Surely the rebounding economy powered the median sale prices of condos in Miami Beach, which increased by 35.4 percent from 2010 to 2012. But what about the LeBron Effect? After all, he was there the same years.
Certainly, the allure of watching an NBA dynasty unfold from a balcony overlooking Biscayne Boulevard convinced a few high rollers to buy luxury condos. For instance, high-tech defense contractor Russell Wright plunked down $4.2 million on a penthouse in the Marquis Residences, one block from the Heat’s arena, the same day James decided to sign with the team. Moreover, downtown condo sales in July 2010 doubled from the previous month (The Decision, the ESPN special featuring LeBron’s announcement, aired July 8), recalls Fortune International Realty’s Edgardo Defortuna. Sales at the Marquis were up during the Heat’s first playoff run in 2011, says Wendy Marks Pine, an executive with Cervera Realty. But Defortuna insists the market won’t cool now that James bolted back to Ohio. “Miami is the world’s next major metropolitan city,” he says. “And not just because of LeBron.”