October 23, 2020

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Swiss honorary consul sells Coral Gables house for $1.66M

Switzerland’s honorary consul said auf wiedersehen to Coral Gables, and hallo to Coconut Grove.

Ferdinand Kurt, the consul of Switzerland and former CEO of the global logistic companies Panalpina and Kuehne & Nagel, and his wife Avril Kurt sold their two-story, waterfront house at 1561 Agua Ave. for $1.66 million in October, according to a press release. The house was the official Swiss Consulate in Miami until 2018. Kurt and his wife moved to Park Grove, choosing to downsize after becoming empty nesters.

The 4,300-square-foot Gables by the Sea house sits on a canal and has five bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a wine cellar, and private dock.

Alexandra Peters and Roman Tschannen, Realtors with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, represented the undisclosed buyer and the Kurt family.

“When we first took on the listing the market was in a downturn, but during the beginning phase of COVID-19 condo dwellers recognized the advantages of having their own backyards and being able to move around freely in less urban areas,” Peters said by email.

Omaze, a for-profit, Los Angeles-based company, included the house in its early 2020 sweepstakes. It offered the winner a choice of $1 million or the Gables by the Sea house, which was valued at $1.8 million in February 2020. Omaze partnered with Dan Marino and the Dolphins Cancer Challenge for the sweepstakes.

The house remained open to tours during the sweepstakes. The Realtors had 25 showings per week, Tschannen said, crediting the advertisements with Dan Marino for creating some buzz.

The winner chose the cash prize in June, Tschannen said by email, because he “felt the money was more attractive as he was able to help his family.”

The house closed after a 26% reduction from its original listing price, despite buyers increasingly favoring single-family houses. The house, originally listed in May 2019, went on the market for $2.245 million. The Kurt family later rented the house for six months. It landed its first offer in February 2020 prior to the pandemic and Omaze.

“Omaze paid a premium in order to use the house as a potential grand prize for the sweepstakes. Since the owners received a good amount of money through rent and that premium that made up the difference in asking price,” Tschannen said by email.

Despite the price reduction from its original listing price, the house sold at $386 per square foot, 17.6% higher than the most recent comparable sale. The 4,783-square-foot single-family house at 12601 Old Cutler Road sold for $1.525 million, or $318 per square foot, in August.

The demand for single-family houses in South Florida swelled early on in the pandemic. By late April, northerners preferred renting houses in Miami and dropped thousands to do so. The number of sales of houses continues to outpace that of condos, pushing sales prices higher.

Rebecca San Juan writes about the real estate industry, covering news about industrial, commercial, office projects, construction contracts and the intersection of real estate and law for industry professionals. She studied at Mount Holyoke College and is proud to be reporting on her hometown.
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