No Housing Bubble in Sight

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 21st, 2015

Miami real estate

Statistically speaking, housing is on a roll. Year-to-date home sales are up 6.3 % and prices in May were 7.9% higher than a year earlier. The trends are expected to stay positive and are likely to boost business dollar volume by as much as 15% in 2015. These statistics don’t even include new home construction, which is growing at a strong clip as well.

But this rosy picture does raise concerns about affordability. After all, wages are rising by only 2% annually and renters are getting squeezed, having to endure 4% rate hikes while home prices accelerate more quickly. In addition, mortgage rates have notched their highest level of the year, reaching about 4% in June, and should continue to rise well into next year.

Some armchair analysts have suggested that we’re entering a new housing market bubble. But hard facts suggest otherwise. Underlying conditions today are fundamentally different from the bubble of a decade ago. Back then, credit was easy to obtain and home sales were running at more than 8.5 million a year (existing and new homes combined). New home construction volume topped 2 million annually.

By comparison, credit today is extremely tight, which has led to an unusually high level of all-cash sales. Home sales are barely over 5 million and new home construction is barely scratching 1 million units. Meanwhile, for the past eight years, total mortgage balances have failed. The reasons show what’s changed from 10 years ago: home owners are paying their mortgages on time and few are seeking cash-out refinances.

It’s fair to ask, though, whether at some point affordability problems will choke off home buying. That’s possible. But there’s my thinking about what could neutralize those fears. After running various scenarios, I expect home prices to rise continuously as long as mortgage rates remain under 6%. Early in the summer, the average rate was 4%. It may rise to 5.5% by the end of next year. Should mortgage rates cross the 6% mark, maybe two years down the road, then either home prices will be flat or other forces will be evident. Going forward, keep in mind that robust job creation and meaningful increases in income levels will help propel home prices. For now, though, no bubble or impending crash is in sight.

By Lawrence Yun, NAR (National Association of Realtors) chief economist.

S&P Case-Shiller Indices Show Miami Had Highest Gains

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 30th, 2015

Sunny Isles Oceanfront condos

According to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices for January 2015, Miami real estate – view website had the second highest gain year over year in the last 12 months, with an 8.3% increase in home prices. Additionally, the city tied with San Diego and Charlotte for month-over-month increases, with .7% rises.

Year over Year Increases

S&P Case-Shiller provides both 10-City and 20-City Composites for year over year prices, and both saw increases for year over year numbers over December’s totals, with the 10-City showing an increase of 4.4% compared to December’s 4.3%. The 20-City Composite shows an increase to 4.6% compared to the previous 4.4% increase.

Month over Month Indices

The month over month indices, however, showed a decline of .1% with a majority of the cities showing no change. The report explained that the noticeable decline in cities such as San Francisco, which has a .9% decrease, and Washington, D.C., which had a .5% decrease, could have been due to the weather that was unseasonably wet and cold during the period.

Overall, there continue to be price gains across the housing market. While this is a major benefit that is likely led by an increase in consumer confidence, low inflation, cheap oil, and low interest rates, there are some difficulties in the housing market, as well.

Market Difficulties

The housing market still faces difficulties for a few different reasons, which include:

• Wage Deficit – While home prices are increasing, wages are not seeing the same growth. In fact, the home prices are rising at nearly twice the rate of average wages. This means that if the home prices continue on the same pace, without the wages catching up, would-be homebuyers will not meet the median income requirements to qualify for homes that meet their needs.
• Interest Rates – While the interest rates are currently low, the differences between wage and home price increases could cause problems. If the interest rates increase the slightest bit, it could result in a major setback as homebuyers are put under even more pressure.
• Residential Construction – New residential home construction has still not made it back to the pre-crisis peak, and the current level of one million is not comforting. Historically, any time prior to 2008 when these numbers were that low, the economy was suffering from a recession. Due to this, the new home sector is still considered weak, and this can present its own problems if there are changes in the future.

Miami developers are still seeing increases, which is a major bonus for them and the South Florida economy. However, one area that has shown some decreases is the sale of condos. While these numbers are still higher than previous years, there are some that believe that this sector may be reaching its peak. Time and future indices will tell, but for many in the Miami housing market, the future is still looking bright, and the area is expected to continue growing due to interest from foreign buyers.

Miami – Ranked Number Four of Top Ten Healthiest Cities

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 15th, 2015

Miami Beach apartments for sale

If the sun, sand and amazingly luxurious homes weren’t enough to make everyone love Miami, there is one more thing to add to the list. According to Livability, a research site dedicated using research to explore cities throughout the country to determine what’s great about them, Miami ranked number four on the top ten list of healthiest cities.

What Goes Into the Rankings?

The rankings on this list were determined by several different factors in order to come up with a complete picture of the overall healthiness. These factors include:

• Access, affordability and quality of healthcare
• Obesity rates in adults
• Access to healthy eating options
• Doctor to patient ratios and number of hospitals
• Whether the city promotes healthy lifestyles with walking paths, parks, and farmer’s markets
• Cleanliness of the water and air

Miami’s Results

Miami’s number four ranking was based on a few different things, beyond its overall beauty that most associate with it. The most important considerations for their healthy living ranking were:

• Number One Ranking in Florida – As far as healthiest lifestyle options, this county ranked the highest in all of Florida! This is due to most residents exercising at least three times per week, an obesity rate of less than 23 percent and a lack of residents that partake in smoking and drinking.
• Many Beaches, Parks, and Recreation Areas – Miami offers numerous areas and locations that promote healthy exercise and activity, including playing in the surf, visiting parks, deep-sea fishing, golf, and tennis.
• Everglades National Park – This factored into the ranking due to the miles of biking and hiking trials, as well as kayak and canoe opportunities.
• Healthcare – Miami offers a high doctor to patient ratio, high-ranking doctor’s offices and hospitals in the healthcare community and most residents report that they make annual health screenings a priority.
• Access to Healthy Eating – Miami also offers numerous co-ops and farmer’s markets that provide organically grown produce, as well as juice bars, smoothie shops and many different vegan and vegetarian restaurant options.
• Clean Air and Water – When compared to the rest of Florida, both the air quality and drinking water quality are considered clean.

All of these reasons landed Miami in their fourth place finish. However, there are other locations that were just a bit better. Minneapolis, Minnesota ranked as number one due to 17% of the city being part of the park system, a high number of insured residents and a low number of smokers.

On the other end of the spectrum, Yonkers, New York ranked 10th due to its high number of walkable areas and parks, and a recently unveiled Green City initiative and a high doctor to patient ratio.
When comparing Miami to some of those other cities, there is no denying that the city has plenty to offer residents. After all, a beach bod doesn’t happen by itself! With all these benefits thrown into the mix, it only makes Miami an even better place to live, work and play. To see Miami Beach properties for sale please click this link: www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com/Miami-Beach/

$35 Million Spec Home in Bal Harbour

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 6th, 2015

Bal Harbour home for sale

A new waterfront mansion is being added to the many other luxury homes in Bal Harbour, and this one is sure to gain notice. With an incredible $35 million price tag, it shows that there is no end to what luxury homebuyers are willing to pay to the home that meets any needs they may have.

Chad Oppenheim Design

The luxe spec home was designed by Chad Oppenheim, of Oppenheim Architecture, and developed by Shlomy and Oren Alexander. It has an “urban subtropical modern” design according to Oren, and takes the stunning beauty of Brazilian nature and incorporates it into the home. The result is 13,500 square foot mansion that combines indoor and outdoor living spaces to total 20,000 square feet of space.

Features

This home has plenty of features that make it stand out as a truly luxurious space. Once completed, it will have a total of eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, with numerous courtyards, and nearly every room in the home opening up to either an ocean view or a garden. There are also sliding doors that lead directly to outdoor living spaces, as well as a rooftop Jacuzzi, fire pit, and bar.

The home will also include a wealth of high-end materials, including personal chosen Romana Italian travertine stone, Belgian oak, and over $1 million worth of furniture for staging.

The mansion is being built on a 20,197 square foot lot that was purchased in 2012, according to the property records in Miami-Dade, for $5.55 million.

The developers’ goal in creating this spectacular home was simple, and involved three points:

• Purchase the best available property
• Hire only the best architect
• Use only the highest-quality, high-end materials throughout

One of Many Developers Helping with Spec Fever

There has been a major influx of luxury spec homes in South Florida, and the Alexanders’, which is slated for completion in May, is only one of several. Developers are attempting to cash in on the major buyers, most of them foreign, who are choosing south Florida as their second home, but still expect the absolute best. Some of the most notable beyond the Alexanders include:

• To Better Days Development – Launched by the investor, Peter Fine, this developer is currently building three different waterfront spec mansions, ranging from price from $18 million up to $30 million
• Posner Group – Developer Todd Glaser has a $35 million, 11-bedroom mansion on Star Island
• Home builder Bart Reines recently sold a $10.5 million waterfront home on North Bay Road

There are also other spec homes that are currently being built or have already been completed in Pinecrest and Coral Gables. See all Bal Harbour homes for sale here: http://www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com/Bal-Harbour/.

The surge in these multi-million dollar homes leaves little doubt that the market is certainly back, and perhaps even better than ever. Developers and real estate firms are confident that the switch to luxury spec homes will continue, as more foreign investors continue to flock to South Florida for their second homes, which also helps them to secure their fortunes in the process – and this creates a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Shakira May be Selling Home

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 26th, 2015

Miami Beach house for sale

There’s a rumor going around right now that pop star Shakira could be selling her home in Miami Beach, and that the current asking price is $12.9 million. The price asked for the home in 2013 was 14.95 million, and this discount may help the property to gain more traction amongst potential buyers. The house is not currently listed on the multiple listing service, or MLS, and there’s no guarantee that the house is actually up for sale. Ben Moss, the managing director of the sports and entertainment division for One Sotheby’s International Realty, actually says that the house is not up for sale at all.

However, others dispute this claim. DesignTrend.com, the New York Post, and the Miami New Times all say that the property is indeed for sale, and that the asking price is $12.9 million. Shakira has been the owner of the home since 2001, and at the time, she paid a mere $3.38 million for the property. The home is 8,355 square feet and features six bedrooms and nine bathrooms. It is located at 3140 North Bay Road and is on Biscayne Bay. Click here to view all North Bay Road homes for sale here. It features a nursery, gym, dock, and much more. Some of the former celebrity neighbors include Ricky Martin and Matt Damon. Last year, Damon actually sold his neighboring home for $15.4 million.

While it’s still up in the air whether the sale is real, most of the signs seem to point to it, just that it will be a quiet affair. Given the fact that Shakira now lives in Barcelona with Gerard Pique and their son, chances are high that she’s looking to sell the home now that she no longer lives there. It’s a large property that’s too large for a vacation home for most people, so selling makes sense.

Why Don’t Celebrities List Houses on MLS?

When celebrities sell their homes, it’s often done rather quietly and for good reason. They do not often put their homes on the MLS, as it simply invites too many people who have no real intention of buying and who only want to see where a celebrity lived to come out to the property. This can be distracting and problematic when it comes to trying to sell these types of homes. Thus, keeping things quieter and private is generally the order of the day. This is a whisper listing, and it’s what the NY Post believes is happening with Shakira’s home. Given her high profile, this makes quite a bit of sense.

They will be able to limit the number of people who come through the home, and they will be able to prescreen the potential buyers to see if they are motivated and legitimate. This helps to keep provide the celebrities with a bit more privacy. You will find that most high profile people, whether they are singers, actors, athletes, or simply very wealthy, like to keep as many of the details of selling their homes private whenever possible.

Luxury Homes Selling Big in Miami

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 9th, 2015

Florida real estate for sale

Over the course of 2013, 20% of the sold single family homes in Miami were priced over a million dollars, and this trend of high-priced luxury homes continued through 2014 and into 2015. The demand for luxury homes is still very strong, and there are a couple of reasons for this. For example, since the economy recovered and since the taxes and interest are still favorable for buyers, getting into a new luxury home is a good idea.

More Families Moving to Miami

One of the things that many real estate agents are seeing is an influx of buyers from other countries, such as Brazil and Mexico. While homes in the area have always been popular for people from these nations, the political and financial insecurities in those and other nations are making many with money want to come to Miami – view Miami waterfront homes for sale here.

Many real estate specialists are also seeing a difference in the types of homebuyers who are coming to buy these properties in Miami. Namely, there are many more families with children who are buying homes and moving to South Florida. Many business professionals are taking the plunge and moving to Miami as well, and they are bringing their families with them.

Many from NYC are looking into buying luxury property in Miami as well. Even though the prices for homes in Miami are getting to be higher than they’ve ever been, that’s not any sort of deterrent for those buyers, since the prices are still lower than or on par with those in New York City.

There are not only great homes, but the schools throughout many parts of the area have great reputations. Coral Gables and Key Biscayne, for example, have high quality schools.

Miami Offers More

Miami is quickly becoming a truly global city. They are growing quickly in a number of different areas, including sports and entertainment. There is a thriving culture in the city that’s appealing to many people, and is certainly one of the big draws. Additionally, architects are seeing all of the fantastic opportunities they have to bring their skills to the city and to create some truly unique and opulent homes. These world-renowned architects are creating homes that people really want, and the prices for some of the homes are reaching $3,000 per square foot.

It is currently a good market for both buyers and sellers. There are plenty of people who want to buy in the city, and those who want to sell can certainly find some motivated buyers. The demand increases and the prices will surely increase along with that demand. It’s a good idea for buyers who find a property that they like to act quickly and purchase it before it is gone.

Many areas in South Florida are doing well right now, but one of the best is Sunny Isles. It has a number of condos and towers that have a wide range of luxury homes perfect for many types of buyers. It is a great place to invest and a perfect time to invest.

Home Prices on the Rise Nationwide

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 5th, 2015

Florida real estate for sale

A few short years ago, the real estate market was in a substantial amount of trouble. Home prices were dropping, people were unable to buy and to keep up with their mortgages, and it was a bleak time for most. Fortunately, the economy has strengthened, and things have started to change quite a bit for buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. The prices of homes are going up around the country, and this means that the market is recovering nicely. Some feel that it’s already back to the point before the last storm, and that the additional safety measures in place today will reduce the chance of another crash.

Prices Going Up

When comparing the home prices across the country from November 2013 to November 2014, you can see that there is an increase of 5.5%. This is no small amount, and it’s important to remember that this is just an average of all of the states. In some areas, such as South Florida, the prices are doing even better. Look at the Miami area, for example. Prices are up by about 8% in the same timeframe, and it doesn’t appear as though the price increase will be slowing anytime soon.

It’s important to remember that even though the prices are getting higher and more favorable, things are not quite back to the same levels prior to the recession. For example, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Rhode Island, and Connecticut still have a long ways to go before they are able to match those previous prices. Still, most experts feel as though the prices will continue to go up for a number of reasons. See Florida real estate here: http://www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com/

Buyers from Around the World Want US Property

They feel that any lulls in price increase will only be temporary, and that the prices will keep rising as more and more people start to get into the market to buy homes. There are plenty of domestic buyers who have an interest in the South Florida area, and they are starting to look into new properties. New Yorkers, for example, find that even with the increased prices for Miami homes for sale, the cost is far less than what they would be paying for properties in NYC.

It’s not only domestic buyers who have an interest in purchasing properties in the US though. In fact, there are many buyers from China, South America, Europe, and Russia who have quite a healthy interest in the Miami area, and they are starting to snatch up properties. Some are looking to move to the US, while others are looking for vacation homes. Some are investors. There are many reasons to buy, and this is helping to push the demand for properties in the area.

Even though there is a surplus of properties in some locations, that’s not stopping developers, who know that the demand is continuing to grow. Many new luxury condo towers are going up in Miami all the time and buyers are trying to get in on the action now, before the prices go up even further.

Thinking of Building a Home in Miami Beach? Think Again

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on December 29th, 2014

Miami Beach homes for sale

Picture the city of Miami Beach and South Beach. Chances are good that condo properties loom large in that mental image. There’s a good reason for that. They’re immensely popular throughout Miami-Dade County. However, that doesn’t mean that single-family homes have fallen out of favor or aren’t in demand. Many would-be homeowners would prefer to have their own home designed and built on their own land, rather than buy into a condo property. The problem is that few people can actually manage that. Why is this the case?

Little Land

One of the problems here is that the Miami Beach area is highly developed. That means in order for something new to be built, something else usually has to be torn down. In the absence of empty lots and buildings that need demolishing, would-be homeowners are finding it harder and harder to locate a parcel of land that suits their needs. (View All Miami Beach Homes For Sale Here)

There’s also the zoning problem – what little available land there is may not be zoned for residential use. Most of it has already been zoned for commercial use (including the building of condos). Why? There are two primary reasons. First, the demand is there. Second, the area makes more in tax revenue from land that’s been zoned commercial rather than residential.

Homebuilders

While the impact of the land conundrum has been felt by homebuyers, it’s homebuilders that have been hardest hit. The Atlantic Ocean bounds builders on the east, and the Urban Development Boundary prevents expansion to the west. Builders have nowhere to go, and that means smaller builders have actually gone out of business. Very few builders remain operating in the area that aren’t big businesses. Even large construction companies are finding the going tough, though.

Down the Road

Currently, the Miami-Dade area has a three-month supply of existing homes on the market, but the problem comes from the lack of replacement lots. Once those vacant homes are sold, there are fewer and fewer empty lots available to build on to replace them. Lot shortages have already had an impact on the industry, and that effect will only become stronger in the coming months. Experts predict that things will get worse before they get better.

One way that builders are coping with the shortages is to change their development and building habits. In the past, massive, sweeping neighborhoods were constructed. Those are largely gone now, though. Builders are instead focusing on the smaller 20-acre lots, or even 10-acre lots, and developing them as best they can.

The Condo Market

In direct contrast to the single-family home construction segment, condo construction is thriving. Sunny Isles Beach alone had 15 multimillion dollar developments (View all preconstruction projects in Sunny Isles Beach) in the last 10 years, and the greater Miami area has seen countless more. Condos are viable because they require a much smaller initial footprint, and can be home to hundreds, even thousands of families. A single 20-acre site might accommodate 900 units.

It remains to be seen just how long it will take the single-family housing industry to recover, but in the meantime, the condo industry continues to thrive.

Florida: Home to America’s CEOs

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on November 14th, 2014

Miami home for sale

Different areas of the country are famous for being home to certain types of people. Actors and producers live in Hollywood and throughout Los Angeles. Authors and book moguls live in New York. Florida has its own claim to fame – more CEOs live in the southernmost state than any other area of the country. Of course, not all Florida cities have a high concentration of corporate commanders in chief.

Why Come to Florida?

What’s behind the exodus of CEOs to the sunny shores of Florida? It’s more than the beach and the state’s burgeoning economy. It’s also one of the friendliest states in the country to those with CEO-type incomes, thanks to its lack of individual income tax. There are numerous other attractions to Florida, as well. That’s particularly true of South Florida.

SoFla and particularly Miami has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, and both business and residential real estate are booming. A significant influx of foreign investors, foreign condo buyers and new residents from other US states have made South Florida a fast growing market. Some examples of this growth include the recently approved Miami Worldcenter and the SkyRise tower, as well as Brickell City Centre, which is already under construction. New luxury condos in South Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Sunny Isles and other areas also cater to CEOs’ tastes for fine living. CLICK HERE TO VIEW AVAILABLE PROPERTIES FOR SALE

A Look at the Cities

Several of Florida’s cities made the list of top areas for CEOs, including:
• North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota – The tri-city area boasts a 1.20% concentration of CEOs within its combined borders.
• Sebastian – Vero Beach – Sebastian might not be your first thought when imagining places in Florida where CEOs would call home, but between it and its southern neighbor, Vero Beach, there’s a 1.37% concentration of business movers and shakers.
• Naples – Marco Island – Naples might be more along the lines of what most would expect for a CEO-heavy area. Between Naples and Marco Island, there’s a 1.28% concentration of CEOs.
• Cape Coral – Fort Myers – You’ll find that the Cape Coral and Fort Meyers area boasts a 1.27% concentration of America’s business moguls.
• Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach – You’ll find a concentration of 1.20% of CEOs in this area of Florida.
Of course, while Florida might boast the highest concentration of chief executive officers in the country, there are quite a few other areas giving it a run for its money. Other popular areas for CEOs to settle include:
• Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford, Connecticut
• Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, California
• Barnstable town, Massachusetts
• San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California
• Boulder, Colorado

Still, it’s clear from the list above that Florida remains the leader here, and its business-friendly environment and rapidly growing economy promise to keep it in first place for a long time to come. Not only do these factors encourage CEOs to relocate to the state, but the lack of personal income tax makes it more likely for homegrown CEOs to found and operate thriving businesses.

Six Year High Reached for Miami-Dade Median Home and Condo Prices

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on November 2nd, 2014

Miami Beach real estate

The prices for single-family homes and condos in Miami-Dade County (VIEW SITE HERE) have been moving inexorably upward for several years in response to the natural rebound of the real estate market, as well as the influx of investors and the area’s improving employment segment. In fact, median home and condo prices just hit a six-year high for the area. However, if you think that means Miami has become the most expensive place to live in the world, it’s time to rethink that.

In Comparison to International Markets

Miami attracts potential residents and real estate investors from all over the world. They flock to the warm, sandy shores to soak up the sun, enjoy one of the most genial living environments in the world, and to reap rewards on their investments. What they don’t do is overpay for real estate. Whether interested in a condo or a single-family home, you’ll find that reaching that six-year high point hasn’t drive Miami real estate through the roof. You can still purchase about six condos in Miami for the same price as a single apartment in London. Despite the modest cost, Miami and the surrounding area still makes it into Christie’s Top 10 list of the world’s best luxury residential markets, putting it on part with the likes of New York and Hong Kong.

What the High Price Really Means

If you take a long, hard look at the Miami-Dade real estate market, you’ll find that it’s not so much a single market area, as a lot of sub-markets stitched together. The markets mirror the layout of the various neighborhoods throughout Miami and greater Miami-Dade County. You’ve got Downtown/Brickell. You’ve got South Beach. There’s Bal Harbour, but there are many, many others, and the ultra-high multimillion-dollar properties are only located in a few of them. In reality, almost 70% of condos in the county actually sold for less than $300,000.

In addition, you’ll find that the six-year high figure is still lower than what it was back before the recession hit, sometimes considerably so. For instance, the median price for a single family home in Miami at the end of July 2007 was $382,000. Today, it’s $251,000. That’s up from the $162 grand it cost in 2011, but well below the pre-recession peak figure. You’ll find this holds true for condo properties as well. So, while the prices have increased significantly, they’re not as high as you might think, and they’re nowhere near as high as they once were. Why does the past price matter so much?

Miami real estate is still technically in recovery. Prices are rising. Eventually, they’ll make it back to their pre-recession levels, and you’ll find that those who bought early, even now at the six-year high point, made out far better than those who waited around to see what the market was going to do. Rest assured, it’s going to keep moving up. The only question is when you’ll get in.