Friday, December 28, 2012

• Home prices could jump almost 10% in 2013 (J.P. Morgan)

• S&P/Case-Shiller home price index shows biggest year-over-year increase since spike caused by expired tax credit

• Existing home sales for November rose 5.9% over October, 14.5% higher than in November 2011 (National Association of Realtors)

• 2012 Housing starts are 23% higher than 2011 and 2013 predicted to usher in a 21% gain over 2012 (National Association of Home Builders).

• Inventories are low and demand is rising – 22% below last year’s levels of traditional listings and distress properties (National Association of Home Builders)

• Positive consistent reports are out on housing starts, permits, prices, new-home sales and builder confidence in recent months indicating a gradual but steady housing recovery is underway across most of the nation (National Association of Home Builders)

• Existing home sales are at the highest level since November 2009

• Foreclosures and short sales accounted for about 22% of November sales, down from 24% in October and 29% in November 2011

• Builder confidence has posted gains for 8 consecutive months and is now at 47; the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index has not been above 50 since April 2006

• Rental market has greatly enlarged due to demand and more than 31% of today’s renters plan to buy a home in the next two years, a 9-point increase from 22% in January 2011 (Trulia’s American Dream survey)

  72% of “Millennials” (18-34 year olds) have homeownership as part of their personal American Dream.  About 93% expect to buy a home one 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bring your laptops and tablets when you shop Worth Avenue.  WiFi will soon be accessible to all Worth Avenue customers, thanks to the Worth Avenue Association.  BlueWeb Media provides the service.  Reach is from Worth Avenue north through the vias to the south side of Peruvian Avenue and on the south side of the street halfway through the block north of Hammon Avenue and Golf View Road.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


10. Texas (tie) — warm weather and solid economy
10. California (tie) — good weather and high life expectancy
9. South Dakota — low crime rate and high life expectancy
7. New Mexico (tie) — good weather
7. Florida (tie) — good weather
6. Colorado — high life expectancy
5. Virginia — good economy
4. Arizona — good weather and high life expectancy
3. Utah  — good economy
2. Idaho — low crime rate and good economy
1. Hawaii — great weather and high life expectancy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


PICTURE THIS:  You pull your boat up to the soon-to-be-built Waterfront Promenade at the Bridge Hotel in Boca Raton, and dine in the popular WaterColors Restaurant.  There will be a 270 ft wraparound seawall and dock; construction beings this week.    

This is the initial phase of the Bridge Hotel’s major “reinvention” redevelopment plan.  Next there will be new hospitality and dining concepts introduced, further expansion of waterfront amenities and guestrooms, restaurants and public spaces will be undergoing extensive renovations.  Goal is to position the property as a luxury boutique hotel with four-star status. 

During construction, WaterColors new menu will be served in Carmen’s which boasts sweeping penthouse-level panoramic views of Lake Boca, Intracoastal and Atlantic Ocean.  Every guestroom at The Bridge Hotel has panoramic water views.  Location is 999 East Camino Real at A1A’s south end of the bridge.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The Evans Report, written by Attorney Leslie Robert Evans, states that single family home sales in Palm Beach are up 40.7% compared to the same period in 2011.

There were 38 single family sales in 3Q2012, up from 27 sales in 3Q2011.  Dollar volume in that period increased from $190.3MM; 3Q2011 sales were $115.4MM.

Evans said, "the third quarter sales seemingly reflected buyer confidence that the market is improving as the number of sales would have decreased had buyers thought the market was still weak.The average single family sales price rose 17% to just over $5MM.

Median sales price of condos rose 15% in July with a 78.6% increase in sales activity.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Here is a link to an article that explains the dilemma and highlights three studies about it... and asks if Florida can really count on this government funding in light of our national deficit:

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Zillow analysts state that foreclosure home buyers in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade counties could only expect a 2.9% savings in September compared to available homes NOT sold at a distressed price.  Discounts are shrinking on distressed properties.

Zillow further states that same time last year the discount was 6.8%, and in August 2008, the peak foreclosure month in South Florida: 22.7%.  If investors can’t purchase a property they can fix up and sell at a profit, they have no incentive to buy.  For buyers who want to buy, rent the property out and sell later at a profit, it is harder and harder to find a property that meets the profit criteria.

Home buyers getting a mortgage may find the distressed properties don’t appraise to the list price.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


There are two new rating systems to check out your hospitals on:     NEARBY HOSPITAL GRADES – GRADED FROM A TO F  (you need your hospital’s 16-digit security code – there is a phone # to call)

For further information:

Consumer Reports on local hospitals.

Hospital Compare rates over 4,000 Medicare certified hospitals nationwide.

(You may need to hold down the CTRL button while clicking the link, or link may appear below when you click).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Topic Summary: Five years ago, at the start of the housing crisis,

Congress passed a law called the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.  The MFDRA would prevent homeowners from paying tax on the amount of any debt forgiveness.  

This provision is set to expire, as designed, on Dec. 31st.  If allowed to expire through Congressional inaction, homeowners who will get underwater workouts may be liable for paying taxes on the amount of forgiven dept. Also, a growing number of homeowners who will conduct a "short sale" in 2013 may also be liable for paying taxes. As an example almost 30% of all recent sales in California were "short sales" and in Nevada about 25% of all sales were "short."

The IRS Does Not See It The Same Way!

It would appear that homeowners who got in trouble over the last few years because of money problems probably couldn't handle the mortgage situation they were in and a "life line" (work out) was offered and excepted. Next year, homeowners who do a work out, will have a surprise tax event that may cause more long term negative pressure with what's owed to the IRS and the states. To see what is exactly covered and other tips, the IRS offers this resource HERE.

How does the tax provision work? Without the tax measure, a homeowner who owes $400,000 on his mortgage and sells his house for $300,000 would owe income taxes on the difference of $100,000, the amount that's forgiven. The $100,000 would be considered regular income by the Internal Revenue Service and in many states. The reason being, many state tax income sources the same way as the IRS.  This could take away some of the incentive for homeowners to seek a short sale.

What Would It Cost To Renew?  Renewing the provision for two years, as President Obama proposed earlier this year, would cost the Treasury Dept. $2.7 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Timeline: There will be a lot of activity in Congress after the election and overall, the spirit of "giving" is not something that is trendy in Washington these days. There has been bi-partisan support for the extension, it's just a matter of getting focus in Congress. 

This article is from my HOME ACTIONS newsletter.  It has many articles of use to homeowners.  If you would like to subscribe, email

Monday, October 15, 2012

All Aboard Florida’s proposed 230-mile $1BB commuter rail line would go from Miami to Ft Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, according to the Orlando Sentinel.   Service will be running at 2014 – with no risk to taxpayers.  Travel time from Miami to Orlando is estimated to be three hours with day long service from early morning to evening.
Anticipated are 6,000 construction jobs for Floridians and 400 jobs to operate the rail service.   Workers will also be needed to build station houses at some stops.  Amenities will include Wi-Fi internet service, gourmet meals, reserved business and coach class seating and easy-on, easy-off baggage compartments.

Annual anticipated travelers: 50MM.  It is estimated to take 3MM cars off the road whose drivers will use the rails instead, resulting in less congestion on I95..  There will be access to major international airports, seaports and existing commuter and rail systems including Metrorail and SunRail.

Bids are due by 12-7-012, then review of costs by FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) follows, and winners will be chosen by 12-18-2012.  Interested companies must attend a mandatory meeting on 11-13-2012 at FDOT headquarters in DeLand.
All Aboard Florida is a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, based in Coral Gables, a privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail service.  It is one of Florida’s largest full-service commercial real estate and infrastructure companies. 
This will be a solution for millions of Floridians and tourists, for both business and pleasure trips.  Expectation is to include 200 miles of existing tracks from Miami to Cocoa and a new 40-mile rail line from Cocoa to Orlando International Airport is to be built.

Friday, September 28, 2012

PETS IN CONDOS - Fair Housing Act covers emotional support animal

FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: AVENTURA, Fla. – Sept. 28, 2012 – The Fair Housing Act does more than protect homeowners or renters who use a support-services animal – it also protects residents who need an animal for emotional support.   While the definition of an emotional support animal goes beyond “I love him,” the Fair Housing Act covers residents or potential residents who rely on an emotional support animal.

The issue raises questions from landlords and homeowner associations. An existing rule on pets, for example – such as an additional pet deposit – doesn’t apply to support animals under The Fair Housing Act.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced yesterday they reached a Conciliation Agreement with Point Three East Condominium Association in Aventura, Fla., over the issue. The condo association allegedly refused to allow a resident to keep an emotional support animal, even though the resident provided medical documentation attesting to her need for the accommodation. HUD also found that some of the board members who denied the resident’s request had, or previously had, animals in their units.

Under the agreement, Point East Three Condominium Association will allow the resident to keep her emotional support animal and pay her $18,000. In addition, the condominium association will enact a reasonable accommodation policy and obtain fair housing training for all its board members.

“Condo associations are not exempt from adherence to the Fair Housing Act,” said Carlos Osegueda, HUD’s Region IV director for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Their policies and practices cannot discriminate against persons with disabilities, and HUD will continue to take action anytime we find that they do.”

For more information on emotional support animals protected by The Fair Housing Act, visit the American Bar Association website.

People who believe they are victims of housing discrimination can contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or 1 (800) 927-9275 (TTY).