million level, there are plenty of buyers out there that are willing to capitalize on a softer economy — they know there are deals to be had.”

— J.J. McConnell, president
Gilman Yachts of Fort Lauderdale,
Marine Industries Association of South Florida


“The port continues to grow very quickly, by attracting new container services and shipping lines that are here or expanding. By one yardstick, container goods at Port Everglades grew 4% over last year for July. Exports are growing to more prosperous economies, while imports for building and construction activities are down significantly. Down the road, new cruise ships will build traffic out of the port, making it the largest in the world.”

— Carlos Buqueras,
director of business development and cruise marketing,
Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

Port Everglades
Port Everglades

Tags: Southeast

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