Pavilion from the Ocean

Pavilion from the Ocean

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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.”