Nobody would deny that the residential real estate market in South Florida has been turbulent the last few years. If you were living here during the boom, you might remember people camping out in order to get a new condo or townhouse in a development opening for sale. Lotteries were held since there were too many buyers for the available units.
Even many real estate agents found themselves caught up in the frenzy and bought homes or condos on speculation. But, as in the children’s game of musical chairs, when the music stopped in 2006 many people were left without a chair to sit in. And to deal with the new financial mess, people suddenly found themselves in new circumstances and many people did novel things and some new real estate terms joined the lexicon.
For example, ‘blurry title’ and ‘strategic default’ are now common terms.
We also have new uses for houses. Adverse possession or ‘squatters’ are back, as are shifty types trying to make a quick buck off the situation. And now a more common use of foreclosed houses is to turn them into ‘grow houses’. A grow house is a building that is converted into an indoor growing space for the cultivation of marijuana. Why?
The current street value of pot, according to Google, is several thousand dollars per pound. And with California and Colorado legalizing the medical use of the herb, the demand is soaring. On a CNBC special, they interviewed a grower in California who had some really large plants that he said might be worth thousands per plant. So with all these empty, bank-owned houses, some are being turned into ‘grow houses’, another new phrase enters the language and the real estate market continues to change and we now have the new normal.