Monthly Archives: November 2011

We’re not quite up to the stage where our cars can fly, but thanks to a complex that is being constructed along Miami Beach’s waterfront, we can certainly get our cars pretty close to our living space.  The “Jetsons”-esque elevator will have the ability to send residents’ cars to the front doors of their high-rise condominiums.   This will be the first building ever to be constructed with such a feature.  So no matter how high up you are, you will be able to “park” your car right outside your property!

Called the Porsche Design Tower, this new venture is the result of a partnership between Gil Dezer, (a Miami property developer) and the Porsche Design Group.  In layman’s terms, this is basically an extremely large elevator that has a robotic arm which can go up the tower’s 57 stories at a 90-second clip, and offer great views of the city at the same time! 

But it certainly isn’t an opportunity for those with little money in the bank.  It is anticipated that each unit will sell for around $9million.


The first ever official partnership between Atlas Real Estate Partners and Andover Real Estate partners took place when a 336-unit building – Sawgrass Cove Apartments – was acquired by the two companies.  They will now join together to develop this multifamily platform in Florida over the next two years. 

Greystar Collaboration

Greystar will be working alongside Atlas and Andover in this project as the community is reabsorbed in its new location.  It is, overall, a phenomenal opportunity for the Sawgrass Cove community as the new location is very centrally located from great shopping and eatery areas – Bradenton and Anna Maria Beach.  As well, the properties themselves will have upgraded amenities and the hope is a new sense of community will develop quickly.  On the schedule are events for residents and town hall meetings so that the people living there can really be heard.

Montana Mapping & GPS just released software providing detailed information of land; a display of property lines and public property for the state of Florida.  The company that released the software designed it with real estate agents in mind as it makes life much easier when you can see clearly which land is public and which is private through its color-coding.  According to the company’s CEO, Eric Siegfried, it provides a lot of other important data too like where various parks and preserves are located; different highways and roads; campgrounds, trails and more.

Benefits for Sporting Activists

The software is great for sporting activists too, since it provides information on the locations of all the public and private boundaries in the region are situated along with landowner names.  So while hiking in the field, they need not fret about trespassing or getting into unwanted zones.  The user can also plot his or her location on the map which saves the time and hassle of trying to work out exactly where you are.  It can be used with other regular maps too.

Current Florida Real Estate Issues

The US housing market is up and down.  It’s good for some people; bad for others.  Looking at the fact that there are properties on the market which have lost around 50% of their value, this should make it a great time to buy a home.  But that’s just the theory.  It seems the reality is somewhat different.

Other Economic Factors

While it’s true that house prices in distressed areas are selling at pretty much an all-time low, if one has  no money, there is no money  no matter how cheap they are!  In other words, with high unemployment, it doesn’t matter how low property prices are plummeting, there is no capital with which to make a purchase. 

On average, a 30-year mortgage has now dropped to less than 4 percent.  But with people worried about whether or not they are going to remain in gainful employment and thus banks becoming less willing to lend money to these individuals, it becomes way harder to purchase property.  Potential buyers now have to really be put through the ringer as they are requested to produce comprehensive tax returns and income verification.

Where Florida Fits In

Unfortunately Florida is pretty typical of what is going on now vis-à-vis the challenging real estate market. People simply cannot buy homes with no jobs or if they sense severe job insecurity.  The four largest cities in Florida are at this point this right now.  Thus it seems there is quite a way to go before the Florida housing downturn encounters a real recovery.  Potential buyers – or those who should be potential buyers – are sticking to what they know and not taking any risk.  They want to make sure they have a steady income before thinking about taking out a huge loan for a house that could ultimately result in a foreclosure.

It seems like recently in the state of Florida, the news has only been bad vis-à-vis real estate and homeowners trying to make a buck or two.  Now, thankfully, the news is changing.  And there have been some great indicators for those in South Florida looking to sell their homes.  Indeed, because there are much less foreclosed properties on the market, homeowners can name their price.  Well, not quite, but things are definitely looking up.

It’s not the case with all areas, but right now, if you want to sell, South Florida seems to be the area to be in.  According to an agent from Balistreri Realty, some homes are actually even increasing in price.  True, there are many properties still in distress, but that is just not the full picture anymore.

Fewer Foreclosures

Yes, one cannot deny the fact that there are still foreclosures in Florida, but one also has to recognize that these numbers are declining, not increasing.  For example, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, in October of last year, distressed sales were 54 percent of all sales, but this year in the same month, that figure had dropped to 48 percent.  Not great, but definitely something and for sure the figures are going in the right direction.  Likewise there was a 4 percent drop for the same time zone in Palm Beach County.

Although foreclosures and so-called short sales still account for a large part of the region's housing market, the numbers are declining.  And it seems like it is the South Florida region we can thank for that due to its increase in home sales.   As well, the housing market in Weston is doing well too, having only 10 homes that are owned by banks.  As well, in this city, between February 2009 to August 2011, there was more than a 15 percent increase in the median value of a home. 

So for the Florida housing market right now, things are not as bad as they once were.  Of course there is room for improvement, but it seems like that is exactly what is happening in the South Florida region.

According to a report from Zillow, in the third quarter of 2011, those selling their homes in Palm Beach County lost money on almost 46 percent of occasions.  This was an increase of 3.4 from the second quarter.  As well, in September, national figures were 34 percent of homes selling for a less which is three percent more than for the same time frame last year.

And it looks like there is more bad news along the way.  According to one economist at Zillow, home prices are meant to plummet a further three to five percent before hitting rock bottom nationwide.  The economy isn’t doing great with unemployment, negative equity and more. With such features plaguing the economy, is going to be a long time until the housing market stabilizes.

Florida Homeowners

Close to 50 percent of homeowners in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach owed more on their mortgages than the worth of their homes during the third quarter.  This figure has slightly increased since the second quarter.  It also looks like next year, the values on South Florida homes will be hitting bottom.  At that point, banks will have to start unloading all these homes.  The one silver lining on the cloud according to the Zillow report is that there has been a reduction in pace of home-values.

Sterling University Housing (an auxiliary of Dinerstein which has built approximately 30,000 housing facilities for students), is set to construct four off-campus student housing constructions, one in Florida, one in Texas, and two in South California. They are due to be up and running by the end of next summer and hope to achieve LEED for Homes Silver Certificate.

Going Green in Top Quality

There will be some great amenities at the Florida student housing construction which will be built next to the University of South Florida, in Tampa.  The furnishings in the building will be very modern; a park will be developed with areas for exercise, as well as various games rooms, two swimming pools, a tanning dome, computer center, etc.  Inside there will be a washer and dryer, a 42 inch TV and more.  the main objective of the apartments is to go green and thus they will be constructed in an eco-friendly manner as much as possible with top quality clean air quality and other energy-saving features.

New homes are to be built in the Lely Resort, which is located in Naples, Florida.  The company engaged in the building work is Stock Construction.  The residential units will comprise five floors plans which are named: Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, San Clemente, San Pablo and San Pablo B.  In each of them, there will be maximum natural light capacity as additional windows will be fitted.

Santa Ana

This property will comprise three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, living and dining areas, and a garage for two vehicles.  This will span 1733 sq. feet.

Santa Clarita

The building will be a town home with two floors, covering 1989 sq. feet, which will have two/three bedrooms, a half-bath, a side-loaded entrance, covered porch from the kitchen and a Juliette balcony off the guest suite.  Attached to the unit will be a garage suitable for two vehicles and two closets for storage.

San Clemente

Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two lake-facing lanais, garage for two cars, large living area and altogether measure 1404 sq. feet.

San Pablo

This will span 1774 sq. feet and be on the second level.  It will comprise: three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fancy kitchen, large front porch, a garage with the capacity for two vehicles.  San Pablo B will be the same.

All five new designs call for installation of more windows which leads to optimum natural light penetration.