The bifurcated market. The tale of two cities. Two sides of the same investment coin. Pick your cliché and run with it. The division exists in the Southeast as much as anywhere else in the country. But note sales, retail’s return and a rising multifamily market are clearing the way for the opportunities waiting in 2011. “Things are broken into two asset classes today: trophy and trauma,” explains Michael T. Fay, Miami-based president of Colliers International South Florida. “We are seeing activity in the trophy class, the core assets, where a lot of the investment deals are getting done, as well as some balance sheet readjustments. On the trauma side, there are more players, and there’s more money in the marketplace than we’ve ever seen. About 83% of our closed transactions last year were all cash. No financing.”

According to New York City-based Real Capital Analytics, over the past quarter, Miami’s acquisition/recovery rate on defaulted CRE loans hit 89%, with the rest of the major Florida metros faring similarly. These numbers were pushed mostly by CBD office, but RCA notes that “average apartment recoveries have been consistent across subtypes.” As goes multifamily, so goes retail, and both took early hits in the region but are slowly returning as the market rebounds.

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