Jan 13, 2016
Dirty Laundry

(NEW YORK) Cash may be king in real estate, but it’s about to become a royal pain in the behind. The Treasury Department is shining its light on illicit money flowing into luxury real estate, reported The New York Times today. Starting in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County, the Feds will begin identifying and tracking secret buyers of high-end properties. Their objective is to flush out all-cash purchases made by shell companies that often shield purchasers’ identities. In other words: money laundering. Says The Times: “It is the first time the federal government has required real estate companies to disclose names behind all-cash transactions, and it is likely to send shudders through the real estate industry, which has benefited enormously in recent years from a building boom increasingly dependent on wealthy, secretive buyers.” While it is legal to use a shell company to purchase real estate, the suspicion is that the purchases are being used to launder dirty money. Astonishingly, an investigation by The Times found that almost half the homes sold in the U.S. for $5 million or more are purchased using shell companies. 

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Jan 11, 2016
Breaking New Ground

(PALM CITY, FL) Members at Harbour Ridge Yacht & Country Club already enjoy an enviable lifestyle in the heart of Florida’s Treasure Coast. They have two miles of waterfront, three marinas, access to the Gulf of Mexico, and two picturesque golf courses. Soon they’ll have a new $8.9 million fitness, tennis, swim and salon/spa facility. The Club broke ground last week on the facility, which is expected to be completed over the next year. It will replace the existing Fitness/Tennis Center and pool, update the tennis counts, add a separate realty office and expand the parking lot. Members will be especially pleased that the project will be completed without a member assessment or any additional long-term debt. “This is money well spent,” says Cesar Trujillo, on-site Keller Williams Project Manager. “Harbour Ridge will reap the benefits of this investment in fitness and wellness for years to come. I feel confident it will attract new, young members looking for the complete package of amenities that can only be found in a country club environment like Harbour Ridge.”

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Jan 08, 2016
Sarasota is Sizzling

(SARASOTA, FL) Florida is hot again. And we’re not just talking the weather. Perhaps no region was hit as hard as the Sunshine State by the real estate bust, but the market is coming back in a big way, especially in the Sarasota area. In fact, 2015 will go down as the region’s busiest real estate market ever. Sarasota Magazine reports that “Industry insiders are using phrases like ‘shattering records’ and ‘skyrocketing sales prices’ to describe the frenetic pace of resales and new construction. Homes are selling quicker, construction is strong, buyers are trending younger, and consumer confidence is on the rise. True, prices are still 25% to 30% off the highs of a decade ago, but they are trending upward. Realtors, developers, and sellers are practically giddy. To top it all off, the 9,600-acre The Ranch in the West Villages is making noise again. 18,000 to 25,000 new homes are expected to built there over the next three decades. In December, they broke ground on The Renaissance Neighborhood in the development.

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Jan 06, 2016
Top 10 Trends

(NEW YORK) 2015 wasn’t perfect, but it went a long way toward helping us forget those long years following 2007’s housing bubble burst. The Fiscal Times talked to the industry experts and put together a list of what we should be watching for this year. It’s a mixed bag, but decidedly positive. Here’s what they see coming our way in 2016. Click on the link below to read the reasons behind the top 10 real estate trends: 

1. Home prices will continue to rise…moderately.

2. Interest rates will inch up.

3. First-time buyers will continue to struggle.

4. Credit will get—a little—looser.

5. It will still be cheaper to buy than rent.

6. The suburbs will make a comeback.

7. Buyers will want green and smart homes.

8. Videos will be the new photos.

9. All-cash sales will continue to decrease.

10. New homes will come back big time.

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Jan 04, 2016
The Mogul has Landed

(PALM BEACH, FL) It’s all fun and games until the class clown in your dinner group makes an inappropriate joke in front of the Secret Service. The New York Post reports on their infamous Page Six that “Guests at the Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Fla., were surprised when they arrived to Sunday dinner to discover metal detectors and Secret Service agents.” Turns out The Donald (code name “Mogul” among agents) and family showed up to enjoy one of the biggest nights of the year at the club’s Grill Room on the Sunday after Christmas. At the packed event, members dine on snow crabs, sushi, lobster and more. That meant everyone attending had to go through metal detectors first. “That’s never happened in all our years there,” one shocked club member told Page Six, adding, “Someone got patted down because he made a comment like, ‘Oh, yeah, I probably shouldn’t have brought that cocaine!’”

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