Pavilion from the Ocean

Pavilion from the Ocean

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Foreclosure rate falls in South Florida

The foreclosure rates in Miami-Dade and Broward counties both fell in June, continuing a long-time trend since the housing market started to bounce back in 2012.
In Miami-Dade, the percentage of homes in foreclosure dropped to 3.6 percent in June, down from 3.71 percent in May and 6.29 percent in June 2014, according to a report from property analytics firm CoreLogic.
In Broward, the foreclosure rate fell to 3.22 percent in June, down from 3.37 percent in May and 5.91 percent in June 2014, CoreLogic found.
South Florida’s housing market was hammered during the recession and local foreclosure rates are still higher than those in Florida as a whole (2.79 percent) and the U.S. (1.28 percent).

Read more here:

LeBron James just sold his Miami mansion for a $4 million profit

LeBron James has sold his Miami estate for $13.4 million, ESPN's Darren Rovell reports.

That's $4.4 million more than he bought it for when he joined the Miami Heat in 2010.
It was originally priced at $17 million when it went on the market last October. It was later reduced to $15 million, and sold for $13.4 million.

The mansion was listed by Opulence International Realty, which called the it "the most opulent estate in Miami."

It has an infinity pool that overlooks Biscayne Bay, a maze of terraces, a movie room, and a massive master suite. The photos make it look incredible.

Miami tops nation with foreclosures in July

Miami had the nation’s highest rate of residential foreclosures during the month of July, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

The report shows that one in every 339 homes in the Miami metropolitan area saw foreclosure filings last month. That rate was three times the national average, which stood at one in every 1,057 homes.
Though Jacksonville, Florida, reported a slightly higher foreclosure rate (one in every 310 housing units), Miami was at the top among the nation’s 20 biggest cities. It has remained one of the nation’s leading cities for foreclosures since the market’s downturn, but the number of distressed properties in the metro area has gradually declined over the years.

“The remnants of our South Florida distressed market are seen in the strong REO numbers — double what they were last year,” Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company, wrote in the report. “The short sales have basically been eliminated and our long judicial system is finally clearing out the last vestiges of these REO properties.”
However, that trend was halted in July when Florida, and by association Miami, experienced an influx of new foreclosure starts.

The state saw a 16 percent increase in foreclosure starts in July, compared to the same month last year, with one in every 408 housing units having a foreclosure filing. Its increase was the fifth-highest in the nation, with Massachusetts leading by a mile — that state saw an incredible 130 percent increase in foreclosure starts year-over-year.
Overall, the nation’s foreclosure rate grew 7 percent last month to a total of 124,910 housing units with filings on them. This marks the fifth month of increases, following a trend of decreases that lasted 53 months.
“The increase in overall foreclosure activity over the last five months has been driven primarily by rapidly rising bank repossessions, which in July reached the highest level since January 2013,” wrote RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. “Meanwhile foreclosure [stats] in July were at the lowest level since November 2005 — a nearly 10-year low that demonstrates the recent rise in bank repossessions represents banks flushing out old distress rather than new distress being pushed into the pipeline.”

Home prices, sales go up in South Florida

After a record-setting month in June, South Florida home prices and sales both went up in July.
Existing single-family home sales in Miami-Dade County hit 1,354 in July, up 10.2 percent year-over-year and just shy of June’s record-breaking haul of 1,390, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors released Thursday.
Existing condo sales rose to 1,471 in July, up 4.8 percent year-over-year despite the deluge of new condo construction hitting the market.
Broward County also made gains.
There were 1,683 single-family home sales in Broward in July, up 11 percent year-over-year, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Association of Realtors. Condo sales hit 1,567, a 10 percent year-over-year gain.
Prices went up in both counties, too.
In Miami-Dade, the median price for a single-family home rose 8.6 percent year-over-year in July, to $278,000. Condos were up 2.6 percent, to $195,000.
In Broward, single-family home prices hit $312,000, a 9.5 percent year-over-year increase. Condos sold for $137,000, up 7 percent.

Read more here:

Cash home sales fall in Miami-Dade

Cash home sales in Miami-Dade County fell again as the foreign investors who fueled the recent real estate boom grapple with rising prices.

Cash deals made up 54.6 of all home purchases in Miami-Dade County in May, down about 10 percent from May 2014, according to a report from the property analytics firm CoreLogic.

Foreign investors usually buy homes with hard currency so a decline in cash sales likely means their numbers are dropping. That’s happening because plummeting currencies in Latin America and Europe, a strong U.S. dollar and skyrocketing local real estate prices have made it harder for foreigners to find good deals in Miami.

The top foreign buyers of South Florida real estate are Venezuelans, Argentinians and Brazilians, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

Nationwide cash sales accounted for 31.9 percent of total home sales in May.

Read more here:

Police: Miami Beach Realtor tried to extort powerful duo for $800,000

A Miami Beach real estate agent — who sported bruises in his mugshot — was arrested over the weekend after police say he tried to extort $800,000 from two high-powered brokers, known as ‘‘the Jills,’’ and then grabbed for an officer’s gun during his arrest.
Kevin Francis Tomlinson, 48, a high-profile Realtor who worked with One Sotheby’s International Realty, was arrested Saturday and later released on an $11,000 bond, according to jail records.
Tomlinson’s extortion plot began on April 17, 2015, when he filed an ethics complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors against Coldwell Banker brokers Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, Miami Beach Det. Wayne Holbrook wrote in an arrest warrant.
Hertzberg and Eber are two of the top luxury brokers in South Florida. In 2012, they sold a mansion in Indian Creek for $47 million, the most expensive home sale in Miami-Dade County history.
In his complaint, Tomlinson claimed the Jills were manipulating listings on the “multiple listing service,” a marketing database used by brokers, in order to reduce the prominence of homes they were having trouble selling, sources familiar with the matter said. Complaints with the Realtors’ association are confidential. They can be filed through a form available online.
Several months after making his complaint, Tomlinson called Hertzberg on July 16 and asked for a meeting “suggesting he had a way of withdrawing” the grievance, Holbrook wrote in the warrant.
The next day Tomlinson came to Hertzberg’s home and said the complaint would go away if she and Eber each paid him $250,000, according to the warrant.
He told Hertzberg that if he did not receive the payment he would go public with the information and ruin their reputations. He then reduced the request to $200,000 each, the warrant says.
That same day the Jills reported the threats to Miami Beach police.
In the beginning of August, a Miami Beach detective told Hertzberg to place four calls to Tomlinson and the “subject continued his extortion plot,” a detective wrote.
Then on Thursday, Hertzberg — with the detective’s knowledge — had Tomlinson come to her home for another meeting. Hertzberg had a check for $400,000, but Tomlinson said he now wanted $800,000 and threatened to make his complaint “front page news” if the Jills did not pay up, according to the warrant.
The next day Hertzberg contacted Tomlinson, who responded by saying “too late Jill,” according to the warrant.
Holbrook obtained a warrant for Tomlinson’s arrest the same day.
On Saturday, Miami Beach police showed up at his penthouse apartment at Meridian Lofts, at 2001 Meridian Ave. in Miami Beach, to serve the warrant and he refused to open up, shouting obscenities at them through a locked door and cursing Hertzberg by name.
In a separate arrest report, an officer said they had to get a key from the building manager and when they entered “the officers were forced to physically grab the defendant by his arms and take him to the ground as he continued to resist.”
After kicking and fighting arrest, Tomlinson “then grabbed the handle of my firearm in an attempt to gain control of it,” an officer said.
He was then charged with resisting arrest with violence and depriving an officer of means of protection, in addition to two felony counts of extortion.
“This is retribution for my grievance with the Miami Association of Realtors,’’ Tomlinson said in a statement emailed to the Miami Herald. “I was threatened by Jill Hertzberg that something like this was going to happen if I went forward with my Miami Association of Realtors grievance.’’
Tomlinson obtained a Florida real estate license in 1994 and established himself as a top broker of Miami Beach property, serving as a member of the board of governors at the Realtor’s association. Last year he sold a lot on Allison Road for $11.7 million. He bought his 1,100-square-foot apartment for $375,000 10 years ago, county records show.
One Sotheby’s said it had “immediately terminated” Tomlinson and would cooperate with police.
In a written statement issued through a spokesman, the Jills said that they were “shaken by this extortion attempt, but want to thank the Miami Beach Police Department for their professionalism and guidance.”
In reference to Tomlinson’s complaint, spokesman Bruce Rubin said there had been “an issue” entering electronic data into the multiple listing service and that the Jills had discussed the matter with the Realtors’ association.
The association declined to comment on the complaint, saying it could not confirm or deny the existence of any complaints.
The incident with Tomlinson isn’t the first case of bizarre behavior featuring South Florida real estate agents.
Back in 2006, Dean Isenberg created fake, raunchy online escort ads featuring the phone numbers of a rival agent in North Miami-Dade. The series of ads sparked hundreds of lurid phone calls to the married mother of three, nearly driving her to a nervous breakdown.

Isenberg later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor stalking in exchange for probation, 300 hours of community service and restitution of $12,500 to the victim.

South Florida home flippers still on the hunt as prices rise

Even as local real-estate prices soar, home flipping is still a big business in South Florida.
While it’s getting harder to find a good deal, flippers say they’re riding the wave of rising home values to steady profits— and they don’t expect a crash that will leave them underwater.
Nearly 1,400 single-family homes were flipped in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties during the second quarter of 2015, according to a report from RealtyTrac released Thursday.
That’s about 10 percent of overall home sales, the highest rate among major metro areas in the U.S. Around the nation, only 4.5 percent of sales were flips. RealtyTrac defines a flipped home as one that sells twice in a single year.
“South Florida is a hot spot,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
Blomquist said that the region’s high rate of foreclosures and strong record of price growth make flipping a good bet in South Florida.
Even so, local home flipping is slowing somewhat, with the number of flips down about six percent year-over-year. “The prices are starting to hit a level that is out of the sweet spot for a lot of flippers,” Blomquist said. “We’re seeing the number of flips come down and that to me is a sign that we’re in a sustainable housing economy and not a bubble.”
Flips accounted for nearly 14 percent of all sales in South Florida during the headiest days of the bubble, RealtyTrac found.
Although flipping is down slightly, the profits are still there. The average flipped home in South Florida cost $220,000 to buy but sold for $302,000 about six months later, RealtyTrac found. That’s a healthy gain even after repairs and closing costs are taken out.


Miami leads the nation among major metro areas where flips account for the greatest percentage of single-family sales.

Miami: 9.6 percent
Memphis: 9.0 percent
Tampa: 8.9 percent
Las Vegas: 7.7 percent
Detroit: 7.1 percent
Baltimore: 7.1 percent
Los Angeles: 7.0 percent
Orlando: 6.8 percent
Phoenix: 6.7 percent
Jacksonville: 6.7 percent

Board of Directors - IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME

By Eric Glazer, Esq.
It’s the end of the summer.  Millions of kids across our state have to suck it up and return to school.  And if the kids have to endure school for the next ten months, all of you can endure a measly three hours.  I’m talking of course about Condo and HOA Board Certification.
            There’s a lot that goes into my job as a lawyer in this area of the law.  Working on the current cases I have, keeping abreast of the changes in the law, advocating for legislative reform, doing the Condo Craze Radio Show each week and writing this blog each weeks as well.  Without a doubt however, my favorite part of what I do is teaching and meeting all of you at our state-wide seminars.
As you all know by now, condo directors must get certified within one year prior to getting elected or appointed to the board or within 90 days of actually getting elected or appointed to the Board.  They can do so in one of two ways.  The first way is the chicken’s way out and quite frankly is an embarrassing loophole in the law.  The law actually allows you to sign an affidavit which basically states that you have read your association’s governing documents and that:
“he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members.”
            Honestly, this is ridiculous.  Many of you have illegal provisions in your governing documents.  Your affidavit apparently requires you to promise to uphold these provisions even if they are illegal and unenforceable.  Worse yet, the affidavit does not even require you to read or even acknowledge Florida Statute 718 (the condo statute) or Florida Statute 720 (the HOA statute).
            Thank heavens that the law provides that you can also get certified by taking a DBPR approved course.  I fought hard three years ago to ensure that HOA members had the ability to get certified by attending these classes and am very proud of helping to pass legislation which did just that.  I am also proud to say that I have taught the course to over 10,000 of you all across the state.  At each class, not only do the attendees learn something, but I do as well.  So do the attorneys in my firm.  Your questions always help raise awareness to so many issues and often times you provide practical answers to what may seem like complicated issues.  The bottom line is that we all learn from each other.