CASA DE CAMPO VILLA LEASE FORM
TFA News: Property Tax Rise in Budget
Prepare and protect yourself for the rise in property tax by seeing if you qualify for a homestead exemption. Call your accountant/attorney today for advice.
Deal Among this month’s higher-dollar North End Sales…...........
Deal among this month’s higher-dollar North End sales.
By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Real Estate Writer
Not sure if it’s a case of March Madness, but the North End has been abuzz with sizable property sales recorded by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.
Among those deals, part-time Palm Beachers John and Rosalie Franks sold their five-bedroom oceanfront home at 1214 N. Ocean Blvd. for $5.84 million, the price recorded with the deed last week. The unidentified couple that bought the home had rented accommodations for years in Palm Beach and finally decided to buy here. Built in 1951, the house affords views of the sea across North Ocean Boulevard at the corner of Mockingbird Trail. The property measures nearly a half-acre and includes a private cabana on a deeded beach parcel. The new owners also have access to the neighborhood association’s larger beach cabana.
The Frankses, who have a home in Barrington, R.I., acted individually as owners in the sale of their Palm Beach house as well as trustees of trusts in each of their names. John Franks has a real estate background and Rosalie Franks teaches literature, philosophy and writing at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. She also has a business that documents personal histories on DVD.
The deal marked the second North End sale recorded at more than $5.5 million within two weeks. On Monday, a deed posted for the $6.6 million sale of a 5,360-square-foot house on a dry lot at 243 Tangier Ave., a deal handled on both sides by Sotheby’s International Realty. On March 5, 318 Caribbean Road — a vacant lakefront lot measuring a little more than three-fourths of an acre — sold for $8 million in a deal put together by Tina Fanjul Associates.
And a search this week of the local multiple listing service showed five pending sales of North End properties priced at $5 million or more.
Speaking of activity on the North End, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley has closed on the sale of 312 Cherry Lane, the four-bedroom home he inherited after the death last year of his longtime partner, the late dermatologist Dr. Layne Nisenbaum. A Florida limited liability company controlled by Peter Gottsegen of Pound Ridge, N.Y., paid $3.85 million for the house, according to the deed recorded last week. Gottsegen is a founding partner of CAI, a private-equity firm with offices in New York City and Canada. Married to Susan Gottsegen, he is today managing partner of the firm. He declined to comment on the purchase.
Darrell Hofheinz writes about real estate and edits Home & Loggia. He welcomes news items about Palm Beach real estate for this column. E-mail email@example.com or call 820-3831.
Palm Beach House Prices Soar!!
Click HERE to read more….
Housing Market Healing With Stable Mortgage Rates
By: Ed Ferrara
February 27, 2013
With a housing recovery that is gaining momentum, the importance of where mortgage rates are now and where they will be heading becomes a significant factor. The inception of QE3 by the Federal Reserve in September 2012 has helped keep mortgage rates down which accelerated the housing market during the final quarter of last year.
Last week, the January Federal Reserve meeting minutes were released and revealed that QE3 may end sooner than expected since there is concern about the costs of the program, as well as the risks involved. At this point in time, it is unknown where mortgage rates will head if QE3 is minimized or even ended. Currently, the housing market has been healing with the help of stable mortgage rates which have been at or near historic lows.
Low mortgage rates are especially necessary at this time for both home purchases which keeps affordability high, and refinances which puts money back into the pocket of homeowners. According to the recent Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, average fixed rates had a small increase, but have seen little change over the past four weeks.
According to Frank Nothaft, Vice President and Chief Economist of Freddie Mac, Mortgage rates have been relatively stable, hovering near record lows, for the past four weeks which is helping to spur new home construction. For instance, new construction on single-family houses rose to an annualized rate of 613,000 in January, the most since July 2008. In addition, single-family building permits were up to the highest issuance level since June 2008.”
According to the most recent survey of wholesale and direct lenders done by FreeRateUpdate.com, conforming 30 year fixed rates rose slightly this week by .125% and are now as low as 3.250%. Current 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 2.375% and 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are as low as 2.375%, both remaining the same. Low mortgage rates are available for borrowers who have maintained a history of good credit and can meet qualification guidelines.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the November 2012 Refinance Report which showed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reached a new milestone with nearly 2 million HARP refinances. In November alone, approximately 130,000 homeowners refinanced through the HARP program which made it the second highest volume month in 2012. Between the period January and November 2012, nearly 1 million mortgages were refinanced with HARP loans which accounted for more than the volume that occurred in any single year since the program’s inception. According to the report, record low mortgage rates and enhancements to the HARP refinance program are responsible for the continued high volume and success of HARP.
The National Association of Realtors Existing Home Sales index reported that sales of existing homes rose 0.4% to a 4.92 million annual rate which is 9% higher than the same time last year. Home prices also increased 12.3% which was the biggest gain since January 2005. At the same time, inventory is down to approximately a four month supply and at the lowest level since 1999. First time home buyers often purchase existing homes with FHA mortgages due to the low down payment requirement and low interest rates. Current FHA 30 year fixed mortgage interest rates are as low as 3.250%, FHA 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 2.750% and FHA 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are as low as 2.250%.
There is expected to be an increase in FHA mortgage applications in the next month prior to the rise in the annual mortgage insurance premium scheduled to begin April 1st. While FHA has been undergoing some changes to new originations in order to reduce its’ risk, the FHA streamline refinance is still available for an easy and quick move to a better mortgage. With no cash out, the FHA streamline does not require an appraisal, a credit history or other documentation. Borrowers who have loans that were endorsed prior to June 1, 2009 have until the end of 2013 to refinance with the FHA streamline program to receive reduced upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums.
Current jumbo 30 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 3.375% and jumbo 15 year fixed mortgage rates are as low as 2.700%. Decreasing by .125%, jumbo 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates are now as low as 2.375%. Excellent credit and strong qualifications are required in order to receive low jumbo rates. Even though the FHA loan limit is high enough for many borrowers to use this form of financing, many will be turning back to traditional jumbo mortgages when the insurance premium increases in April. Also to be considered is that coming in June, homeowners will no longer be able to cancel the FHA mortgage insurance premium when the loan to value reaches 78%, but will be paying MIP for the life of the loan. These changes will send many consumers back to regular jumbo loans provided they can qualify. Jumbo mortgages are known to have stricter guidelines due to the large amount of financing.
Mortgage backed securities (MBS) are affected by market conditions and economic data. This weeks economic data included the following January PPI increased 0.2% from December which was below expectations of 0.3%; Core PPI, which is minus food and energy, also rose 0.2% which matched consensus; January CPI remained unchanged from December which was below expectations of 0.1%; Core CPI, excluding food and energy, increased 0.3% and was above expectations of 0.2%. Jobless Claims increased by 20,000 to 362,000 for week ending February 16th, according to the Labor Department. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) together with the Commerce Department released the January 2013 Construction Report today which shows that Building Permits hit the highest level since mid 2008. Permits for privately owned housing units increased 1.8% from December and 35.2% from January 2012; housing starts for single family homes in January were up 0.8% above December.
Ten Top Remodeling Jobs for a High Return!
Home owners are investing in their homes once again, according to recent industry surveys that point to a strong rebound taking hold in home remodeling. Home owners also may be seeing higher gains from some of these remodeling projects at resale, according to the most recent Cost vs. Value Report, which reviews the top remodeling projects that offer the highest returns at resale. So, which remodeling projects offer the potential for some of the biggest pay-backs at resale? The following mid-range remodeling jobs offer the highest returns.
1. Entry door replacement (steel)
Estimated job cost: $1,137
Return on investment at resale: 85.6%
2. Deck addition (wood)
Job cost: $9,327
3. Garage door replacement
Job cost: $1,496
4. Minor kitchen remodel
Job cost: $18,527
5. Window replacement (wood)
Job cost: $10,708
6. Attic bedroom
Job cost: $47,919
7. Siding replacement (vinyl)
Job cost: $11,192
8. Window replacement (vinyl)
Job cost: $9,770
9. Basement remodel
Job cost: $61,303
10. Major kitchen remodel
Job cost: $53,931
FORECLOSURES ON THE DECLINE….....
The number of U.S. homes in the foreclosure process and lost to foreclosure both saw double-digit year-over-year declines in December, according to a report from data aggregator CoreLogic released today.
Completed foreclosures fell 21 percent on an annual basis and 3 percent on a monthly basis in December, to 56,000. To put that in perspective, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000 and 2006, according to CoreLogic.
Since the financial crisis hit in September 2008, about 4.1 million homes have been lost to foreclosure, 767,000 of them in 2012.
Foreclosure inventory—the number of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process—came in at about 1.2 million homes in December, down 19.5 percent compared to December 2011 and down 4.2 percent compared to November. Foreclosure inventory in December represented about 3 percent of all homes with a mortgage, CoreLogic said.
“The most encouraging foreclosure trend reported here is that the inventory of foreclosed properties is almost 20 percent smaller than a year ago,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement.
“This big improvement indicates we are working toward resolving the backlog of the most distressed assets in the shadow inventory.”
CORELOGIC FEB 2013
What your home inspection might not uncover…..
A home inspection is a fairly standard part of the home buying process. What many first time homebuyers do not know is that your standard home inspection is not going to cover absolutely everything. Even after some homeowners get a clean inspection report they may find themselves buried in repair or replacement costs. To avoid these pitfalls it is important to understand what your home inspection covers, as well as what your home inspection might not uncover.
A home inspection is meant to uncover any defects in materials or hazardous conditions that may be unsafe. Structurally the property will be checked for defects and visually for anything that looks to be broken or not in working order. What the standard home inspection does not cover is environmental hazards. Checking for lead based paint, asbestos and radon is not generally included, so it will be up to you to determine if the home you wish to purchase is at risk for these environmental hazards. If the home was built prior to 1978, you should probably have it tested for lead based paint. Basements with 9-inch square floor tile could have asbestos. Be informed about potential risks and arrange for the appropriate inspections.
A home inspector might not see evidence of mold or mice, or other vermin if it is hidden behind baseboards or underneath flooring. It will be up to you to direct your home inspector to look for these issues if you feel there might be a problem.
Child safety issues in a home are not something that a home inspector will look for. Older homes may have issues with railing widths, homes with pools that are not fenced properly for safety, these are things that you the homebuyer should note. Many of these safety issues only exist if there are young children in the house. If you have children who are older, these it may not be a problem if the stair railings are more than four inches apart or if the kitchen cabinets do not lock. If you are a young couple with small children, or if you have plans to have children, you might want to budget for these safety fixes down the road.
The best way to ensure that you avoid as many unpleasant surprises as possible after closing is to do your due diligence before closing. Interview home inspectors and find the one that is right for you. These are services that you pay for so do not feel like you must accept whomever your real estate agent suggests. The more issues that are uncovered before you buy, the more opportunity you will have to get the seller to assist with the cost of the repairs. An informed buyer is a smart buyer. Know what your standard home inspection might not cover and make sure you get the inspections you need to protect yourself and your investment. Author: David Goldstein, Express Schools, LLC
New Listing!! The Esplanade Grande, 201 South Narcissus Avenue, WPB
Asking: $1,250,000. 3BR/3.5BA, expansive views of Intracoastal and more
Modern Golfer Magazine Highlights Casa de Campo!!
Even if you’ve never played there or stayed there, chances are you’ve heard of Casa de Campo, the premiere resort in the Dominican Republic. It has a well-honed and well-deserved reputation, built up over time, and the resort is always adding something new or touching up and refreshing what’s familiar.
The latest addition is the nine-hole Dye Fore Lagos golf course (named
for course designer Pete Dye). Joining the Dye Fore course, the Links
Course, and the Teeth of the the Dog, it’s one of the best reasons—although certainly not the only one—to make Casa de Campo your next vacation’s destination.
Dye Fore, at 7,740 yards and with a par of 72, offers multiple challenges
for the serious golfer. These include long holes and uneven terrain, not to
mention seven cliff side holes that feature 300-foot drops to the Chavón
River, below, and winds that gust up to 40 mph. The 18th hole is the real
challenge. Dye Fore saves the greatest challenge for last. If you’re the type of golfer who looks forward to playing a course that tests your mettle, you’ve found your ideal course in Dye. The Links, 6,900 inland yards that
features water, which comes into play on five holes, as well as grass rough sand multiple sand traps to make sure you’re wide awake.
At 7,471 yards, Teeth of the Dog is the resort’s best-known course and
has been ranked as the top course in the Caribbean and 42nd worldwide
If you’ve played your round of golf in the morning and want to do stay
e active after your round, consider a visit to Casa de Campo’s La Terraza
Tennis Center. Situated on a bluff that overlooks the entire resort and the
Caribbean Sea beyond it, the “Wimbledon of the Caribbean,” as it’s been
called, beckons you to enjoy its own particular challenge. If you’re up for
night play, of the 13 fast-dry Har-Tru courts, fully 10 are lighted for night
play. A cadre of 32 ball boys are on hand to retrieve your errant shots, so you can conserve your energy for the game.
The beach and the sea beyond it:
Naturally, since the resort is located on the Caribbean, there is a great deal of aquatic fun on offer. From splashing in the surf to sunbathing on the beach, from snorkeling to kayaking, from riding Hobie cats to riding wind surfers or paddleboats, you can hardly get bored at Casa de Campo.
What would a luxury resort be without a spa, and Casa de Campo’s spa is
the finest. No surprise in a quality resort such as this, the spa offers a blend
of ancient and modern healing therapies, available in seven therapy rooms.
Each of the rooms has its own shower and changing area as well as its own patio garden. The treatments feature “gourmet skin care,” made from edible local ingredients and whipped up fresh daily in the Spa Pharmacy.
Casa de Campo also boasts a shooting center, set on 245 acres of dense
foliage, which offers over 300 stations for trap, skeet, and sporting clays, as
well as pigeon rings. The sporting clays simulate in flight quail, partridges,
ducks and other fowl If all that shooting makes you thirsty, refresh yourself
at the open-air Safari Club Bar.
Equestrian activities abound here, including trail rides, jumping lessons,
and polo matches. Or perhaps you’d prefer to avail yourself of a scenic
ride throughout the resort or out in the tropical trails of the Dominican
countryside. Serene or bracing, it’s your choice which type of ride you
indulge in. There are horses aplenty to choose from.
Deep sea fishing, fresh water fishing (on the Chavón River), and sailing
rentals or lessons are among the other offerings here.
The 165 guest rooms at Casa de Campo recently had their patios and balconies refreshed. Elite rooms and suites feature such amenities as 42” flat screen TVs. There are also 50 villas of three to five bedrooms each. Luxury personified, these spacious structures include private pools, expansive terraces, a private butler, maid and gardener, and on request a personal chef. Of course you’d\expect an in-villa bar, but there is also an assortment of treats if you want something to snack on. Breakfast is prepared for guests right in their villa. A stay in a Casa de Campo villa is indeed an experience in unsurpassed luxury.
World’s top travel influencers Hail Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo (PRNewswire).- Leading world travel luminaries like Lonely Planet, Fodor’s and Golfweek praise Dominican Republic’s exuberant golf, beaches and exciting ecotourism and culture. Centrally located in the Caribbean with delicious gastronomy, friendly people and world-class resorts, Dominican Republic is the place to go in 2013!
“Dominican Republic boasts an unrivaled and carefully nurtured natural environment with culturally rich cities and friendly Dominican towns that keep visitors coming back to our 1,000 miles of sunny coastline every year,” said Magaly Toribio , Marketing Advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. “The charm and lure of the country comes from our exuberant people, abundant recreation and excursions, rich culture and superlative relaxation enabling visitors to transcend their cares and restore their joy.”
2013 – Accolades:
Veteran travel guide publisher Fodor’s included the Samana Peninsula on Fodor’s ” Go List of 25 Places to Go in 2013” with new regular JetBlue and Air Canada flights to El Catey International Airport (AZS). Fodor’s makes the point that Samaná is charming for its delightful small inns, secluded beaches, friendly locals and plenty of natural wonders. All of this plus the region has not experienced massive development.
Lonely Planet named Dominican Republic among its “Top 10 Countries for 2013” in its “Best in Travel” honors. Lonely Planet draws upon the input of its staff, authors and online community for recommendations with the final list being decided upon by an in-house panel of experts.
The International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) named Dominican Republic the “2013 Golf Destination of the Year in the Caribbean and Latin America”. This is the second time Dominican Republic has been chosen by IAGTO as best for its magnificent, sun-kissed golf courses.
2012 – Lavish Dominican Accommodations:
Conde Nast Traveler magazine named The Peninsula House on the Samana Peninsula as #7 among the Top 100 Hotels of the World.
TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award was presented to Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge in Barahona.
Resort Condominiums International (RCI) Golf Crown Award was bestowed upon Puerto Plata ‘s Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort, Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa, Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa, Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana Resort & Spa, Now Larimar Punta Cana, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana and Zoetry Agua Punta Cana.
Island Destinations’ Ultimate Family Award honored La Romana’s Casa de Campo.
The AAA Four Diamond Award was given to PUNTACANA Resort & Club’s Bamboo restaurant and the AAA Three Diamond Award to its La Yola restaurant.
The ITS Red Star Award honored Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace in La Romana-Bayahibe for its high-quality service and guest satisfaction.
The HolidayCheck Award recognized four Dominican properties in four categories: Secrets Royal Beach in Punta Cana in Beach Holiday, Bayahibe’s IBEROSTAR Hacienda Dominicus in Family, IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada by Puerto Plata in Couples, and IBEROSTAR Bavaro as the Country’s No. 1 property.
The Crystal Apple Award was bestowed to Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro for its service.
The European Foundation for Environmental Education granted the Blue Flag Award to Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort for its sustainable development.
2012 – Popular Perks:
TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award honored PUNTACANA Resort & Club’s Tortuga Bay as the top hotel in Dominican Republic and No. 3 in the Caribbean.
Travel + Leisure World’s Best Values list included Sanctuary Cap Cana as No. 4 in “The Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas” category.
Andrew Harper ‘s Reader’s Choice Awards named La Romana’s Casa De Campo as one of the Top 20 Family Resorts and one of the Top 20 Golf Resorts.
Latin Trade magazine named InterContinental V Centenario Hotel in Santo Domingo as the city’s best business hotel.
Hideaway Report readers recognized Casa de Campo as one of the World’s Top 20 Family and Golf Resorts.
TripAdvisor’s travel community ranked Punta Cana as a Top 10 Most Romantic Destination.
A National Geographic cover story featured Samana’s roads in the world’s most scenic drives.
ShermansTravel.com named Dream’s Punta Cana Resort & Spa the third best all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Expedia.com’s “Insiders’ Selects” list honored three Dominican hotels: Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, Catalonia Royal Bavaro and Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro.
2012 – Smooth Sailing & Good Golfing:
Cruise Insight magazine awarded La Romana cruise port with five accolades, including: “best cruise ship destination port.”
Celebrated Living’s list of the World’s Top 20 Golf Courses ranked La Cana Golf Course at PUNTACANA Resort & Club No. 20.
GolfWeek included six Dominican golf courses in its “2012 Best Courses of the Caribbean and Mexico”: Teeth of the Dog and Dye Fore at Casa de Campo, Playa Grande, La Romana Country Club, Corales at PUNTACANA Resort & Club, and #1 Punta Espada at Cap Cana.
World Travel Awards named Casa de Campo the Caribbean’s leading golf resort in 2012.
Dominican Republic’s first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Rich in history, Dominican Republic has developed into a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to approximately five million global visitors in 2012. Named #1 Golf Destination in Caribbean & Latin America by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, Dominican Republic boasts 28 designer golf courses, upscale resorts, pristine nature and sophisticated cities and quaint villages filled with warm Dominican people.
Dominican Republic features the best beaches, fascinating history and culture, and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families alike. Visit Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official website at:www.GoDominicanRepublic.com
Ideas to STAGE your home for SALE!!!!
2013 Housing Market Forecast
2013 Housing Market Forecast
by Investment U Research
An Investment U White Paper Report
In case you haven’t noticed… the housing market is making a recovery.
Most investors still shudder at the thought of investing in real estate again, but it’s time to reconsider.
• Housing starts have risen for three months in a row, with the number of units now exceeding an annual rate of 715,000 units. Admittedly, that gets the market nowhere close to the 2.1 million starts 2005 marked in its entirety, but it’s still a strong step in the right direction.
• Building permits usually act as a decent stand-in for future construction. And in March, they beat out expectations to reach 769,000 units, their highest annual rate since September 2008. Better yet, there are signs of more to come, since new home inventories have been at historical lows during the past three years. This means that there aren’t as many houses on the market, which means that any uptick in demand (which Investment U expects) will need to be met with new developments and individual residencies.
• The National Association of Realtors/Wells Fargo Index of builder confidence has moved upwards in each of the last five months. At the end of the first quarter of 2012 it touched its highest level in five years. So it’s no wonder then that Stuart Miller, CEO of Lennar Corporation, the third-largest U.S. homebuilding business, enthusiastically declared that “a very real trend is beginning to take shape… There are empirical data points that are today confirming that the market is showing real signs of stability.”
• In its most recent earnings report, Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), the nation’s second-largest homebuilder, beat analyst expectations for earnings by 100%. New orders increased 33%. Backlog grew 39%. And total sales rose 30%.
• In the first quarter, inventories fell to less than a three-month supply in markets including San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Denver, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, northern Virginia and Seattle, according to online brokerage, Redfin.
• D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI), the nation’s largest homebuilder, recently beat analyst expectations for earnings by 225%. (That marks the second consecutive quarter of stronger-than-expected profits.) New orders increased 19%. Backlog grew by 17%. And total sales rose 28%.
• For the first quarter of 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that property values rose 0.3% month-over-month and 0.4% year-over-year. That’s the first positive reading since 2007.
• On May 15, the NAR reported its Housing Affordability Index hit a record high.
• In the first quarter, foreclosure filings in the United States fell to the lowest level since 2007, according to RealtyTrac Inc. And resale of foreclosures by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped 18%.
These are very positive signs that an improvement is underway. But before we get into more reasons why we think now’s the time to buy real estate-related investments (and our favorite investment in this industry)… let’s take a quick look down memory lane. To a time when real estate used to be the absolute darling of the markets.
Real Estate Value: Real or Delusional
Rallying behind one of Mark Twain’s many droll quotes – “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore” – people in the newly minted twenty-first century pounced on whatever property they could get their hands on, refusing to learn the lessons of even the recent past.
For example, as the 1900s came to a close and the 2000s first made their debut, everybody was ranting and raving about technology stocks, predominantly those pertaining to the internet: the so-called dot.coms. That ended very, very badly, of course, but not nearly enough people thought twice before jumping onto the very next bandwagon that rolled along. And as property gave solid return after solid return after solid return, the movement gained a religious and borderline cult-like following.
Nobody could say anything bad about it without fear of a good dose of professional and social censure. People were having too much fun and making too much money on the skyrocketing real estate market. They made lucrative side-jobs and even entire businesses off of buying up homes and selling them a year or two down the road for worthwhile profits. Sometimes they put some effort into remodeling the houses and sometimes they wouldn’t. But either way, they knew they were going to make a buck off of the deal.
And they were dead right… until 2006, when the market peaked and then 2008, when it crashed entirely.
Though history has proven them tragically mistaken, to some degree, their blind faith and willing worship at the altar of housing prices was understandable. It’s always much easier to look backwards and judge people for their foolishness than to fight popular opinion in the heat of the moment. And it’s especially difficult when all of the oft-quoted facts point to that popular opinion.
After all, housing prices had skyrocketed compared to where they were in the 1990s and 1980s. A certain amount of upward movement is expected due to inflation and an improving economy, of course. And a chart of the housing market from 1970 and 1998 shows just that. In 1970, the median U.S. home cost just above $25,000, nominally. A decade later, it was over $50,000, and it had doubled again another ten years down the road.
By the start of the new millennium, the average person looking to buy a home had to expect a decent $125,000 price tag. But just six years later, when the index peaked, that median price was pushing upwards of $250,000. And, really, who wouldn’t want a piece of that action?
Throw in the federal government with its affordable housing acts, the banks with their badly thought-out policies, and the general populace who didn’t bother to look into the real reasons behind the unprecedented rise… and it was a disaster waiting to happen. But on the surface, it just looked like a good thing going on and on and on.
Sure enough – as we know now – the bubble burst, the market crashed and people lost fortunes in the aftermath. Now several years down the road, the housing market still can’t seem to find its footing. Its performance has seemed sorely lacking ever since, and nobody wants to touch it as a result.
But just because nobody wants to touch the housing market doesn’t mean it isn’t worth looking at. Because there really is plenty to look at. Contrary to all of the rumors of double and triple-dips in real estate prices, there are actually numerous signs to indicate that the dipping – at least the significant kind – just might be over.
A Very Solid Foundation for a Very Real Recovery
House prices are cheap right now. At an average 30-plus percent below their peak, buying a home is a bargain in just about any area of the country. In fact, in many cities, it’s even more affordable to buy – taxes and all included – than to rent. Better yet, borrowing costs have been recorded down around 20% year on year and mortgage rates hit an all-time low in February.
There are so many added incentives for people to take up their piece of the American Dream – complete with white picket fence should they so choose – these days that it’s practically a tragic shame not to act on the chance.
We believe the facts show just the opposite. They show now is a fantastic time to buy a home. Prices are cheap. And with record-low mortgage rates, housing is now more affordable than ever.
Live, Play, Grow with TFA!!!
Crista Ryan SOLD another home in Palm Beach….........230 Atlantic closed in December! Great Job..
WELCOME LYNN HUTTON to the TFA TEAM!
A Graduate of the Realtor® Institute, Lynn’s experience in the real estate sector is extensive. Most notably, during her time with William Hutton Associates Inc., Lynn and her late husband, William E. Hutton III, negotiated the sales of major oceanfront and landmarked properties in Palm Beach. Combined with her previous experience in the banking sector, Lynn was able to enhance and improve real estate presentations and negotiations before the company was sold in 1996.
A West Palm Beach native and Florida Atlantic University alumnus, Lynn Hutton has thrived in both the banking and real estate profession. Originally a vice president and commercial lending officer for private banks, Lynn transitioned into real estate in 1990, working as a broker and Vice President at William Hutton Associates, Inc. in Palm Beach.
Outside of her career, Lynn enjoys life on the north end of Palm Beach, where she regularly explores the outdoors through her love of biking, walking, and gardening.
Lynn can be reached at 561-324-8208 or firstname.lastname@example.org
207 Mediterranean Rd, Palm Beach - Listed at $1,900,000
Pristine north end home with 3BR/3.5BA, sunny cabana, pool…....see more
Tina Fanjul and Associates Wishes you and your Families a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
SELLERS!!! Read on for great home-selling tips!
Great News about the Real Estate Market
Fishy Tales you can tell your friends…......
How did those strange names come about?? SEE MORE HERE
Antiques, Antiques, Antiques - yet another reason to Buy in Palm Beach - the shopping!!
Beautiful 2BR/2BA Condo for Sale!!
Impeccably maintained, great views!! Asking $795,000. Click HERE to see more.
An interesting thought on Design from a fellow Palm Beacher
230 Atlantic Avenue, Palm Beach
Reduced! Now asking $3,440,000. Stunning home, furnished, 4420sqft. Click here for info!
Happy Thanksgiving from Tina Fanjul Associates
Tina Fanjul Associates wishes you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day. The office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, November 23rd. We will reopen on Monday, November 26th. Thank you for your support!
Your home decor should reflect YOU!
TFA Associates Beth Cole and Kathy Elliott busy with Commercial Deals!
TFA Associates Beth Cole (561-758-1541) and Kathy Elliott (561-389-5399) negotiate and close on another commercial lease for their clients.
Visit Gentlemen’s Corner at 235 Royal Poinciana Way. It is ~2,000 square feet of prime retail space that has been transformed into the destination for the man comfortable with his own style and open to new ideas to enhance it.
221 El Dorado, Palm Beach now REDUCED to $1,860,000
TFA would like to say “Thank You”
Welcome to our new Associate in our Dominican Republic Office!!
Martina Avanzini Pinto was born and raised in Milan, Italy where she lived until she went to college to pursue a business management degree at Louisiana State University. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, Italian, German, and French. Since she was a child Martina has been spending her vacations in Casa de Campo and now has made this beautiful resort her permanent home. Martina lives in the Los Altos neighborhood and she is TFA’s Condo Sales Specialist. Anyone who is interested in buying or selling a condo in Casa de Campo should contact her at email@example.com or call her at 809-723-8265.
Don’t forget to change your clocks this weekend!
For all our visiting neighbors from the North….Welcome Back for Season! We hope that you all survived the storm and your families are safe. Just a reminder in these busy days….don’t forget to Fall Back this weekend and change your clocks!
NEW LISTING!! 207 MEDITERRANEAN RD, PALM BEACH
Congratulations to Vicky Reynolds for her new listing…...Pristine, Mediterranean-style home. Located on the quiet North end this 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath home has it all! Lovely interior, sunny cabana overlooking the pool, beautiful master suite, state-of-the-art kitchen. Walk to the beach or ride your bike on the trail in Palm Beach.
Listed at: $1,900,000
Call Vicky Reynolds at: 561-373-3375 or firstname.lastname@example.org
220 Sunrise Avenue - Home of TFA PB - gets a New Look!!
The Chairman’s Club, located at 220 Sunrise Avenue in the heart of Palm Beach - and home of TFA PB office - has undergone a total transformation! The building was purchased from BOA by Tremont Partners, LLC and has since been getting a much needed facelift. New hurricane windows, flooring, paint, awnings, kitchen renovated, board rooms updated with new furniture and large conference screens, garage parking and underground parking areas cleaned and scrubbed. It looks beautiful and we love our new home! Come visit us soon and take a tour of our office space and surrounding area. Call 561-659-5113
230 Atlantic Avenue, Palm Beach
Stunning home! Listed at: $3,450,000. See all information and photos - CLICK HERE!
369 South Lake Drive, 5G - REDUCED!!
2BR/2BA. Across from Intracoastal. Now asking $795,000!! Walk to beach and Worth Avenue.
Call Leigh McMakin at 346-6055 for more information.
Palm Beach Agent, Alex Power, “swings in to season” with a great sale in Ocean Ridge…......
If you would like to see another opportunity in Ocean Ridge, CLICK HERE or call Alex Power at 561-314-5851 or email email@example.com
Come and visit The Flagler Museum!! A piece of history…........
WHY YOU SHOULD SPEND YOUR SUMMERS IN PALM BEACH!
By ROBERT JANJIGIAN
Daily News Fashion Editor
Updated: 6:43 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Posted: 6:41 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012
As temperature and humidity levels rise, prices fall at many retailers across the island.
“At this time of the year, many of the exclusive retailers have their big sales and prepare to reposition their inventory,” said Robin Miller, administrator of the Worth Avenue Association.
Among those stores entering sale mode today are Worth Avenue anchors Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“Our women’s designer and men’s sale is our traditional end of spring, beginning of summer sale,” said Beth Pine, general manager of Neiman’s island branch. “It’s the first time customers can purchase current spring collection pieces at sale prices.”
During Neiman’s sale, which runs through Wednesday, current-season women’s designer apparel is marked down up to 40 percent off original prices, with select women’s shoes, handbags and accessories and men’s apparel, shoes and accessories offered at a 33 percent discount.
Saks Fifth Avenue’s designer sale is the “most anticipated sale of the season,” said Kelly Gurwitz, marketing director at the island Saks branch.
Markdowns range from 30 percent to 40 percent off original prices on select spring season women’s and men’s apparel, shoes and accessories.
“This is the first opportunity to purchase current upper-tier designer and contemporary labels at reduced levels,” Gurwitz said, noting that some women’s ready-to-wear collections that are rarely marked down, such as those from Oscar de la Renta, Prada and Giambattista Valli, are available at reduced prices during this sale, which runs through Saturday.
Sign rules set by town code
While prices may be dramatically slashed inside shops, visual discretion reigns in the retail districts.
No signs are plastered on store windows indicating the bargains to be found inside due to town ordinances barring such displays.
The code permits only one temporary display sign not to exceed 2 square feet in area for each 18 linear feet of building frontage for a business to advertise any special event. Signs are only allowed to be displayed from April 1 to Oct. 31 and not on windows or doors.
“They have to display sale signs inside the window, usually in some kind of frame,” Miller said.
Freeing room for next year’s styles
Additional stores with sales include C. Orrico, Joy of Palm Beach, Mildred Hoit and Ralph Lauren.
Racks of marked down women’s apparel are found in the back of C. Orrico’s South County Road store.
C. Orrico is offering pieces from collections such as Lilly Pulitzer, Trina Turk, Tibi, Milly, Autumn Cashmere and Shoshana at up to 36 percent off original prices, co-owner Kathie Orrico said.
“We’ll continue to run the sale, at different levels of savings through the summers,” Orrico said.
“It’s the way we make room for next season’s shipments of new fall and resort styles.”
At Ralph Lauren, Wednesday marked the beginning of a weekend-long sale of women’s spring runway apparel and accessories and men’s Purple Label and Black Label goods. “There’s a very good selection of women’s pieces at 40 percent off, with men’s pieces marked down 30 to 40 percent,” said Gregg Beletsky, manager of the Worth Avenue emporium.
On Royal Poinciana Way, Joy of Palm Beach on Wednesday began its “Busting at the Seams” sale. “We are clearing out resort and spring pieces from lines such as Elizabeth Kay, Judy P and Melly M,” said the boutique’s creative director Robin Grubman. “Prices are reduced by 25 to 75 percent.”
After closing for inventory today, Mildred Hoit will offer 20 percent to 70 percent off select merchandise Friday only.
“This is really is our big end-of-season clearance,” said Mary Gushee, owner of the Sunrise Avenue women’s boutique.
Bargains include an entire department of tunic tops priced at 20 percent off original retail and a range of handbags at half off.
Property Values RISE on Palm Beach
By William Kelly
Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: 12:47 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, 2012
After declining for three consecutive years, taxable property values in Palm Beach appear to be on a track toward recovery.
Taxable values in town climbed 2.17 percent in 2011, according to an estimate released Tuesday by Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits’ office.
The estimate places the total value of residential and commercial property in town at just under $12 billion.
“We’ve known for a number of months that the top end of the market is doing very well,” said John Thomas, director of residential appraisal services in Nikolits’ office. “The values in an area like Palm Beach are fairly stable or moving up.”
The modest improvement would follow decreases of nearly 1 percent, 12.4 percent, and 3.4 percent during the last three years. Palm Beach withstood a drop in county values during 2007 (but reported in 2008), when town properties grew by nearly 8 percent to a high of nearly $13.7 billion in taxable value.
Jeff Cloninger, immediate past president of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors, said the town has seen the worst of the dip in the market.
“The inevitable march northward in prices has begun,” Cloninger said. “The question is not whether prices will rise again. The question is when and how quickly. I feel very optimistic about values in Palm Beach.”
Taxable values tend to be conservative, and often trail actual market values by around 15 percent, Cloninger said.
Almost all of the increase in value is in the residential side of the market. Commercial property values in Palm Beach are estimated to have gone up a small fraction of 1 percent, compared to a 1.3 percent drop countywide, according to Nikolits’ office.
Countywide, the overall taxable value is estimated to have fallen about a half-percent last year to just under $124.9 billion, according to Nikolits’ office.
Nikolits told members of the county’s Economic Forum Tuesday that the long-suffering real estate market appears to have turned a corner after years of decline.
Nikolits’ office releases its final estimates for municipal and countywide property values on July 1, but provides an early forecast each spring to help local governments plan their budgets.
A 2.17 percent increase would mean $920,342 more revenue to the town during the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, town Finance Director Jane Struder said. That is assuming the Town Council keeps the property tax rate the same, at $3.25 per $1,000 of taxable value.
Property tax revenue accounts for just under $40 million of the town’s $57.8 million operating budget for this fiscal year.
The town is expected to release in June its preliminary budget for fiscal 2012-13. The budget proposal will contain modest growth over this year’s, Struder said.
The council has scheduled a special meeting for July 12, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Town Hall, to focus on the budget. The council adopts a budget and property tax rate each September.
Tax bills are mailed in August. That would be the earliest homeowners would see the taxable values of their properties.
Worth Avenue, sometimes referred to as the Rodeo Drive of Florida, is an upscale shopping district in Palm Beach, Florida, in the United States. The street stretches four blocks from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean. Worth Avenue also includes smaller alleyways known as Vias off the main avenue. These pedestrian areas distinguish Worth Avenue from other shopping experiences.
The first steps to become fashionable started with the construction in 1918 of the Everglades Club at the west end of a dirt road. Rising rents at the then-fashionable Beaux Arts Building on Lake Trail, north of the Biltmore Hotel, caused merchants to move south to what became Worth Avenue. The first stores were built near the Everglades Club on Via Mizner and Via Parigi, named for Worth Avenue’s original developers, architect Addison Mizner and Paris Singer. The area became known for its high-quality merchandise in the 1920s. Recognizing the value of the undeveloped street, the merchants formed the Worth Avenue Association in 1938. This organization maintains guidelines for the appearance, parking, etc. of the stores and the street.
Worth Avenue was lined with coconut palms that succumbed to lethal yellowing blight in the 1970s. Adonidia or “Christmas palms” replaced them, but they were not in proportion to the buildings on the street. The street was renovated in 1983, but major makeover was completed in 2010. The $15.8 million Worth Avenue Improvement Project was conducted during the off-season and lasted two years, with the Town of Palm Beach and City of West Palm Beach responsible for $1.25 million of the cost and $14.77 million from the issuance of public improvement revenue bonds. This major streetscape redesign included planting of 200 mature coconut palms, each from 32 to 40 feet (10 to 12 m) tall, installing tabby concrete sidewalks that are typically used for expensive residences, and building a 25-foot (8 m) clock tower on the beach side.
BLOOMBERG REPORT MAY 11, 2012:
“Confidence among U.S. homebuilders jumped more than forecast in May, reaching a five-year high that signals an improving outlook for construction. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence rose to 29, the highest since May 2007, a report from the Washington-based group showed today. The gauge exceeded the highest projection in a Bloomberg News survey in which the median estimate was 26.”
DID YOU KNOW?????
El Dorado, Spanish for “the golden one” is the name of a Muisca (the most complex indigenous society encountered by the Spaniards in the territory that constitutes present day Colombia) tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dove into a highland lake. Later it became the name of a legendary “Lost City of Gold”, which fascinated explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors.
Total Closure of A1A Postponed….
Don’t miss the PB Boat Show!!!
Lanlords’ Beware! Make sure to pay your taxes!
Read more HERE
161 Clarke Avenue SELLS for $4.25 Million!!
To read more, CLICK HERE!
Bath and Tennis restoration earns a Ballinger Award!
100 El Bravo Way - designated a Palm Beach Landmark
Palm Beach Daily News
The house at 100 El Bravo Way was originally built in 1922 by Marion Syms Wyeth, and underwent a 1930 addition by Howard Major.
But it has been so altered in the decades since that, were Wyeth or Major to visit it today, they would not recognize most of it. Their contributions are now remnants within a much larger house, much of which was designed by Smith & Moore Architects in 2000.
After a long debate, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 5-2 on Wednesday to recommend that the Town Council designate the Mediterranean Revival mansion a landmark.
The commission struggled with the question of whether the house, despite its origin and beauty, is truly representative of the work of a master architect after many alterations over the decades.
Jane Day, the town’s landmarks consultant, said it is worth preserving.
“Buildings change over time,” she argued. “That doesn’t make it unworthy of designation.”
As long as Wyeth’s and Major’s contributions can be detected, the alterations aren’t important, Day said. The entrance door, a tower and the “U-shape” of the original house are still there, she said.
James Brindell and John Garner, an attorney and a historic preservation expert, argued on behalf of house’s owners, Kenneth and Kathleen Tropin, that it should not be designated.
“Most of what you see there today is Smith and Moore, not Wyeth or Major,” Brindell said.
Garner contended the changes have left the integrity of the original structure compromised.
The town has landmarked 31 homes that are far better examples of Wyeth’s 1920s work, Brindell said. He added that Major didn’t like Mediterranean Revival and is known for other architectural styles.
Commissioners William Cooley and Dudley Moore dissented in Wednesday’s 5-2 decision to landmark the house, saying it doesn’t represent the work of Wyeth or Major.
“It’s a fine property and should be retained,” Cooley said. “Does it meet the criteria of our code? No.”
The town will do a disservice to its landmark program if it designates a house “that has been essentially rebuilt,” Cooley said. “You have 10 percent of a house that meets the criteria, and 90 percent that doesn’t.”
But Commission Chairman Edward “Ted” Cooney countered that “nothing would get designated” if the commission insisted that each landmarked building purely reflect the original architect’s work.
“Parts of the original do remain and deserve reverence,” said Commissioner William Feldkamp, who voted with Cooney. “A bedrock issue of preservation in Palm Beach is the concept of growth over time.”
Feldkamp said he wasn’t sure the house represents the work of a notable architect, builder or designer. But that, he noted, is only one of the four criteria within the town’s landmarks ordinance. A building can be landmarked if it meets only one of the four.
Day said the house meets three of the criteria.
Besides representing a master builder, it reflects the town’s social history because of parties that occurred there in the 1920s, and it embodies architecture that is valuable for study, she said.
2012 Forbes Travel Guide Ratings
By DAVID ROGERS
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Updated: 12:05 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011
Posted: 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011
Visitors to Palm Beach expect hotel accommodations to be of the highest quality. If the 2012 Forbes Travel Guide ratings are any indication, that expectation is being met.
Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide, has awarded five-star ratings to The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach and the Four Seasons Resort, Palm Beach for 2012, and has also awarded The Breakers a four-star rating. The Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons are the only hotels in Florida awarded five stars by Forbes.
Jayne Griswold, executive vice president of Forbes Travel Guide, said she is not surprised that Palm Beach has a cluster of highly rated hotels.
“It’s such a playground for America to flock to when we are getting bombarded up North” by winter weather, Griswold said.
Colin Clark, general manager of the Four Seasons, said his staff is delighted to have been awarded the honor again. The Four Seasons has been designated a five-star hotel by Forbes since 1999.
“As well as being a stunning location on the sand dunes and the great food, the spa and so forth, it’s all about the folk that are working here,” Clark said. “We believe it’s a warm, cohesive team that makes it happen.”
The Four Seasons staff works every day to provide personal, memorable service for guests, he said. “We have a sense of ownership and take pride in what we do,” Clark said. As an example, a housekeeper spotted a hand-written sign on a guest suite door not long ago. It was created by a woman with a sleeping baby. She wasn’t certain the standard “Do Not Disturb” sign would be effective, Clark said. The housekeeper had a custom Do Not Disturb sign, featuring the image of a baby rattle, created for the woman’s door. “We do that now for all guests with a crib and a baby,” Clark said. “It’s little touches like that that get talked about and bring tears to your eyes.”
Michael King, general manager of Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, located in nearby Manalapan, said maintaining standards to continually earn high ratings is the real challenge.
“It’s a total focus on service excellence and attention to all the details — and we do that every day,” King said.
This is the fourth year in a row The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach has earned five stars from Forbes Travel Guide. A $130 million renovation of The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, which included the construction of the Eau spa in 2009, also played a role in helping the Ritz garner five stars, he said.
Forbes Travel Guide sends inspectors to each candidate hotel several times a year before granting a coveted five-star designation, Griswold said. “We look for consistent service delivery, which is intuitive on behalf of the staff members as well as anticipatory and really is going to be near flawless,” Griswold said.
Anticipating its guests’ needs, The Ritz-Carlton recently added a citrus sommelier, King said. “Everybody wants fresh citrus, whether it’s for your morning breakfast or an afternoon cocktail,” King said. In 2010, the hotel added a “pool diva” and “vibe manager” to its staff as part of a push to create a more hip environment. Recently a guest left his passport in his room at The Ritz. The hotel dispatched an employee by car to the Fort Lauderdale Airport, while alerting airport security to the issue.
“It’s not terribly difficult to do. It’s not rocket science, but it makes a difference,” King said.
Forbes has added an interactive component to its hospitality guide. By visiting startle.com , individuals can learn more about the hotels that Forbes rates.
“What we had previously was a website that was just a listing of our properties and their ratings. It did not provide hotels a voice in engaging in the travel discussion. We have built this platform to give our three-, four- and five-star properties an opportunity to engage directly with their guests. There is a social component to the site that is key. They can message each other either publicly or privately. And most importantly, the user of the site can book direct to the hotel without a third-party intervention,” Griswold said. The travel guide executive said her organization is not a booking agent and does not receive commissions for reservations accessed through the site.
Evans Report: 2011 seeing increase in real estate sales
Palm Beach Daily News
The increase both reflects lower home prices and more confidence in the island’s real estate market, said Leslie Evans, the Palm Beach real estate attorney and property owner who prepares the reports.
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Bloomberg chief buys landmarked home at 210 El Bravo Way.
Palm Beach Daily News
By: Darrell Hofheinz
Bloomberg L.P. Chairman Peter T. Grauer and his wife, Laurie, have paid about $6.98 million for the landmarked 1931 home of Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings at 201 El Bravo Way, according to a warranty deed recorded Tuesday by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.
Real estate agent Crista Ryan of Tina Fanjul Associates acted on behalf of the Grauers, who have another home in Greenwich, Conn. The couple owns no other property in Palm Beach County under their names, property records show.
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Analysis: Sales of homes, condos rising.
Palm Beach Daily News
By: Darrell Hofheinz
As real estate agents across Palm Bech report that The Island’s housing market has strengthened considerably over the past three months, a new real estate analysis confirms that this upward trend had its roots in 2010.
The latest Evans Report compiled by Palm Beach property owner and real estate attorney, Leslie Evans, shows that The Island enjoyed a much rosier home-sales picture in 2010 than it did in 2009.
But prices at which homes sold were a stickier matter, with median prices flat last year for single-family houses and lower for condominiums. The median price is the price at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.
“In a deflationary period, people don’t buy because they are waiting for prices to drop further,” Evans notes. “But the report shows that by the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, prices had pretty much bottomed out, and people started buying again.”
Market for Vacation Homes - on the Rise!
Palm Beach Daily News
By S. MITRA KALITA
Sales in many vacation communities across the U.S. soared last year to levels not seen since boom times, driven by deep discounts, cash purchases and buyers’ rising stock portfolios.
On Mercer Island, Wash., waterfront sales nearly tripled in 2010, compared with a year earlier, reaching par with 2006 volume there. Sales on Hilton Head Island, S.C., rose 14% for the year. Palm Beach, Fla., experienced a 40% annual increase and a 54% increase in homes under contract, indicating an especially strong fourth quarter. Palm Beach sales volume now is comparable to its 2007 peak. These figures were gleaned by brokers in each locale.
“The proverbial train has left the station,” said Ned Monell, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Palm Beach. “We haven’t felt energy like this in a long time. Buyers sense that they’ve been on the sidelines long enough.”
The question now is whether the momentum will last. The strength of second-home sales paints a stark contrast to the overall housing market, which is expected to worsen in 2011.
Existing-home sales in November rose 5.6% on an annualized basis, according to the National Association of Realtors, a trade and lobbying group. Last month, the Case-Shiller housing index of 20 cities showed prices across the U.S. fell in October, and most analysts predict another 5% to 10% slide in the coming year.
Data for the nationwide vacation-home market aren’t tracked regularly. The National Association of Realtors conducts an annual survey of home buyers, but results for 2010 won’t be out till March.
Yet the market for vacation homes, based on local sales data, appears to be booming. The comeback, NAR economist Lawrence Yun said, has been helped by gains in the stock market and an improving economy, which have made wealthier Americans more upbeat about the future. “It also implies that prices in some markets have come down so much that people are fighting for those properties,” said Mr. Yun, noting that demand is strongest in areas close to stable labor markets.
According to the NAR, one in 10 real-estate transactions in 2009 was for the purchase of a vacation home. And though a small fraction of the overall market, it is significant because vacation homes are often big-ticket properties and attract discretionary buyers. Just four houses sold last year on Madeline Island, Wis., for example, but the island’s average dwelling sells at two to three times the price of the county average, said Eric Kodner, a realty broker on the island.
Sales of second homes are showing an uptick even in more-affordable communities. In some locations, prices are even inching upward. Cape Cod sales climbed nearly 9% in 2010 from 2009, while prices rose 7%. Monroe County, Pa., in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, saw a 3% decline in transactions, but its Lake Naomi resort community was up nearly 15%. A one-acre plot off Lake Naomi recently fetched $1.1 million, a record deal for the area.
Still, in most markets where demand has improved, prices haven’t. For Realtor Andy Twisdale in Hilton Head, S.C., it is too soon to rejoice; prices are down almost a third over the past five years. “People are buying at the very low end of the product,” he said. “The financing is very difficult. Banks are requiring 25% down and crystal clean credit.”
Buyers who qualify or can pay cash say this is the time to take the plunge. On New Year’s Day, the Makarewicz family arrived in Pocono Pines, Pa., to look for a vacation home. They already own their primary residence in northern New Jersey and own a property in Damascus, a northeastern Pennsylvania town along the Delaware River. But the family says the latter doesn’t offer enough things to do: Not enough shopping. Not enough activities for kids. Not even enough fish.
“How’s the bass here?” Joe Makarewicz, a vice president for sales at a financial-services firm, asked Re/Max Realtor Rob Baxter as the two looked at floor plans.
The family plans to sell the Damascus house, which would allow them to pay cash for one near Lake Naomi. The resort community at Lake Naomi boasts pools, tennis courts, a recreation center and a golf course—and is equidistant from New York and Philadelphia.
Some second homes had been stuck on the market because sellers wouldn’t budge on price; unlike owners of primary homes, they often aren’t in a hurry to move.
“Sellers have become aware that they have to price their homes accordingly,” said Harald Grant, a senior vice president at Sotheby’s in New York’s ritzy Hamptons region. “There’s a perk in the market because a lot of prices have come down to where they should be.”
This shift became clear to K. David Hirschey, who runs a consulting business in Minneapolis, as he hunted for a home on Madeline Island.
After competing in a summer swimming competition on the island, Mr. Hirschey decided to buy a home there, perhaps to rent it a few years and maybe retire there eventually. The first offer he made was rejected, he recalled, because the seller said, “We don’t negotiate on properties here.” The same thing happened with his bid on the next house.
Then he found a third property—four bedrooms, three baths—that began as a sale by owner, was taken off the market, then relisted under one broker, then another. It had been initially priced at $1.25 million, and remained on sale for two years.
“When I saw it, it was listed at $687,000,” said Mr. Hirschey, a father of four children. He offered $530,000, furnishings included. “They wanted to negotiate and I said no,” he said.
The tactic—an all-cash offer—worked, and Mr. Hirschey closed on the house in November, just in time for his family to spend the holidays there.
CARIBBEAN OFFICE NOW OPEN!
Tina Fanjul Associates is pleased to announce the opening of a new offfice in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic. Located in the heart of the Casa de Campo Marina, our office is ready to list your property or find you the perfect vacation home!
Brandt, Baker form The Next Step Realty Network
from PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS (See Original Article)
Blair Brandt’s idea for a referral service targeting college grads seeking rentals was prompted after he was inundated with calls and e-mails from friends asking if he knew a broker in cities where they’d landed jobs.
Seeing an untapped market, Brandt — a recent University of Richmond graduate — joined forces with Belton Baker, a friend in Palm Beach since high school and now a senior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
In April, Brandt, 22, and Baker, 21, co-founded The Next Step Realty, a web-based business that connects recent college graduates entering a new market with a team of affiliate real-estate brokers who have a specific interest in working with young post-grads. Their website, www.TheNextStepRealty.com, debuted in May.
“The brokers we are working with are young up-and-coming types who are eager to build up their clientele with promising graduates,” Brandt said. “While the initial request is for a rental, considering the age group and financial parameters of men and women just starting their careers, these brokers can see the potential for a continuing relationship — these people may turn into buyers down the road.
“It’s a kind of matchmaking service,” said Brandt, who has signed up 35 brokers in 17 cities. Student clients are introduced into the system through referrals from The Next Step’s initial contact base of 400 on several college campuses.
The pair expect that the initial contact base — friends and friends of friends — will continue to expand each graduation season, primarily April to July.
“Social networking and viral marketing are key when trying to spread the word about what our service offers,” Baker said.
The real-estate savvy Brandt serves as the company CEO, with Baker, who is focused on the communications and public relations aspects of the business, serving as The Next Step’s COO. The company receives a percentage of the affiliate broker’s commission once a referral customer has signed a lease.
The company, based in Palm Beach, is an associate of Tina Fanjul Associates Inc., an island real-estate firm.
At start-up, most of Next Step’s efforts focus on the New York market. “This is where most of the action is with our contact base,” said Brandt, adding that the firm has signed up about 100 clients looking for apartments in Manhattan and surrounding areas. They are working with one of 10 New York City brokers affiliated with the Next Step realty network.
“The concept with The Next Step Realty is innovative, as it is focusing on a market that is not being targeted by other real estate firms around the country,” said Crista Ryan, associate manager of Tina Fanjul Associates. Brandt and Baker’s concept has great potential for future expansion, she said. “These young adults need someone they can trust who can guide them through the process of contracts, deposits and payments on leases.
“I was just in New York City with my sons, helping them find a place to live,” Ryan said. “They searched the web, went to sublease and rental agencies, and met with a Next Step Realty associate. The only person that they kept calling back for advice was the Next Step broker. He showed them some great options and successfully helped them negotiate a sublease for the summer that could turn into a yearly rental.”
Ryan said she knew her sons would become repeat customers of The Next Step Realty-affliiated broker.
Brandt and Baker may eventually expand their service to include graduate and professional school students, with an eye toward corporate relocation referrals as well.
“Right now, our niche is college graduates,” Brandt said. “Our goal is to make this the network that revolutionizes and eases the process of how promising graduates find homes after campus.”
By ROBERT JANJIGIAN
The Next Step Realty works with brokers in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Richmond, San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, The Hamptons, West Palm Beach/Boca Raton and Miami.