Miami has a long history of greed-fueled building booms and busts. This round is a not a lot different. It is the logical endgame in a market fueled by speculators selling to other speculators. Inevitably, the market would run out of speculators.
The situation in Miami is also a classic case of oversupply. From 1995-2005, 10,000 new condo units were built in Miami, and in the next two years another 20,000 units will be completed.
Retired businessman Tom Leon knows a bad deal when he sees it. He bought two condo units two years ago for $500,000 each, hoping to flip them for quick profit.
Today, as the buildings near completion, Leon is certain he couldn't he even get $400,000 for each of the units -- so he's decided to cut his losses and walk away from $200,000 in deposits rather than pay the $800,000 balance he now thinks is a bad investment.
"Listen, you can be the richest guy in the world. Nobody wants to lose a hundred grand," he said. "But in business you've got to learn to take some hits. I've made a lot of money so once in a while you've got to be smart enough…to leave when the time is right and I think now is the time."
When those cranes arrived in Miami, it seemed they were constructing towers of gold. But as more and more buildings approach completion and the cranes begin to disappear from their perches it becomes clear that for many it was a fool's gold.
The city's skyline has been transformed at great expense to those who dreamed of easy riches.