Miami Commercial Real Estate Due For Rise In 2012

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on January 7th, 2012

Miami Commercial Real Estate

Miami Apartment Buildings For Sale

Great news for the beginning of this year came from the commercial real estate sector, reports Miami Today (

Miami commercial real estate market is performing better than most

experts say, and values in some sectors may be rising within the next year.

“In my view it was relatively flat this year, but improving fundamentals remain a positive trend for 2012,” said Howard Taft, managing director of Aztec Group, a real estate investment banking firm. “Miami real estate is one of the few markets in the US offering a wide range of opportunities for domestic and international investors.”

“It’s a very vibrant market right now, with a tremendous amount of capital looking for deals,” said Warren Weiser, co-founder of Continental Real Estate Cos. “The money side is fairly disciplined given what we’ve gone through before.”

While aggressive cap rates are at pre-2008 levels, he said, “what is different is that rental rates in certain markets have declined and even stabilized somewhat in some areas.”

The dynamics for retail, office and industrial sectors are similar, Mr. Weiser said; office “has some absorption to go through, but as space gets leased up, rates can start pushing a little higher. The retail market has held up very well, and industrial has not had much new product added to the market.”

Retail in Miami-Dade has the lowest vacancy in the state, and with little new supply and cap rates running 6.25%-7%, it’s likely to remain stable through 2012.

“Miami’s office market continues to favor tenants,” he said. “Vacancy is still double-digit, and that could mean generous tenant improvement allowances and concessions.”

Douglas Campbell, president of Campbell Real Estate Advisory Group, said despite the addition of 600,000 square feet at Brickell World Center, which lifted office vacancy in Brickell’s class A sector to over 30%, rents have not dropped.

In fact, he said, “rates have bottomed out and are on the rise, with diminished concession packages when compared with a year ago at this time. “Class A asking rates on Brickell now exceed $40-$45 per square foot, year one.”
The Coral Gables and Airport West submarkets are following suit, Mr. Campbell said. “Class A vacancy in Coral Gables is still hovering around 15%, and has very few large contiguous space opportunities.

“In all submarkets, absorption of new space is usually due to a tenant relocating from one space to another rather than the introduction of new tenant need coming from outside of this marketplace. Expanded need for space is directly related to our local, national and global economy, which drive GNP as well as local employment trends.”

In Airport West, industrial space under 50,000 square feet, which covers the needs of 60% of tenants, is thriving.

“In that range, rental rates for class A have gone up around 13% from a year ago, and vacancy is as low as 3%. It’s a very active market.” In larger spaces, he said, “things aren’t as rosy.” He put vacancy there at about 8%.

“In my opinion, the next six to 12 months will start to see absorption in the largest spaces, because there are requirements out there that will eventually land somewhere,” Mr. Pino said.

Lease rates for industrial space in Medley have stayed the same but are anticipated to rise soon, said Brian Smith, an executive director with Cushman & Wakefield.

“Medley has seen a lot of transactions this year,” he said, “and occupancy has returned to very healthy levels.” Mr. Smith also reported a dichotomy between smaller and larger spaces.

“In spaces less than 40,000 square feet,” he said, “rental rates will most likely increase in 2013, and it will begin to turn from a tenants’ market towards a landlords’ market.

“There are still multiple options for spaces 75,000 square feet and up, so rents there will remain stagnant until some of these are absorbed.”

Positive indicators for South Florida’s industrial market include the expansion of the Panama Canal, the Port of Miami tunnel and deep-dredging projects, and recent trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, Mr. Pino said.

Although the US economy remains weak due to low consumer spending, Mr. Taft said, a lot of investors still want to buy US real estate.

“Some banks are saying it’s a good time to lend,” he said, “because property values are at their lowest ebb, so there’s not much more downside.

“We’re in the bell curve of refinancing. Trillions of dollars of refis will be coming due soon. Some will be easily refinanced, but there will also be opportunities for mezzanine lenders and buyers because owners will be underwater.”

Going forward, Mr. Taft said, the biggest risk is the European financial crisis. “We feel that a recession and collapse will affect many US companies,” he said, “reducing the need for office and industrial space as well as retail space demand.

“Another thing to look out for is the Dodd-Frank Act dealing with regulation of banks. The lack of clarity there will spook a lot of investors. “So we are entering 2012 with three legs on a four-legged chair.”

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Miami Condo Sales Are Up And Miami Real Estate Is On The Rise Once Again

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 29th, 2011

Miami real estate for sale

 Miami Beach Condos For Sale

Being a broker of Sunny Realty and providing one of the most used resource for Miami real estate ( I’m often asked: “how’s (Miami) real estate these day?”. Unfortunately I can’t just answer this question simply – “good” or “great” or “better”. When I start to explain that Miami basically has the best and worst real estate in the country, people think I’ve gone nuts and trying to sell them a story. However, here is The New York Post recent article By ANDY WANG.

Summer was hardly a vacation for those in the business of selling Miami condos.

“I didnt go to St. Tropez because of this”, says developer Gil Dezer, whose Sunny Isles Beach condo projects include the 384-unit Trump Royale and the three-building, 813-unit Trump Towers.
Dezer reports that he sold more than $100 million in Trump units during June, July and August ($50 million alone in August, including a $29 million, 34-unit bulk deal). He has closed more than $1 billion in Trump condos overall and has only about 75 units left.

Recent Trump Towers Condos sales

have been priced at about $525 per square foot. Thats significantly less than the $1,000-per-square-foot contracts buyers walked away from in 2009 after the financial crisis hit, but Dezer, whos paid off the construction loans for all four buildings, seems satisfied. (Donald Trump participated in a ceremonial Trump Royale condo mortgage-burning ritual, lighting the document on fire himself, in January.) The downturn made the job challenging, Dezer says. Every day was a battle. But when youre winning, its fun.

Winning could also be used to describe the situation at Icon Brickell. That nearly 1,800-unit downtown colossus, built by the Related Group with designs by Philippe Starck, seemed to be in peril not long ago, and two of its three towers were deeded back to its lenders in May 2010. But Icon Brickell Condos now nearly sold out, with more than 1,500 units closing for a total of more than $700 million. When you factor in units in contract, only about 30 condos remain.

I think the market has consumed the inventory in a much more rapid way than I and probably everybody thought, says Related Group chairman and CEO Jorge Perez, who adds that most buyers have been foreign. The Latin American economy has been strong.

The forecast was that we would sell all the units in three years at an average price of $350 per square foot, says Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International Realty, which started selling Icon Brickell apartments in June 2010.

Less than a year and half later, Fortune is almost done and seeing prices at about $400 per square foot.

Demand has been so strong that Perez is now building another downtown development. The 192-unit MyBrickell is a couple years away from completion, but Relateds received over 60 reservations for condos before officially launching sales. Unlike Icon Brickell, MyBrickell isnt on the water, and Perez is passing on the cheaper construction costs and the deal we got on the land to offer units, with interiors by Karim Rashid, for about $300 per square foot.

Defortuna, meanwhile, is now selling downtowns Paramount Bay, a 346-unit building resurrected out of foreclosure by owners iStar Residential and ST Residential. Musician Lenny Kravitzs Kravitz Design firm is working on the building, where prices are about $400 per square foot.

South Beach real estate

with significantly pricier properties, is seeing lots of action, too. The summer was uncharacteristically busy, says Lana Bell, president of Sunny Realty, which has an office in South Beach and Sunny Isles Beach. We certainly didnt take a vacation.

According to Sunny Realty latest Miami market report, South Beach condos sold for an average of $515 per square foot during the third quarter. But this factors in distressed properties, including units bought out of foreclosure.

At the markets top end, the W South Beach Hotel & Residences has closed about $260 million in condos at an average of $1,700-plus per square foot, developer David Edelstein says. The W South Beach sold more than $50 million during the summer. One penthouse went for $7.7 million, north of $3,000 per square foot, Edelstein says.

As with much of Miami, foreign buyers have been key at the W. (Douglas Elliman translated its market report into Spanish and Portuguese to spur international interest.) From May through September, about 65 percent of Edelsteins purchasers were foreign, and about half of those were from Brazil.

The allure of the W has helped nearby condo buildings lure in buyers, including those from New York.

Fashion designer Irina Shabayeva, who won season six of Project Runway, owns a one-bedroom with a balcony at the 52-unit Boulan South Beach development just south of the W, but on the other side of Collins Avenue.

I like the Boulan because it was so new, really fresh and modern, says Shabayeva, who primarily lives in the East Village. And its across the street from the beach and the W.

Shabayeva says she enjoys the New Yorker-friendly amenities at the W, which include a Warren Tricomi salon and a Mr. Chow restaurant. And Edelstein says that the Dutch, an outpost of Andrew Carmellinis SoHo restaurant, will open in the W by Thanksgiving.

Boulan, which has sold 22 condos and has one-bedrooms on the market for upward of $600 per square foot, is busy filling its own retail spaces, as well. An art gallery should open in time for Decembers Art Basel festival. A Mexican/Asian fusion restaurant and a nightclub are also in the works.

Neighborhoods all over Miami are getting big residential and retail makeovers. The 56-acre Midtown Miami developments second phase, which will start next year, will include a boutique hotel, a movie theater and 100,000 square feet of retail.

Well definitely have a fashion component, says developer Jack Cayre.

And the nearby Design District is getting a Louis Vuitton store.

There was probably a point in time here someone said, Whats Chelsea? or Whats Meatpacking? and eventually, they became a place because New York was ready to have another place, says Greg Masin, senior director at commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. When we look at the Design District and at Midtown, what we see is the evolution of the next place in Miami.

Plus, the downtown Metropolitan Miami developments third phase will include rental apartments and a Whole Foods Market. Plans for downtowns eight-block Miami Worldcenter site include residences, restaurants and retailers. And the Genting Group, an Asian casino operator, has unveiled plans for its $3.8 billion Resorts World Miami mixed-use complex. But the scope of the latter two projects will depend on approval for casino gaming, something thats the object of much speculation and uncertainty all over Miami.

Dezer says he has been talking to major Las Vegas casino operators about land he owns in Sunny Isles (13/ acres on the beach and 6/ acres directly across the street that hits the intracoastal waterway) that could accommodate a gaming resort with more than 2,000 rooms and 3 million square feet.

They’re both good real estate, Masin says of the Genting and Dezer sites. If they both had a casino, theyd both be successful.

Whatever happens, Dezer has options.

We originally bought [the land] to build condos, he says. We could build five condo buildings.

That idea would have seemed ridiculous in 2009, but now its more plausible.

Defortuna has sold out the 256-unit Jade Beach condo building in Sunny Isles Beach and has just three apartments left (for about $700 per square foot) at its 252-unit Jade Ocean sister property.

In terms of quality inventory, oceanfront, he says, you can make a strong argument that you need to start building now.

Originally published by ANDY WANG.

(c) 2011 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

Multi Family Properties Leading Miami’s Rental Market

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 10th, 2011

Commercial Real Estate In Miami

Apartment Buildings For Sale In Miami

Over the past several months, numerous reports have pointed to the rising strength of the Miami rentals market. Investors from local regions, as well as abroad, have been snapping up discounted properties with the intent to rent to residents as well as tourists. While a variety of property types demonstrate rental promise, a recent report released by CBRE suggests that the multi-unit properties are leading the charge.

According to their report, rents throughout the Miami-Dade area have seen increases of up to 3.4% over the past year. This rise in rental income places the current market above rents seen back in 2006 and 2008. Real estate experts from the CBRE group suggest that the rental market has not yet seen its peak; but rather, property prices should continue to climb over the next year.

Why are rental properties increasing in popularity throughout the Miami area?

One of the largest contributing factors to the area’s rental values is the depressed economy. Many homeowners in the area have been forced into short-sales, or foreclosures, leaving them and their families in search of new housing. Due to credit damage from these forced sales, many former homeowners no longer have the credit required to purchase a new property. So, they set out in search of quality rental options.

Yet another contributing factor to the strengthening of the area’s rental market is the always strong tourist interest. Domestic nationals as well as international tourists make their way to the Miami area each and every year in search of quality rentals. Some visitors are in search of family friendly, affordable rentals offering the capacity for multi-family sleeping, while others are in search of the best Miami luxury apartments the area has to follow, offering oceanfront views. As such, rentals falling in both categories are considered desirable, for very different reasons.

Recent interest in the multi-family rental market has emerged within the developer sector. Multi-family development interest is in part derived from the fact that the Miami-Dada area boasts the 4th largest occupancy rate for properties of this type across the nation. Currently, there are 62 active multi-family properties in development, soon to offer nearly 18,000 units for purchase/rental consideration. As there are currently only 62 properties built after the year 2000, these new developments indicate that this market segment is strong. The limited supply of multi-family properties coupled with strong interest rate offers will continue to drive new development in this market sector.

“Real estate transactions within the multi-family sector are expected to rise in the coming months, among both residential investors and foreign buyers. Now is the time to act on these market opportunities, as supply increases, demand will begin to level out. As to when this transition in supply and demand will occur is anyone’s guess, we suggest as with any investment opportunity, to buy at the beginning of the curve, not at the end when pricing has risen and profit margins have become depressed,” said Lana Bell of Sunny Realty.

Miami Herald Land Recently Sold for $236 Million

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on September 27th, 2011

Miami Downtown New Real Estate

The 3rd largest casino company (Genting Malaysia Berhad) in Asia just purchased 13.9 acres of waterfront land owned by the Miami Herald, for $236 million. The property stretches from Biscayne Boulevard to Biscayne Bay. This landmark deal will reshape the surrounding downtown area, bringing more life and vitality to an already booming portion of the city.

Downtown Miami Real Estate

In a public statement, the Herald publisher noted that while their operations have thrived in this area for a number of years, the space was no longer conducive to ongoing operations. The $236 million land/property deal was also in part prompted by The Herald’s need to bolster funds, specifically to address funding needs of the organization’s pension plan, to repay some company debts and to address taxes. The newspaper’s executives have provided additional assurances that this sale will in no way interrupt their normal course of business.

The Genting group estimates the total construction project cost to be between $2-5 billion, which will not only boost the local economy, but will result in the creation of numerous jobs. The current plans for the property include a hotel, retail shopping, high rise Miami residences and a convention center.

Downtown Miami Real Estate

“This deal has generated a great deal of excitement within the Miami real estate community, as it is at or near to the highest price paid per acre in Dade history,” said Lana Bell of Sunny Realty. “A deal of this magnitude will create tremendous opportunity for not only local residents and businesses, but for the surrounding property market.”

Many local Miami real estate experts

feel that this deal serves as an endorsement for Miami. Asian developers chose the area not only due to the opportunity and price point, but the potential to draw international and domestic tourists, a strong revenue source for any project of this type.
“Successful real estate transactions such as this merely validate the strength of the South Florida real estate market. While this deal is certainly the largest to come our way in some time, it is surely a sign of what is to follow. South Florida is hungry for Miami luxury residential developments, both for current area renters as well as international visitors,” said Lana Bell, of Sunny Realty.

While the deal has been closed, construction isn’t expected to commence for 2 years, which corresponds to the allotted time frame provided to The Herald for relocation. The newspaper is currently searching for property within the area, although they may divide the printing and publication portions of their organization should the right space not be found to accommodate both.

From every angle, this landmark deal serves as a positive sign for Miami’s real estate market.

Developer Land Interest Points to Strong Condo Development Future for Miami

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on September 2nd, 2011

Miami Land For Sale

Vacant Land For Sale In Miami

As the signs that the Miami real estate market remains stable

many investors and residents are interested in what future Miami condo developments may be in store. While developments may take years to complete, they show promise as growth for the area, something recent investors and current residents are interested in monitoring.

Miami land

previously earmarked for commercial towers in the downtown Miami area, many of which are now in financial distress, has attracted the interest of investors seeking to construct future condo developments. Year-to-date, investment groups have purchased at least 10 condo sites for nearly $300 million according to the Miami-Dade Country records.

2011 Significant Land Deals In Miami

Some of this year’s largest land deals include:

· $236 million for the waterfront Miami Herald land at 1 Herald Plaza
· $14.8 million for the Coral Station at Brickell Way
· $14 million for the land currently occupied by the Brickell Tennis Club
· Acquisition of a 78,200 square foot development site located on the north bank of the Miami River, once slated to become the Cima condo development

These significant land deals represent only a small fraction of the available land within a focused area of Greater Downtown Miami. The prime real estate attracting attention currently consists of the 60 block stretch spanning the Julia Tuttle Causeway to the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Driving Forces Behind Increasing Developer Miami Land Interest

Developer and investment interest has picked up throughout this year as rental and lease activity, resale and new sale activity has picked up.

More and more Miami residents are choosing to lease Miami condos, offering an attractive income stream for investors, both on an individual and group investor basis. The average rental rate for the areas, as of June 30th this year, is approximately $1.82 per square foot, or $1,500 per month for a small, 800 square foot condo unit.

Another contributing factor is the decline in developer condo inventory. This decline in inventory has freed up investor capital. The current sales pace for the area indicates that the developer inventory will sustain only 12 more months of sales activity. This activity has enabled current developers to turn their attention away from moving already constructed properties toward what’s next.

While new projects have yet to be announced, speculation backed by the aforementioned land deals points to a wealth of new projects to be announced and constructed in the Greater Downtown Miami area over the next 3-5 years.

Miami Foreclosure Stats For 2011

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 4th, 2011

Miami foreclosure properties for sale

foreclosure condos in Miami

As of June 3rd, 2011, the number of foreclosed condos and homes in South Florida year-to-date is 11,551, down from 30,635 at the same time last year, based on the most recent data available from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Please see the graph above which shows foreclosure activity in these three counties.

South Florida real estate

is known for its boom and bust cycles. The current bust cycle, one of the worst in history, seems to have bottomed out and now on it’s way to recovery in a big way, judging by recent statistics. A rise in employment in the state and a great deal of foreign buyers are among the factors playing into what seems to be a quick climb in the desirability and the value of Miami real estate.

Of course, this is not a new phenomenon for Florida real estate. The state’s real estate market has historically gone through cycles such as this, when the value of homes declined and when it became a buyer’s market. The sales of homes have also gone up in much bigger ways than employment has gone down. Compared to 2010 figures, condo sales were up over 130%. The increase has also impacted single family homes, with an over 50% increase in those sales figures over last year.

Miami’s high-end rentals are also booming, led by Miami Beach rentals, which has seen its inventory practically vanish, led by New Yorkers looking to establish residency in South Florida. It seems right now people are establishing residency out of New York City and into South Florida, whether they’re buying or renting. We’re back to 2003 or 2004, where we have pocket listings, and things don’t need to go on the MLS to be rented. The high-end market follows the trend from downtown Miami and Brickell, which had a rental occupancy as high as 85 percent in February, according to the most recent report from the Downtown Development Authority. That was a 31% increase from 2009.

The US is slated for another round of quantitative easing, which will likely drop the value of the dollar further and which may make this market even more attractive to international buyers than it is already. Combined with an increasing rate of visitors and tourists in Miami where every year is a new record, it’s possible that the decline cycle has finally ended.

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Is Residential Real Estate International – The New Global City

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 14th, 2011

In today’s Wall Street Journal I read a great article about International buyers all over the world. The Russians are buying luxury properties in London, Miami, New York, Silicon Valley. The Brazilians are buying condos in Miami and Chinese are buying in California. The biggest players in the residential-real-estate scene today often come from halfway around the world.

If you prefer you can read the article on Wall Street Journal site (the link is below) or here is the full article:

This spring, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner paid $100 million for a French chateau-style mansion in Silicon Valley, setting a record for the highest price ever paid for a single-family home in the U.S. In January, Ukraine’s Rinat Akhmetov closed on two of London’s most expensive apartments ever for a combined $222.5 million. In Paris, a Gulf princess spent $96.9 million last year for a mansion with an inner courtyard, garden and private chapel on the Left Bank.

Some of the biggest residential real-estate buyers in many cities are emerging from halfway around the globe. In London, one report finds that 65% of buyers in the Miami luxury residences hail from abroad. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, nearly 60% of all sales last year throughout the city were to buyers from foreign countries. About half of the buyers in one new luxury condominium on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue are from overseas.

While foreign purchasers make up about 7% of the U.S. residential real-estate market, their numbers have swelled: According to the National Association of Realtors, 18% of Realtors in the U.S. market reported selling a home to at least one international buyer in 2010, up from 12% in 2009.

The makeup of these buyers is changing, reflecting changes in the global economic scene. Buyers from Russia have returned, and the numbers are growing from Brazil, where the economy grew 7.5% last year. Australians are buying ski homes in Aspen. In Tampa, Fla., Venezuelan buyers are buying heavily discounted beach condos.

One of the biggest factors in many areas is the emergence of the Chinese. As housing costs on China’s mainland skyrocket—raising concerns of a property bubble there—monied buyers are heading abroad, moving into markets that look, in comparison, like a bargain.

In Orange County, California Chinese buyers now account for more than half of his showings in tony Newport Coast, up from a very small handful two or three years ago. Many Chinese buyers seek brand-new homes with more than 10,000 square feet to use either for vacations or as a place for their children to live when they attend college.

Amy Williamson, the vice president of sales for Prodigy Network, which markets condo buildings like Trump Soho Hotel Condominium in New York, visited Shanghai last month, meeting with local brokers and potential buyers there. Beverly Hills-based broker Joyce Rey traveled to Beijing in October, arranging a reception at an art gallery where photographs of homes priced between $10 million and $125 million were displayed around the room like artwork. Tim Swannie, the Valbonne, France, director of Home Hunts, says one of his agents is working with two Chinese clients who are looking for vineyards in the $5 million-to-$10 million range in the Bordeaux region.

In the U.S., many foreign buyers are taking advantage of the relatively weak dollar. In March, Pascale Saliou, a 44-year-old from Brittany, France, paid about $600,000 for studio in a building with a contemporary art-filled lobby in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Ms. Saliou has been visiting the city regularly for more than 20 years and finally decided to buy a New York apartment because of the exchange rate. “We never imagined we could one day do this,” she says.

Not all foreign purchasers are shelling out millions (in the U.S., the median price paid for a home by an overseas buyer was just under $220,000, according to the National Association of Realtors). And not all are traveling thousands of miles. Canadians are the largest group of foreign buyers in the U.S. today, representing about 23% of foreign buyers, up from about 17.6% in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Global property buyers gravitate to a handful of highly specific locales: In London, Russians and people from the Middle East flock to central Knightsbridge, where blocks of sleek condos offer top-of-the-line amenities. In New York, newer condos packed with contemporary design attract foreign buyers. Here’s a look at some of the top global real-estate markets for foreign buyers.

Last month, Russian composer Igor Krutoy—who has recorded more than 100 songs in Russia and collaborated with many of the country’s music stars—made headlines when he and his wife, Olga, purchased a 6,000-square-foot 12th floor condo at the Plaza for $48 million. It was one of the highest prices ever paid for a condo in New York.

According to Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel, foreign buyers make up 15% to 20% of all home sales in Manhattan. They’re particularly strong buyers of thoroughly renovated or newly built condos priced at several million dollars or more. Pamela Liebman, president and CEO of New York-based brokerage Corcoran Group, says that in the first quarter of this year, nearly 20% of new condo sales at Corcoran went to foreign buyers. One deal under way includes a group of Asian investors who are buying 13 apartments in a building, each priced between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

Manhattan has long been one of the most popular markets in the world for international buyers. But the makeup of international buyers has shifted. Gone are the investors from Ireland who were snapping up condos amid the economic boom in their homeland, says Mr. Miller. Today, it’s buyers from China and Brazil. In the past 18 months, brokers say Russians—known during the boom years for making large real-estate purchases in opulent trophy buildings—have returned after sitting on the sidelines during the recession.

International buyers tend to gravitate to certain buildings. Luigi Rosabianca, a real-estate lawyer who works with international buyers, says the André Balasz-designed William Beaver House in the Financial District is popular with his Latin American clients. “Certain people are attracted to certain energy and aesthetics,” he says. At the Sheffield, a 582-unit condo building at Columbus Circle where 28% of sold units have gone to overseas buyers, sales staff now print marketing materials in Mandarin, French, Spanish and Italian.

At midtown’s Setai Fifth Avenue Residences, where apartments are priced from $1.2 million to $15 million, about half of the buyers have been from overseas. Giuseppe Rossi, the executive vice president of Bizzi & Partners Development, who is originally from Italy, notes that many Italians have purchased apartments there. “We’re Italian developers so there’s a certain appeal to Italian products and the way we built,” he says. Brazilian buyers have also made several purchases there, including Brazilian soccer star Kaka, who recently bought three apartments in the building which he plans to combine, says Mr. Rossi. (Kaka didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Giorgio Castro, a 62-year-old Rome-based entrepreneur, says he dreamed of owning a place in Manhattan for decades. Last year, with the euro-dollar exchange rate giving him more than a 40% discount, he finally snagged a $1.3 million one-bedroom condo in a Wall Street building designed by David Rockwell.

“It was a good opportunity to buy something I longed for,” says Mr. Castro. “With the money I spent, I could not have bought something equivalent in Rome.”

The Paris real-estate market is booming, driven in part by the high prices foreigners are willing to pay. In the “Golden Triangle”—the tony area near the Champs-Élysées—apartment prices rose 38% in the last year, according to the Paris Notary Chamber. For Paris apartments costing over $2.8 million (€2 million), three foreigners buy into the market for every one foreign seller, says Charles-Marie Jottras, president of the Daniel Féau network of real-estate agencies.

Mr. Jottras just closed his first deal with a mainland Chinese buyer, an apartment on the luxurious Avenue George V for $14.2 million (€10 million). The six-bedroom apartment, down the street from the Chinese embassy, features a 2,150-square-foot living room. A new influx of Chinese buyers is also looking at the 16th arrondissement near the Trocadéro Place, where stately buildings appeal to foreign buyers. The Brazilian presence is also growing; Jean-Philippe Roux, manager of luxury real-estate agency John Taylor’s new Paris office, says he has nine Brazilians interested in the seventh and eighth arrondissements.

France’s neighbors Italy and Britain account for about a third of the international market. These buyers often seek apartments on the Left Bank, in the Saint-Germain neighborhood, as well as in the more bohemian Marais area because of the central location for train stations.

Russian and Middle Eastern buyers tend to concentrate in the “Golden Triangle,” where there are the most luxurious hotels and boutiques. A 1960s-era building at 12-18 Avenue Montaigne, near the Louis Vuitton and Chanel stores, is a big draw, as is the recently renovated building at number 51-53 on the opposite side of the street.

There are only a handful of mansions in Paris. Mr. Jottras’s record sale happened last year and was for the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé, a mansion with an inner courtyard, garden and private chapel, in the seventh arrondissement on the Left Bank. For $96.9 million (€68 million), a Gulf princess had a new home.

China’s housing boom spilled over to Hong Kong, where property prices have surpassed previous historic highs and are now some of the highest in the world. According to property agency Savills, Hong Kong’s homes are 52% more expensive than London’s—and 111% more than New York’s.

In April 2011, a 5,636-square-foot condo at 39 Conduit Rd. in the Mid-Levels district sold for $46.4 million (HK$361 million). Local newspaper Ming Pao reported that it was bought by Shi Yuzhu, the Shanghai-based founder of online gaming company Giant Interactive. Forbes magazine reported his net worth at $1.6 billion.

Meanwhile, a house on 11 Headland Rd. in Hong Kong’s Repulse Bay neighborhood recently sold for $84.9 million (HK$660 million). Newspaper Ming Pao reported the buyer as Gao Yanming, chairman of Hebei-based shipping company Hosco Group. Henderson Land, the developer, confirmed the transaction but declined to comment as to the identity of the purchaser.

Mainland Chinese buyers are more concentrated in the new luxury sector of condos priced over $1.5 million (HK$12 million), like the Cullinan in West Kowloon. In this sector, they represented 28.8% of the deals during the last half of 2010. In the ultra-expensive range—$25.7 million (HK$200 million) and above—Joseph Tsang, managing director at Jones Lang Lasalle in Hong Kong, estimates that almost all the transactions involve buyers from China.

Mr. Tsang says Chinese buyers look for luxury finishes, ornate decorations and grand hotel-style lobbies. “They’re into glamour and bling,” he says. “In order to attract the Chinese buyer [from the mainland], you need to put out the most expensive stuff on display.”

In the past, the pricey homes along the southern coast of Hong Kong island were popular among well-heeled expatriate bankers from the U.K., Australia and the U.S. But the influx of Chinese buyers and the resulting spike in prices has even forced some members of this wealthy class out of their traditional stomping grounds.

The city’s largest brokers routinely organize bus tours for interested buyers from mainland China to visit new development sites.

Local brokerage firm Midland Realty recently organized three tours during the May 1 weekend, a public holiday. By the end of the weekend, the agency had 10 deals signed, starting at $643,000 (HK$5 million) for new condos. During a tour earlier this year, the agency says some buyers purchased units for $1.3 million (HK$10 million) on their first visit to Hong Kong.

“If you look at the new apartments [in West Kowloon], over 60% are mainland Chinese buyers, but if you count the lights at night, you won’t see many. It’s sold out, but it’s pitch dark,” Mr. Tsang says.

According to Liam Bailey, head of residential research at real-estate agent Knight Frank, London’s ratio of international to domestic buyers for prime real estate is the highest of any major city in the world. According to his report last month, 64% of buyers of central London homes priced over $8.1 million (£5 million) are foreign—”the highest of any major city, without a doubt”—and probably the highest it’s ever been, Mr. Bailey says.

The number of nationalities represented has also swelled; 61 nationalities purchased homes in London last year, up from 46 in 2009, with Russian, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern buyers seeing the biggest growth, according to Knight Frank.

For many, the U.K.’s steady political environment and stable economy make London a safe haven for wealth. Sterling’s decline against the dollar—around 20% since 2008—makes property even more enticing. But currency arbitrage and safe-haven status aside, different nationalities are drawn by different aspects.

For U.S. buyers, it’s London’s leafy Hampstead Village, according to Marcus Oliver, associate director at real-estate agent Chesterton Humbert’s Hampstead office. He said 80% of foreign buyers in Hampstead over the past three months have been from the U.S. “Americans are attracted to the quintessentially ‘London village’ feel of Hampstead, with its quaint Victorian houses and the rolling Heath. It matches up with the clichéd impression of London.”

Meanwhile, the status and bright lights of a pad in central Knightsbridge are luring the newly monied Eastern Europeans and Middle Eastern buyers, says Roarie Scarisbrick of HSBC-owned buying agent Property Vision. “Knightsbridge property is the ultimate status symbol for the new settlers of Eastern Europe with their newly amassed fortunes.” Properties like the Knightsbridge, One Hyde Park and the Lancasters, where residents enjoy 24-hour security and amenities ranging from golf simulators to private movie theaters, are attracting some of the world’s wealthiest oligarchs and sheiks.

One such buyer is Ukranian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who in January closed on two apartments in the Candy Brothers’ new One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge for a reported $222.5 million (£136.6 million) to combine into a triplex penthouse. Mr. Akhmatov’s press secretary Olena Dovzhenko confirmed the property was purchased as investment through the oligarch’s company, SCM Capital Management.

In neighboring Kensington, with its proximity to museums and coffee shops, the typical buyer is French, Swiss or Italian, says independent search agent Charles McDowell. He recently found a home for 38-year-old Parisian Michelle Dellion, in South Kensington. The five-bedroom townhouse on Mulberry Walk cost $16.3 million (£10 million) and has 5,000 square feet of living space. “We had to be in London for my husband’s job. Kensington is near the Lycée [Français Charles de Gaulle] and the park—with our three children it was the best area for us,” said Ms. Dellion, a stay-at-home mom whose husband works in finance.

Mindful of this tendency to flock together, developers have launched targeted marketing drives. Within the last six months, luxury London developments The Heron, Bramah Chelsea, Wellington House and Neo Bankside have held marketing exhibitions in Singapore and Hong Kong. Last September, Bramah hosted a successful exhibition at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong. “We sold 50 apartments off plan over two weekends,” says sales executive Matt Shenton.

In the Greater Miami area, nearly 60% of all sales last year were to buyers from overseas, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. For sales of newly built condos downtown, like Icon Brickell that figure jumps to 90%, says the group.

Many of the buyers are from Brazil, which experienced an economic growth rate of 7.5% last year. Brazil’s currency, the real, has risen about 40% against the U.S. dollar in the last two years.

Property developer and marketer Fortune International focused heavily on Brazil to sell Jade Ocean, a 50-story building the company is marketing with infinity pools, a private movie theater and a children’s playroom decorated with Philippe Starck furniture. Its two-story penthouse loft apartments sold for between $3.5 million and $10 million. Nearly 85% of Jade Ocean’s sales have gone to overseas buyers.

Fortune’s principal developer Edgardo Defortuna says that last fall, he worked with American Airlines to invite a group of potential buyers and American Airlines contacts to a dinner party at a restaurant in Brasilia. “The Black Eyed Peas were having dinner in the next room,” he says. His company is also encouraging the airline to add new flights from different cities in Brazil to Miami, which American Airlines says is in the works. In an e-mail, an American Airlines spokeswoman said, “it makes business sense to promote Miami not only as a place to visit but a place to live.”

Russian buyers tend to cluster in northern, beachfront areas. Mr. Defortuna says he’s planning a trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg to pitch several of his Miami-area buildings. There, he hopes to throw a dinner party with Donald Trump Jr., an executive vice president with the Trump Organization.

Unlike Americans, who tend to look for single-family homes, overseas buyers favor condos. Italians have been drawn to the Capri South Beach, a condo building with downtown views and its own marina, says broker Nelson Gonzalez. The Icon Brickell Condo, a three-tower complex downtown, has a large number of British and Brazilian owners.

Venezuelans are also a growing presence, as are buyers from Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

Henrik Wiingaard-Madsen, a shoe-manufacturing company owner from Denmark, says he got a 30% discount in July for two apartments in the Icon Brickell Tower—$520,000 for a two-bedroom and $840,000 for a three-bedroom—plus a rebate. Icon “had so many units, they were kind of desperate at the time,” he says. “The price was so low compared to the quality.” Mr. Defortuna says his company took over marketing for the complex last June, and that the building “has filled in significantly since then.” So far, about 80% of the units have been sold.

Miami Real Estate Picking Up

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 26th, 2011

Miami Beach Homes For Sale

Luxury Condos On The Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach

The real estate market in Miami Florida

is seeing significant recovery of late and investors, as well as those simply looking for a new place to call home, are back in the market looking to buy. According to the Florida Realtors, there has been significant growth in different sectors of the market.

Condominiums in Miami

Miami luxury condominiums are some of the most distinctive features of the Miami real estate market. Popular as second homes and, increasingly, with those who want a luxurious place to call their primary home, these condominiums have been selling very well in recent months. In February, 2011, these properties jumped 29% in sales volume compared to the same month in 2010.

Sunny Isles Beach, in particular, a very popular hub for luxury condominiums. Developments such as Trump Towers, Trump Palace, Trump Royale constructed by the Trump Group and many others constitute some of the most desirable properties in the region. If you’re looking to get into one of these great homes, you’re not alone. This is the third consecutive year that the Miami Realtors have been able to report that the sales of these properties have increased over the previous year, boding well for the future of this real estate sector.

Miami Beach Home sales are also up. In 17 of the state’s metropolitan areas, increases in home sales were reported. There was a 13% increase in the sale of homes and there was an increase of more than 10,000 homes reported over a year ago: 12,164 in February 2010 versus 13,701 in February 2011.

This trend has been statewide and shows that the market is making a steady recovery after the crash. There are other factors that are driving this increase in sales, as well.

Mortgage Rates

The credit score requirements for taking out lending may be much higher than they were a few years ago, but the terms being offered are much more desirable. Interest rates are very low and this has made it apparent to those who can take out the lending that now is a good time to consider buying into the real estate market.

Because both homes and condominiums have been selling better compared to 2010, it’s an indication that the pickup is across the board, from those seeking to live next to the ocean in one of Florida’s famous high-rises to those seeking a simple single-family home in the city. There are fewer vacant homes statewide, as well, indicating that the worst of the real estate woes are past and that the future is looking up.

Sustained Improvement

This improvement in Miami home sales has been seen for the last two years, indicating that it is not a short-term trend. There has also been improvement over the prior month—January, 2011—which indicates that the upward curve has some welcome relief and some improvement that isn’t coming too slowly to be an advantage to homeowners.

Active Months

The month of April is always one of the most active for Florida realtors. This is the time of year when the snowbirds head home for the summer, but it is also the time of year when many of them decide that they want to buy a new or better property in Florida. With the traditionally slower months of January and February showing increases in sales, realtors are optimistic that the busy season will be better yet and that many more homeowners will be interested in getting new properties and that those who haven’t purchased a home in Miami as of yet will decide that now is the right time to go ahead and do it.

Commercial Real Estate in Miami

Miami commercial real estate has also been a big seller. Investors are flocking to the area to make purchases and much of their investment activity has been good for the state all around.

Shopping centers in Miami have been particularly popular with these investors. With the economy improving, these are fixing up to be hot properties in the near future. Currently, investors are buying up shopping centers that have become run down over the years and transforming them into destination spots for those who want a bit of retail fun. Because of the very low cost of borrowing money at present, it makes sense for them to be making this move right now.

Finding a good real estate deal has never been an easier proposition in Miami Florida and that, no doubt, is part of what’s driving the increase in sales. If you’ve been hesitating, you’re becoming part of a smaller number of people by the day. Today, the trend is to buy and that trend has been growing for the last couple of years. The current balance between investor interest and affordable investment properties makes it an ideal time to consider making your move and getting back into this historically very hot real estate market, whether you’re buying commercial or residential.

For more information please contact our office at 1.877.368.2318.

Commercial Miami Real Estate Getting Hot

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 14th, 2011

Commercial real estate in Miami for sale

Sometimes, when investors see a good deal, everyone benefits. This is exactly what’s going on with the commercial real estate in the Miami area at present and, given current real estate trends, the investors that are driving this beneficial activity are going to see tidy returns for putting their money into the area.

The Stage

After the real estate crash devastated the market in 2007-2008, many areas of the nation were hit hard. Florida was hit very hard though, over the past few years, it has been picking up steam steadily again. Commercial real estate in Miami saw the same hardships and, when consumers stopped spending money, some of the shopping centers in the area fell into disrepair. Prices, of course, dropped and the shopping centers simply couldn’t be sold.

Things Improve

Where some people see a crisis, as the old saying goes, others see an opportunity. Investors are currently taking advantage of the fact that there are several factors making it an excellent time to look into investing in the area.

First, lending is very inexpensive at present. Investors are able to put a lot of capital into an investment and not have to worry about the cost of that lending making profits a long time in coming.

Second, home sales, condo sales and commercial real estate sales are all on the upswing in Florida, and have been for some time. This makes the market very attractive to investors who want to get in on a good deal before it evaporates.

Third, there are plenty of excellent commercial spaces available that only need some improvement. Shopping centers have been very popular with commercial real estate investors. While the condo sales have been picking up and while fewer and fewer houses in Florida are vacant, there are many shopping centers that have fallen in to disrepair. By purchasing these properties, renovating them and renting them out, the investors take advantage of long-term profits.

The Universal Advantage

Location is everything where real estate is concerned. Because these shopping centers improve the viability of any location, there are benefits to those who own real estate in the area. Of course, real estate is not all about investment: it’s about living space. For those who have homes or condos in the area where these new, improved shopping centers are popping up, there is the benefit of having more resources immediately available and, of course, that makes it a better place to live.

New Ways of Funding

Credit is still very tight. For all but the most secure investors, getting funding can be a very tall order. With securities-backed funding and other options, however, it’s possible to get funding very easily and at very desirable terms. It’s also possible to get this sort of funding without having to worry about credit scores. Of course, most commercial investors are out of the league of needing to worry about such things, but this has partially driven the residential real estate market to new places and that means more people are investing in Miami homes and moving into the area, which benefits the commercial investors.

Talking to a Realtor

There are very good realtors in Miami who have been with the market through thick and thin. This means that they’re great sources of information for finding out what kind of investment returns you can expect for buying real estate in the area. These realtors work with commercial and residential properties, so they’re very adept at finding out information that’s relevant to either type of investor. Commercial investors will find them to be very valuable resources.

Is it a Bubble?

For most investors, the word “bubble” used to be a good thing. For those who suffered when the Miami real estate market crashed, it’s a frightening term. Over the past few years, however, the Florida market has seen steady and sustained growth, not the explosive growth associated with bubbles. This means that there is the potential for long-term returns on investments and that investors don’t have to be too worried that they’re putting their money into something that’s going to turn out to be another bubble. These investors are, by and large, aiming for profits that will be coming in for years and they’re going to Florida to seek them out.

Miami Luxury condos

single-family homes and commercial real estate are all shaping up to be good investments in the Florida market. These shopping centers and other investment opportunities will likely be bought up fairly quickly as more investors catch on to what’s happening in this market. If you’re looking for a good place to put your money, this may be the best place of all at present. With investors always on the lookout for good ways to make a profit, more of them are looking at Florida and seeing what the real estate market of the future has to offer in this state.

Miami condos are on the move!

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on February 25th, 2011

Several positive articles appeared in Sun Sentinel as well as Miami associations of Realtors:

Sales of Miami condominium

units jumped 134% in January of 2011 compared to January 2010, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors. A total of 1,262 condo unit were sold last month, compared to just 540 in January of 2010. The report is based on data from the 25,000 member Miami Association of Realtors and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service. Sales of single-family homes rose 55 percent last month compared to January 2010. “These significant increases in sales for both single-family homes and condominiums reflect the strength of the Miami real estate market,” said Jack Levine, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors.

Also, there are Fewer vacant new homes in South Florida

Paul Owers reports on February 25, 2011 that the surge in buying existing homes in January did not translate to new home sales, which fell 12.6 percent last month. People aren’t bothering to buy new homes when they can scoop up low-priced foreclosures and short sales.

But here’s a bright spot for home builders: the inventory of finished vacant new homes is declining in many markets across the country. South Florida’s inventory dropped 10 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago, according to Metrostudy. The Palm Beach Gardens research firm considers South Florida to be Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

Of the 33 markets nationwide that Metrostudy analyzes, 26 saw year-over-year declines in inventory.

“South Florida, like most markets in the country, is seeing a nice reduction,” Metrostudy’s Brad Hunter said. “That’s a necessary thing. That puts less downward pressure on prices.”