Pavilion from the Ocean

Pavilion from the Ocean

Welcome to

This forum, by owners for owners, provides useful information for owners to view and discuss.

This blog does not belong nor represents the views of the Pavilon Condo Association

You can subscribe to the blog by entering your email on the upper hand side on the blog. You will then receive an email with a link that you must click on to complete the subscription. Then every time the blog is updated you will receive an email message.

South Florida home prices rise in October

Home prices were up 8 percent year over year

Growth has been slow and steady in last few months

Some analysts were worried about market overheating

South Florida home prices continue to rise at a slow and steady rate, according to a closely watched housing market index released Tuesday.

Home prices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were up 8 percent in October 2015 compared to October 2014, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Only San Francisco (10.9 percent), Denver (10.9 percent), Portland (10.9 percent), Dallas (9.3 percent) and Seattle (8.8 percent) saw faster annual growth.

Home prices around the nation rose 5.2 percent, Case-Shiller found.

South Florida saw double-digit gains in much of 2013 and 2014 as investors and foreign buyers pounced on low housing prices left by the recession. But weakening Latin American and European currencies have taken the pop out of a market that many observers feared was overheating.

Home prices for the tri-county area as a whole stand at 73 percent of their pre-crash high, although some waterfront areas including Miami Beach have already surpassed their 2006 peak.

Secret buyers pay $19.5 million for Miami Beach mansion

Home at 4395 Pine Tree Dr. includes eight bedrooms, private dock
New owners bought mansion through a private trust
Mansion was built on spec by developers, who set record sales price for Pine Tree Drive 

A Miami Beach mansion made a splash when it sold for $19.48 million — but the new owners don’t want their identities to leak out.

Miami-Dade County property records show the 11,500-square-foot home at 4395 Pine Tree Dr. sold last week to an entity called the Pine Tree Irrevocable Trust. But it’s not clear who set up the trust.
Lisa Schneider, an attorney who specializes in estate planning at West Palm Beach-based law firm Gunster, is listed as the trustee on the deed of sale. She did not respond to a request for comment.
Trusts are not part of the public record.

Many buyers of South Florida real estate set up trusts and shell companies in order to preserve their anonymity. Some are celebrities or athletes. Others are wealthy businesspeople who want to keep their affairs private. Latin American buyers have said they fear kidnapping attempts back home if they are known to be snatching up pricey Miami real estate. And some are criminals looking to launder dirty money through local homes, including accused Spanish drug lord Álvaro López Tardón, sentenced to 150 years in prison last year.

Whoever the buyers in this case are, they appear to have set a sales record for ritzy Pine Tree Drive, which overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. (The Real Deal reported that the previous record price for Pine Tree Drive was $14.25 million.)

The waterfront home was built on spec by Miami Beach developer Todd Glaser and brothers Jarrett Posner, a New York financier, and Sean Posner, a local real estate executive. They bought the roughly one-acre lot in 2014 for $5.7 million from Jason Rosenhaus, brother and business partner of Miami sports mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus, and tore down the existing home.

The new mansion they built includes eight bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, a 160-square-foot pool and a private boat dock.

“There’s quite a bit of spec home building happening on the Beach but this one was snapped up quickly,” said Mark Meland, an attorney who represented the developers. “It’s a big modern house but the finishes, including the use of wood, give it a very warm feel.”

Brett Harris of Douglas Elliman brokered the transaction. He did not return a call asking who the mystery buyers were.

New condo project at the Jockey Club receives $21 million in financing

Developers want to build a luxury condo and hotel at the Jockey Club near North Miami

Financing comes from Toronto-based mortgage lender Rompsen

Jockey Club was once a popular nightlife hotspot

The old Jockey Club, a once-popular nightlife spot in unincorporated Miami-Dade County near North Miami, could get a brand new look after a planned condo and hotel project there received $21 million in financing Wednesday.

Developers want to build 240 luxury condo units, a 90-room boutique hotel, a new deep-water marina and a five-acre “health and wellness” complex at 11111 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. That’s in addition to the 411 condo units already on site. The project is called Apeiron, which means “without limits” or “infinite” in ancient Greek.

During its heyday in the 1970s, the Jockey Club was as hot as South Beach is today with bars, a restaurant and a reputation for the funkiest disco dancing in town. But it gradually fell out of favor and into foreclosure. Several developers have tried and failed to revitalize the property in the years since.

Last year, a group led by former Ritz-Carlton Group president Horst Schulze, hotel designer Michael Bedner and former Related Group executive Muayad Abbas bought the 13.6-acre property for $3.25 million, according to county property records.
The recent round of financing was provided by Toronto-based mortgage lender Romspen.

Developers have started buying land in North Miami and North Miami Beach as prices skyrocket for waterfront land in Miami and Miami Beach. Just four miles north of the Jockey Club, the Soffer and LeFrak families are developing the 183-acre former Biscayne Landing site into a massive, mixed-use project they’ve dubbed SoLeMia.

Lennar buys 36 acres in Hialeah for $24 million

Miami home-building giant Lennar has paid $24.16 million for a 36-acre parcel of land in Hialeah, according to Miami-Dade County property records.
The land is part of Bonterra, a 128-acre master-planned community just west of Interstate 75 and south of Northwest 154th Street. It is being developed by Fort Lauderdale-based BBX Capital, which sold the land to Lennar.
In an announcement, BBX said Lennar plans to build 463 single-family and townhomes on the site. Lennar declined to comment on its plans.
BBX estimated that the deal was worth about $26 million in a filing with federal regulators.

Read more here:

Miami-Dade set to break sales record for single-family homes

Despite sluggish sales in November, prices are still rising

2015 has been a strong year overall for South Florida real estate

Broward County did well for the month

Despite a down month in November, Miami-Dade County is still on pace to break its annual sales record for single-family homes in 2015.

There have been 12,857 existing single-family home sales so far this year, just shy of the 13,521 record set last year, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors released Tuesday. The county has broken its sales record in each of the last four years as the local economy improved and foreign investors poured cash into Miami real estate.

But the market has slowed in the last few months as Latin American and European economies struggle.

Single-family home sales in Miami-Dade fell by 6.7 percent in November 2015 compared to the same month last year. Condos sales were up 1.9 percent. The resale market for condos is limited by the amount of new construction on the market. Wealthy buyers prefer the latest in style and amenities.

The slower sales haven’t led to softening prices, especially in the single-family home market where inventory stands at a tight 5.5 months of supply.

The median sales price for single-family homes rose to $274,900 in November, up 12.2 percent year over year. The median sales price for condos hit $203,000, up 7 percent since November 2014.
Broward County, which is less reliant on international buyers, had a strong month, according to a report from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Broward’s single-family home sales jumped sharply to 1,184 in November, up from 1,008 in November 2014. That’s a 17.5 percent increase. Condo sales reached 1,173, up 3 percent year over year.

The median sales price for a single-family home in Broward in November rose 8.6 percent year over year to $295,000. The price for a condo was $126,500, up 4.6 percent since November 2014.

Struggling Latin American economies hold back growth in Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate rose to 6 percent in November

Broward’s rate dropped to 4.5 percent

Weakness in Latin America may be hampering local growth

Bucking a statewide trend of growth, Miami-Dade County’s job market had a sluggish month as the unemployment rate ticked up to 6 percent in November, according to a government report released Friday.

That’s up from a revised rate of 5.9 percent in October. State numbers originally put October’s rate at 5.8 percent but the latest report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity tweaked that figure slightly upwards. The local economy still remains stronger than it was a year ago: Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate stood at 6.3 percent in November 2014.

Miami-Dade’s dependence on struggling Latin American economies and a slowing local construction industry are likely responsible for the uptick in unemployment. Rising interest rates won’t help as they’ll keep the dollar strong and further depress spending from Latin American tourists and home buyers, analysts say.

“Florida overall is doing very well,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist at PNC Financial Services. “But job growth in Miami is going to be a concern because the dollar is only going to get stronger over the coming year.”

Broward’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in November, down from 4.7 percent in October and 5.4 percent in November 2014. The jobless rate in Florida fell to 5 percent in November, down from 5.2 percent in October and 5.7 percent in November 2014.
The national rate was 5 percent in November.
Economists adjust the unemployment rates in Miami-Dade, Florida and the U.S. to account for seasonal changes in the workforce, making them a strong monthly barometer of the labor market. Broward’s rate is not seasonally adjusted.

A stronger dollar in 2016

The Federal Reserve’s decision Wednesday to raise interest rates by a quarter-point will mean a strong dollar in 2016, Rankin said.

That will make it more costly for foreigners to vacation in South Florida and hurt their ability to buy luxury homes, two drivers of the local economy.

Many Latin American economies are in the midst of a recession with their currencies falling fast against the dollar. Argentina’s peso dropped 30 percent Thursday after the new government there removed capital controls in a bid to reform the country’s economy, according to the Associated Press. Brazil’s deep recession recently led two ratings agencies to cut its credit to junk status. Businesses and investors in both countries, as well as in ailing Venezuela, are major players in South Florida.
Mason Williams, chief investment officer of the Coral Gables Trust Company, agreed a stronger dollar could hurt foreign spending in Miami.

“By raising interest rates, we’re pulling back on our stimulus while other countries continue to print money,” Williams said. “That will keep the dollar strong and that could be a negative.”
But Williams said a stronger dollar will also attract wealthy Latin American investors, even as it hurts middle-class tourists and condo buyers.

“We’re seeing a huge Latin American influx to our business,” he said. “They really need to get their money out of their own currencies into dollars.”

Alex Zyberglait, a broker at Marcus & Millichap, said Miami commercial real estate in particular will benefit from the turmoil in Latin America.

“Those that have the resources to bring their dollars out are looking for a safe, secure, predictable environment to invest,” Zyberglait said. “Commercial real estate has strong cash flows in place and there’s financing available as well. It’s a much better investment vehicle than residential because it can generate multiple streams of income from tenants.”

Foreign woes

Miami-Dade is unique because of its reliance on foreign economies, said Manuel Lasaga, president of economic consultancy StratInfo and a professor of finance at Florida International University.
“We have a weakening economic pocket here in Miami-Dade versus the state,” Lasaga said. “We’re continuing to see areas of slowdown in the local economy that aren’t appearing in Florida as a whole.”

For example, the county’s construction industry lost 1,200 jobs in November year over year as major infrastructure projects wrap up and the downtown condo boom draws down. But construction made gains in Broward, Palm Beach and the state overall.

Miami-Dade also saw slower growth in the categories of workers that include engineers, architects and lawyers, reflecting the construction slowdown. Retail suffered, too.

Other parts of the state are doing better than Miami because they rely more on domestic investment and tourists.
The Tampa area added the most jobs in Florida over the past year with 40,500. Orlando came second with 39,900, followed by Fort Lauderdale with 27,000.

Miami-Dade added 18,100 jobs, fourth most in the state.

Even so, the local numbers weren’t all bad. Part of the reason Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate rose is that more people entered the labor force. That means workers who’ve been out of a job have started hunting for a paycheck again.

And tourism hasn’t been hit hard yet. The local leisure and hospitality industry added 6,600 jobs in the last year.

That could be thanks to domestic visitors taking advantage of low gas prices, which dipped to $2.17 per gallon in November and could drop under $2 after the New Year.

Ritz-Carlton developer: Sunny Isles penthouse under contract for $21 million

A penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton Residences has sold for $21 million, according to the developer
51st-floor unit has 5 bedrooms, 7,735 square feet of space

A wealthy buyer agreed to pay $21 million for a waterfront condo in Sunny Isles Beach that hasn’t been built yet, developers say

The unnamed buyer combined two 51st-story units at the Ritz-Carlton Residences into a 7,735-square-foot apartment with five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. An outdoor terrace offers a summer kitchen, infinity pool and private garden.

The 212-unit project hasn’t yet put a shovel in the ground but construction is expected to start next year, meaning the tower will likely open in 2018.

Buyers of South Florida luxury real estate must typically put down 50 percent in cash before closing. No county records will be available until the sale is finalized, meaning the identity of the buyer and the exact sales price may not be known for years.

“Since our launch earlier this year, sales have been strong and the project has been very well received,” Edgardo Defortuna, CEO of developer Fortune International Group, said in a statement.

Fortune is partnering with the Château Group on the project.

Is Miami in a housing bubble?

Real estate company Zillow polled housing experts

They said Miami doesn’t need to worry as much as San Francisco and New York

Is Miami’s housing market in a bubble? Experts say no. Or at least, not yet.

Online real estate company Zillow polled nearly 70 housing experts about which local markets across the U.S. are experiencing a price bubble.

Only four of them said Miami was currently in a bubble, although six said there’s “significant risk” of one forming in the next year. Nineteen experts said we could see a bubble in the next three to five years. Thirteen said we shouldn’t expect one at all. (The rest didn’t have an opinion on how frothy Miami’s market is.)

The experts were more worried about places where oil and tech booms have led to rapid, possibly unsustainable price increases including San Francisco, Houston and Seattle. New York City also made the list of bubble markets.

Home prices in South Florida have skyrocketed since the housing market began recovering in 2011, fueled by investors from abroad. But the growth hasn’t returned the region to the heady pre-crash days. Home values still stand at about 70 percent of their all-time high in 2006, according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

The slowdown in price growth could be a good thing for locals. Because of low wages, Miami is one of the least affordable housing markets in the U.S. That situation would improve if paychecks catch up with prices.

The nation’s most unequal housing market is Miami Beach

A luxury home costs 12 times as much as a typical home in Miami Beach

Average luxury home sold for $6.3 million in 2015

But luxury home prices have topped out as foreign economies suffer

When it comes to homes in Miami Beach, the “haves” have it all.

The city’s housing market is the most unequal in the U.S., according to a report from online real estate company Redfin. The report covers the third quarter of 2015 and compares the luxury market — which Redfin counts as the top 5 percent of homes — to the bottom 95 percent.

During the third quarter, the report found that luxury homes in Miami Beach sold for an average of $6.3 million, about 12 times as much as the average price ($522,000) of a typical home.

The disparity in other big cities was smaller: Luxury homes sell for between five and six times the price of typical homes in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
(One caveat: Redfin said it was unable to collect data on New York City because of the way its Multiple Listing Service, a tool used by Realtors to list and sell homes, is set up.)

Nearly half of the 20 most unequal housing markets in the country are in South Florida, Redfin found.

That’s partly because the region has so many out-of-towners coming in to scoop up homes.

A penthouse condo in Mid-Beach recently set the record for residential real estate in Miami when it sold to a Chicago hedge-fund billionaire for $60 million in September.

“Buyers in the multi-million dollar luxury market are foreign or coming from out of state,” Aaron Drucker, Redfin’s South Florida managing broker, said in a statement, “while the folks who live and work here full time make up the rest of the real estate market.”

The median household income in Miami Beach was about $42,500 in 2014, according to U.S. Census data.

But there are signs the gap has reached its widest point: Redfin also found that prices for luxury homes in Miami Beach have stopped rising. They stood at $6.3 million in the third quarter of 2014, the same as today, after years of rapid growth.

That’s largely because swooning economies in Latin America, Europe and Asia have hurt the ability of foreign buyers to afford local real estate.

Don't Break the Law: Sunshine Laws

Board members often gather socially for dinner or in another Country 

 Is this considered a board meeting if condominium matters are being discussed? 
A condominium board meeting is defined as any gathering of the members of the board of directors, at which a quorum of the members is present, for the purpose of conducting association business.

Meetings of the board must be properly noticed and the unit owners have the right to attend the meeting. 

All meetings must be held within 40 miles of the Condominium.

Condominium: Rule 61B-23.001(1)(a), Florida Administrative Code
Cooperative: Not defined in Chapter 719, Florida Statutes

Auction for co-op building in Miami Beach will start at $26 million

A live auction will be held on Jan. 20

A minimum bid of $26 million is required

The building, on Ocean Drive, could be a prime spot for redevelopment

The members of a residential co-op in Miami Beach have agreed to sell their building at auction — and the bidding will start at $26 million.

More than two-thirds of residents voted to sell, as required by the co-op’s bylaws, according to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, which is partnering with the Fisher Auction Company on the sale.
Interested buyers must submit bids by Jan. 15. A live auction will then be held for the top bidders on Jan. 20.

The 45-unit building, at 1446 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, was built in 1960, county property records show. It sits on the dry side of Ocean Drive and has views of Lummus Park.

The new owners of the small third-of-an-acre lot will likely want to tear the co-op down. The site is zoned for mixed-use development and could allow for a five-story luxury condo, hotel or commercial property, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Faena Hotel evokes glory days of Miami Beach - $745 per night

A 30-foot-long red carpet leads into the “Cathedral,” a sweeping lobby lined with massive gold-leafed columns and edged with elaborate floor-to-ceiling murals depicting lush tropical scenes. The Living Room is a movie set of red leather armchairs, zebra-print couches and lacquered burled wood tables, complete with grand piano. Columns edging the outdoor terrace are crusted with ceramic seashells — just one of many intricate details guests will find at the Faena Hotel on Miami Beach when it opens Tuesday.

The hotel, at 3201 Collins Ave., marks the public debut of the Faena Arts District, the $1 billion patch from 32nd Street to north of 35th Street between the oceanfront and Indian Creek. Its sold-out Faena House condo, designed by the firm of star architect Sir Norman Foster and home to a record-setting $60 million residence, opened earlier this fall. Last December, Faena reopened the historic 50-room Casa Claridge’s, originally envisioned as a company guest house but so popular it has been opened to the public. Faena Hotel is the once-neglected mid-Beach area’s first “new” public space.
New, in that the 1948 Saxony Hotel was completely gutted. Historic features — terrazzo floors, the Cathedral columns, a fireplace surround — were rescued and restored. Literally all other elements inside the hotel are new, as is a second building that houses chef Paul Qui’s pan-Asian Pao, and 220-seat dinner theater that’s due to open at the end of December.

The arts district is a partnership between Argentine developer and self-described “urban alchemist” Alan Faena and Ukranian-American investor Len Blavatnik. The pair collaborated on Buenos Aires’ former warehouse historic district, Puerto Madero, creating the city’s hippest zone with art activations and architecture by international stars. The plan for the Miami Beach district is similar. The Rem Koolhaas-designed Faena Forum, due to open in late spring 2016, will offer exhibitions and performances to the community under the artistic direction of Ximena Caminos, Faena’s work and life partner.

“We are creating a neighborhood experience with a hotel in it,” Faena said.

And not just any hotel. The entry offers views through the Cathedral and across a deck to the ocean. Most of the guest rooms — 111 of the 169 — are suites. The Terre Sante spa — named for the estate Faena and Caminos own in Uruguay — covers 22,000 square feet and includes a hammam, ice chamber and couples treatment suite with ocean views. A butler serves each guest-room floor.
The idea, Faena said, is to reclaim the luxury and service that was Miami Beach’s hallmark in its heyday.

“Miami was always about fantasy. We are trying to bring back that glorious moment of fantasy and glamor,” said Faena, “but to create it in a modern way.” Guest rooms combine classic Miami Beach touches — lamps resemble staghorn coral — with Art Deco motifs, contemporary art and plush fringed red couches straight out of a hacienda. “I want people to feel proud.”

The hotel represents a departure from other luxury hotels in the region, says Scott Berman, U.S. hospitality and leisure practice leader for PwCs and a long-time South Floridian. “I’d position it in the ultra-luxury category,” he said. “They are breaking new ground,” much as Faena did in Buenos Aires.

Faena is the first South Florida hotel promoting butler service, which is common in Asia but not in the Americas. Marketing is based around the hotel’s design and architecture. And the pricing structure is also an area first: Rates will start at $745 per night throughout the year — a direct challenge to the traditional practice of lowering rates in summer. “It’s setting a very high standard for the rest of the market,” Berman said.

To inform and create the hotel’s vision, Faena brought in filmmaker Baz Luhrman, who provided inspiration, and wife and costume designer Catherine Martin, whose fabric designs appear in carpets and fabrics twined with leaves and flowers. Argentine painter Juan Gatti created The Way to Futopia, the eight large-scale site-specific murals rimming the Cathedral entrance of the Faena Hotel that invoke the epic themes of knowledge, love, war, passion and nature.
“I don’t believe in design for design,” Faena said. “I believe in design as a message.” The Cathedral is intended as “a place of art and culture and reflection”— an homage to creativity and the risk that goes with unique personal expression.

Beauty, magic and art are central Faena utopian precepts. The Secret bar near the theater is a secret garden installation by Argentine artist Amaya Bouquet. Both Living Room and the Veranda dining room are lit by Storms, site-specificchandeliers by Alberto Garutti that flicker every time lightning strikes the Argentine pampas. A loaned Damian Hirst unicorn sculpture, Golden Myth, forms the centerpiece of Pao; a second Hirst, Gone but not Forgotten, in the garden is a nine-foot gilded skeleton of the extinct woolly mammoth encased in a steel-and-glass vitrine. Studio Job crafted the fountain, mosaics and tree-of-life sculpture imbued with symbols linked to Faena’s world view, represented by his trademark white hat and the feature in it that reminds him “that we can fly.”

For Faena, collaboration is key. But ultimately, the details throughout the hotel — from the china in the open-fire restaurant Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann, to the gold-painted molding of the dinner theater — were shaped directly by Faena. (He also designed the theater’s show.)

That he had a direct hand in every detail is evident; on a tour just days before the hotel opened, Faena repeatedly stopped to talk with dozens of construction workers he knew by name. When he strolled through a wait-staff meeting in Los Fuegos, employees applauded.

“What makes this unique is that every detail, every thought is how to elevate people, how to entertain them,” he said. “This is all the thought, and it was created under the same hat.”


By Jan Bergemann
Enacting a bill allowing associations to pay board members for their “services” will definitely attract more candidates for the next annual meeting with elections. But would that be the kind of candidates we really want?
Let’s make no mistake: There are already too many board members who are serving for one reason only: POWER HUNGER!
Now we are discussing to add another motif for owners running for office: GREED?
Personally, I don’t think it’s a great idea to even consider paying board members.
I might consider changing my mind if this plan comes with the requirement of a license and the removal of the “Business Judgment Rule” defense for board members.
People who get paid for their “work” should as well be held liable for their actions – not being indemnified no matter what serious and/or costly mistakes they are making.
Payment is only a good idea if you have qualified people you are going to pay.
But board members who are in office motivated by POWER HUNGER and/or GREED are definitely not the folks owners want to see on the board as officers. Their motivation alone prevents them from serving the community in the best interest of the association members.

Home of late celebrity skin doctor Fredric Brandt sells for $2.9 million

Brandt committed suicide in his Coconut Grove home in April
The home housed an impressive art collection
It sold for $578 per square foot

The Coconut Grove townhome of the late celebrity dermatologist Fredric Brandt sold for $2.9 million on Tuesday.

Brandt, whose client roster included Madonna and Kelly Ripa, took his own life at the home in April. He had lived there for 15 years.
Fredric Brandt. Miami Herald file
The three-story, four-bedroom home, at 3521 Bayshore Villas Dr., Miami, sold for $578 per square foot, a record sale for Bayshore Villas, an exclusive waterfront community in the Grove. Brandt paid $712,800 for the home, which includes an elevator, in 1990, according to county property records. It was designed in part to showcase his prized art collection, which was auctioned off last month. Among his works were pieces by Damien Hirst, Rudolf Stingel, Yoshimoto Nara and Christopher Wool, according to the New York Times.

“The spiral staircase was custom-designed to show off the art as you walk up,” said Allan Kleer, a Realtor at Fortune International Realty who handled the sale along with Fabian Garcia-Diaz.

Kleer said selling a home where someone died requires tact.

“In these cases, if somebody asks why the seller is selling, we usually say they are deceased,” Kleer said. “But if people ask for details, I’m always honest,” he said. “For some buyers it would be a deal-breaker. For others it doesn’t matter.”

The buyers of Brandt’s home are listed on county records as Juan Carlos and Maria Boyadjian, who also own property on Williams Island in Aventura and in Miami Shores.

Florida law does not require sellers to disclose homicides, suicides or deaths that occur on the property. Brandt hanged himself in the home’s garage.

About 300 people attended a memorial service held in his honor at Temple Israel in Miami this spring.

Home prices continue steady growth in South Florida

Home prices were up 7.7 percent in September

South Florida’s overheated housing market is cooling down

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are nation’s most closely watched housing indicator

South Florida home prices continued their steady rise in September, according to the housing market’s most closely watched economic indicator, which was released Tuesday.

Home prices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties rose 7.7 percent in September compared to September 2014, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices found. They were up 7.4 percent in August year over year.

Nationwide only San Francisco (11.2 percent), Denver (10.9 percent), Portland, Oregon (10.1 percent), Dallas (9 percent) and Seattle (8.2 percent) grew at a faster annual clip in September. The national average was 4.9 percent.

South Florida’s housing market grew at double digits rates between 2012 and 2014 as it made up the ground lost during the recession. Foreign buyers fueled the recovery. While home prices soared,
wages stagnated, meaning many locals found themselves locked out of the housing boom.

In the last year, a strong dollar and struggling economies in Latin America and Europe have taken the sizzle out of an over-heated market.

Home sales fall in Miami-Dade but prices rise

The housing market stuttered in Miami-Dade County as existing home sales fell in October. But
prices rose for both condos and single-family homes. And Broward County did better overall.

Miami-Dade saw 1,151 single-family home sales in October, down 4.4 percent from October 2014. Condo and townhome sales fell to 1,408 for the month, down 6.6 percent year over year.

A glut of new condo construction is reducing demand for existing units. And an economic crisis across Latin America is taking its toll on the local housing market and other sectors.

Prices are still going up at a fair clip but that won’t last if sales keep falling.

“The bottom line is that there’s a smaller buyer pool out there today,” said Jeff Morr, a Realtor at Douglas Elliman and a member of the Master Brokers Forum. “Prices are higher, the dollar is stronger and foreign economies that are important to us are weaker . . . [But] it could be a good thing for the market if prices cool off.”

Foreign buyers have driven the double-digit annual growth in home prices since the latest real estate boom began, making Miami unaffordable for many locals.

In Miami-Dade, the median sales price for single-family homes hit $265,000 in October, up 10.4 percent from $240,000 in October 2014. The median sales price for condos and townhomes was $200,000, up 8.1 percent from $185,000 year over year.

The housing market Broward County did better across the board in October as both home prices and sales went up.

The median sales price for single-family homes in Broward rose to $290,000 in October, up 5.5 percent from $275,000 in October 2014. Condo and townhomes grew from $119,900 to $129,900, an 8.3 percent year-over-year gain.

The number of home sales also inched up compared to last year. Broward saw 1,433 closed single-family home sales in October, up 2.9 percent compared to October 2014. There were 1,444 condo and townhome sales, a tiny .2 percent gain over last year.

Read more here:

Florida Condo Board Demands Dog’s DNA So They Can See Who Crapped

Homeowners in a Florida condo have to submit their dog’s DNA to the board, so the board can test which dog craps. The DNA request is to punish owners who don’t pick up after their dogs and know whose feces is whose. Sorry to the rookie board member whose job it is to sift through the dog crap like it’s evidence.

Holiday Inn in downtown Miami sells for $65 million

Developer plans a 77-story tower on the site

World Trade Center of the America’s would be one of Miami’s tallest buildings
Project would have 400 condos, 240 hotel rooms, more than 500,000 square feet of retail and office space

A Holiday Inn in downtown Miami sold Friday for $65 million — and the developers behind the deal plan to tear down the 10-story hotel and build a 77-story mixed-use tower in its place.

The project, at 340 Biscayne Blvd., will include 400 condos, 240 hotel rooms, 270,000 square feet of retail and 246,000 square feet of office space, said Iris Escarra, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig who represents the developers. The city of Miami’s Urban Design Review Board has approved the plans for the nearly 3-acre site.

At 953 feet, the World Trade Center of the Americas would be one of the tallest towers in Miami. The Federal Aviation Administration has already approved its proposed height.

The buyer is Brazilian developer Gilberto Bomeny. Sunny Isles Beach developer Louis Montello is also listed on corporate documents filed by one of the companies that submitted plans to the city.
Larry Stockton and Jeff Resnick of Colliers International South Florida brokered the transaction.

Cash home sales continue to fall in South Florida, reflecting dip in foreign buyers

Drop in cash deals reflects a shortage of foreign buyers

Cash sales still make up about one-in-two local home sales

As a strong dollar and struggling economies in Latin America and Europe hurt the budgets of foreign home buyers, the number of cash home sales in South Florida is dropping.

About 52 percent of home sales in Miami-Dade County were cash deals in August, according to a report released Thursday by property analytics firm CoreLogic. That’s down 9 percent since August 2014. Miami-Dade still has the highest percentage of cash buyers in the nation. Cash deals are a good proxy for foreign buyers.

In Broward County, cash deals made up about 48 percent of home sales in August, CoreLogic found, down 12 percent year over year.

Nationwide cash buyers accounted for about 32 percent of home sales in August. South Florida remains one of the most popular U.S. destinations for foreigners, with Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, France and Mexico providing the most buyers.

Luxury condo tower begins to rise in working-class North Beach

Well-known architect Renzo Piano will design Eighty Seven Park
Units start at $2 million

Area is “uncharted territory” for luxury condos

In a working-class neighborhood in Miami Beach, on a desolate stretch of Collins Avenue just shy of Surfside, Italian architect Renzo Piano is designing a luxury condo tower, one of just two residential projects the Pritzker Prize-winner has worked on in the U.S.

The 18-story glass-and-steel building will stand out from the modest low- and mid-rise apartments of North Beach. But in this quiet spot nestled just to the north of a popular public park, developer David Martin says he’s found an “undiscovered gem.”

“It’s a place where I can unlock hidden value,” said Martin, president of Miami-based developer Terra. “This is a 35-acre park on the ocean. How many cities can offer that connected to an urban grid?”

Martin said he plans to pitch buyers on the project’s proximity to North Shore Open Space Park. “This can be the Central Park for Miami Beach,” he said. The building, at 8701 Collins Ave., will be called Eighty Seven Park.

Last year, Terra gave the city of Miami Beach $10.5 million to redesign and improve North Shore park, which includes a running trail, dog run, playground and pavilion with tables and charcoal grills, and is used by locals and tourists alike. The city set aside $6.5 million for the project and will solicit bids from landscape and design firms to lead the renovation. (The remaining $4 million of Terra’s payment will be used for infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood.)

“This part of the beach is uncharted territory for luxury,” said Peter Zalewski, a local condo market analyst, although he said the success of projects in nearby Surfside and Bal Harbour were a positive sign. “The location and the fact that they hired Piano will probably help sales, too.”

The site used to be the old Biltmore Terrace Hotel, designed by revered local architects Morris Lapidus and Albert Anis in 1951. For many years, it was a Howard Johnson’s. Martin bought the three-acre property from the Dezer family, who had restyled the hotel as the Dezerland, for $65 million in 2013.

Originally, Martin proposed restoring the aging 10-story hotel, which was not historically protected, and building a condo tower nearby on the same lot. But he eventually decided to demolish the old structure.

That surprised city leaders at the time. “I’m just not sure how we ended up at the last minute with the hotel being demolished,” Mayor Philip Levine said at a city commission meeting late last year. “It’s kind of like a curve ball.”

Martin defended the demolition, saying after further study his team realized the project wasn’t viable with two buildings.

“It was ultimately Renzo’s decision,” he said. “He felt like we were squeezing these two buildings in when there was only room for one . . . It was claustrophobic.”

He also said the ceilings in the Dezerland weren’t high enough to attract a high-end hotel operator. But feelings were bruised in the community.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re all very excited about a Renzo Piano building in North Beach,” said Kirk Paskal, president of the North Shore Historic District Neighborhood Association. “But it would have been different if it had been a vacant piece of land and not a Morris Lapidus building . . . It did feel like a bait-and-switch because at first they presented us with this shining picture of a renovated MiMo hotel. It’s not great when you promise one thing to the community and then do the exact opposite.”

The city commission ultimately approved the plan.

Foundation work has since started on the site, with the building scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. The brokerage Douglas Elliman is handling sales.

Piano, who in 1998 won the Pritzker, considered the Nobel Prize of architecture, is known for his work on the Pompidou Center in Paris, the New York Times Building in Times Square and the Parco della Musica in Rome. He’s also working on a condo tower in New York City’s SoHo district.
In a video produced by Terra, Piano said the North Beach site feels like “you’re in the middle of nowhere. You’re in the middle of Miami but it feels like [you’re] on a little island, lost.”
Condos at the 68-unit project will start at $2 million, or about $1,600 per square foot. The average unit size is 2,600 square feet. That’s smaller than you’d find for most new construction in established luxury markets like Sunny Isles Beach and South Beach.

“In this market, people don’t necessarily need so much space for a second or third home,” Martin said. “You have to know what’s right for the area you’re working in.”
He added that apartments offer significant outdoor living space (with summer kitchens, terraces and outdoor dining rooms) that equal about 70 percent of the interior space.

Amenities will include concierge and butler service, a hair and makeup salon, and an outdoor juice bar. The luxury Bal Harbour Shops are just a mile up the road. And a full-time botanist will work on the building’s staff to tend to residents’ balcony gardens and a private park designed by Dutch firm West 8.

The park will be stocked with coconut palms, seagrape trees and gumbo-limbos, said Daniel Vasini, who’s in charge of designing the park for West 8.

“The design is inspired by Japanese imperial gardens but we wanted to claim the tropical identity of the area,” Vasini said.

Terra is planning a retail project in a small lot it owns across Collins Avenue, although it hasn’t announced any details.

The company also recently finished Glass, a luxury condo building designed by local architect Rene Gonzalez in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood.

The 18-story tower has just 10 units. The three-story penthouse sold for $20 million last month. Because of zoning restrictions and the number of historically protected buildings in the area, Glass will likely be the last high-rise tower in South of Fifth.

“We built the last tower in South of Fifth,” Martin said. “Now we’re building the first one in North Beach.”


By Eric Glazer, Esq.   

            I have been to some real nasty association meetings over the last 23 years.  I’ve personally been cursed at, screamed at, yelled at and insulted.  My wife can sometimes get that way.
            All kidding aside, I’ve attended meetings where control was totally lost and violence erupted.  It happened more than once and each time there was not a police officer present at the meeting. I’ve seen both board members threatened and owners threatened by other owners.  Unfortunately, this sometimes happens.  The most violent meeting I ever attended was in a 55 and over community where canes and walkers were being thrown.  It was crazy.  The rehab and Medicare bills the next day were probably as much as the association’s budget.
            A few years ago I was attending an annual meeting in Hallandale.  There was an officer present.  The meeting ran until about 1:00 in the morning.  There was a guy who was sitting in the second row and nobody really knew who he was.  He looked like he was staring into space the entire 5 hours and never said a word.  That is, until it was time to announce the winners.  All of a sudden the guy awoke from his stupor and charged me.  He was obviously high, and started screaming at me almost nose to nose that I was his lawyer in Spanish and that I should do what he said to do.  The police officer at first did nothing.  So, I   told the police officer that if he doesn’t get this nut to back up, I’m going to back him up.  At that moment, the police officer went into action and screamed at the guy to “take three steps backward away from the attorney immediately.”  The guy didn’t move.  The police officer then yelled, “If you don’t want to spend tonight in the Broward County Jail, take three steps back from the attorney immediately.”  The guy still didn’t move.
            The Ombudsman’s Office happened to have been monitoring this election.  The election monitor was certainly nervous and asked if she could please speak to the man in Spanish first.  She said a few words, the guy blew some kisses into the air and then left.  When the meeting ended, the police officer walked me to my car.  I have no idea what would have happened if the officer wasn’t there, but no question in my mind that either me or the nut would have gotten hurt.
            Last year, at a condominium in Boca Raton, a guy got up from his chair, walked over to my table and told me to get up and go home because he was going to handle the election instead of me.  I calmly told him that if he so much as touches an envelope I’m calling the police.  To show off for the crowd, he proceeded to deliberately touch all of the envelopes.  Bad move.  I called the cops.  They came in riot gear and escorted him out.  They guy was frightened out of his mind.  I then calmly finished the election.
Now, lots of associations are hiring police officers to attend their meetings.  They do it to try and keep the peace.  Others argue to the contrary, that the Board use these officers as their own personal bodyguards to squash anyone who dares to raise any opposition to their personal platform.  In fact, they ask these officers to kick people out of the meeting if they dare exercise their statutory right to speak.  Others are simply insulted by the fact that their Board thinks that their neighbors need the police to keep them under control.
            Here’s what I know…… Meetings sometime get out of hand and it’s a good thing that police officers are often times present to prevent the situation from truly getting ugly.  There also may be a liability question here for the association.  Suppose violence has happened a few times at your meetings?  It’s certainly foreseeable that it may happen again.  Therefore, the Board may be forced to get police protection at all future meetings because if they don’t and violence does break out, there is certainly a negligence claim to be levied against the association and its Board members should someone get hurt.


Death in Airbnb Rental Raises Liability Questions

There is no better — or sadder — way to explain how Zak Stone’s father died in a vacation rental than how he did himself this week, so this is how he began the essay he wrote for the online magazine Matter.

“The rope swing looked inviting. Photos of it on Airbnb brought my family to the cottage in Texas. Hanging from a tree as casually as baggy jeans, the swing was the essence of leisure, of Southern hospitality, of escape. When my father decided to give it a try on Thanksgiving morning, the trunk it was tied to broke in half and fell on his head, immediately ending most of his brain activity.
The death is devastating, but no one should be shocked by it, either. As with any big hotel operation, Airbnb hosts are putting up so many people each night that fatal accidents are almost inevitable.
But the incident — and a second death that Mr. Stone disclosed in the essay in Matter, part of the publishing service Medium — does raise important insurance and safety questions about Airbnb, its competitor HomeAway and hotels themselves at the same time as Airbnb is offering more protection.

Let’s start with insurance. A year ago, Airbnb hosts were on their own when it came to liability, and most of them probably assumed that their homeowner’s insurance would offer coverage if a guest was hurt or worse. But most homeowner’s insurance policies have an explicit exclusion for commercial activity.

Airbnb this year began offering free, automatic secondary coverage for liability, in case a host’s insurance company denied a claim. Last month, Airbnb made that coverage primary. It’s still free, and it covers up to $1 million an incident.

It is not yet clear how friction-free the claims-paying process will be. After the death of Mr. Stone’s father, Louis, his family reached a settlement with the insurance company for his host, not Airbnb or its insurer. According to Mr. Stone, that host had an insurance policy that explicitly covered commercial activity. He said in his essay that Airbnb paid a $2 million settlement for the second death he reported, which was from carbon monoxide poisoning in Taiwan.

HomeAway, which was acquired by Expedia last week for $3.9 billion, takes a different approach to insurance. Rather than offering free liability coverage, it urges homeowners to buy more comprehensive coverage elsewhere. The policy that it recommends includes property and contents damage and loss of business in addition to liability. HomeAway earns a marketing fee when its customers buy from its recommended provider, CBIZ.

So why doesn’t HomeAway offer free coverage like Airbnb? Partly because it would be too expensive to offer the comprehensive policy that prudent homeowners probably should have. But HomeAway’s business is different, too. It matches homeowners and travelers and likens itself to a classified advertising service. While HomeAway did not say this specifically, it is possible that it believes that its process shields the company from potential liability and removes any need to provide automatic coverage for homeowners who list there.

Scott Wolf, the president of CBIZ’s property and casualty program division, said in an interview this week that he could not figure out how every Airbnb customer would ultimately be covered. He pointed to Airbnb’s stated annual limit of $10 million on its policy, which its hosts could exhaust with 10 $1 million claims. He estimated that each policy pays out an average of $100 in liability claims each year (though that average results in large part from a smaller number of claims that are extremely high). If Airbnb has, say, 500,000 listings on average (though there are more occupied properties than that many nights of the year), that is $50 million in claims, which is $40 million more than that annual $10 million cap.

One possibility may be that Airbnb, which has many single travelers staying in single rooms for short periods, simply won’t need to make as many claims as HomeAway travelers do. After all, people who use HomeAway often travel with their families to large rental homes with slippery pool decks and leg-eating trampolines. But Mr. Wolf said that his experience insuring bed-and-breakfast owners suggested that hosts who were in residence were actually more vulnerable to claims than absentee owners. After all, you can’t blame a host for a spill that caused a fall if the host is not there.

Airbnb did not want to go into detail about what it pays for its insurance and the precise policy language. But Nick Papas, a spokesman, said that since it started offering liability coverage in January, eight million people had stayed with an Airbnb host in the United States and fewer than 50 hosts had filed claims. “We are extremely confident in the finances underlying our program,” he said in an emailed statement. “When we were looking to expand it, we had multiple competitive bids from different insurers. The numbers show how low the risk factors are, and they’re eager to work with us.”
As for the safety questions, this seemed the perfect opportunity to figure out once and for all whether Airbnb and HomeAway rentals are more dangerous than hotels: Just ask everyone for the accidental death rate per 100 million room nights and compare. That only works if companies are willing to answer, though. HomeAway offered its number right away: zero deaths, as far as it knows. Mr. Stone disclosed the two Airbnb deaths, and the company would not comment further on its death rate.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association does not track industrywide rates. A Hyatt spokeswoman would not disclose its rate or explain why it refused to share it, and an InterContinental Hotels Group spokesman declined to comment. Best Western and Starwood said they did not have the data. Felicia McLemore, a Marriott spokeswoman, and Christine Miller, a Hilton spokeswoman, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on their companies’ death rates.

Without good data, we’re all flailing about looking for anecdotes. So let’s start with those nondisclosing hotels. On two separate occasions within weeks of one another in 2013, three people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the same Best Western hotel in North Carolina. A USA Today investigation that same year turned up eight deaths and 170 other people treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels in the three previous years. Best Western said the company now had an industry-leading carbon monoxide detection and alarm system.

On the fire front, hotels and motels averaged 3,700 a year from 2006 to 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association, resulting in an average of 12 deaths, excluding emergency personnel, and 143 injuries a year.

We know less about Airbnb and HomeAway, but one thing we know for sure is that their hosts need not follow the myriad regulations about exits and doors and alarms that hotels and motels do. The companies could inspect each property for safety, but they don’t.

And according to Liz Krueger, a New York state senator who has frequently tangled with the home renting companies, it would be better if somebody else did it. “They’d be self-declaring, and it wouldn’t be a governmental entity,” she said. “Call me a supporter of government, because I am, but I think there is a reason you want a third party doing the evaluation as opposed to an interested party who would have a reason not to document the correct things.”

Still, who knows if a government inspector would have noticed the dead tree that killed Mr. Stone’s father or the water heater reportedly at issue in the Taiwan death. Paying strangers to stay in their homes requires that we assume some risk, and we may simply have to get comfortable that we may never know exactly how much risk.

If you’re a host renting out a home or a room, tell your homeowner’s insurance company, even if you think Airbnb’s liability coverage gives you most of the protection you need. After all, your guest’s lawyer will probably sue your insurance company, too, if there is an injury on your property. Make sure that your guests know how to get out in an emergency and that your home has many alarms and is free of unnecessary hazards.

Paying guests should check batteries on fire and carbon monoxide detectors, be wary of kitchen equipment or outdoor toys they don’t normally use and keep a special eye out for things that could harm small children.

Still, let’s give the new players in lodging some credit where it is due. More insurance coverage is better than less, and urging people to be aware of their risks is a welcome evolution in how these companies operate.
Read More:

Welcome to Miami Beach's Invite-Only, Hyper-Luxury Boutique Condo Boom

Almost two decades ago, big-name developers, including Donald J. Trump, worried that height restrictions would limit the possibilities for high-end condos in Miami Beach. Trump famously lobbied city officials, in the mid-1990s, to build a 100-story hotel-casino with residences in what is now the South of Fifthneighborhood. Residents revolted, the city imposed height restrictions in the late 1990s, and developers had to rethink their grandiose condo fantasies.
Lately, while the sky may literally not be the limit for condos here, prices for luxury offerings don't seem to lack helium. The building limitations have breathed life into a different kind of Miami Beach condo movement: Call it the Boutique Boom.
Tall towers like the Continuum, the Apogee, and the Setai are yesterday's news. More modestly sized projects like Norman Foster's Faena House, Ian Schrager's Edition, andOne Ocean are breaking sales records and waging war with starchitects, art installations, and obscene amenities. That Miami Beach code now restricts waterfront residences to 200 feet and those inland to 75 feet, seems to matter less and less.
None of this is an accident, of course. Developers and their sales teams have orchestrated the current buzz by laser-targeting high-net worth individuals to create virtual New York-style co-ops.
"The building restrictions themselves have caused this incredible market to evolve," said Mark Zilbert, president of Brown Harris Stevens Zilbert. "The buildings that are going to be in demand are these smaller buildings that are very unique."
New York developers, flush from successes in the high-end Manhattan market, increasingly have Miami Beach in their sights. They seem to be following the playbook that made condo buildings like 15 Central Park West and One57 dens for the clubby elite.
In the latest example, Michael Stern, founder of JDS Development Group in New York, is developing a new luxury condo in South Beach with Howard Lorber's New Valley Realty. They commissioned Jean Nouvel, the French architect, to design the 18-story project, which will face Biscayne Bay and have a private boat dock, Oren Alexander, a broker with Douglas Elliman, confirmed to Curbed.
Alexander, who handled sales for Faena House, was at the center of a strategic marketing effort there that targeted "friends and family" from the super-elite of New York's finance and art worlds, including Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and gallerist Larry Gagosian.
Zilbert recalled with awe how exclusive the process seemed at the time. "Initially, you couldn't get information about" Faena House. "They had to invite you to learn about it." But just enough VIP buzz seemed to leak out. "We would get reports: Ted Danson just left the sales center there," Zilbert said. "It was kind of like this paparazzi thing." One common denominator, Alexander said, was the buyers were all "very significant" contemporary art collectors. "You just need to identify who those people are and crack that code," he said.
Douglas Elliman never paid for any print advertising for Faena House, Alexander said. Yet, he boasted, the project's "conversion ratio" of buyers versus visits "was among the highest ratios I have ever seen."
When it debuts, Faena House will break virtually all the condo sales records on Miami Beach. The penthouse will reportedly sell for a record $60 million—$10 million over asking—making it the most expensive home ever sold in Miami-Dade County.
Faena proved that building restrictions, in the end, "fell in line with where luxury was going" for the super-elite. "Real luxury is limited, it is exclusivity," Alexander said.
The Elliman agent is employing the same friends and family approach to his latest sales effort, 87 Park, a 68-unit project on 16 floors designed by Renzo Piano. It will open a sales office in the next two weeks. Interested buyers have already reserved about one-third of the residences, he said. One bedrooms will start at $1.6 million and four-bedrooms at $10 million, with some ocean-facing corner units going for more than $3,500-a-square-foot.
One owner, at 1335 Monad Terrace, has held out. Public records list the owner as "1335 Monad Terrace LLC," with Stefania Scaffidi as the registered agent. She bought her two-bedroom, one bath home, built in 1940, for $500,000 in 2010. Now she wants$10 million for the 3,500-square-foot site, said Kevin Torres, a superintendent with Plaza Construction, who was overseeing the demolition of the homes in mid-October. That would top the $9.8 million that the JDS affiliate paid for the 1365 Monad Terrace, which is the same lot size.
When I went by last week looking for Scaffidi, I found the home dark and shrouded with massive shrubbery. A lonely looking cat hung around the front stoop. A no trespassing sign greeted visitors: "Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."
None of this seems to faze Stern and his team. Torres said the local project manager working for JDS has been talking to Nouvel, the architect, about "designing around" Scaffidi's home. If it comes to that, one could suppose the savvy marketers will create an art installation to camouflage the odd gap the home would create. It could only make Monad Terrace more "boutique."