Apartment Builders Taking over Downtown Miami

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on March 1, 2017

 Apartment Builders Flooding Downtown MiamiCondos have been stuffing the development pipeline in downtown Miami, but now the rental supply is overtaking the condo market for the first time in Miami history.

More than 3,500 apartments are scheduled for delivery this year, as opposed to 2,774 condos. However, market experts say the downtown market still isn’t oversaturated. They point to the area’s high years from 2004 to 2006 when 60,000 new residences were added in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In 2014 and 2015, just 28,000 single-family homes, condos, and apartments were added.

Many of the multifamily unit owners are ready to flip the buildings once they are all leased up, but experts believe they will be less likely to sell as long as prices are fluctuating. Right now, predictions are that projects completed from 2012 to 2014 will begin selling this year.

Part of the demand for apartments have to do with the shift in market focus from International buyers to local buyers. As long as the dollar remains strong and there’s an anti-immigration focus in government, international buyers will be less likely to invest.

However, the first such building to go up for sale in Fort Lauderdale hardly qualifies as affordable housing; the Amaray Las Olas project, which expected to set the tone for 2017, consists of 254 luxury apartment units. The average three-bedroom unit in the tower rents for $4,800 a month. Many builders have chosen to build micro units to reach affordable housing standards, rather than build traditionally affordable units.

Another barrier to entry in the market is a crackdown by FinCen on cash purchases over $1 million by anonymous buyers, LLCs and showdown companies. The order affects Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, along with some counties in California and Texas.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Russian Buyers Searching for Property in Miami

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 27, 2017

 Russian Buyers Searching for Property in MiamiRussia rose to the top of the list of International buyers searching for Miami real estate in November 2016, says the Miami Association of Realtors. It was the first time Russia has topped the list since 2013, when the website began tracking visits from international buyers.

Brazil topped the list in November 2015, followed by Venezuela, Argentina, Columbia, and then Russia ranking fifth. It’s much more common for Latin American countries to lead the searches because of their vicinity, the climate, culture, and generally favorable exchange rates. But recent political instability and a strong dollar have kept Latin American buyers at bay.

Canadian buyers topped the list in October 2016 as the arrival of cold weather caused them to look south, but this is the first time Russia has ever come in first. Some analysts think that Donald Trumps strong relationship with Putin has heartened Russian investors. Interest in the Miami market jumped 35 percent following Trump’s victory, which is at least alleged to have been helped by Russian hackers, a claim Trump has denied. Reports by the CIA indicated that Russia was responsible for leaks about the DNC and Hillary Clinton that came out immediately following the release of a video damaging to Trump.

The recent success of two Russian developers in Miami may have also impacted the way Russians see the city. One billionaire recently paid $54 million for a 2-acre spot on Biscayne Bay where he has planned a massive condominium project, despite the backlog of condos currently being developed in Miami.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Florida MLS Adds True Home Cost Feature

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 24, 2017

 Florida MLS Adds True Home Cost FeatureThe Florida MLS has added new functionality that can help homeowners. The new home price calculator on State27Homes.com helps potential homebuyers determine the actual monthly cost of a home by estimating property insurance and utilities for specific areas.

With this new feature, buyers can input not just what they think they can afford for a home in total, but what they can afford to spend monthly on all aspects of homeownership. The MLS site will then only show you homes that fit your monthly budget.

The new features are designed to drive traffic and buyers to licensed Realtors in the state, which means that unlike other real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, or Redfin, it will not feature any homes listed as for sale by owner. The site also allows you to login and input personal information about your house hunt, such as income, debt and credit score to help better estimate affordability.

Realtors have been stepping up efforts in the past few years to compete with DIY real estate sites that allow buyers to bypass the traditional real estate agent arrangement. Discount brokers like Redfin have caused the average real estate agent commission to dip below 6 percent in recent years. Discount brokerages offer slimmed-down services for a much smaller commission or sometimes just a flat fee. However, the agents are not local and many work just part time and are limited on experience. Real estate attorneys also work on a flat-fee basis, but offer home buyers much more local familiarity, market relationships, and legal protection than one would get with a discount agent.

Other new features on State27Homes.com include additional information on neighborhoods, such as walkability and a noise score to help determine if a home is close to a highway, industrial area, or flight path, something that previously required driving through a neighborhood several times. You can also calculate commuting costs based on date from the EPA.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

 Florida MLS Adds True Home Cost Feature

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Looking to 2017 in Miami Development

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 23, 2017

Looking to 2017 in Miami DevelopmentA recent panel hosting top real estate producers in the Miami market gave us a glimpse of what they are expecting to see in 2017. Here’s your cheat sheet.

First, Alex Zylberglait, Marcus & Millichap’s senior vice president for investment sales, says he expects to see foreign investors who became familiar with the Miami market on the residential side venture into the commercial side. And because the fundamental market in Miami is strong, they see commercial development here as a solid investment. In particular, foreign investors are looking into long-lease, single-tenant properties like CVS and Walgreens.

Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner for Cervera Real Estate, predicts that the strength of the dollar will continue to negatively impact condo sales, but it won’t be as bad as previously thought since Latin American currencies held strong after the election. Lamadrid concedes it won’t be a runaway season for condo sales but says areas where condos are strong will see more varied kinds of development.

Rodrigo Azpúrua, CEO of Riviera Point Development Group, is most concerned about the EB-5 visa program that was extended through April 2017, after a December 9 vote that would have reformed the visa program to include higher spending thresholds and more of an eye on compliance.

Aaron Kurlansky, principal of FM Capital, says he’s seeing investors leaving higher-priced markets for the good values in Miami. “We are seeing a lot of guys exiting properties in New York to double down and plant roots here. These people are longer term investors who want to manage their wealth. They are seeing that they can own 200 units here for the same price of 100 units there.”

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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