Miami condo sales rise in July - August 18, 2011 04:30PM

Sales of existing single-family homes rose 47 percent in the Miami metropolitan area in July, from 593 to 873, according to the Miami Association of Realtors and the local Multiple Listing Service. Sales of existing condominiums increased 33 percent, from 837 to 1,110, compared to July 2010.

Statewide sales increased 12 percent to 13,874 for single-family homes as well as 12 percent to 5,904 for condominiums compared to July 2010. Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops decreased 3.5 percent from June but were 21 percent above July 2010.

"While local housing inventory has declined dramatically over the last three years, the local market still offers opportunities for all types buyers and competitive pricing compared to many U.S. and international markets," said said Jack Levine, chairman of the realtor association.

The median sales price of single-family homes in June decreased 8 percent to $182,400 from a year earlier. The median sales price of condominiums increased 8 percent to $118,800. -- Katherine Clarke

With the stock market suffering extreme sell off and inflation on the horizon, its time to take some money and put it into an area that is on fire.

Miami Home Sales Jump 49 Percent - August 11, 2011 10:30AM

A home for sale in Key Biscayne

Single family and condominium sales in Miami jumped 49 percent in the second quarter, with a total  of 6,768 sales, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. "Miami sales have increased consistently for nearly three years," said Jack Levine, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors. "Residential sales exceeded last year's levels, which were boosted by the homebuyer tax credit. International buyers and investors continue to fuel the Miami real estate market unlike any other in the U.S." The median sales price in Miami-Dade county fell to $178,800 in the first quarter, according to the report. -- Alexander Britell
Tags: miami association of realtors jack levine 

July 28, 2011

End of Buyer's Market in Miami for High End Real Estate  

The secret is out-with the article in NY Times, the whole world knows that Miami is on fire. When reading the article below understand that there are very separate markets in Miami-the high end and then everyone else. The media has had this confused for a long time and people who are not familiar with this market get mixed up and put it all in the same frame of reference. That is why many of you have missed the bottom even though I tried my best to accurately convey what was happening here for last 18 months. In the article below, when Jack McCabe talks about day of reckoning, he is not speaking about the high end so do not misinterpret. The high end foreclosures have flushed through for the most part and 99.9% who bought in the new buildings bought for cash. The next thing that will happen is that banks will start lending which will push prices much higher as many more people will be able to participate.

I sent you all my recommendation to get ready to buy and projected pricing for Trump Hollywood 3 months before release. I sent recommendation and pricing for Trump Towers two months before release. I sent recommendation and pricing for Vizcayne six months ago when it was Everglades on the Bay and we could have gotten at $270/sq. ft. I sent out Apogee Beach a week before release-now already oversold. I am recommending Paramount on the Bay and am trying to get pricing before release for you.

It is time to lock in and buy as prices are steadily increasing and inventory is decreasing. With the widening of the Panama Canal, the coming of the largest Asian casino operator, the Miami airport leaders working on getting direct air routes from Miami to Bombay, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Beijing, and many production and entertainment companies coming here-this place is going to explode. With that said, I am calling the end of the buyer's market and the beginning of a more equal market in high-end real estate in Miami.

I am advocating buying only certain properties in certain areas-and so far have been right on the money. Call me to discuss what may work best for you. You may reach me on my cell at 786-877-1020 or go to my site the site is being revamped but most pertinent information is there and you can do property searches. Contact me directly for most recent pricing on The St. Regis, Vizcayne, Trump Hollywood, Trump Towers, and Paramount on the Bay.


Article: Affluent Buyers Reviving Market for Miami Homes - By DAVID STREITFELD
Published: July 26, 2011


Business Day

MIAMI — South Florida is the default capital of the country. Here in Miami-Dade County, one out of five households with mortgages is in foreclosure. Nearby Broward and Palm Beach counties are not far behind. Nearly 200,000 South Florida families are stuck in the mire of default.
Enlarge This Image

John Van Beekum for The New York Times

Grant Stern was forced to downsize when his landlord sold his three-bedroom condo, but he pays more in rent for a two-bedroom.
And yet much of Miami is gripped by a housing mania as the oversupply of distressed homes dries up and foreigners and investors swoon. Only a few years after it seemed there were so many unwanted high-rise condominiums that the only solution was to tear some of them down, there are plans to build even more.
Home sales in the metropolitan area during the first half of the year rose 16 percent from 2010 for the best spring since 2007, according to the research firm DataQuick, far outpacing the negligible growth in the rest of the country. Two-thirds of the sales were all cash.
Prices, after a brutal drop, are firming up or even increasing. During the first six months of the year, there were 439 sales for at least $2 million, up 13 percent from last year.
“People thought it would take at least a decade to get back to this point,” said Peter Zalewski, founder of Condo Vultures, a real estate consultant.
Gil Dezer, who co-developed the beachfront Trump Towers, saw 90 percent of the buyers in the project’s uncompleted second and third buildings abandon their deposits in the crash. Last week, Mr. Dezer achieved a milestone: he sold enough condos to pay off the $265 million mortgage on the property. Only about 12 percent of the apartments remain.
“The Brazilians walk in, they don’t even negotiate,” said Mr. Dezer, who said he would announce two new projects by the end of the year. “It’s a no-brainer for them.”

For more than four years, the fate of the housing market here and across the country has been closely tied to the tremendous wave of foreclosures. In some communities, more than half of all home sales were bank repossessions. These cheap, often half-destroyed properties undermined neighborhoods and accelerated the market’s descent, prompting even more owners to walk away.
But now, as new foreclosures slow and lenders are forced to let old cases languish for legal reasons, some of the regions that were worst off when foreclosures were at flood tide are much improved with the process stalled.
“People should thank the foreclosure mills,” said Mr. Zalewski, referring to the law firms that brought about freezes in foreclosures when they were caught using illegal methods. “They gave the whole market a reprieve.”

As a result, the balance between supply and demand in South Florida is shifting. In late 2008, as the financial crisis was peaking, there were 108,000 properties for sale and hardly any buyers. The region became a symbol of excess. Buyers abandoned their deposits and reneged on deals, buildings went bankrupt and squatters moved in.

Now there are fewer than 48,000 properties for sale, Condo Vultures said. And with supply diminished, homes have value again.
Whether Miami and other stricken markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas and parts of California will continue to make progress depends on the fate of the two million American households in foreclosure and another two million in severe default. The nation’s attorneys general and the Obama administration are negotiating with the top mortgage servicers for new procedures for those in trouble. If the lenders get immunity from prosecution, foreclosures might speed up and the housing market could suffer another relapse.

In the meantime, the South Florida market is busy, although it offers a problematic blueprint for a national recovery. For the traditional buyer who wants to put down no more than 20 percent, loans are somewhere between tough and impossible. Many of the sales are to investors, rich people or foreign citizens benefiting from a weak dollar.
“Two years ago, everyone was gripped with fear,” said a mortgage broker, Grant Stern. “Now investors are gripped by greed.”
Mr. Stern is suffering the consequences of better times. The landlord on his high-rise rental finally managed to make a deal with the bank to sell it for less than he owed. Last week, Mr. Stern had to move.
His old place, a three bedroom, was $1,300 a month. Across the street, he is paying $2,179 for a two bedroom. “I’m downsizing my space by 30 percent yet spending 50 percent more,” he said.

Projects that were left for dead during the bust have sprung back to life. The Everglades, a two-tower, 49-story project that went bankrupt in 2009 with fewer than 10 percent of its units sold, has been reintroduced under the name Vizcayne.
Paramount Bay, a 47-story condo building that was supposed to open in 2009 but ended up foreclosed, is finally on track to start selling in September.
A developer and marketing team that suffered sharp reversals in the crash, the Related Group and the International Sales Group, issued a promotional report a few weeks ago asserting that “the next chapter begins.” The tens of thousands of new condos built during the boom — and abandoned during the crash — will all be occupied by the end of next year, they said.
“Do I want to say ‘boom’? ” Philip Spiegelman, a Related ISG executive, wondered in an interview. “That’s a little overly aggressive, but we clearly are being rewarded for offering very inexpensive real estate.”

Inexpensive is a relative term. Miami prices are about half what they were at the peak, but units in the project, called Apogee Beach, start in the high six figures. All 49 condos were reserved in 60 days. If construction begins as planned in November, it will be the first postcrash building in the area.
Some experts think Miami’s reprieve will be short-lived. “The banks will only keep the Grim Reaper at bay for so long,” said Jack McCabe, a real estate consultant. “There is going to come a day of reckoning when they will have to move this inventory.”
Indeed, Dade County foreclosure filings in June ticked up 30 percent from May for the highest monthly total since October. Even so, the rate is about a third of what banks were filing early last year.

For some investors, the unknown future is all the more reason to do deals right now.
Andres Zapata was a young, inexperienced real estate investor at the end of the last boom, trying to flip houses. “I went down like a lot of other people did,” he said.

He went to Iraq with the National Guard and is now back in real estate with several like-minded buddies. After about four months of looking for good deals, they just bought two houses in a Miami suburb.
“We’ll either flip them or rent them out,” said Mr. Zapata. “So far, so good.”



July 27, 2011

Hi All,

Numbers finally validating what I have been emailing to my customers for the last two years. Many of you will remember my emails in late 2010 and early 2011 advising buying prior to the rest of the world jumping in to the high end Miami real estate market. It has heated up quicker than I even anticipated. Thanks goodness Dezer is announcing two new towers along with Related's Apogee Beach. I am strongly recommending St. Regis in Bal Harbour.

There are still great values available in Trump Hollywood and Trump Towers. Paramount on The Bay is getting ready to release in Edgewater and Vizcayne is the greatest value in Downtown Miami.

Word of caution, it is imperative buyers go in with someone that the developer sales agents know-namely me-otherwise buyers walking in off the street or with agents that are not knowledgeable or known-the developer agents may say prices are not negotiable when they are. If working with an inexperienced agent, they may not be able to get the extras that one is sometimes able to get. If you walk in with an agent they know knows the market, you will get a much better deal.


Article:Wealthy buyers driving Miami market - July 27, 2011 11:15AM

Paramount Bay

Affluent buyers, especially those from Latin America, are driving Miami's residential market, with sales up to a level of activity few expected. Home sales in the Miami metro area rose 16 percent from 2010 in the first half of the year, according to research firm DataQuick. Gil Dezer's Trump Towers project has just 12 percent of the condos in the two-tower complex remaining. "The Brazilians walk in, they don't even negotiate," Dezer said. "It's a no-brainer for them." Dezer said he planned on announcing two new projects by the end of this year. According to Condo Vultures founder Peter Zalewski, the foreclosure freeze initiated after allegations arose of a robo-signing scandal was a welcome reprieve for the market. "People should thank the foreclosure mills," he said. [NYT]


July 21, 2011

Miami and Ft. Lauderdale high end market is sizzling hot and inventory is going, going, gone. Foreign buyers have come this summer and buying like there is no tomorrow....and there may not be. See the three articles below. This is the official Tuni Singh End of the Buyer Market call. Going into "season", based on what I am seeing currently in the market, prices will start to escalate, at first slowly, but then pick up speed as inventory dries up on the oceanfront and high end.
In 2008 I was recommending only buying very specific high end beachfront property-many of you will remember the emails I sent with my recommendations-they all sold within 30-60 days of me recommending.
2009 I was still sending very specific properties which I thought were extreme value. 2010 I was advocating buying developer inventory as most of the great oceanfront resale condos in the high-end buildings were bought and developers were releasing their oceanfront properties after restructuring their loans etc....remember I sent bank pricing for Trump Hollywood and Trump Tower before they were even released to the public at large.
January 2011 I sent emails saying it was now or never if buyers wanted to get great value before the big turn up. It happened as I called it and now I am calling the end of the buyers market for high-end, oceanfront property . Starting in mid 2011 prices moved higher and in the next few years will be higher than they were pre crash as no new inventory is on the horizon-except St. Regis and Apogee Beach-which is not enough to keep up with buyer appetite. You heard it here first.
Now I am saying, please decide on what will work for you as there is less and less choice, buy it, enjoy it, and get ready for the price appreciation. Call me at 786-877-1020 and check out my website


Article: Fort Lauderdale sales prices up

July 21, 2011 09:45AM

Water Garden in Las Olas

The median sales price for condominiums in the Fort Lauderdale metro area jumped 11 percent in June, with single-family sales prices rising 26 percent, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors. Condo sales in Broward County rose 7 percent in June, accompanied by a 6 percent increase in single-family sales compared to the same period in 2010. "Healthy sales levels in Broward County have resulted in reduced housing supply, which is indicative of a well-performing market," said Terri Bersach, president of the Broward County Board of Governors of the Miami Association of Realtors. "Prices have now caught up with rising sales, which is a very positive sign for the local real estate market."

-- Alexander Britell


11% Of New Condos Still Unsold In Greater Downtown Miami

Less than 11 percent of the nearly 22,250 condos created in various projects in Greater Downtown Miami during the South Florida real estate boom remain unsold and under the control of the original respective developers as of June 30, according to a new report CondoVultures.
The remaining 2,300-unsold units controlled by the original developers are situated in two dozen of the more than 80 condo projects that were created in a 60-block stretch comprised of the Brickell Avenue Area, Downtown Miami, and the Biscayne Boulevard Corridor during the real estate boom that began in 2003.
A year ago in June 2010, developers still controlled 23 percent - more than 5,000 units - of the new inventory in Greater Downtown Miami. In June 2009, the number of unsold developer units represented 40 percent - more than 8,800 units - of the new inventory added to the market during the condo boom, according to the report. 
"Foreign investors and the Florida legislature deserve a lot of credit for bailing out the Greater Downtown Miami condominium market when it was at the brink of disaster," said Peter Zalewski, a principal with the Bal Harbour, Fla.-based Condo Vultures® LLC. "Foreign buyers - armed with strong currencies and a bullish outlook on Greater Downtown Miami - have flooded into the market in the last three years to purchase new units for investment. These international buyers account for a super majority of the individual transactions that are occurring in projects located between the Julia Tuttle and the Rickenbacker causeways east of Interstate 95.
"The other ingredient that is proving critical in the turnaround in Greater Downtown Miami is the work in 2010 by the Florida legislature and former Gov. Charlie Crist to ease liability related to completing bulk transactions. The legislative revisions effectively put hedge funds and private equity groups on notice that their assistance and investment dollars were welcome in Greater Downtown Miami and across the state of Florida."



July 20, 2011

Article: Miami residential sales activity is highest in five years: report
July 20, 2011 06:00PM By Alexander Britell








Continuum North Tower in South Beach

Miami's home sales activity is the highest it has been in five years, according to a report from Douglas Elliman Florida.

The number of residential sales jumped by 20.5 percent over the second quarter of last year, to 3,618 single-family and condominium units, according to the second-quarter report, which was prepared by property appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel.

"Unquestionably, the report shows we're heading toward a healthier market," said Vanessa Grout, president of Douglas Elliman Florida. "You can tell that this is a market unlike anything we have ever seen -- and just by seeing all of our pending contracts, I can tell you that it's still strong, and we're looking at probably an unusually high third quarter."

The report shows the median sales price for condos was approximately $144,000 in the second quarter of this year, a 4 percent drop from the same three months in 2010. The median sales price for single-family homes was $204,000, a 2.8 percent dip from second-quarter 2010. Sales in the luxury sector, that is, those over $1.05 million, actually rose by 4.9 percent over the second quarter of 2010.

Grout said the price decreases were a bit misleading. The report broke up inventory into distressed and nondistressed units, and examined the varying ways each segment behaved.

"You can't believe the macro reports that say pricing is down in South Florida," she said, "because it's not that pricing is down. It's that one particular segment of the market is down because we're flushing these [distressed] properties out of the system."

For Miami-Dade County generally, the numbers showed promise.

Numbers released by Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell today show a total of 2,402 units sold in the period from April 11 to June 11 of this year, a 14.3 percent increase over the same two-month period in 2010. Total residential inventory fell by 32.6 percent year-over-year, down to 17,175 units for sale.

As the Elliman report notes, more expensive properties are tending to do better -- with part of the explanation being that there are fewer distressed properties the higher one climbs on the price ladder.

"I think the second quarter was kind of an extension of the first," said Beth Butler, president of One Sotheby's International Realty. "Inventory is dropping in some areas as much as 50 percent from this time last year. What we saw, especially in June, was prices, both closed and active, started ticking up [on the high-end]."

One geographic area that has been particularly strong in the higher end is Miami Beach, which has seen a slew of ultra-high-end home sales, marked by the $19.8 million Maurice Fatio-designed home on Sunset Island that sold this week.

"What I'm seeing is that the high-end houses are selling, and the market is not replenishing itself with more very high-end houses," said Nelson Gonzalez, senior vice president at Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell. "The market is starting to get really, really tightened up. Some people are even raising their prices."

Gonzalez said he did an unoffiical survey of homes at the $20 million-and-over mark in Miami Beach this week and there were just eight on the market as of today. Of those, eight, he said, between three and four were in move-in condition.

"This year, the slower deals that started at the beginning of the year, a lot of them are starting to come together, and that's really what's been happening," he said. "It's mostly stuff that has carried over from the first four to five months of the year."

High-end condo sales in Miami Beach were strong, too, he said, with a host of condos fetching more than $1,000 per square foot, something unseen since 2005. It's all part of a general price jump in the high-end sector.

"Even at the peak, and I gotta tell you -- even at the very peak -- we weren't getting houses selling for $19.8 million and $25.5 million like on Star Island," he said.



 July 19, 2011

Hi All,
As I've shared in the past, I feelstrongly that the expansion of the Panama Canal which is set to be completed by 2014 is going to have a huge impact on property values in SE Florida and really along port cities on the east coast-that is why I just got my Virginia Real Estate License too-Hampton Roads area in VA has the largest natural ports in the world!
When I was saying this last year-it was just something out in the future. Now Miami is full on preparing for it-see article below. I had started last year, and am recommending buying units to rent out in the downtown Miami area as the need for housing will increase in the coming years. There are really only 3 new projects left that have what I consider to be exceptional value still left in downtown-the other ones like Icon and Marquis have already seen alot of price appreciation since last year.
Miami and SE Florida for so many reasons is on the verge of extreme economic growth. Share in the wealth. Call me to see what works best for you as this real estate market continues to accelerate-Tuni


Article: Greater Downtown Miami Faces Shortage Of Condos For Rent
Published on 7/19/2011 9:59:00 AM

Greater Downtown Miami is facing a possible shortage of condo units for rent as the current available inventory has been chipped down to less than 60 days of product based on the current leasing velocity, according to a new report from CondoVultures.
As of July 19, 2011, there are 610 condo units available for lease in the Greater Downtown Miami market where tenants are renting an average of 362 units per month in the first half of 2011.
The strong demand for condo rental units is working to strengthen the median lease price in Greater Downtown Miami, where prices have increased to $1.82 per square foot per month since January, according to the analysis based on Florida Realtors association data. 
The completed leases do not reflect any deals that that may have been transacted without being marketed on the Multiple Listing Service.
Compare this to the year 2010 when tenants leased an average of 345 units per month at a median price of $1.70 per square foot per month in Greater Downtown Miami. A year earlier in 2009, renters leased an average of 309 units per month at a median lease price of $1.52 per square foot per month in Greater Downtown Miami, according to the report.
Of the Greater Downtown Miami condos currently available for rent, less than 195 units have one bedroom with at a median asking price of $2.18 per square foot per month. An additional 330 units have two bedrooms at an median asking price of $1.99 per square foot per month.
There are more than 60 units with three bedrooms that are available for rent at a median asking price of $2.25 per square foot per month. More than a dozen units have four bedrooms  or more with a median asking price of $2.81 per square foot per month. An additional 16 studios are for rent at a median asking price of $2.63 per square foot per month, according to the data.
Greater Downtown Miami is the epicenter of the South Florida condo crash. Foreign buyers and institutional investors have focused their attention on acquiring more than 80 percent of the nearly 22,250 units that were constructed in the area during the real estate boom.
At the end of first quarter of 2011, some 3,200 new condos were still unsold.
Greater Downtown Miami is a 60-block stretch from the Julia Tuttle Causeway south to the Rickenbacker Causeway, and Interstate 95 east to Biscayne Bay. The market is comprised of the neighborhoods of the Brickell Avenue Area, Downtown Miami, and the Biscayne Boulevard Corridor.



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