South Florida Home Price Growth Is Slowing

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2015

Miami real estate

While the homes in South Florida have seen nearly continual increases over recent years, a new analysis by RealtyTrac shows that those rises are starting to slow. The analysis showed that while home prices increases grew by 20 percent year over year in 2013, they dropped to only 10% in February of this year.

While Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale also saw the same drop to only a 10% increase, this is actually reflected on a national level as well, with other major cities seeing the same rates of slowing appreciation. Overall, however, some experts feel that this decline is not necessarily a bad thing.

Potential Issues with Continued Increases

Ob Jacobi, who is the president of Windermere Real Estate in Seattle explained that “if homes were to continue appreciating in the double digits for too long, we could run into the same boom/boost market of years past”. Considering that the wages have not kept up with the increases in home prices, this may be a very true statement in Miami. The report also indicates that future expectations for home prices is that they will rise only single digits, rather than the double digits that realtors and investors have come to expect in the area.

Other Statistics

The report also provided other notable statistics as well. While average home prices have seen a decrease, those that have a $1 million price tag or higher have actually increased in the percentage of sales by 4.25%, which is higher than the previous year’s 3.46%.

The report also showed a few interesting changes in median home prices and foreclosed properties. As of February, the US median home price was $183,000, which is an increase of 14% over the previous year. Foreclosed property prices also increased by 17%, leading to an average price of $127,000. This jump shows that the previous savings seen on foreclosed properties after the 2013 mass distressed buying is waning, which will also help slow appreciation levels down to single digits as home buying returns to a more even market.

New Highs in Other Cities

While Miami and a majority of other major metropolitan areas saw decreases in home prices, there are others that fared much better. Denver, Colorado, San Jose, California and Austin, Texas all saw historic median home price increases over the last year.

Increase Drivers in Miami

The reason that there is not much concern over the 50% decrease in Miami is simple. The boom in Miami luxury condos and residences, many of which were purchased with foreign cash, is one of the main reasons the home prices were increasing so dramatically. As these multi-million dollar homes were moving in and being sold, it was driving the prices of single-family homes up, as well. This was since many middle-class residents started moving further inland.

Even with these on-going changes, there is little doubt that the Miami real estate market is still growing strong, and as far as luxury homes go, doesn’t show any sign of slowing in the near future.

Foreign Real Estate Investors in the US

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on August 13th, 2015

Miami condos for sale

The top five foreign retail investors in United States real estate have invested over $17 billion as of the first quarter in 2015, but the numbers show that Singapore is overall leader.

First Quarter Investments

Real estate in the US has become a major investment for foreign countries, with Manhattan proving to be the most popular choice. The current NGKF Capital Markets report shows the breakdown of the more than $17 billion, and the results are surprising:

• Germany – $1.4 billion
• Australia – $1.7 billion
• China – $2.5 billion
• Canada – $3.6 billion
• Singapore – $8.1 billion

Singapore’s massive investment is staggering on its own, but considering they did not make it to the top five list at all in 2014, these rankings become even more impressive. At the current investment pace, and with Singapore’s stunning investment increase, 2015 could prove to be a record year for foreign real estate investment.

Manhattan Foreign Investment

Even though Singapore has seen a drastic increase in their US real estate investments, they don’t come close to any of the other major players when it comes to investing in Manhattan. A majority of the top five, as well as several other countries, spend their money in Manhattan, which made up 31.6 percent of the overall foreign investment capital. Over the past 12 months, investments in the city are as follows:

• Malaysia – 2.4%
• Germany – 3.3%
• Qatar – 3.7%
• Japan – 5.3%
• Brazil – 5.8%
• Norway – 12.3%
• Canada – 25.6%
• China – 26.6%

China and Canada are the foremost investors in Manhattan, and they have made a number of lucrative investments in premier skyscrapers in the city. January saw the Ivanhoe Cambridge investment firm spending $2.2 billion on the 3 Bryant Park office building in a deal with Blackstone. During the month of February, the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group closed a deal on the iconic Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion, making it the largest single Manhattan property investment for China.

Record New York Investment Levels Expected

According to the Preqin research firm, sovereign wealth funds have already shown a major increase in investments in the past year, with a staggering $6.31 billion growth. New York’s, and most importantly, Manhattan’s, popularity as an investment destination for sovereign wealth funds has already climbed to over $2 billion within the past 12 months. Those figures are expected to continue rising.

New York’s popularity as an investment destination is based on two things: its stability overall, and its ability to soak up massive sums of money quickly. Recent purchases in the Big Apple, such as the Norway-based Norges Bank Investment Management investing $1.74 billion in office buildings and the $337 million investment by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority on the Ian Schrager New York Edition Hotel, are impressive. These investments, along with others that are currently in negotiations, show that there is plenty of potential for a major increase in the amount of money that could be heading into New York in the coming year from foreign investments.

The Retro Revival of MiMo – The Miami Modern Biscayne Boulevard District

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on July 31st, 2015

Miami real estate

MiMo is the name given to the Miami Modern Biscayne Boulevard Historic District, but it also describes the architecture found in the area between 50th and 77th streets that were built between the late 1940s and early 1970s as well. While the motels lining this strip were once the chosen locales for prostitutes and drug dealers, it has now become one of the hippest areas in Miami’s Upper Eastside. (See properties for sale in the area – http://www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com/Design-District/)

Leading the Way

The force behind this once downtrodden area becoming the MiMo hotspot it is today is former Miami Beach residents who’ve decided that home ownership and a yard to call their own is a better option than a beachside condo. Along with them are plenty of boutique and shop owners, modern office spaces, trendy new restaurants and period hotels that are transforming Biscayne Boulevard.

MiMo Players

There are a number of buyers and developers snapping up spaces or putting down roots in the MiMo district who want rehabilitate these retro locations, and change the perception of Biscayne Boulevard in the process. One of the major players in Avra Jain, whose purchases and renovations started with Vagabond Hotel. Since that purchase in 2012, she has spent over $12 million on real estate in the area, as well as untold renovation costs.

Greenstreet Real Estate Partners, which is a real estate investment fund valued at $1.5 billion, is another developer making strides in the area, with over $14 million spent on office properties and retail space.

The MiMo Attraction

So why are all these developers and transplants choosing a retro-revival of the Miami Modern District? Because the current costs of buying and renting are still a relative bargain. However, with the influx of interest in the area, rent has gone up as well for retail space. With a 50% increase throughout the area over the last three years, it has left some worried that the increased prices and the costs of renovation will eventually drive rents too high, and force businesses to close that can’t charge enough to offset the increasing costs.

Others in the area disagree with this fear, as they believe that the purchases are based on actual business plans, rather than simple speculation, and a desire to return Biscayne to its former glory.

Changes from 51st Street to 77th Street

Biscayne Boulevard has become an investment retro-revival from 51st Street all the way to 77th, with investors and developers truly trying to make a difference in the area. In addition to Jain’s Vagabond Hotel, there are 16 other major properties along the Boulevard that are either in the process of being renovated, have already undergone renovation, or are slated for building to start in the near future. All of this shows that there are plenty of people and residents that are discovering MiMo, and doing their best to return it to something more than its former glory. With all the changes, and the numerous businesses and developers flocking to the area, it’s clear that this is one area that is worth watching and considering.

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.

In France, the Response to South Florida is a Resounding “Oui!”

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 29th, 2015

Miami condo for sale

Miami-Dade County has become a hotspot for foreign buyers from all over the world, but the France is sitting in the top spot when it comes to European countries whose citizens are taking a very close look at what South Florida real estate (see website here) has to offer.

While France has taken notice of South Florida, realtors and developers have noticed the interest as well, and they are certainly playing into it. So much so, that ONE Sotheby’s International and Century 21 both use Janet Choynowski’s website Real-Buzz.com to translate their listings into French so that potential buyers can search for homes in their native language.

French Search Patterns

Choynowski, who has researched the nationalities using her site, has also tracked their search their patterns. What she discovered about the French searchers was that they are generally males that are interested in sports. Additionally, most of them also began their searches by checking out a few properties in California. After that, the searchers ended up looking at properties in Florida. Another interesting thing about those Florida searches: there were also more page views on properties in the area, as well.

US Interest

It isn’t a secret that foreigners have an interest in the US. After all, there is plenty to offer. However, the main draw from the searches revolves around the weather and waterfront. Warm sunny climates and waterfront locations garner more interest, and of those, South Florida is the hands down winner in France and among other international potential homebuyers.

Another part of the interest is based on the types of outdoor amenities that are offered by the properties. Paramount Miami Worldcenter, which is a current project that is being brokered by OneWorld Properties, is a location that caters to those desires. This condo tower is a total of 60 stories, and it will include a number of outdoor amenities, including pools, a running area, a soccer field, and tennis courts in the ninth floor recreation deck. Additionally, the floor will also be home to 12 two-story Balinese-style villas that are situated among water features and pools. The final outdoor space attraction is the outdoor living rooms that replace the traditional balconies.

Foreign buyers have shown interest in the Worldcenter, and currently, 15% of the total reservations made since sales launched have been European natives.

Euro Value

Another major consideration for European buyers is the value of their own euro, which is decreasing. When these buyers invest in properties or second homes in areas like South Florida, they are able to preserve their fortunes, despite the lowering in value of their own currency. As the interest in South Florida continues, it is also easy to see that these investments are lucrative, as home sale prices continue to increase, as do the number of home sales that are all cash. Again, a vast majority of these are buyers that are coming from all over Europe, and this is not a trend that is showing any signs of decreasing in the coming year.

Faena Miami Beach Developments Expanding

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on June 20th, 2015

Faena Miami Beach

Hotelier Alan Faena has announced that there will be two more additions to his Faena Miami Beach, bringing the total up to three condominium towers, a retail and event complex and a hotel that are all being pitched by Faena as an arts hub. Each tower will be designed around its own concept, providing additional luxury that meets varying tastes.

Faena Contemporary

Faena Contemporary, which is expected for occupancy in 2017, will feature 41 units. The luxury residences will be from 1,111 square feet up to as large as 5,469 square feet. The units will be available with one to five bedrooms. There will also be two different penthouses that will be more than 8,000 square feet. One of the penthouses will also include a rooftop deck of 6,600 square feet, and an infinity pool that is 2,097 square feet.

Faena Versailles Classic

The second of these two towers is the Faena Versailles Classic, which is located at 35th and Collins Avenue in the former Versailles Hotel. This tower was designed by William Sofield, and will feature 22 units.

Each unit provides a wealth of amenities, with gorgeous ocean views in every unit. The condos will also feature customized bathrooms and kitchens. Each unit will range from 1,034 to 2,743 square feet, with one to four bedrooms. There will also be two duplex penthouses with a square footage of up to 7,300.

Even with the renovations, the 1940s-era façade, custom chandeliers, terrazzo flooring and the grand lobby are all being preserved to add to the classic feel.

The Faena Contemporary and the Versailles Classic will also have a range of amenities, including gardens designed by Raymond Jungles, two gyms, valet parking, storage space, and a preferred status to of areas of the Faena district.

The units will only be available through the Douglas Elliman sales and marketing firm, with prices that will range from a minimum of $3 million up to over $50 million.

Faena’s Vision

Faena’s vision is to do the same in Miami that he did in Buenas Aires, which was to create a neighborhood that was a mix of art, architecture, taste and, of course, food. The Miami Beach project is Faena’s dream to take the area from a sleepy one into an epicenter for the city, with efforts towards its art hub development.

Interestingly, the normally difficult to deal with historic preservationists and planners are all behind Faena’s dream as well. His goals of combining the contemporary designs of his buildings with a MiMo design that pays homage to the roots of the architecture in Miami Beach.

In all, this dream and project that Faena is creating in Collins will cost an estimated $750 million by the time it is all completed. With a focus on art, and a family friendly walking environment that will replace the currently traffic-choked area, Faena hopes to recreate Puerto Madero magic in Miami. They imagine a neighborhood which will combine art, luxuriousness, old and new architecture, and a touch of old world glamour all into a single neighborhood.

Palazzo del Sol Penthouse Sells for Record-Breaking $35 Million

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on May 18th, 2015

fisher island condo for sale

Exclusive Fisher Island real estate, which is home to a number of CEOs, athletes, billionaires, and stars from over 45 different countries that make up its 675 families, ranks as one of the highest per capita income zip codes in the US. It is to be expected that there are going to be some pricey homes in the area. However, even the residents who are accustomed to luxe homes and posh surroundings were impressed by the Palazzo del Sol penthouse that recently sold for a record-breaking $35 million.

Highest Island Sale Ever Recorded

The Palazzo del Sol, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2016, is a 47-unit tower and the first new construction in the area in over 7 years. The units are currently 47% under contract, and the buyers are from locations all over the world including Spain, London, Mexico, New York, Turkey, Venezuela, and Brazil. Penthouse 2 was purchased by a Russian buyer, who paid $3,602 for each square foot of the 9,715 square foot space. This is more than 2.5 times higher than previously recorded record sale, which was $13.5 million for a 6,170-square foot penthouse that had been built in 1992 and owned by Oprah Winfrey.

The $35 million penthouse #2 is one of three available in the space, and has many amenities, including:

• A private elevator
• 18-foot windows that provide panoramic views that include South Beach, the skyline of Miami, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Biscayne Bay
• An open floor plan
• Seven bedrooms
• Seven and a half bathrooms
• A theater
• An exercise room
• A bar and lounge
• Separate family and dining rooms
• Four terraces
• A zero-edge swimming pool
• Outdoor entertaining areas and a summer kitchen designed by Enea

The kitchen and bathrooms are Boffi, and include SubZero, Duravit, Dornbracht, and Gaggenau fixtures. Together, the combined indoor and outdoor spaces total 8,595 square feet.
The Palazzo del Sol itself is also designed to provide luxury and amenities that are meant to impress. These include a The Wright Fit fitness center, a hair and makeup salon, cinema style theater, professional fur storage, two lobbies, an aperitivo bar, private massage rooms, Kidville playroom, and integrated media meeting rooms.

Fisher Island itself has undergone $60 million in renovations to locations such as the Vanderbilt Mansion, the oceanfront Beach Club, and a wealth of additional amenities that include a championship P.B. Dye professional golf course, marinas, and a Spa Internazionale, which have all gone to attract even more of the international spotlight.

However, the addition of the Palazzo del Sol is adding to that international appeal and according to the leader of pre-construction sales for the development, Dora Puig, it is also “reasserting its position at the top of South Florida’s trophy real estate market”.

While the $35 million penthouse is in a class of its own, the rest of the units in the tower start at $5 million, which is none too shabby for the Fisher Island locale. With these prices, the island just might be making its comeback. See all condos on Fisher Island currently available for sale here: http://www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com/South-Beach/Fisher-Island/

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/

High Priced Housing Leads to Big Money

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on April 22nd, 2015

Miami real estate for sale

Over the course of the past few years, some people were able to take the rough real estate market and make the most out of it. A great example of this is Jeff Greene, who became a billionaire during the recession. He was able to foresee that a number of homeowners would not be able to make their payments and would eventually default on their mortgages. This allowed him to know which homes to buy and then resell. While it was a dark time for real estate during the economic downturn, things are different now, and Greene has a very different take on the field. He believes things will continue to get better, and that the area will be able to sustain the higher prices for homes today.

Greene’s Road to Wealth

Greene owns a number of luxury hotels, including the Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa, and is working on developing even more, including two 30-story towers in downtown Miami. They would be hotels as well as condos, and he feels that the influx of wealth to the area will certainly be able to support the continued real estate growth.

Mr. Greene is not only investing in the Miami area though – see Miami real estate here. He also has property in other prime parts of the country, including a 25-acre property in Beverly Hills, CA. He’s been working on improving the opulent home and making it something truly special. It is 35,000 square feet and has 12 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, and two kitchens. In addition, it is in a prime location and has some great views of Los Angeles. It offers even more including a garage that can hold up to 24 cars, a bowling alley, a rotating dance floor, and a vineyard. This is appropriate, since the wine cellar is able to hold up to 1,000 bottles.

He’s been building the estate for seven years, and he finally put it on the market. The asking price for the property is $195 million. This makes it potentially the most expensive public listing in the nation right now. Mr. Greene feels that the price is reasonable though, considering what the buyer will be getting, as well as the location.

Last year, there were only three properties in the US that sold for greater than $100 million, so selling the $195 million property in Beverly Hills may seem as though it will be a bit difficult. Greene feels that the property will sell though, and he believes that the probable buyer would be a sheikh or a Russian oligarch. It could also be a billionaire from China who wants a property in the United States. Greene believes that new wealth is coming to the US, and that the house will surely sell.

If his history is any indicator, then he’s probably right. He’s known as a very crafty investor, and he never spends his money unwisely. He looks toward the future and tries to predict the outcomes of the real estate market – www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate.com, and it has served him well thus far.

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.