U.S. home prices up 7 percent annually

Home prices nationwide are up both year over year and month over month, according to CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Index. National home prices have appreciated year over year by 7 percent from October 2016 to October 2017. The increase in home prices is closely correlated to both the lack of supply and the strengthening economy. The acute lack of supply of homes for sale has pressured home prices upwards across the country, largely in areas where both existing and new home inventory have not kept up with buyer demand. That being said, home prices are projected to increase 4.2 percent by October 2018. This is great news for homeowners who have gained equity in their home over the last year. Now may be the best time for homeowners who have been on the fence as to whether or not to sell. The increased sales price of their home may help them cover a down payment on their dream home. Likewise, concerns of affordability come up whenever home prices increase. Fortunately, mortgage rates remain historically low. Future home buyers who are willing and able should take advantage of current rates and lock in a low monthly housing cost. Renters are already paying for someone else’s mortgage; might as well pay for their own. Now may be a good time to enter the housing market before interest rates increase in 2018. The Monica Betancourt Group, “MBG”, is a group with members who are  fluent in not only several languages but also fluent in several different cultures. This fluency

How will proposed tax reform legislation affect Miami real estate?

The U.S. Senate passed tax reform legislation early Saturday morning, following a marathon voting session overnight. The bill was approved just before 2 a.m. and will head to conference where House and Senate negotiators will work out the differences in their bills. It has been a hot topic in recent months and it is very probable that you have heard how it might affect real estate as a whole – but what about real estate here in the state of Florida – even Miami?   First, it is important to understand what proposed aspects of the tax reform legislation affects real estate. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction: Senate retains the current limit for the deduction to interest paid on the first $1 million of the loan. House cuts the limit in half to $500,000 for new home purchases. Property Tax Deduction: Both House and Senate limit itemized deductions for property taxes capped to the first $10,000 paid. Tax-Free Gains: Under the current tax code, sellers filing jointly can exclude up to $500,000 of gains from a home sale (up to $250,000 for single filers) tax-free, provided they have lived in and used the property as their principal residence for an aggregate of two years of the preceding five. To qualify under the new Senate bill, sellers would have to live in their homes for five of the preceding eight years, and they can only use the provision once every five years. Deductibles: Deductibility for second or vacation homes – eliminated Deductibility for home equity loans – eliminated Deductibility of moving

300 Biscayne expected to be Miami’s tallest building

Standing at 1,041 feet tall, 300 Biscayne is promised to be Miami’s tallest building, as well as the tallest residential tower south of New York. Located in downtown Miami, the highly anticipated ultra-luxury development is set minutes away from the new Miami World Center and several of Miami’s cultural attractions. New renderings from 300 Biscayne’s official website showcase a new look for the development. The exterior renderings, produced by ArX Solutions, show an impressive staggered tower that looks like a building comprised of ‘stacked-boxes’ dominating the skyline. The luxury residential project’s initial approved plans portrayed two towers with what appeared to be several walkways connecting them. The 800,000 square foot ultra-luxury tower will feature a five-star hotel brand in addition to about 500 residences, as well as the second wellness-focused spa of its kind. Moreover, a 20,000-square-foot sales center is currently under construction and will be available in the near future. Another large residential project is also planned to rise adjacent to 300 Biscayne. Consisting of nearly 700 “smart apartments,” 400 Biscayne is also in the plans of the same development team. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about this project, and/or are looking to buy or sell. The Monica Betancourt Group are local specialists who have helped many clients with real estate needs achieve their real estate goals.

Why listing your home this holiday season is a good idea

Conventional wisdom states that selling a home during the spring and summer months is the best time. Because of this, many people assume that selling a home during the holiday season – that period from Thanksgiving week to New Year’s day – is not the best time. And though it’s true that many buyers do plan their home purchases during those months, that does not mean that all serious buyers disappear after Labor Day. If you’re home is for sale right now, your are actually in a great position to sell your home faster and for more money by taking advantage of the unique opportunities the holiday selling season offers. Motivated Buyers People who are looking for homes during the holiday season are serious buyers and are ready to buy now. The desire to own a home does not stop when the holidays come. Many times those buyers have been looking during the busy spring and summer months and just haven’t found that perfect home yet, or perhaps are relocating to start a new job in the new year. Companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their employees in their new positions as soon as possible. Whatever their reason, anyone who takes time out of their busy holiday schedule to shop for a new home is serious about buying now. Less Competition Many homeowners consider taking their homes off the market during the holiday season, and most new sellers will decide to wait until the first of the year or even springtime to list their

Will South Miami’s Sunset Place renovation happen?

It had seemed earlier this week that downtown South Miami was not getting the proposed redevelopment of The Shops at Sunset Place anytime soon – if at all. By a 3-2 vote on Monday night, commissioners voted against the special zoning that would have allowed redevelopment of the portion of the mall that sits along U.S. 1. Surprisingly, a day later there was a consensus among the commissioners to reconsider the plan in response to pleas from South Miami residents and business owners. It is still yet to be seen if the motion would pass to allow time to revisit the proposal and negotiate elements of the plan that initially concerned some commissioners. The principle owner and developers need a unanimous vote in favor of the changes to move forward. If approved, original plans for the site include demolishing parts of the mall on the U.S. 1 end to add an 18-story hotel and apartment building while widening sidewalks, adding more trees, and giving the mall a more contemporary look. The Shops at Sunset Place The outdoor mall was purchased for $110 million back in October 2015 by Federal Realty, Grass River Property, and The Comras Company from Simon Property Group. Located at the intersection on South Dixie Highway (U.S. 1) and Red Road (57th Avenue), The Shops at Sunset Place opened in 1999. Prior to the mall being built, the property was the site of what used to be The Bakery Centre, which opened in 1986 on the site of the old Holsum Bread Bakery. It was

How mortgage rates may be influenced by the next Fed chair

On Thursday, President Trump will announce his nomination to head the Federal Reserve. This is important because the person he selects will have an influence on the wealth of home owners and buyers in the years to come. Rumors and speculation have been circulating around by several news organizations that Jerome “Jay” Powell, Federal Reserve Governor since 2012, is Trump’s choice for Fed chair. If this is true, Powell will replace current Fed chair Janet L. Yellen whose term expires next year. Powell would represent a relatively moderate choice for Trump, and while not as dovish on monetary policy and financial regulation as Ms. Yellen, he is not considered to be as radical as other individuals under consideration such as Kevin Walsh and John Taylor. He has steadily supported Ms. Yellens approach, and so it is expected that he would be unlikely to attempt significant changes in the Fed’s course. How mortgage rates may be influenced by the next Fed chair Consequentially, mortgage rates are affected when the Fed and its chair increases or decreases short-term interest rates. When the Fed hikes the Fed funds rate, it often triggers an indirect increase in mortgage rates. Yellen has been a supporter for gradual rate increases, which in recent months have caused slight changes in to the interest rate in which mortgage borrowers pay. It is still uncertain whether the trend will continue after her successor takes over. Furthermore, raising the interest rates too aggressively would send rates higher – that can hinder some buyers and affect

Seminole Hard Rock unveils $1.5B expansion with guitar-shaped hotel

Leaders of the Seminal Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock International unveiled Wednesday their $1.5 billion expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. The event featured a guitar smashing ceremony, and welcomed several music legends including Steven Van Zandt and Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain who performed a drum solo. The new Hard Rock The centerpiece of the project, a 450 feet tall, 35-story hotel shaped like a guitar will feature a 41,000-square-foot spa and 60,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and nightclubs, and add additional guest rooms and suites to bring the total number of rooms to 1,270. The project will also include a 10-acre pool complex with private villas, waterfalls and water sport activities. The casino, Hard Rock’s main money maker, will double in size with more than 3,260 slot machines, 178 table games including blackjack and baccarat and a new 18,000-square-foot poker room. The 5,500-seat Hard Rock Live performance arena will be demolished to make way for a re-designed $100 million facility with 7,000 seats, capable of hosting concerts and televised award shows. Once completed in mid-2019, the new Seminal Hard Rock Hollywood complex will be one of South Florida’s largest hospitality and entertainment venues. The Monica Betancourt Group, “MBG”, is a group with members who are  fluent in not only several languages but also fluent in several different cultures. This fluency gives us a deep understanding of the expectations of both local and foreign buyers and investors.Why MBG? We are a group that works as one 24/7. When

What Brickell’s real estate market shift means for buyers and sellers

Miami’s Brickell condo market continues to evolve, and it is hard to ignore the growth of condominium projects with the ever-changing downtown skyline in recent years. Yet, for the first time since 2012, there are more completed condo units (5,180) than the number of under construction units (5,078), with a total of 3,365 units are expected to be completed by the end of 2017. This is important because Miami is no stranger to the real estate booms and busts from recent decades; developers are not building beyond what the market can absorb. At the same time, as these developments are being completed, an increasing amount of resale inventory is hitting the market. As reported by the Miami Herald, “According to Cranespotters.com, more than 3,600 existing condo units are currently on the market in the downtown area – 26-month supply (six months is considered the ideal month of inventory).” As a result, condo prices are not only experiencing a downward pressure as they level out, but in some cases creating opportunities for buyers as motivated sellers decrease prices. Aside from the large amount of development going on, Brickell’s robust rental market is also a strong indicator of continued demand for the downtown lifestyle, particularly from millennials. Many of these renters are paying premium prices, and doing so happily for the lifestyle that it brings. This is demonstrated in the new conventional rental inventory being delivered and stabilized quickly with brisk absorption at rents 25% – 35% higher than competitive older apartment product, demonstrating the continued demand

Coral Gables seeks to trademark Miracle Mile

Coral Gables’ most famous street, Miracle Mile, has had its name since 1947. Although not the first to brandish its name, Miracle Mile in Coral Gables has been home to a number of businesses, including bridal stores, restaurant and bars for decades. The stretch of Coral Way running from Douglas Road (Southwest 37th Avenue) to Le Jeune Road (Southwest 42nd Avenue) is currently in the midst of a million-dollar renovation while the city is legally trying to protect its right to continue using the name. City attorney Craig Leen told the Miami Herald that the city is seeking to trademark their use of the name. Reason being is that an Illinois-based company recently applied to trade mark the name of Miracle Mile Shops of Las Vegas, although the shopping mall has had its name since 2007. Coral Gables is essential being proactive by opposing the possibility that an Illinois-based company may infringe upon the city’s use of the name. This is one of recent legal actions taken by the city of Coral Gables to protect the city’s reputation. In 2006, Coral Gables filed a trademark to continue using the nickname “City Beautiful” because Orlando had been using the designation while including it in the city’s official seal.

Cost Effective Tips for a Greener Home

While there are many ways in which to go green, these are just a few quick and easy cost effective things you can do to lessen your homes impact on the environment, and save you some green on your home’s next utility bill. Upgrade Lights to LED or CFL  According to Energy Star, about 12 percent of an average energy bill for a typical single family home goes towards lighting. Simply replacing incandescent lightbulbs around your home with light emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs will easily and cheaply reduce your energy consumption. On average these bulbs will use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, and last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent lightbulbs. As a result, this will reduce the number of bulbs that ends up in landfills – how awesome is that. Seal Gaps Around Doors & Windows If you live in an older home, chances are that there are gaps around doors and windows around your house. All of those gaps during a typical summer in Miami can add up to a higher electricity bill. Adding weather striping around doors and windows around the house will prevent wasteful energy expenditure and can save you up to 10 percent on your bill. Fix Leaking Toilets & Sinks Leaking toilets and sinks may seem insignificant, but over time they waste a lot of water. 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day, and the average household’s leaks can amount to 10,000 gallons of water