Beneficiaries of the Housing Boom: Harris Edition

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Funny, the things you come across on a Friday afternoon. Here’s an article we stumbled across from the Tallahassee (FL) Democrat, dated May 8, 2005:

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris made a bit of a killing in the local real estate market recently.

Her Myers Park home, a stately 1936 mansion that Harris lived in when she was secretary of state, was sold last month to a retired British educator and his wife for nearly $500,000 more than she paid for it in 1999. Public records at the Leon County Courthouse indicate Harris bought the former bed-and-breakfast, known as the Riedel House, for $269,000 when she joined the Cabinet six years ago.

Buyer Michael Reiser, who is moving from West Palm Beach, said the home at 1412 Fairway Drive needs some interior and grounds work but that he hopes to have it reopened as a B&B next spring. Reiser said he wasn’t surprised by the near tripling of the price.

“Most people who have had property in Florida for five years have made a bundle off of it,” he said. “It’s a very good appreciation, I agree, but I’d imagine it’s par for the course.”

Reiser said he and his wife, Nafiseh, have been in the country about six months. He said they’re not political people but he knew who Florida’s most famous member of Congress was.

“Obviously, her fame had spread to England,” he said.

Clearing half a million dollars in six years isn’t unusual for some markets. But a 200 percent appreciation in six years is quite a killing. And the tone of the article implies it was steep for the area.

Perhaps Rep. Harris (R-FL), now running for Senate in Florida (we think), simply did well with a wise investment in real estate. It does have a subtle rhyme, though, with the shady real estate deal that eventually brought down former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA). Anybody know what comps for her neighborhood have been?