Globally, the U.S. is a deal in luxury housing

CHICAGO – June 14, 2017 – Luxury real estate buyers may find bargains in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world. The U.S. is hardly the most expensive when it comes to home prices in its luxury market.

Instead, China takes the world crown in that arena for the fastest-rising prices in luxury residential real estate around the world. Luxury home prices in Guangzhou, the capital of the southern province of Guangdong, rose a whopping 36.2 percent from March 2016 to March 2017, according to Knight Frank’s first-quarter Prime Global Cities Index, which ranks the top 5 percent of luxury real estate sales in 41 large international cities.

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s single-digit increases in that time period may seem more modest in comparison.

The top three global cities to land on the list are Guangzhou, up 36.2 percent; Beijing, where luxury home prices rose 22.9 percent; and Toronto, prices up 22.2 percent.

The U.S. cities landing on the Prime Global Cities Index include Miami (at number 14 on the list with a 4.1 percent year-over-year price increase), Los Angeles (prices up 2.5%), San Francisco (prices up 1.8%), and New York (prices up 1.7%).

“We’re seeing steady and sustainable luxury price growth in the key U.S. markets,” says Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank. However, the cost of buying luxury homes isn’t rising quite as quickly in the U.S. as some other parts of the world because “there are a lot of major changes taking place both politically and internationally.”

Source: “The New Hot Spots for Luxury Real Estate Around the World,” realtor.com® (May 8, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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Affordable housing: Americans want help getting in

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2017 – Most Americans and Canadians say their nations aren’t doing enough to address and solve affordable housing needs, according to Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Housing Survey. Escalating costs remain a top barrier preventing families from accessing decent homes with affordable mortgages, the survey says.

“In many ways, housing is an invisible crisis,” says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “There are still too many families without access to safe, secure and affordable housing. This survey highlights the value all of us place on a decent place to call home and underscores the critical need to increase access to affordable housing.”

Owning a home is a key rung on the ladder of economic advancement. What happens if that rung remains elusive for many?

According to the survey, nine out of 10 Americans say owning a home is one of their greatest achievements in life. Also, 68 percent of U.S. renters say owning a home is one of their chief goals, according to the survey. PSB, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. and Canada to gauge their perceptions of, and challenges to, affordable housing.

Ninety-one percent of American homeowners credited owning a home with making them more responsible, and 44 percent said it helped them build a nest egg. Forty-one percent say homeownership has given them stability.

But homeownership remains out of reach for many. Nine out of 10 Americans and Canadians say it’s important to find solutions to the lack of affordable housing. At 59 percent, concerns regarding U.S. affordability in particular easily topped other housing issues like safety (16%) and quality (11%).

One major barrier to homeownership cited among survey respondents: the high cost of rent. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said the high cost of rent was preventing them from buying, followed by 75 percent who said obtaining a mortgage was proving to be a big barrier.

Many of the survey respondents said they’ve struggled to pay housing costs at some point in their life. Among U.S. respondents, 27 percent of respondents said they struggled to pay housing costs in their 20s; 22 percent in their 30s; 11 percent in their 40s; and 9 percent in their 50s.

Source: “Nine Out of 10 Americans and Canadians Call for Affordable Housing Solutions,” Habitat for Humanity (June 20, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Downtown Ft. Lauderdale Redevelopment

Sun Sentinel

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

Apartments drive home construction gains in Sept.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 20, 2015 – Construction companies built more apartment complexes in September, sparking a temporary rise in housing starts for a real estate market that otherwise appears to have crested during the summer.
Housing starts last month rose 6.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.21 million homes, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. But a 17 percent surge in multi-family housing – which includes apartments – accounts for almost all of that increase.
New construction and sales of existing homes surged in the first half of the year as more Americans found work and the unemployment rate dipped to a solid 5.1 percent. But tight inventories, rising prices and the absence of meaningful wage growth have capped growth as affordability has become an issue – a problem that new construction can help resolve.
“Builders are stepping up to meet that demand but doing so cautiously,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities. “So, for beleaguered buyers who can’t find what they are looking for because of a dearth of listings, there is a bit of help on the way.”
Construction rose last month in the Northeast, South and West, while falling in the Midwest.
Housing starts have soared 12 percent in the first nine months of 2015. But the pace of building retreated from its June apex, in part due to the expiration of tax incentives for developers in New York.
Approved permits fell 5 percent in September to an annual rate of 1.1 million, a sign that construction will likely slow in the coming months.
Sales of existing homes similarly accelerated through the start of the summer, only to decline in August. The tight inventories – just 5.2 months’ supply of homes were listed for sale – have propped up prices, as the median cost to buy a home increased 4.7 percent over the year to $228,700, according to the National Association of Realtors.
A greater share of the country is also choosing to rent. The percentage of Americans owning homes has dipped to 63.4 percent, the lowest level in 48 years. The influx of millennials and downsizing baby boomers into the rental market has caused monthly leases to jump 3.8 percent over the past year, according to the real estate firm Zillow.
But price appreciation has also slowed as many Americans lack the income to spend more on housing. Average hourly earnings have increased just 2.2 percent to $25.09, meaning that home values and rental costs are rising at roughly double the rate of incomes.

There are signs that more Americans are renovating their homes instead of buying new properties. A new index compiled by BuildZoom – which identifies contractors for projects – found that renovations are running 2.8 percent above their 2005 level. Meanwhile, despite the gains of the past year, new home construction remains 57 percent below its 2005 level during the housing bubble.

Still, remodeling activity has been flat during the past year as new home construction has advanced. The gains have left construction firms more optimistic.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose this month to 64. The last time the reading was higher was October 2005 at 68.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been consistently above 50 since July last year.