Versace mansion drops asking price to $100 million

Casa Casuarina

The Casa Casuarina estate, the former mansion of designer Gianni Versacci, has dropped its asking price according to Coldwell Banker’s Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, who have the exclusive listing on the property.

The 19,000-square-foot home, which is located at 1116 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, has dropped its price to $100 million from $125 million.

The 10-bedroom, 11-bedroom home was put on the market in June. It is marked by a 54-foot-long mosaic pool lined with 24-karat gold.

“I am delighted that the owner made this decision, as we are entering a very exciting season,” Eber said in a statement. “We have many local and international buyers who are keenly interested in our community, and by moving the price now, we open the property up to many more perspective buyers.”

Versace paid $10 million for the home in 1992, and was murdered just outside the property five years later.

Seller Peter Loftin, a telecom mogul, paid $20 million for the property in 2000.

The mansion, in which Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein was once an investor, has been the target of a number of legal actions since 2011.

November 09, 2012 02:27PM
By Alexander Britell

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Sunny Isles Beach emerging as epicenter of South Florida’s next condo boom

IT MAY BE EARLY IN SOUTH FLORIDA’S NEWEST CONDO BOOM, BUT THE MODESTLY POPULATED BARRIER ISLAND CITY OF SUNNY ISLES BEACH IN NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE COUNTY IS EMERGING AS THE EPICENTER OF THE REGION’S NEXT VERTICAL REAL ESTATE CYCLE.

Developers are proceeding with at least six condo towers — nearly 15 percent of the more than 45 towers proposed for the tricounty South Florida region through July 2012 — with at least 530 luxury units to be constructed in a community that stretches less than 40 blocks along Collins Avenue.

The potential growth in new condo towers does not stop there for the Sunny Isles Beach market.

The number of proposed new condo towers in Sunny Isles Beach is expected to increase in the upcoming months as developers have recently purchased an additional four condo sites that were previously approved for residential towers with more than 580 units. Additionally, an investment group has recently purchased the loan for a partially completed condo tower that is approved for 134 condo units and 140 hotel rooms, according to city of Sunny Isles Beach records.

Developers are swarming Sunny Isles Beach — a city created only 15 years ago on a stretch of beach that was dominated by theme-oriented boutique hotels built in the 1950s — for oceanfront sites to tap into the ferocious demand for luxury South Florida condo units by international buyers with strong foreign currencies.

To date, only one condo tower is actively under construction in Sunny Isles Beach: the 43-story Regalia project that features 39 units on the northern edge of the city overlooking the wealthy single-family house community of Golden Beach.

Several other projects, including the Chateau Beach and the Mansions at Acqualina, have — or are close to opening — sales centers to generate the preconstruction contracts that will be essential to launch construction.

Unlike the last South Florida condo boom, lenders are not yet willing to finance condo construction projects, thereby forcing developers to build using their own money combined with payments from contracted buyers.

This new reality is considered by some to be a practical way of ensuring that South Florida finally does not repeat the boom-and-bust cycle that has occurred in the region since its inception.

Developers are also taking steps to reduce their vulnerability to that cycle by requiring deposits of as much as 80 percent of the purchase price to be paid in increments based on construction milestones being achieved.

Additionally, developers in this newest condo tower wave have, for the most part, ditched the 300-plus unit projects targeted to the masses for boutique projects with low density and ultra-luxury amenities such as car elevators that go to units.

The new developer philosophy seems to be it is easier to sell 100 luxury condos to wealthy individuals who pay cash rather than peddling 300 units to middle-class buyers who are likely to need financing in a market where banks remain apprehensive.

If all goes as planned, the city of Sunny Isles Beach could see its total number of condos increase by more than 1,200 units with the latest boom.

In comparison, developers created more than 25 condo towers with more than 6,000 units in Sunny Isles Beach during the last real estate boom in South Florida that began in 2003.

More than 90 percent of those boom-era units have transacted as of the first quarter of 2012, according to research based on Miami-Dade Clerk of the Court records.

At the current sales pace, the remaining unsold developer condo units from the last South Florida boom-and-bust period would transact before these newly announced projects are scheduled to be completed.

The unknown factor is how the Sunny Isles Beach market for existing condos could change with this latest wave of proposed towers.

Currently, condo resales and rental in Sunny Isles Beach are experiencing mixed results.

In the first six months of the 2012, buyers have purchased nearly 500 condo units at a median price of about $280 per square foot.

This year’s condo resale activity is down about 13 percent in the total number of transactions compared to the same January through June period of 2011 when nearly 560 deals occurred.

On the pricing front, the 2012 median resale amount is up noticeably from $174-per-square-foot level realized a year ago in the first six months of 2011, according to an analysis based on Southeast Florida MLXchange.

At the current 2012 resales pace of about 81 units monthly, Sunny Isles Beach has more than six months of available condos inventory currently on the market.

For many condo buyers in Sunny Isles Beach, leasing out their units for a portion of the year is an effective way to manage the overall annual cost of the residences.

On the condo rental front in Sunny Isles Beach, the leasing activity has held constant in the first half of 2012 at more than 375 transactions completed, nearly matching the total for the first half of 2011, according to the data.

Rental rates, however, are on the rise in Sunny Isles Beach with the median monthly price increasing to more than $1.45 per square foot in 2012 compared to $1.30 per square foot in 2011.

Given the amount of activity, Sunny Isles Beach is sure to be a focal point for buyers, sellers, lenders, developers, and industry watchers who are trying to gauge South Florida’s newest condo boom.

                                                                      BY PETER ZALEWSKI

Posted in Condominium, Homebuyers, Market Watch, Real Estate | Leave a comment

South Florida rental rates increase in second quarter

The costs of renting an apartment in Broward and Palm Beach counties are inching upward.

The average monthly rent in Broward is $1,097, an increase of 3.3 percent from a year ago, according to second-quarter data from research firm Reis Inc. Palm Beach County’s average rent is $1,077, up 2.7 percent.

Rental markets have been strong in recent years as foreclosures and price declines make many people wary of owning a home. Others are struggling to qualify for mortgages.

By Paul Owers

Posted in Home Financing, Homebuyers, Market Watch, Miami, property value, Real Estate, Rental, South Florida | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ZOM Florida leases 300 units in Broward County

Multi-family developer ZOM Florida and the Cleveland-based NRP Group have fully leased 300 workforce-housing units at the $45 million Monterra Apartments in Cooper City, the South Florida Business Journal reported. The units, which are located at 2601 Solano Avenue, are slated to be 100 percent occupied by mid-July. The project included $26 million in bond financing through the Florida Housing Financing Corporation, with additional loans under the SHIP Loan program. “With homeownership steadily declining, the new renter market is on the rise,” said Kyle Clayton, ZOM’s vice president of Development.

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New Boston Fund acquires Miami’s Waterford Centre

The New Boston Fund has purchased Miami’s Waterford Centre, the Boston-based company announced today. The 91,000-square-foot property is located at 6205 Blue Lagoon Drive in the Blue Lagoon Business Park near Miami International Airport. The company plans to invest “significantly” into the property, which is its second high-profile acquisition in the area in the last two years. In 2010, New Boston acquired the 282,000-square-foot One Park Square in Doral. “Waterford Centre is a great addition to our investment portfolio in Miami,” said Pryse Elam, Southeast regional director at New Boston Fund. Lincoln Property Company will continue to provide property management services at the building, while Blanca Commercial Real Estate has been tapped to lease and market the property. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. — Alexander Britell

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South Florida foreclosure filings are up, but numbers may signal plateau

The recent surge of South Florida foreclosure filings is beginning to slow down, according to data from RealtyTrac. While the number of tri-county properties with foreclosure filings rose for the seventh straight month, there were only 10 percent more filings in June than there were in the same period in 2011.

That was a far smaller increase than in the first several months of the upswing that began at the end of 2011, when increases regularly exceeded 40 percent. In April, for example, processing increased by 77 percent compared to the same month in 2011.

“It may or may not be an indication of a long-term trend coming, if you look at the first half of the year,” RealtyTrac spokesperson Daren Blomquist told The Real Deal. “But banks continue to start more foreclosure processes than they [did] a year ago.”

The last seven months of increased foreclosure filings came after a long lull in foreclosure activity brought about by the robo-signing scandal, when banks became reluctant to begin processing foreclosures.

“June could be a further indication if there is a kind of ceiling as to how many of these foreclosures can be processed each month,” Blomquist said. “And we may be getting close to that.”

There were a total of 7,405 properties with foreclosure filings in June, led by Miami-Dade County with 3,260. That represented a 7 percent decrease from the previous month.

South Florida foreclosure filings rose 24 percent in the first half of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, according to the report.

Nationally, foreclosure activity fell 11 percent in the first six months of 2012.

Given what remains a significant backlog, however, Blomquist predicted South Florida’s foreclosure processing would continue to trend higher.

“There’s still a lot of distressed inventory in the Miami market,” he said. “The banks have a lot of distressed loans out there.”

July 12, 2012 06:00PM
                                                                                       By Alexander Britell

Posted in Forclosure, Home Financing, Homebuyers, Market Watch, Mortgage, Mortgage Rate, Realtytrac, South Florida | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Miami sales prices up 17.7 percent, but gains reflect a complex picture

Distressed inventory made up 40 percent of all sales

July 12, 2012 12:01AM
By Alexander Britell

The median sales price of Miami’s coastal residential properties rose 20.9 percent in the second quarter of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report from Douglas Elliman Florida. Miami’s average sales price also jumped 17.7 percent in the same period.

But while Miami prices have been trending upwards for some time, these recent gains reflect a more complicated picture.

There were two major reasons for the price jump, according to Jonathan Miller, whose firm, Miller Samuel, prepared the report: reduced inventory and a decrease in distressed inventory coming to market.

“The sharp drop in inventory is one of the reasons why I would characterize the market as stable or better than stable,” said Jonathan Miller, whose firm, Miller Samuel, prepared the report.

Through the second quarter, distressed inventory represented around 40 percent of all sales — a significant turnaround from a year and a half ago, Miller said, when distressed inventory represented a market share of almost 60 percent.

And it was that shift that contributed in part to the price increase, said Douglas Elliman Florida CEO Vanessa Grout. “For now, it’s pushing pricing up — there is a direct correlation to that,” she told The Real Deal. “Because if you simply look at non-distressed market prices, prices are up modestly — so it is sort of an artificial gain.”

But part of that price jump was caused by the recent penthouse boom in South Beach, which led to a few mega-sales partially distorting the data.

“We’ve had some real anomalies, especially this year,” she said, pointing to the $25 million purchase of a Continuum condo in May. “There were some really crazy sales happening recently, and that’s going to skew the averages.”

There are some fundamentals supporting Miami’s gains, however.

“It’s relatively positive,” Grout said. “We have less inventory on the market, and the number of closed sales is up majorly.”

Miami’s residential inventory has fallen 28.2 percent in the last year, while closed sales have decreased, both signs of a tightening market, Miller said.

Miller and Grout warned that prices could take a hit as more distressed inventory comes onto market, particularly with lenders ramping up their foreclosure processing activity in recent months.

The robo-signing scandal of late 2010, which led to a large-scale freeze on foreclosure processing activity by lenders, may have contributed in part to the drastic shift in distressed market share, Miller said, inventory that still looms over Miami’s residential sector.

“The catch is that we may start to see more distressed inventory appear on the market in the next few months,” Grout said.

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