Art Dealer Larry Gagosian Buys Faena House Unit for $13M

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 5th, 2016

Faena Condos For Sale

If you’re remotely familiar with Miami Beach real estate, Faena House needs no introduction. The luxurious condo complex is one of the nicest in the city. The closest thing you can get to an objective ruling on this happened in September of last year when a penthouse went for $60 million, a new Miami record. While the previous record for a condo in Miami-Dade County was $3,342 per square foot, this transaction beat it handily with $4,794. See all available Faena condos for sale HERE.

Therefore, to learn that art dealer Larry Gagosian recently purchased a condo in the building for $12.995 million is suddenly a lot easier to believe. Still, let’s take a look at the details.

Gagosian

For those who aren’t familiar with the man, Larry Gagosian is an Armenian American art dealer and collector. He owns the Gagosian Gallery art galleries which enjoy an international presence. You can find them here in the U.S., but also in Paris, London, Athens, Rome, Hong Kong and Geneva.

The Unit

Gagosian will be laying his head down in unit PH-C of the 18-story Faena House according to Miami-Dade County records. The unit—one of 42 in the entire building—has four bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms.

It’s 4,730 square feet, so Gagosian dropped roughly $2,747 per square foot. He also got a beautiful terrace to take in the view. That’s another 1,516 square feet.

Other Occupants

The new resident will be in good company. As we mentioned above, the building is notable for having the most expensive unit—per square foot—in the entire county, which is saying a lot.
Ken Griffin, a hedge fund manager and billionaire, is the owner of that unit. Still, with an annual salary that’s believed to be about $1.7 billion, the amount actually wasn’t that much (you can bet he owns other properties too).

In fact, Griffin shocked people a second time when he put the penthouse—and another unit in the building he owned—right back on the market. He paid $60 million for both and then listed them for $73 million.

Other extremely wealthy neighbors Gagosian will be seeing in the lobby include British billionaire, industrialist and philanthropist Alex Blavatnik. Lloyd Blankfein, the Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs lives there too.

Craig Effron—another hedge fund manager—is also a resident, as well as Mark Rachesky, Chuck Khubani and Jose Fanjul Jr.

If you’re feeling left out, don’t worry. The developer, Alan Faena, has plans to build three more oceanfront towers packed with luxurious condos just like the ones Larry Gagosian bought. Right now, the address for the initial one is 3315 Collins Avenue if you want to get an idea about what $13 million can purchase.

Whether or not Gagosian actually stays in Faena House or if he’s simply another investor will take some time to find out. However, if Griffin’s confidence is anything to go by, the luxurious tower may represent a real money-making opportunity. Worst case scenario, you have a beautiful home in one of the most sought-after buildings in one of the most sought-after markets in the entire world.

Tips to Avoid the All-new LLC Disclosure Law

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 15th, 2016

Miami Beach condos for sale

Thanks to the new federal disclosure requirements, which go into full effect in March, Manhattan and Miami luxury real estate (click here to view site) buyers are going to be thrust into the spotlight.

No longer is anonymity the name of the game, with this new requirement, these high-end buyers are going to have the shield of a limited liability corporation taken away. While this will not result in the complete end of anonymous buyers, it is going to limit their “hiding” quite a bit.

This new requirement is an effort that has been put forth to try and uncover any illicit funds that are being laundered through luxury real estate in New York and Miami. According to the U.S. Treasury, cash purchases made in Manhattan and Miami through shell companies are going to be tracked and will apply to deals that are $3 million and more in New York and $1 million and more in Miami. This means that title insurance companies will be required to disclose the identity of the buyer to the government regulators.

Some strategies that buyers can use to help overcome these new requirements can be found here. While they are not ideal for everyone, they can provide some effective steps in avoiding this new tracking requirement.

Utilize a Straw Buyer

Buyers can set up a “nominee agreement,” with their chauffeur, where the chauffeur is being named the owner of the LLC that is purchasing the upscale condo. Once complete, the buyer is able to purchase the LLC, rather than the condo, from the chauffer. This means the transaction is not on the books.

Set Up a Non-LLC, Partnership or Trust

While each member of an LLC has to be identified, there are other legal entities that only have to disclose an owner that holds over 25 percent of total ownership. If the shell company has 100 shares that are divided equally among 10 different people, they are able to remain anonymous.

Purchase Via Wire Transfer

The government regulators are only tracking buyers who are paying by certified bank check or cash. If you pay with a wire transfer, all this can be avoided. However, there are some tight banking regulations that will require the customer be identified, as part of the “Know Your Customer” requirement.

Opt Out of the Title Insurance

There is really no comparison to a $1 million lawsuit when you have just purchased a multi-million dollar condo. While this is a rare occurrence, buyers can opt out of the title insurance completely.

Wait about Six Months

This new requirement will be effective starting March 1st and will expire on August 27th. If you are really nervous, just wait six months to make the purchase.

Buy Commercial

While this may seem obvious, the fact is, the current order only applies to the residential purchases made in Manhattan and Miami. All commercial purchases have been excluded, which means that buyers are able to purchase properties for investment while retaining a relative amount of anonymity.

For more information on luxury condos in Miami Beach for sale please contact One Sotheby’s International Realty office at (305) 336-0457.

The Real Estate Cycle in Miami for 2016

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 5th, 2016

Miami Beach condos for sale

Even though there is quite a bit of confidence among developers in Miami that the real estate market will not face much of a downturn during 2016, there are some experts who are still cautioning that the sales are going to continue to fall. This may result in some type of mild recession when December rolls around.

Prices are likely going to continue to go up – (see Miami Beach prices for condos for sale) and appreciate during the first portion of the year; however, at a rate that is much lower than usual. During the last portion of the fiscal year, the prices will likely flatten, due to an increase in inventory, as well as a slower demand from the buyers in Miami.

The Selling Trends in Miami

According to Ugo Colombo, the CEO of the CMC Group, when condo sales begin to move slower, it is a sign of a real estate market that is healthy. He also stated that this means that the market is able to level off at rates that make the progression sustainable. There is no realistic way to continue to sell 100 units each month. Currently, a healthy balance is present in the market regarding supply and demand.

Since the middle portion of 2014, the increase of foreign buyers helped to impact the condo boom. This began directly after the recession in 2008 but has now has begun to taper off because of the reduced value of foreign currency compared to the value of the U.S. dollar. However, Colombo stated that the real estate market in South Florida has gotten so diverse that it is able to successfully weather the economic issues in countries where a number of developers cull their buyers.

Foreign Investments Increasing

There are a number of people from the Middle East, Asia and Europe who are interested in buying who are new to the area, having never made a purchase in the past. The Brickell Flatiron condo project is also beginning to experience more steady sales from buyers that hail from the Caribbean, Mexico, Colombia and even domestic markets, such as New York.

The Melo Group’s Carlos Melo, which has currently developed condo and apartment projects in the Edgewater area, as well as the Arts & Entertainment District stated that there will be a consolidation seen in the South Florida real estate market for 2016.

Is an Overextension in the SoFla Condo Market Coming?

The most recent statistics that are available have indicated that the condo market in South Florida is starting to see the struggle associated with overextension. According to the report from the Association of Miami Realtors, there was a total of 14,770 condo transactions throughout November, which was down from the 17,142 that were seen in the same period the previous year.

With the sales slowing down, the total number of condo buildings that are planned or being constructed has continued to increase. There are plenty of condo towers being built currently and a number that are still in the planning and proposal phase, which means that they are likely to be developed and completed in the next few years.

Home Sales in Miami Breaking Records for 5th Year in a Row

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on March 28th, 2016

Miami Beach homes for sale

Before December, the area of Miami was on track to break the all-time home sales record with almost 13,000 homes sold. For the past five years, the Miami-Dade area has put up a home sales record that it continues to beat, year after year.

When you take a look at the sales figures that were posted in November, there is no question that this area is on track to do it, yet again.

In the previous month alone (November) the Miami-Dade area saw a total of 907 single family homes sold – see website for recent Miami home sales. This brings the total for the year to an impressive 12,857 – just through the month of November.

Setting New Records

The record for the 2014 calendar year was 13,521, which means that it will not be impossible to reach and overcome. This actually equated to 21 homes sold each day, or one home per hour for the entire month of December.

This impressive sale momentum is not going to end anytime soon, either. This trend is expected to continue moving strong well into 2016, with more developments being offered and more homes coming available.

Also, the median sales price for the single family homes in the Miami-Dade area were $274,900 back in November, which was up a total of 12.2 percent from the previous year. For the condos, the prices increased by to an average cost of $203,000, which represents a seven percent increase when compared to the same period in the previous year.

Declines in some Real Estate Sectors

Even though they are nearing the record, the residential market for the Miami-Dade County is still seeing some declines. For example, the sales that were posted for November by the Miami Association of Realtors was down by 6.7 percent when compared to the year over year numbers for the single family homes in the area. However, the number of new listings being sold is still going up. In fact, the total number of new listed single family dwellings that were listed during November was up by 3.5 percent to 1,785 from the previous year’s listings from November of 1,725.

The Thriving Condo Market

However, there is another side. The condo market in Miami-Dade has sped up in the previous months and the sales are going up with more units available than ever before. The sales for the current condos for the month of November increased by 1.9 percent from last year and jumped from just 1,077 total closings to a total of 1,097 closings this year.

There is no question that the number of new listings for condos in the Miami-Dade area is going to continue to increase. There are at least 11 projects in the planning or construction phases, which equates to almost 4,000 new units, coming in the next five to 10 years. While the increase in condos from the previous month was only 12.2 percent, this is a trend that is going to continue for the foreseeable future. While these condos are coming in quickly, they are also highly sought after, which is helping to strengthen the economy.

Home Prices in Miami Up – South Florida Construction Down

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on March 24th, 2016

Miami homes for sale

Compared to February 2015, developers in South Florida signed fewer construction contractors. This is the result of a drop-off in residential building.

According to a report from Dodge Data and Analytics, there was $405 million new residential contracts during the month of February, which represents a reduction of 60 percent from the $1.016 billion that were signed in the same month of 2015.

However, non-residential contracts were up by 17 percent during the same period of time. The construction spending totals from everything from churches to government offices reached about $289 million during November, which was up by $246 million from the previous year. The construction contracts that were signed in the month of November 2015 was $694 million, which is down by 45 percent from the $1.26 billion that was seen in November 2014.

The Beginning of the Decline

This falling trend started in October 2015, which was the month when here were also a number of significant cuts in residential building contracts. However, even with the reduction, the spending totals are still considered to be on track for outpacing 2015. Approximately $8.9 billion is being spent on building from the period of January to November, which is a growth of two percent compared to the $8.7 billion that was spent in the same months during 2015.

Continuing Trends

November also marked another month of increasing home prices in Miami Dade County – click here to see Miami homes for sale as well as sold history. This includes information in regards to sales for both distressed and non-distressed properties. What was discovered was that the prices had increased by 7.6 percent from 2014 to 2015, which was considered a substantial jump, even though the appreciating prices have begun to slow down recently.

From the months of October to November the home prices only increased by 0.5 percent, which means they remained steady.

Contributing Factors

There are a number of factors that impacted this, which included a strong demand, as well as a tight supply in a number of markets. These are all factors that have begun to contribute to the long running increase in prices and home equity, which is ideal for homeowners. However, on the flip side, the prices have outstripped some incomes for a number of years in several regions. This means in 2016, affordability is a more important factor in regards to home sales in some markets.

The overall home prices in the state of Florida, in its entirety, have actually outpaced the Miami-Dade area, which is where the most expensive homes in the state can be found. Florida witnesses an increase of 7.9 percent in the price of homes year-over-year.

Across the nation, home prices saw a similar amount of growth – the cost of homes in the U.S. rose by 6.3 percent year over year in November, and a total of 0.5 percent from the period of October to November.

December saw Impressive Home Price Growth for Miami & South Florida Real Estate

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on January 28th, 2016

Miami real estate for sale

While the residential real estate market in South Florida is experiencing a slight battle with the global economic crisis, this has not put a damper on housing prices in the region. These prices are steadily appreciating and there is no end in sight for this upward trend.

The prices for Miami and South Florida homes grew by 8.1 percent year over year in November. This data was gathered from a report published by S&P/Case Shiller.

In Palm Beach County, the median price for pre-existing single-family homes hit $305,000, which was an 11 percent increase from the previous year, even more than the average of 8.1 percent. However, there were several other areas that saw this kind of growth, as well. Broward County had a median home price that was also $305,000, which represents a seven percent increase from the prior year. This was the first time that either of these county’s crossed the threshold of $300,000 since over the summer.

Faster Growth in SoFla

This means that the tri-county area saw a faster pace of price growth than almost all of the remainder of the United States. In fact, the only areas that were ahead of South Florida were Dallas, Texas at 9.4 percent, Seattle, Washington at 9.7 percent, Denver, Colorado at 10.9 percent, San Francisco at 11 percent and Portland, Oregon at 11.1 percent.

It is not the entire economy that is suffering. In fact, the consumer portion, which includes automobile sales and housing, was actually quite strong in the previous year. In fact, this improved economy has provided homebuyers with the confidence necessary to actually enter into the market; however, there are some who have been less than overjoyed with the options available, specifically in the range of $150,000 to $400,000 homes. Thanks to strong sales in the past few years, a large number of listings have been depleted all throughout the region. The current owners are still unable or unwilling to test the market, with some not understanding what they could actually get for their home currently.

Economic Struggles in Miami

However, other parts of the economy are not doing quite as well. For example, businesses in the energy and oil sectors have begun to suffer from the significant drop in oil costs over the past 18 months. The strong buying power of the U.S. dollar is also resulting in slower exports. Unfortunately, the housing market is not big enough to help and offset these weak areas.

In December, the national housing market also saw a number of similar gains. In fact, prices increased by 5.3 percent year over year, which accelerated quite a bit from the 5.1 percent jump seen in October.

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Home Prices in Miami-Dade Grow Yet Again

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on December 14th, 2015

Miami homes for sale

The average home price in Miami-Dade County grew yet again in August, 2015, albeit at a slower pace compared last year’s growth. CoreLogic – a business and real estate analysis firm – reported that residential prices grew 7.4% in August compared to the same time last year. This number includes distressed properties. That statistic represents a slight decline from the previous month, during which home prices went up by 7.9% year-over-year.

In real numbers, the rise looks like this – the median selling price for single-family homes was $250,000 in August of 2014, and rose to $260,500 in August 2015. Condos enjoyed an even more drastic increase in median selling price, from $182,000 in 2014 to $204,000 in 2015.

In addition to price growth, sellers have been getting closer to their asking price than in 2014. The average selling price compared to list price was 96.1%, which represents a .7% increase year-over-year from 2014.

Even Slow Growth Is Good

As mortgage rates go up and single-family home inventory increases, the report predicts that the growth rate will continue its slowing trend. Experts, however, emphasize that this leveling off isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

2013 and 2014 brought with them a real estate boom that caused double-digit prices increases, which is generally regarded as unsustainable over the long-term. Part of the reason for that boom was high activity on the part of foreign investors; due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, their buying power has been subdued. The gradually slowing growth simply represents a shift from an extremely frenetic real estate market pace to a brisk, healthy pace.

Across Florida, home prices went up by 8.1% during August, when compared year-over-year. According to CoreLogic’s report, the national growth rate was slightly lower at 6.9%.

Only a few other areas across the nation showed stronger housing price appreciation than Miami:
• San Francisco – 10.7%
• Denver – 10.7%
• Dallas – 8.9%
• Portland, OR – 9.4%
• Seattle – 7.6%

According to CoreLogic CEO and president Anand Nallathambi, prices in these metropolitan areas “remain very strong reflecting higher demand and constrained supplies.” Adding to this, Nallathambi pointed out, “Continued gains in employment, wage growth and historically low mortgage rates are bolstering home sales and home price gains. In addition, an increasing number of major metropolitan areas are experiencing ever-more severe shortfalls in affordable housing due to supply constraints and higher rental costs. These factors will likely support continued home price appreciation in 2016 and possibly beyond.”

Sales Growth Slows Down

On the sales rate side of things growth has also slowed, partially due to an influx of new condo developments (see all Miami pre-contruction condos here) which refreshes inventory, giving buyers more choices. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, an organization boasting 38,000 members, residential sales in Miami-Dade County rose nearly 3% in August, from 2409 the year before to 2479. There was a minor 1% decrease in single-family home sales year-over-year when compared to August 2014, going from 1157 to 1145. Condo sales increased for that same month year-over-year, from 1252 to 1334.

Despite the slight decline in rate of growth, the fact remains that the Miami real estate market continues to enjoy steady growth, which is a healthy indicator for an area undergoing much construction and reshaping.

How Miami’s Economy Has Become Dependent on Brazil

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

Miami real estate Brazil

There are more than 44,000 Brazilians living in Miami, not including tourists. Brazilian buying power has increased over the last several years, giving a boost to Miami’s economy. Real estate plays a pivotal role as 11% of all international deals are with Brazilians. They are also known to spend more on average per property according to NAR research.

Miami-Brazil Connection

South Florida by the Numbers is a column that reports real estate statistics in Miami (see Miami real estate website here). This column reported on the “Miami-Brazil Connection” and its future in light of Brazil’s economic downturn.

Here are a few of those statistics:

• Brazil is ranked number one for searching for real estate online in South Florida. In the last 18 months, Brazil has topped the list for all but three months. Brazilians spend the most on South Florida properties, averaging $495,000, compared to other international buyers.

• Brazil’s currency is dropping in the exchange rate. According to the Miami Harold, investors may begin to look elsewhere for properties that are less expensive. Brazil’s currency, the real, has dropped by 30% since last year. The Dow Jones is estimating that Brazil’s gross domestic product will decrease by 1.01% in 2015.

• There is an amazing amount of millionaires coming out of Brazil each week. Twenty-two new millionaires each week and many are finding homes and opportunities in Miami. It was only five years ago that Miami was in the real estate crisis and Brazil’s economy was beginning to grow. In 2015, Brazilians account for most of the cash purchases made in real estate in Miami.

• Giraffas Brazilian Grill has ten franchises in Florida with a goal to bring 150 stores across the nation by 2020. This fast growing company is helping to boost the economy in Miami. Giraffas has given Re/Max Advance Realty the exclusive power to handle lease negotiations, site selections, and market studies, among other tasks crucial to opening franchises during a dramatic growth period.

• The New York-based company, HFZ Capital Group, purchased the Shore Club for $175.3 million. Plans to reopen the hotel and residences are underway. The opening is set for the end of 2017 under the new name Fasano Hotel and Residences. This will be the first hotel opened in the United States by this brand as they currently own and operate four hotels and fifteen restaurants.

Brazil’s Economic Future

Brazil’s economic upturn helped to rebuild Miami after the real estate crisis. However, experts worry that Brazil’s upcoming economic troubles may fall over onto Miami like a domino effect. As President Dilma Rouseff faces impeachment and the economy falls into a recession, the unemployment rate skyrockets in Brazil.

The Miami Harold reports that in the first nine months of 2015, as many as 657,761 people lost their jobs. Even worse, it is forecasted that 1.5 million more Brazilians will lose their jobs in the remainder of 2015.

Miami Home Sales Break Records over the Summer

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2015

Miami homes for sale

This past June was a record breaker for home sales in Miami. 1,390 single-family homes were sold. This was a record-breaking month as the highest month totaled 1,310 in June 2005. The month of July 2015 closed almost as many with 1,354 homes sold.

This is exciting news in the market as the prices for these homes have continued to rise year-over-year. Currently the price for a single-family home in Miami is up 8.6% and up 2.6% for condos. A single-family home that may have sold before for $255,950 is now $278,000. Condos that sold for $190,000 will now sell for $195,000.

Miami condos this summer also saw an increase in sales growing 4.8% year-over-year. 1,471 condos sold in July compared to last year’s number of 1,403.

This rise in home sales is thought to be from the city’s improving job market and low mortgage rates. Christopher Zoller, the 2015 Residential President of Miami Association of Realtors, refers to Miami as being “a global city with the second largest financial hub in the country.”

Mortgage Loans

The interest rate is down for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. In July 2014, the rate was 4.13%. In July 2015, it had dropped to 4.05%.

The Miami Association of Realtors had this to say about mortgage loans in Miami in a recent report, “Despite the rise in sales, access to mortgage loans for existing condominium buyers remains limited. The lack of Federal Housing Administration loans for a large number of existing Miami condominium buildings is preventing further market strengthening.”

“Of the 8,523 condominium buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, only 29 are approved for FHA loans, according to statistics released earlier this year from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and FHA.” The statement goes on to report that only 0.0034% of local condos are approved for FHA loans. The U.S. average is 30%.

More Affordable Condos

Although the prices have seen increase year-over-year when compared to condominiums in global cities, Miami’s condos are quite affordable. A Miami condo which sells for $149,900 is comparable to condos in London ($960,840), Hong Kong ($776,280), and New York ($1.6 million).

The homes tend to sell near asking price. The Miami Association of Realtors reports that the average amount of days on market is only 41, compared to 43 in July 2014. The original list price received was 95.6%. As for condominiums, the days on market remained at 59, the same as July 2014 and the average list price received was 93.8%.

Cash Buyers

Cash purchases accounted for 48.2% of total home sales in July 2015. The national average is 23% in comparison. Miami’s number of high cash purchases is due to the fact the city attracts international buyers that tend to purchase properties in cash, according to the report.

The outlook for the housing market continues to be bright as increases in home sales continue despite the lack of FHA and price increases.

Phil Collins Buys Jennifer Lopez’s Home in Miami Beach

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on October 28th, 2015

Miami Beach property for sale

To say that Miami Beach is popular with celebrities would be a massive understatement. Songs have been written about Miami, celebrities are always enjoying the entertainment and nightlife, spending time on the beaches, and thinking about buying a home in the area. Even though they might live in Hollywood or as far away as England, having a property in Miami Beach is more than just a status symbol. It’s a place to call home when visiting one of the most vibrant cities on the planet.

Phil Collins Buys Miami Beach Home

Miami Beach homes for sale

You know Phil Collins from his work with Genesis, as well as his solo work. He’s one of the most famous and successful singer/songwriter musicians in the world with hits ranging from “Invisible Touch”, “Land of Confusion”, “Another Day in Paradise”, and “Groovy Kind of Love”. He also happens to love the United States almost as much as his homeland of England. That has led him to buy a fantastic property located in Miami Beach that once belonged to another famous face – Jennifer Lopez.

Collins bought the mansion on North Bay Road, and he paid a hefty $33 million for the property. He bought the property from Mark Gainor, a healthcare executive, who bought it from Lopez in 2005. At that time, the Gainors paid $13.9 million for the mansion. Collins closed on the sale in early June.

What Does the Property Offer?

The mansion is extremely large for starters. It is 12,153 square feet and offers seven bedrooms. In addition, it has eight full bathrooms and three half bathrooms. It also features a Jacuzzi and a pool. The home has some lovely modern features thanks to updates, even though it was built in 1929. One of the best features of the property is that it offers 200 feet of waterfront right on Biscayne Bay.

Another nice feature is that it is on enough land to provide some privacy for Collins. One of the problems with many homes bought by celebrities is that they don’t actually have enough privacy. They are willing to pay more for that added sense of security and privacy.

It’s a mansion for sure, and it takes someone with the status and money of Phil Collins to get into a property like this. The location, along with the property features, helps to make it well worth the price tag. It also shows just how strong the market is in Miami right now. When there are homes in South Florida that are routinely selling for more than tens of millions, it shows that people see just how much potential the area has. Many buyers from other countries, like Collins, love Miami and know that the property has the potential to go even higher.

In the future, you can expect to see even more celebrities purchasing homes in Miami Beach and the surrounding area. The city is only getting more popular, and that means the rich and famous will be spending more time here.