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Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2018

Fed leaves benchmark rate steady at Yellen’s final meeting

Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve building (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Images)

In Janet Yellen’s final policy committee meeting as Federal Reserve chairwoman, the benchmark interest rate was left unchanged in a unanimous vote, holding at between 1.25 and 1.5 percent.

That leaves incoming Fed Chairman Jerome Powell — to be sworn in on Monday — with a decision to maintain the slow hike of interest rates or speed up the pace.

Go too slow and the low borrowing costs could set the stage for another asset bubble, the Wall Street Journal reported. Raising them too quickly could slow a strong economy.

The committee said in a statement Wednesday that “inflation on a 12‑month basis is expected to move up this year and to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term.” Adjustments to monetary policy should lead to steady economic growth and a strong labor market, it added.

Wednesday’s decision follows Yellen’s general policy over her three years as Fed chair. Rates were raised once in 2015, once in 2016 and three times in 2017 during her tenure.

Increases in the federal funds rate tend to push up the cost of mortgages and put downward pressure on property prices, but that didn’t happen last year. [WSJ] – Dennis Lynch

Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/trdmiami

Privé developers win $26M jury verdict against Williams Island homeowners

Prive at Island Estates and BH3’s Charlie Phelan, Greg Freedman and Daniel Lebensohn and Gary Cohen

Score a court victory for the developers of Privé at Island Estates in Aventura. Builders Gary Cohen and BH3 are walking away with a $26 million jury verdict against the Williams Island Property Owners’ Association, which had sought to stop the luxury two-tower development since 2013.

On Tuesday, after a seven-day trial, a jury in Miami-Dade Circuit Court ruled that the association breached a 1982 agreement requiring it not to object or oppose future developments by Cohen on the 84-acre Williams Island. Jurors awarded Cohen and BH3 $26 million in damages according to the verdict form, and there is an additional $8 million in interest the association will also have to pay, said Glen Waldman, the developers’ attorney.

“My clients have been wrongfully attacked from all sides for so long,” Waldman said. “They feel very good that a jury listened to the evidence, got it right and ordered substantial damages against the people who caused harm to the project.”

Jeffrey T. Foreman, lead lawyer for Williams Island Property Owners’ Association, declined comment. Waldman said he expects the association to appeal.

The developers’ win comes seven months after Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, who presided over the case, dealt a signficant blow to the association’s complaint and a separate lawsuit filed by the Island Estates Homeowners Association, which represents another group of homeowners. Thomas ruled the statute of limitations had long expired for both associations to challenge a vested rights determination agreement.

Williams Island Property Owners’ Association originally sued the City of Aventura, Cohen and Prive Developers LLC, a partnership between BH3 and Cohen in April 2013. The Island Estates group sued in October 2013 and filed a separate complaint a year later accusing the city of allowing BH3 to build an illegal sidewalk that encroached on homeowners’ properties. A judge ruled in favor of Island Estates in October.

Waldman said Cohen and Williams Island Property Owners’ Association are bound by a 1982 settlement agreement between the original developers of the 84-acre luxury enclave in which neither parties would interfere with new projects. “Neither guy would mess with one another’s development plans they had on the islands,” Waldman said. “They also would not encourage or participate with others to object. It is that simple.”

Williams Island Property Association violated the agreement by filing its lawsuit and encouraging Island Estates Homeowners Association to also sue Privé’s developers, Waldman said. “These three lawsuits really hurt us,” he said. “Instead of being able to obtain a conventional loan at a 5.5 percent interest rate for a project that was awesome in terms of loan to value and contracts already in place, we could only get vulture funding at a 15 to 18 percent interest rate.”

As a result, the developers had to pay roughly $21 million in interest, Waldman added. Furthermore, the ongoing litigation put a cloud over the project that resulted in delays in selling out units. “Buyers were scared,” he said. “Brokers testified that they wouldn’t even go to the project. We should have sold out two years ago.”

The 150-unit project at 5000 Island Boulevard is 75 percent sold out and opened two weeks ago.

Condos range from 2,500 to 6,200 square feet and priced from $2.3 million to $8.6 million.

“We have our temporary certificate of occupancy and people are moving in,” Waldman said. “We are looking forward and not looking back.”

Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/trdmiami

One of the Bay Area's biggest apartment builders sees a development slowdown

Equity Residential, one of the nation’s and Bay Area’s largest apartment developers, said Wednesday that building new housing is becoming more difficult in all major U.S. cities and that it expects fewer projects moving forward.

Chicago-based Equity Residential, which controls 54 properties with 12,961 units in the Bay Area, cited higher construction and land costs and less abundant financing for the slowdown.

“Turning to development, it is becoming more and more difficult and land prices remain…

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/industry_21

Trump International Realty plans SoFla expansion

Eric and Donald Trump with a photo of the Fort Lauderdale listing

The Trump Organization’s boutique real estate brokerage is expanding in South Florida, adding the company’s most expensive listing to date.

Trump International Realty is “expanding in Jupiter and big time in Miami,” Eric Trump told the Palm Beach Post earlier this month. The move makes sense given that the president’s company owns Mar-a-Lago, Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter and Trump National Doral Miami. Since Donald Trump took office, the initiation fee at Mar-a-Lago has doubled to $200,000.

Both Trump International offices at the Jupiter and Doral resorts have added agents over the past few months, according to the Palm Beach Post. The brokerage is also planning on expanding into commercial real estate. In September, it brought on Heidi Brzyski as managing broker of the Jupiter and Miami offices.

Agents Katrina Campins and Jennifer Barnett recently listed a waterfront Fort Lauderdale property for $39 million, the priciest home Trump International has ever listed. [Palm Beach Post] – Katherine Kallergis

Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/trdmiami

Skilled labor scarce even as Texas adds 27,900 construction jobs

According to a new report, Texas added 27,900 construction jobs in 2017 — trailing only California and Florida.

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/industry_21

Super Bowl champ Jonathan Vilma sells Tahiti Beach mansion

17 Tahiti Beach Island Road and Jonathan Vilma (Credit: Zillow, Wikimedia Commons)

Super Bowl winner Jonathan Vilma just sold his waterfront Tahiti Beach estate for $14.375 million, according to his listing agent’s Instagram account.

The former NFL linebacker and ESPN analyst sold the 8,000-square-foot, five-bedroom mansion at 17 Tahiti Beach Island Road in Coral Gables. The home hit the market last year with Douglas Elliman’s Chad Carroll for $18.5 million, which means it sold at a 22 percent discount.

Miami-Dade County has not recorded the deed, so the buyer is unknown. Carroll declined to comment.

Vilma, who played for the University of Miami Hurricanes, the New York Jets and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints, paid $6 million for the property in 2011 and later built the house. It features floor-to-ceiling windows, tile flooring, 12-foot tall ceilings, an elevator, a chef’s kitchen, a home theater and a three-car garage. It also includes a pool with a waterfall and 161 feet of frontage on Biscayne Bay.

A number of CEOs, athletes and celebrities have called the island home, including the former CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines Bob Dickinson and his ex-wife Jodie Dickinson  , Cher and basketball legend Ray Allen. The ritzy island enclave has 26 houses.

Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/trdmiami

Data: Albuquerque saw improvements in housing market for 2017

Albuquerque’s housing market saw bright spots of improvement last year compared to 2016.

According to Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS data, the metro area saw improvement in homes sold and in home pricing compared to 2016. Single-family detached home sales rose 6.9 percent to 11,477 units, with the median sale price also rising 3.8 percent to $196,900. And condo and townhome sales rose 11.1 percent from 2016 with the median sale price sitting at $142,000 compared to $140,000 in 2016.…

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/industry_21

These St. Louis ZIP codes saw the most expensive home sales last year

Ladue once again saw the most expensive home sales compared with all other St. Louis ZIP codes in 2017.

63124, the ZIP code that consists almost entirely of Ladue, boasted a median home sale price of $795,000 last year, with 207 total homes sold. Each home sat on the market for an average of 74 days. That median value was about $150,000 more than the second most expensive ZIP code. The median home sale price for 2017 in Ladue was is 10.5 percent higher than in 2016.

Earlier this month, the Business…

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/industry_21

Sergio Pino’s Century Homebuilders buys land, scores financing for new single-family home community near Tamiami

Rendering of homes at Century Lakes III and Sergio Pino (Credit: Century Homebuilders Group)

Sergio Pino’s Century Homebuilders Group just paid $8.85 million for a large vacant lot west of Tamiami and is about to break ground on Century Lakes III, a planned single-family home community, The Real Deal has learned.

Century Lakes III will be built on a 12.5-acre lot south of Coral Way and just east of Southwest 152nd Avenue. The land traded for about $16 per square foot. Pino said the company plans to break ground in the beginning of April.

Records show Cypress Lake Homestar LLC, led by Jose Fernandez, sold the property. Fernandez paid $4.3 million for the three-parcel lot in August. The site now traded with rights to build up to 59 single-family homes, Pino said.

Records show Pino’s company scored an $11.6 million construction loan from Apollo Bank.

Home prices will range from $439,000 to $527,000, with one- and two-story houses spanning from 2,500 square feet to 4,100 square feet. About 40 percent of the homes will be facing a lake, Pino said.

Century Lakes III is set to be completed by December 2019. Pino said he hopes to complete sales by the end of the year.

Century is also developing Midtown Doral, a mixed-use project that will include more than 1,500 condos, as well as retail space and offices. In October, Pino announced that he would shrink the size of some of the condos and turn them into micro units – a move he said is geared to attract more local buyers.

Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/trdmiami

Red-hot tech sector will keep Austin homebuilders busy in 2018, industry guru says

Global tech companies from Google to Facebook to Amazon keep hiring in Central Texas. That should sustain homebuilding through 2018, an industry expert said Jan. 31 at the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin’s annual forecasting event.

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/industry_21

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