In this video the National Association of Realtors offers some insight into home sales in the South Florida region at the end of 2017.

Optimism comes in the form of 60% of renters feeling this to be a good time to purchase a property; 76% of homeowners seeing the environment as positive for selling and 52% believing the economy to be improving.

When making an investment in real estate, it is vital to check out locations first.  Currently – for those looking to put  money into US real estate – Florida seems like a pretty good bet.  With a market share of 22 percent, Florida seems to be the top choice for foreign purchasers.

Global investment in property purchases is increasing.  According to the Florida Realtors Trade Group, this has been encountered most notably over the last 12 months with around $24.2 billion for July 2017 – a staggering $5 billion more than July 2016.

In first place (within Florida) came Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, cornering 52.6 percent of the market share, which was .5 percent more than last year.  So far this year, international investors have increased by $24.2 billion within the state (which is quite a bit more than last year’s number of $19.5 billion). This also accounted for the highest amount spent on this investment nationwide.

Miami has attracted a lot of interest from Colombian investors who have led the real estate purchasing search for 7 consecutive months.  Foreign investors have followed suit, selecting the area due to its amenability for businesses, top-level educational opportunities, prestigious  waterfront location and global/domestic transportation access.

Yes, Florida has been subject to terrible earthquakes and destruction recently.  But things are still moving forward with real estate.  Earlier this month the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board held a discussion on affordable housing in connection with the next Florida Forward forum. Key participants included: Osceola County Commissioner Viviana Janer; Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine; Rudolph C. Cleare, Executive VP of The “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation and Ben Hoyer, founder/director of Downtown CREDO.

On 26th October, we get to take part in The Real Deal’s South Real Estate Showcase and Forum at Soho Studios just featuring an additional panel in response to Irma and the impacts of storm surge on real estate.  Featuring an entire day of programming, four panels will examine all parts of the real estate market.  Local merchants will be on hand offering food and drinks. Those taking part come from: EWM Realty International, KKAID, Cervera Real Estate, Miami Real Estate Group, among others.

Then there is the Minto Community vision which is seeking to bring an idyllic lifestyle at Westlake, right in the center of Palm Beach County.  According to Minto Communities president Mike Belmont: “Westlake offers families the chance to be part of something new and exciting, to experience the future of Florida living in a brand-new city. “We call it Life in Motion – the more active, more connected and more convenient lifestyle people are looking for today.” Grand opening of the community is set for later this month on October 28, where six new model homes will be unveiled, along with a new 9,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sales center with interactive displays, a café, children’s playroom and an interior design center. With it being in Westlake, residents will be able to enjoy a vibrant town center featuring local and national retailers, restaurants and services nearby, as well as a very lively calendar of events.

A new rule is being put in place for those building in South Miami.  Any new residential construction that takes place in the area will be forced to install solar panels on the roof. When people do home renovations, some of them will also be subject to the new law that comes into effect September 18, 2017.

Other areas have already been subject to this law (or similar versions of it) in the state of California.  The rule is that every 1,00 square feet of roof will require 175 square feet of solar panels.  All multi-story residential buildings, as well as single-unit family residences and townhouses are subject to this rule. Vis-à-vis renovations, it is all of those which replace more than 75 percent of a residential structure or structure expansion by more than 75 percent.

The initiative has been commended by Florida International University biology professor, Mayor Philip Stoddard.  His own house runs on solar power which he has found decreases home ownership costs.  On a more global level, it provides house sellers with more selling points.  The reason it has to be done is because South Florida is potentially being wiped out by the sea level rise so if every rooftop harvests free sunlight, then they are doing their part.

At the end of last month, the Palm Beach County Commissioners, County Administrator, decision-makers, community leaders and others in the region, assembled at the Palm Beach County Convention Center for a six-hour annual summit.  The focus of the Palm Beach Housing Summit was to find a way to “reduce financial barriers, policy and regulatory barriers while exploring innovative tools and models that will provide the housing options that will keep pace with growth in our community.”

It was very productive for those with an interest in the maintenance of a sustainable community such as real estate employees, lenders, housing counselors, non-profits, etc.

One of the topics discussed was how to respond to the increasing challenge of providing affordable housing for youngsters.  Crisis Housing Solutions executive director Craig Vanderlaan suggested the use of shipping containers to build more affordable housing as has been the case in London (for a shopping mall), Los Angeles (housing for veterans) and the Netherlands (student housing).

Various industries in the state of Florida are currently thriving.  as a result of the addition of many jobs, the housing market is benefiting substantially as well.  In particular, in January 2017 the state added more private sector jobs than any other states in America.  In addition, this was the 21st consecutive month of Florida being ahead of Texas in job creation, with 50,700 new positions.

Vis-à-vis the impact on housing, statewide median sale prices for single homes in January increased by 10.1 percent to $220,000 from the year earlier of $199,000. This was facilitated by the fact that new building permits had been issued (12 percent of the entire country’s building permits).

Florida’s Governor Rick Scott pointed out:

 “As more and more companies choose to invest in our state, we also continue to see improvements in other parts of the economy, such as the housing market. We must keep fighting for Florida jobs and investing in proven tools that help our economy like Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA.”

Historically retirees have always found Florida a great place to lay their hats.  The weather is great, the culture and activity options are large and the lifestyle is very suited for the slower pace that comes with old age.  In fact, a recent study undertaken by WalletHub found that “Florida is 2017’s best state to retire to,” featuring better taxes, a large amount of theater options and museums, affordability, and excellent hospital and healthcare.

But now there is another reason and that comes from the response from Quadrum Global and DeAngelis Diamond to the housing shortage – the creation of a $95 million community (named Avida) slated for opening in fall 2018.

With this community comes everything a senior could need: independent living, assisted living and memory care units. Located in Southwest Florida – one of America’s fastest growing destinations for retires – the project will be at 7650 Gladiolus Drive, on a 32 acre site purchased by Quadrum in the summer of 2015.  The project is set to provide the elder generation with resort-style luxurious living, which is a demand that is increasing and will continue to escalate, over the next 10 years.  Given this fact, Quadrum’s Director of US Investments Seth Schumer said, this demographic will be among the company’s “core focuses” in America.

So this project just gives the 34% of people moving to Florida for retirement reasons, another reason for doing so.

In an effort to assist Medicaid users with house-hunting in Florida, the state is trying to run a pilot program that would reimburse managed-care plans for finding accommodation. Other services – to assist those with extreme mental illnesses or substance use disorders – would also be part of this program.

The first year would have a maximum of 42,500 people enrolled.  The estimated cost for that would be $9 million+ in state and federal expenditure. The way it will work (since neither Medicaid nor Medicare is allowed to put money to rentals) is through a loophole since there is a real recognition and understanding that taking care of health – in a holistic way – extends to addressing all factors which impact it:  economic, environmental and social.  Housing is one of these.

In addition, given that unstable housing often results in the quite unnecessary (medically-speaking) use of emergency rooms, hospital beds would be freed up if housing improves for these individuals.

As Executive Director of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition, Karen Koch explained:

“Living independently for many of these individuals can change their lives. Not only does it improve their recovery and their self-worth but it generally results in their ability to become self-sufficient and less dependent on public resources.”


green-housingBabcock Ranch, a new 18,000-acre solar powered town is to have a new development.  Thanks to Kitson & Partners, Naples-based Fox Premier Builders are to be constructing this new environmentally friendly town, just 20 minutes away from Fort Myers.

In addition, Towne and Stock Development has also begun construction in Lake Timber.  This is the fight community that is being put up at Babcock Ranch with additional models expected next month from Florida Lifestyle Homes of Fort Myers.  Situated on 50- or 60-by-130-foot home sites, the base prices are in the $300s. Cooter Ramsey of Allison, Ramsey & Associates was the designer along with Timberbuilt and Cottage Collection floor.  Each plan has a covered front porch which means that the home can be from front to back but still allow for neighbor interaction.  There are also front yard spaces, fenced in backyards and rear porches.

Meanwhile a part of North Key Largo (which used to just be a pile of old trash including sinking boats and illegal structures) has now been transformed into an aquatic preserve.  This 22 acre property located across from Alabama Jack’s restaurant is to be known as the John Gautier Aquatic Preserve.  This was a long project which began with getting squatters out and working with the property owner who had inherited the space from  her mom who knew nothing about what was going on at the property.