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.

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.

Chinese Interest Growing in South Florida Real Estate

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

Miami preconstruction condos

While Latin American investors have begun to decline in South Florida, there is a new player that is quickly emerging to take their place – China. In fact, their potential is so great that many firms are taking serious steps to accommodate these new investors.

• Shanjie Li, from Da Tang Group, has created a campaign specifically to attract Chinese investors. The campaign is designed to generate interest through opening a Cantonese restaurant for high-end tastes, as well as other areas of focus to generate greater interest in spas, condos, and shops that he plans to develop – all in an effort to make SoFla a welcoming haven for affluent investors from China. His plans include:

o A luxury Chinese restaurant in the Four Ambassadors building
o Condos geared towards business professionals
o A wellness center for those needing pampering and retirees
o A Doral-based golf community for Chinese vacationers
Paramount Miami Worldcenter, a tower of signature luxury condos located in downtown Miami that is scheduled to open by 2018, has Feng Shui consultants on staff to assist with project design to increase Chinese interest, and even removing numbers from floors and units that the Chinese avoid in their culture.

The two towers of the Estates at Aqualina, which was developed by the Trump Group, named both towers using numbers that are considered lucky in Chinese culture. Countless other brokers and developers are taking major steps to attract Chinese buyers, including translating brochures into several different Chinese dialects, wooing potential buyers by visiting Shanghai and Beijing.

There are also many other developers and brokers that are following these footsteps to capture the interest and potential cash that Chinese investors are expected to spend in South Florida.

Why the Heavy Focus?

SoFla is a gorgeous location that already caters to the elite that can afford the multi-million dollar trophy homes, but many firms have noticed a sharp increase in interest from Chinese buyers. Additionally, these buyers are paying cash, and that is worth all of the effort going into attracting them. So far, the Paramount location has received 20 reservations from Chinese investors, all of them prior to the official open of the project.

The Ritz-Carrolton Residences that are located on Singer Island have already sold seven units, in addition to three others at the Miami Beach location to investors from China. There are also many other locations in the region that have noticed an upswing in interest and purchases by Chinese buyers, and nearly all of them are for million dollar homes.

There is no denying that there is a trend in both the Chinese interest and purchases of luxury homes in South Florida (click here to view listings), and brokers and developers are doing everything they can to continue to push sales.

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/

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.

Bollywood Actress and Producer Buys Second Unit at Miami Beach EDITION

By Sunny Isles Real Estate Expert on February 10th, 2015

Miami Beach condos for sale

Famed Bollywood actress and producer Poonam Khubani, best known for Aryan: Unbreakable and Star of Jaipur, as well as being vice president of Telebrands, seems to love Miami Beach. (See Condos For Sale on Miami Beach) She recently purchased a second unit, number 1602, at the beautiful Miami Beach EDITION. Khubani paid $17.5 million for first unit she bought, number 1601, and $16.5 million for this latest unit. Because the two units are next to one another, most are speculating that they will actually combine them into one massive unit. However, the actual plans are still unknown.

Poonam Khubani is one of the most successful women in the world, and was actually named as on the list of Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of New Jersey thanks to her business savvy and success across a number of fields. While she is a popular actress and producer, much of the money and success comes from Telebrands, the company she owns and runs with her husband, A.J. Khubani. Telebrands is the “As Seen on TV” company that’s behind many of those infomercials that air for a range of different products, such as Flip Jack Pan and PedEgg.

What Makes the EDITION Popular With the Rich and Famous?

Why would someone with the wealth and power of Khubani want to live at the residences at the Miami Beach EDITION? The reason is simple. All of the units exude true elegance, and it is the epitome of living in luxury. Buyers can choose from penthouses, two-bedroom duplexes, three-bedroom duplexes, triplexes, and one-bedroom residences. The building features only 26 units though. This means that those who are fortunate enough to get into the property will actually have more privacy than they might find at some of the other buildings in the Miami Beach area.

The staff at the building can offer a range of different services as well, including housekeeping, room service, concierge service, and even taking care of daily tasks such as shopping for groceries. Residents will have all of their needs attended to at the EDITION.

The residents will have access to the features and amenities at the hotel, round the clock security, access to the business center and meeting rooms, access to the restaurant and bars at the hotel, the fitness center, massage and spa services and much more to help make the lives of the residences more enjoyable.

All of the units at the EDITION are designed by John Pawson, one of the most famous architects in the world. Each of the units is unique. They have large living areas and floor to ceiling windows. They offer large balconies and terraces, as well as the best appliances, cabinetry, counters, flooring and features that money can buy.

With all of the features and amenities at the building, it’s easy to see why someone with the status of Khubani would want to own property there. It has a fantastic location, the space and the amenities that she and her husband need, and it really does act as something of a status symbol as well.

Dollar Gains Strength and the United States Economy Continues to Rise

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

Over the past couple of years, the United States has been coming out of the dismal recession that bogged the country down for so long. The value of the dollar is again on the rise, and other areas of the economy are showing some great improvements as well. The U.S. dollar actually rose to the highest point in five years recently, and that’s good news for investors in a host of different areas, including real estate. With the value of the dollar higher, it could mean that it’s possible to buy quality real estate, which also has the potential to keep rising in value.

Will the Trend Continue?

Most of the experts feel that the trend of the rising dollar will continue through most of 2015, even though there could be some slight rises and falls along the way. One of the reasons they believe this is that the economy outside of the United States is actually doing poorly. It will cost countries that buy exports from the United States more money to buy the goods they need, and this will help to improve the country’s economy further. Some worry that the strength of the dollar could actually cause more financial problems around the world. They fear that some banks in other countries could actually go into default because of this.

The United States has struggled in recent years to improve the economy at all levels, but things do seem to be going much better for the nation right now. In November alone, another 321,000 people became employed – and this was outside of the agricultural sector. This is the biggest jump in employment since 2012, which is another good sign that things are heading in the right direction. The expected number of jobs was only 230,000. The addition of nearly 100,000 extra was something of a surprise. Right now the unemployment rate is at 5.8%. While it could stand to go lower, this is the lowest it has been in eight years.

Other countries around the world are simply not growing at the same rate as the U.S., and that’s causing those nations, many of which are rivals, to start to fall behind. Europe, India, and China are all starting to fall behind.

The Interest Rates May Rise in the Coming Year

Experts also feel that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates in 2015, as this will help to reduce the risk of inflation. However, it was lowered despite all the predictions and looks like it is not going anywhere any time soon. There has not been an interest hike since 2008, when the country was in the grip of a recession. Therefore, this is probably the best time to make large purchases, such as with real estate.

To view real estate opportunities in Miami – CLICK HERE

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.