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Last Build Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 16:07:08 +0000

 



First Quarter Newspaper Print Ads Down, Online Up

Wed, 06 Jun 2007 11:39:00 +0000

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

As reported by: Media Post


According to preliminary estimates from the Newspaper Association of America, advertising expenditures for newspaper Web sites increased by 22.3 percent to $750 million in the first quarter versus the same period a year ago. Advertising on newspaper Web sites made up 7.1 percent of total newspaper ad spending in the first quarter compared with 5.5 percent for the same period a year ago.

NAA President and CEO, John F. Sturm, said "The percentage of ad spending generated by newspaper Web sites continues to grow as advertisers realize the value of (this) Web audience... consumers who have higher household incomes and shop online more frequently than other Internet users."

Advertising expenditures at newspapers and their Web sites totaled $10.6 billion for the first quarter of 2007, a 4.8 percent decrease from the same period a year earlier. Spending for print ads in newspapers totaled $9.8 billion, down 6.4 percent versus the same period a year earlier.

Among the major print components in the first quarter:

Classified advertising fell 13.2 percent to $3.4 billion
Retail declined 2.2 percent to $4.8 billion
National was down 2.8 percent to $1.7 billion

Within the classified print category in the first quarter:

Real estate advertising fell 14.2 percent to $953 million
Recruitment dropped 14.3 percent to $975.3 million
Automotive was down 20.1 percent to $751.3 million
All other classifieds were down 0.5 percent to $699.3 million

"... newspapers continue to make aggressive moves to redefine classified advertising through new online partnerships and other approaches that will position them for the future," Sturm concluded.



THE WORLD’S LARGEST ONLINE CONDO MARKETPLACE REMAINS THE MASTER OF ITS DOMAIN NAME

Tue, 05 Jun 2007 14:57:00 +0000

USCondex.com Now Operates Under New Domain Name Condo.com


MIAMI, FL., June 5, 2007 – USCondex.com, the world’s first and largest online condo marketplace – dubbed the NASDAQ for Condos – today announced it has acquired the domain name Condo.com, and effective immediately will operate under its new domain www.condo.com. The new name easily resonates with buyers, renters, sellers and developers of condominiums around the world, identifying Condo.com as THE leading website to visit for all things condo.

The announcement comes less than two years after the successful launch of USCondex.com to the online real estate community. The name change is a significant milestone for the company, indicative of the growth it has experienced and further strengthening its leadership position in the online condominium marketplace.

“Acquiring this new domain has a huge impact on our business at hand,” said Richard Swerdlow, Chief Executive Officer for Condo.com. “As we continue to bring the world’s condo community together online, owning the premier domain name in the space will help us achieve our goal to better communicate our business model to global users and partners. Condo.com is a name that transcends language barriers, giving us a tremendous advantage over our competition as we seek to grow our business globally.”

Condo.com provides cutting edge information, functionality and tools for buyers and sellers around the world, including a social networking tool that allows users to network and connect to one another, video blog and upload virtual tours. With unmatched listing capabilities and resources offered on the site, and proprietary technology that provides users with detailed neighborhood, school and demographic information, Condo.com provides a service found no where else in the world.

For more information, visit Condo.com.

About Condo.com

Condo.com is the first and fastest growing global advertising portal and listing service for condominiums. Condo.com carries the largest inventory of condominiums listed in the United States and 70+ countries around the world, valued at over $100 billion. Condo.com cost-effectively delivers unparalleled international exposure to developers, brokers and for-sale-by-owners through the seamless distribution of its listings to a global network of real estate websites visited by over 15 million viewers per month.



Condo.com -- US Condo Exchange (USCondex.com) Changes name to Condo.com

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 08:36:00 +0000

US Condo Exchange has changed its name to Condo.com. "This name better reflects our mission, growing global brand and positioning as the World’s Largest Condo Marketplace," says founder and CEO, Richard Swerdlow.

For Buyers it means more condos to search and more tools to help
with purchase and rental decisions!

For Sellers it means more traffic, more leads
and faster sales!


Our site now features:

- Over 300,000 listings from around the world
- A growing social network and user community
- Condo TV with dozens of property videos
- Detailed neighborhood information on all listings
- Free listings and video uploads
- Power Seller program for Brokers and Agents
- And more...

"Our site has been the largest site on the internet dedicated exclusively to condo sales and advertising for over two years," states co-founder, James Haft,"Come visit Condo.com and see 'the best place to buy, sell or rent your condo(tm)'."



Miami office market picks up

Tue, 08 May 2007 02:08:00 +0000

A RECORD NUMBER OF NEW OFFICE TOWERS ARE BEING PLANNED FOR MIAMI'S DOWNTOWN AND BRICKELL AREAS DESPITE WORRIES THAT THERE WON'T BE ENOUGH DEMANDBY MATTHEW HAGGMANmhaggman@MiamiHerald.comJust as a record condo building binge is playing out across Miami's skyline, a record office building binge is just about to start.Developers want to add three giant office towers in Miami's downtown and Brickell areas, with workers preparing and marketing campaigns under way. Yet some wonder if it's not another case of developers responding to a market need with too much, too fast, just as many think they did with condos.''There is definitely pent-up demand for new office space, but how much?'' said Peter Harrison, senior vice president at Transwestern Commercial Services. The veteran office broker said the current office proposals are more aggressive than anything he's seen in Miami in his three decades in the market.For more than a year builders for each of the proposed towers -- called 1450 Brickell, Met 2 and Brickell Financial Centre -- touted their respective projects as the answer to a shrinking supply of office space. But many observers assumed one or two would ultimately back off.Instead, work crews are now on each site. Each builder has renewed pledges that they have the financial backing and gumption to go forward, whether or not any companies sign leases to rent space before construction starts. All three are marching ahead without announcing a single signed lease.Some equate the jockeying to a game of chicken.''If so, it's a very serious game of chicken. There is a lot of money at stake,'' said Jack Lowell, an office broker who represents MDM Development Group, which is building Met 2.Owning office space has become increasingly desirable, because a lack of recent office construction has driven up occupancy levels and rents. Last month Tishman Speyer of New York, one of the best-known commercial property owners in the world, bought an office complex on Miami's Brickell Key.If built, the three new buildings would add about 1.9 million square feet of new space by 2010 to a downtown and Brickell area that has some 12 million square feet of office and a vacancy rate of about 10 percent.So, is there enough demand?South Florida has long been a home for regional headquarters, but not a magnet for big corporate tenants that gobble up lots of space in one swoop. The average annual absorption for office space in the area from 2003 to 2007 was 287,000 square feet annually, reports Jones Lang LaSalle.''The talk has been that the office market will be fine if one building goes ahead and it will probably be OK if another is built a year later,'' said Steve Owens, president at Swire Properties, which has built offices, condos and a hotel on Brickell Key. ``But if all three go, we would be potentially challenged.''Foram Group last month broke ground for Brickell Financial Centre, a planned 40 floors with 602,000 square feet at 600 Brickell Ave. Delivery is set for 2010. The firm, backed by a wealthy Malaysian family, has enough cash to build without a bank loan, said Foram CEO Loretta Cockrum.''We just can't think about how many others are coming out of the ground,'' she said. ``We have decided the market is there and will compete for the best tenants.''Similarly, work is already under way on the foundation of Met 2's office and hotel complex, slated to rise 47 stories with 750,000 square feet on Southeast Second Avenue. Insurance giant MetLife is a joint venture partner. Completion is slated for 2010.1450 Brickell was the first to announce office building plans, with 35 floors and 585,056 square feet planned on Brickell Avenue. Alan Ojeda, CEO of the tower's builder, Rilea Group, said he wouldn't build three office buildings now if he had the land to do it.Yet he said the coming surge in new office property may not create the glut some fear. For one, vacancy rates should continue shrinking through 2010, he said. And, all of the condo development downtown will [...]



Condo Sales in Massachusetts Decline More Than 10 Percent

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 13:25:00 +0000

From Banker and Tradesman OnlineJanuary 22, 2007 By Aglaia PikounisAfter two years of substantial growth, the condo market took a breather last year, with unit sales dropping more than 10 percent statewide and prices slipping slightly.A total of 30,203 condominiums were sold in Massachusetts in 2006, a 12.89 percent decline from 2005, according to statistics released today by The Warren Group, parent company of Banker & Tradesman. The statewide median selling price for condos last year fell 1.2 percent to $275,000The drop in activity is a sharp contrast to the last two years, when the condo market saw double-digit percentage gains in sales and robust price gains. Condo sales jumped about 12 percent in 2005 from the prior year and sales were nearly 19 percent higher in 2004 compared to the year before.“We had a normalization of the market. The market had been heated up over the last couple of years,” said Larry Rideout, owner and general manager of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston. “Prices didn’t go down as much as everyone – the media – anticipated.”Condo sales in recent years have been fueled by demand from aging baby boomers seeking a more carefree lifestyle and first-time buyers who couldn’t afford surging single-family home prices, according to longtime Realtors.A significant portion of boomers searching for condos have a home they need to sell and as the single-family home market softened and homes took longer to sell, some of them put off their purchases, industry watchers say. Meanwhile, first-time buyers, who may have thought that buying a single-family home was impossible, paused as they saw a growing number of for-sale homes to choose from and prices begin to ease.With the availability of undeveloped land shrinking, parts of the Bay State have seen a jump in new condo development as builders try to maximize the number of units they can build, explained David S. Drinkwater, president of Grand Gables Realty Group in Scituate.In Boston – which saw a flurry of new luxury condo sales later in the year with the opening of the Residences at the Intercontinental along the Fort Point Channel – some neighborhoodsexperienced gains while others saw sales plummet by 20 percent or more. Overall, sales in Boston fell 9.6 percent with a total of 6,588 units trading this year compared to 7,286 in 2005, The Warren Group reported.In central Boston – which includes the South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the waterfront, Fenway and other downtown neighborhoods – sales were off by only 1.4 percent and the median selling price fell 4 percent to $489,000.‘Percolating’ Market Jason Weissman, a principal of Boston Realty Advisors, said sales activity remained strong in tony Boston neighborhoods like Back Bay and Beacon Hill because there wasn’t a significant spike in the number of condos available for sale.“Volume and prices may have been off statewide, but in areas like Back Bay and Beacon Hill, prices really held and there were slight gains in volume,” he said. Some 544 condos in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill were sold last year with an average price of $822,276, compared to 541 condos that were sold in 2005 with an average selling price of $809,275, according to Weissman, who cited information from MLS Property Information Network.Still, sales volume declined by 22 percent to 33 percent in neighborhoods like Allston, Brighton, East Boston, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. In Brighton, 476 condos were sold, a 22 percent drop from the prior year, while the median selling price dropped a modest 1 percent to $271,750.In Roxbury, the median selling price dropped 6 percent to $354,500, and sales were off by 24 percent.Matt Bless, broker-owner of Vanguard Realty in Brighton, said properties took twice as long to sell. The average market time increased from 30-45 days to 60-90 days, he said.In Brookline, a community that Bless’ office serves, properties that normally went under agreement wi[...]



Commercial and Retail Condos Growing in Popularity

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 13:03:00 +0000

Minding the Store in a CondoNew York TimesApril 11, 2007By J. ALEX TARQUINIOPatrick Cooney stops in frequently at the Museum of Modern Art store on the corner of Spring and Crosby Streets in Manhattan. Before Christmas, he loaded up on T-shirts and toys for the family. “MoMA is a part of New York,” he said.But unlike other loyal customers at the museum’s outpost in SoHo, Mr. Cooney is also the store’s landlord. Five years ago, he bought the 15,000-square-foot retail condominium at 81 Spring Street, covering the ground floor, lower level and a storage area in the basement, and the Modern rents all the space.Retail condominiums work much like residential condos. Developers carve out retail space on the ground floor of a building and sell it to investors. The developers often lease the space out first, and the more compelling the tenant, the steeper the price they can ask of the buyer.Over the last few years, the market for these properties has skyrocketed in Manhattan. More than 560,000 square feet of retail condo space sold last year for almost $650 million. That was a sharp increase from the 28,000 square feet that sold in 2003 for around $26 million, according to Real Capital Analytics, a New York real estate company that tracks deals worth at least $5 million.Over the last two years, Manhattan represented 38 percent of the total square footage of retail condo space sold nationwide, and 65 percent of the dollar value, according to the company’s statistics.While New York has the largest market for retail condos, they are also popular with investors in other densely built-up American cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, said Dan Fasulo, the director of market analysis at Real Capital Analytics. “They’re the glamour cities, with global appeal,” he said.Brokers say that in New York’s intense real estate market, developers are eager to assemble construction sites, even in neighborhoods not previously regarded as prime commercial areas. In the process, they are offering such high prices for smaller buildings that the owners cannot resist selling. And once they do sell, there are powerful tax incentives to plow the money back into real estate.Mr. Cooney, for example, purchased the SoHo store with money he made selling four adjacent residential brownstones on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that had been divided into rental units.Mr. Cooney, a restaurateur who immigrated from Ireland in 1968 and owns O’Casey’s at 22 East 41st Street, had purchased all four buildings for a total of $350,000 in the late 1970s. So when he sold them for $12 million in 2001, almost all of the proceeds would have been subject to capital gains taxes.But he opted to do a 1031 exchange, which is named for a section of the federal tax code that allows real estate investors to avoid paying capital gains taxes if they quickly reinvest in real estate. The law gives them 45 days to identify the properties they would like to buy and 180 days in all from when they sold their original properties to close on the new ones.Mr. Cooney used most of his windfall to buy two retail condos.First, as part of his original agreement to sell the brownstones to the developer Sherwood Properties, he gained the right to pay $3.5 million to acquire a retail condo in the Metropolitan, the 30-story residential tower at 181 East 90th Street that was built on the brownstone site. A Chase bank branch has a 20-year lease in his condo.He also paid $6.3 million to the Horizon Realty and Development Corporation for the store in SoHo, where the Museum of Modern Art already had a 10-year lease.The museum created this store to maintain a foothold in Manhattan while the museum on 53rd Street was closed for renovation, said Kathy Thornton-Bias, the museum’s general manager of retailing.But the SoHo store first opened its doors just a few days after the terrorist attacks in September 2001. It was difficult then [...]



Why Icahn Is Betting On WCI's Florida Condos

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 16:08:00 +0000

From: Wall Street JournalBy MICHAEL CORKERY in Miami BeachApril 5, 2007; Page C1 Amid softening home prices, rising foreclosures and turmoil in the mortgage industry, billionaire financier Carl Icahn is making a contrarian bet on a troubled pocket of the U.S. housing market: high-end Florida condominiums. How Mr. Icahn fares with his wager could help answer whether this state's housing downturn is a cloud that will soon blow over or a storm that will linger for years. The board of WCI Communities Inc., a home builder that has erected hundreds of high-rise condos along the Florida coast, could decide today whether to accept Mr. Icahn's tender offer of $22 a share for the builder that many consider a good barometer for the state's priciest real estate. That offer, which totals about $920 million, is slightly higher than WCI's $21.45 price yesterday in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Mr. Icahn's pursuit of WCI has puzzled many on Wall Street who believe the Bonita Springs, Fla., company is highly exposed to the swelling glut of condos dotting Florida beaches and golf courses. In the fourth quarter, WCI, which has a market value of about $909 million, had more defaults on condos and cancellations of typical single-family homes, which it also builds, than it received orders for new homes.Mr. Icahn appears to be counting on Florida real estate to make a comeback. "My investment philosophy, generally, with exceptions, is to buy something when no one wants it," he said yesterday. "We made a fairly large investment and took control of several energy companies seven or eight years ago when they were way down. Housing is somewhat analogous." Mr. Icahn, who has put up a slate of nominees for the WCI board, declines to comment on what, if any, plans he has for the company. In a Jan. 16 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Mr. Icahn said he beneficially held 14.5%, or 6.1 million shares, in WCI and that he intended to contact the company to discuss how to "unlock the inherent value" of its shares. His tender offer is conditioned on the WCI board pulling its recently enacted poison-pill provision intended to ward off hostile takeovers. WCI declined to comment, citing a "quiet period" after the tender offer. In an interview before he made his March 23 tender offer, he said, "On a medium- to long-term basis, there are a lot of factors that will help Florida." Among them: Baby boomers reaching retirement age are moving south. With prices as high as $11 million for some prime units, WCI condos seem suited to wealthy buyers. WCI also boasts a large amount of undeveloped land across Florida, with many parcels located near its current developments. Some investors believe that land will prove valuable when the Florida market recovers.Mr. Icahn's offer comes at a crucial time for WCI and for the Florida condo market, generally. The company is expected to open about 10 condo developments across Florida this year. Many of the units within these developments were sold to investors several years ago, as the speculative market roared along. Now those buyers are choosing whether to close on their units and move in, or walk away from hefty deposits, or try to resell their condos in a softening market. WCI buyers put down average deposits of 18% on units with an average sales price of $1.2 million. While the speculative overhang of newly constructed single-family homes may have peaked in some markets across the country, the full force of Florida's condo glut is still unfolding because, in many cases, it has taken two to three years to complete the high-rise buildings. In Miami-Dade County alone, 8,000 condo units are expected to open this year, while an additional 12,000 units will open in 2008, followed by 5,500 units in 2009, says Jack McCabe, a housing consultant based in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Fewer than 11,000 condos were built in Miami-Dade between 1995 and 2004.[...]



US Condo Exchange Hires New Chief Marketing Officer to Manage Global Expansion

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 16:09:00 +0000

USCondex the world's first and largest online condo marketplace, today announced the appointment of Xavior Miller as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Mr. Miller will be responsible for company marketing, eCommerce, and branding initiatives.

Miami, Florida (PRWEB) March 26, 2007 -- USCondex the world's first and largest online condo marketplace, today announced the appointment of Xavior Miller as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Mr. Miller will be responsible for company marketing, eCommerce, and branding initiatives.

"Mr. Miller brings over 12 years of branding, product development, and interactive marketing experience to our company," says Richard Swerdlow, CEO at USCondex. "His previous work with major global brands including; Travelocity, American Express, and Crystal Cruises will allow him to create innovative marketing solutions for USCondex."

Over the last 12 years, Mr. Miller has had notable success in several industries, including online travel, entertainment and retail. He was most recently at RazorGator, a Kleiner Perkins company, where he led the eCommerce operations and was key in preparing the company's online business for which they received Series A funding.

Prior to Razorgator, Mr. Miller assisted in the growth of Travelocity, American Express Travel, Crystal Cruises, Navigant International and a company he founded in 1994 XStreamSolutions.net.

"I am excited to join a talented and passionate team of experts at USCondex," Says Mr. Miller. "Like many of my previous ventures, this company is poised to revolutionize their industry and I am here to contribute my expertise to help make that happen."

For more information please contact Adam Kujacznski at 305.476.2075

US Condo Exchange, LLC (www.uscondex.com) is a global leader in the online condominium marketplace, with over 300,000 listings spanning 40 countries valued at over $100B. USCondex is based in Miami, FL, and was founded by CEO Richard Swerdlow and James Haft, managing director of Pacific Alliance Limited, LLC, a New York-based investment bank, in 2006




J.P. King partners with USCondEx.com to demonstrate auction solutions to developers

Fri, 09 Feb 2007 22:54:00 +0000

J.P. King has announced an agreement with the US Condo Exchange under which the auction marketing firm will be featured in animated advertisements on the Condo Exchange’s web site at www.USCondEx.com.

J.P. King and the Condo Exchange will work together to help demonstrate to developers how a J.P. King Auction can reduce inventories, which are currently at all-time highs.

“Hundreds of condominium owners are currently saddled with large of inventories that they thought would have been sold long ago,” said Craig King, president of J.P. King. The US Condo Exchange currently has more than 190,000 condos located in the United States and in 37 countries around the world. This provides us an opportunity to reach many of these developers,” said King.

Numerous options exist for condominium developers who need to reduce their inventory. Two common types of auctions include “Grand Opening Auctions” and “Closeout Auctions,” said King.

“Most developers know that the hardest units to sell are the very first ones and the very last ones. When a development is brand new, you often have a situation where people wait around for someone else to jump in first. A Grand Opening can establish the momentum that ensures a successful project. Toward the end of the sales period, developers often find that expense of continuing their marketing efforts for just a few units can cause their profits to erode. For those, a Closeout Auction can be a good choice,” said King.

In between, an Inventory Reduction auction may help a developer solidify the investment by selling a large number of units and reducing the inventory and debt to manageable levels.

To see current auctions, click here.



It's Trump vs. market in condo project

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 04:14:00 +0000

By Alexandra Clough

Palm Beach Post Staff Columnist

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The condo market is tanking, and many projects are being canceled or put on hold nationwide.

Donald Trump's response? Don't worry. Be happy.

The real estate mogul says his brand is so strong that it now has the power to defeat poor market conditions, wherever they may be.

As proof, he pointed to his latest Trump Tower in Hawaii. Despite a slumping real estate market there, that project sold out for a whopping $700 million in just eight hours, setting a world record. Buyers were from around the globe.

Average unit price: $1.5 million.

Those kind of results are music to the ears of Jorge Perez, head of The Related Group of Miami.

Perez has been trying to drum up pre-sales for his latest planned West Palm Beach condo, Icon Palm Beach, on North Flagler Drive. Even though Perez has a loyal following on U.S. and South American projects, the Palm Beach County market is so tough these days that Perez knew he needed something more: Access to the worldwide market.

Enter The Donald to goose Icon's chances of success. Perez said he's counting on Trump's worldwide name to bring international buyers to his high-priced project, now renamed Trump Tower Palm Beach.

Would Perez have gone forward if he didn't have Trump?

"We think the land and the project are fabulous," he said. "But would we have waited one year for the launch until the market got better? We might have."

Perez said he's not concerned that Trump's bold way of speaking will hurt sales. "He's always been a controversial guy who speaks his mind," he said.

Indeed, Trump has made waves nationally for his verbal attacks on comedian and The View host Rosie O'Donnell, whom he's called a "loser" and "fat pig." Closer to home, Trump's also feuding with Palm Beach town officials over an oversized U.S. flag and flagpole at Mar-a-Lago.

In Trump style, he called these events positive. "Fox did a poll that said 91 percent of Americans are in favor of what I said about Rosie," he said. "And everyone is in favor of the American flag."

So will Trump fly the big flag at Trump Tower Palm Beach when it's done?

"I think we should have one," Trump said. "It's a prominent site, and any prominent site should proudly fly the American flag."

Perez may go along with Trump's over-the-top comments and his flag-loving ways. But one thing's for sure: He won't be joining Trump on the small screen.

Perez said he's frequently asked if he and Trump have discussed filming The Apprentice: South Florida, starring the telegenic Perez. The answer is a big fat no.

"I have no desire whatsoever to be on TV," Perez said.



Condo inventories rose sharply in last six months

Fri, 26 Jan 2007 05:50:00 +0000

Condo inventories rose sharply in last six months

Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007

Greater Vancouver real estate markets saw a 55 per cent increase in inventory of unsold presale condominium units over the last six months, which may trigger a slowdown in future development, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported today.
The rising inventory is likely a result of fewer buyers being able to afford Vancouver's high-flying prices, Craig Hennigar, vice-president of PricewaterhouseCoopers Real Estate (PsC), said.

However, Hennigar said developers will likely build the projects they have in the works now, then scale back their future expectations rather than drop prices that are being driven largely by skyrocketing land and construction costs.
Hennigar, in PwC's latest Greater Vancouver condominium market review, counted 4,350 unsold condominium units in pre-sale marketing at the end of December, compared with 2,780 in January, 2006.

However, Hennigar added that the 4,350 unsold units only represented about 28 per cent of all units in pre-sale marketing. In January, the 2,780 units represented 23 per cent, so the ratio of unsold units in the market hasn't increased dramatically.

"We're not suggesting, at this point, that the market is awash in unsold presales," Hennigar said. "We're not even at 50 per cent [which would signal a buyer's market]. But we're closer to it than we were six months ago, or 12 months ago when the market was hotter."



How about a college education with your new condo?

Wed, 17 Jan 2007 19:31:00 +0000

A slow market has developers offering everything from shopping sprees to new cars to vacations.BY RICHARD WESTLUND''I had been looking for about six months, and didn't have an immediate need to buy,'' said Nisius, an agricultural exports manager for Cargill who was seeking a shorter commute to her Coral Gables office. ``The developer offered to waive his fees and pay my closing costs.''Before Nisius moves into her $400,000 condominium this month, she will take advantage of a $4,000 credit from Rooms to Go, whose Dadeland showroom is on the ground floor of Toscano, and another $1,000 credit from Best Buy. ''I'm moving from a three-bedroom house further south and downsizing, so some of my current furniture won't work at my new condo,'' she said. ``Getting all new furniture for free was a real incentive for me.''Faced with a sharp drop-off in demand at a time when thousands of new units are coming on the market, South Florida developers are offering a host of financial incentives to attract buyers like Nisius. To take just one example, Abel Homes was recently offering zero down payments, no closing costs and no association fees for a year on the remaining townhomes at its Naranja Villas development in Southwest Miami-Dade.''I think it's essential for builders to offer incentives,'' said Al Piazza, CEO of Coscan Homes in Fort Lauderdale. ``Customers today are expecting them, and with the market still so slow, I think you'll see even more out there.''To promote its new family-oriented Orchid Grove townhouse community in Pompano Beach, Coscan is offering buyers a free four-year college education for one child or grandchild. Under the incentive program, which is scheduled to run until May 1, Coscan will cover the child's cost to enroll in the Florida Pre-Paid College Plan, about $10,000.LOT OF INTERESTPiazza said he got the idea from developer friends in New York who offered a similar incentive in the 1980s. ''We've had a lot of interest from both buyers and brokers,'' he said. ``It's generated a lot of talk and I'm sure it will be an important consideration for many buyers as we begin closing these sales.''In the past year, some individual sellers have offered new cars, airline tickets or exotic vacations to market their homes. But buyers usually prefer a cash incentive, such as a discount in the sales price or the payment of closing costs. In a recent national survey by online real estate company HouseHunt, 77 percent of responding buyers said payment of closing costs was their top incentive choice.''Not surprising, this would represent a bottom-line savings of several thousand dollars in normal closing cost fees and services,'' said Michael Bearden, president and CEO, in announcing the results.Many developers in South Florida today are typically offering a package of incentives, according to Ron Shuffield, president, Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Coral Gables.''We've worked with developers who gave away car leases to buyers,'' Shuffield said. ``We're not doing that anymore. Most people prefer incentives like having their homeowner fees paid for a year or two, or other costs associated with the transaction.''One common incentive today in the new home market is waiving a provision in the sales contract that requires the buyer to pay a 1.5 to 1.75 percent fee to the developer. Those fees, which covered some of the developer's closing costs and enhanced a project's profitability, were widely imposed several years ago at the height of the recent boom market. ''Many developers are now paying closing costs for the buyers, which are usually 2 to 3 percent of the sale price,'' said Shuffield. ``If you include the waiving of the developer's fees and other incentives, a buyer's savings today can be 5 to 6 percent altogether.''Some real estate[...]



US Condo Exchange Partners with Italian Powerhouse to Showcase American Condos

Tue, 16 Jan 2007 18:07:00 +0000

US Condo Exchange Partners with Italian Powerhouse to Showcase American CondosMiami, FL, January 15, 2007 --(PR.COM)-- US Condo Exchange, LLC, www.uscondex.com, the online marketplace where more than 200,000 condos can be searched, compared and reserved online in real time, announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Italian real estate powerhouse Pirelli & C. Real Estate (“Pirelli RE”), a firm with over €15 billion in real estate assets under management and a leadership role in a wide variety of real estate businesses throughout Italy and Central-Eastern Europe.Through the partnership, Pirelli RE’s online real estate venture, www.casaclick.it, will showcase condos listed on US Condo Exchange, bringing the vast market of European buyers and extensive inventory of U.S. Condos. In addition, Casaclick will employ new, patented technology to feature streaming video content of US Condo Exchange properties at its hundreds of newspaper kiosks throughout Rome, Milan and other key cities, including planned interactive capabilities where passersby can simply click on kiosk screens to view potential vacation homes in South Beach, Las Vegas and more. For Americans interested in that dreamed-of apartment in Florence or Rome, they will now be able to access the best of Italy’s “condo” market on www.uscondex.com, thanks to the new relationship between US Condo Exchange and Pirelli RE. This pairing is one more step in US Condo Exchange’s efforts to globalize the condo market and comes on the heels of a similar agreement with Primelocation, www.primelocation.com, the United Kingdom’s leading online real estate portal. “US Condo Exchange aims to eliminate all borders when it comes to condo marketing and transactions,” said Richard Swerdlow, Co-Founder and CEO of the U.S. Condo Exchange. “Through our partnership with Italy’s leading real estate conglomerate, we have opened up our condo inventory to Italians. We expect the ease with which Italians can now view and purchase American condos to result in exponentially increased sales to that market. Additionally, we are adding worldwide condo inventory which we believe will be interesting to our site users.”According to the National Association of Realtors, Europeans already account for 58% of international home sales in markets such as Florida, illustrating the market for of vacation and second homes across the Atlantic. Furthermore, Pirelli RE is currently expanding its own reach to Germany and Poland.“Italians are increasingly interested in condos, but up until now, there has never been an easy way to access condo information let alone conduct transatlantic transactions,” said Paolo Bottelli, CEO of Casaclick. “Condo Exchange facilitates the exchange of information like never before. At the same time, the best of Casaclick’s listings are now available to a much broader audience by having them showcased on US Condo Exchange.” Now, Italian-speaking visitors may visit www.casaclick.it to “Esplora il mercato immobiliare,” translation: Explore the American Housing Market. What’s more, Casaclick will “push the net to go on the road” via newsstands, according to Mr. P. Bottelli, with the new interactive-shop-window patented technology making the condo market available “street by street regardless of whether you have a personal computer.”“The condo market has never seen such exposure, and it couldn’t come at a better time,” added Richard Swerdlow, Chief Executive Officer of US Condo Exchange, “We continue to pursue key international alliances while adding new condo inventory to our exchange daily… this is just the tip of the iceberg.”British residents may visit www.primelocation.com t[...]



2007: A time of widgets and Web redesigns

Fri, 12 Jan 2007 14:29:00 +0000

Inman Real Estate News



2007: A time of widgets and Web redesigns
Brokers reveal real estate technology plans
Friday, January 12, 2007

By Glenn Roberts Jr.
Inman News


Matthew Borland Matthew Borland, Zephyr Real Estate

The new year is here, and brokers are already buzzing about new Web sites, widgets and other technological doodads that they expect to use in 2007.

Carolynn Ozar-Diakon, broker-owner of Resources Real Estate in Rumson, N.J., said she plans to explore the use of a 'virtual kiosk' module for her real estate office this year.

Simon L. Conway, broker for Picket Fence Realty in Kissimmee, Fla., said he will be investing in online mapping technology and a Web site redesign.

And Matthew Borland, a broker and managing partner with Zephyr Real Estate in San Francisco, said he expects tablet PCs, wireless broadband and transaction management platforms will be in"

Read more...



U.S. mortgage rates rise for fourth week in five

Thu, 11 Jan 2007 22:44:00 +0000

Excite

Marketwatch - The story behind the numbers

30-year fixed-rate should remain below 6.5% in 2007: economist

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
Last Update: 11:54 AM ET Jan 11, 2007

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Mortgage rates edged up in Freddie Mac's weekly survey released on Thursday, the fourth increase in five weeks, lifted by a strong December employment report, the company's chief economist said.

'The gain in employment in December exceeded the consensus forecast, and helped ease fears about the state of the economy,' said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac (FRE: news) chief economist, in a statement. 'But stronger employment and higher wages put upward pressure on inflation, which, in turn, translates into higher interest rates.'

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.21% in the week ending Thursday, up from 6.18% last week. The mortgage averaged 6.15% a year ago.

'We expect rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to remain below 6.5% in the coming"



Real estate rebound likely in second-half '07, economists say

Thu, 11 Jan 2007 21:04:00 +0000

Inman Real Estate News

Thursday, January 11, 2007

By Glenn Roberts Jr.
Inman News
Frank Nothaft

NEW YORK -- The national housing market may not have reached bottom yet, but the second half of the year will likely begin the recovery from a slight downturn that followed a prolonged boom in sales and home prices, economists generally agreed during a panel this week at the Real Estate Connect NYC conference.

'We're going to hit the trough in the first half of 2007,' said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac and a panelist for the 'Housing Outlook: 2007' session. Other panelists included representatives from the California Association of Realtors, Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Single-family construction, which peaked in third-quarter 2005, was 18 percent lower in third-quarter 2006, he noted. From that level Nothaft said he expects an additional decline of about 8 percent to 10 percent before the market turns around. 'We're most of the way through the correction but we're not at the trough part yet.'"

Read more...



NYC condos grab larger share of the pie

Thu, 04 Jan 2007 15:16:00 +0000

Brokers predict Manhattan co-op boards may have to relax some restrictions to compete

The Real Deal
By Lauren Elkies
December 2006

It's unlikely that prestigious Upper East Side co-op buildings like 740 Park Avenue and 834 Fifth Avenue are going to let the riff-raff in any time soon.

However, Manhattan co-op buildings as a whole -- despite trumping condos by three-to-one in sheer number -- have been losing a bit of steam as the primary apartment choice in recent years.

(image)
Source: Miller Samuel

Despite generally costing more per square foot, condos are taking up an increasing share of the real estate market in Manhattan -- accounting for more than 50 percent of sales in recent quarters.

Some brokers are saying co-ops will eventually have to reposition themselves to adapt: Changes could involve slightly more lax financial requirements and even tweaks to the typical co-op board approval process in some buildings.

Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, said he would suspect that in some buildings, "you may see co-ops limiting and, especially in a weaker market, loosening financial requirements." Still, that may take awhile, as many brokers say co-ops are getting tougher on candidates recently, and there are more board rejections now than in a long time.

Read more...



Manhattan real estate prices still rising in Q4

Thu, 04 Jan 2007 14:14:00 +0000

2006 was better than last year, says Douglas Elliman CEO

Thursday, January 04, 2007

By Glenn Roberts Jr.
Inman News

Manhattan, N.Y.

Manhattan residential real estate prices climbed overall in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter last year, several major brokerage companies reported this week. Halstead Property, Brown Harris Stevens, The Corcoran Group and Prudential Douglas Elliman released reports detailing condo and co-op sales and pricing activity for the fourth quarter.

The sales data used by some companies was in some cases skewed higher in the fourth quarter when compared to fourth-quarter 2005 because of a new source of public data on co-op sales that became available earlier this year.

Miller Samuel Inc., a residential appraisal company that prepared the quarterly report for Prudential Douglas Elliman, reported that the average sales price for Manhattan co-op and condos in the fourth quarter grew 3.2 percent compared to fourth-quarter 2005 and the median sale price was up 5.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the average price per square foot declined 0.4 percent, days on market from the last list date increased 9.1 percent and the listing inventory shrank 0.5 percent when compared to the same quarter last year. The report is based on data from 2,441 sales in the fourth quarter.

The average sale price of co-ops grew 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter compared to fourth-quarter 2005 and the median sale price was flat. The average price per square foot fell 4 percent and days on market increased 6 percent compared to fourth-quarter 2005, Miller Samuel also reported.

The average sale price of Manhattan condos rose 7.5 percent; the median sale price was up 14.4 percent; the average price per square foot was up 6.5 percent; sales grew 36.1 percent; and days on market increased 14.9 percent compared to fourth-quarter 2005, according to the report.

The average sale price of Manhattan condos increased 52.3 percent among three-bedroom condos but dropped 26.6 percent among condos with four or more bedrooms in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter last year -- there were price increases between 4.2 percent and 7.2 percent for condos with fewer bedrooms.

The average sale price of lofts rose 11.9 percent while the median sale price dropped 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter compared to fourth-quarter 2005, according to the report. The average price per square foot grew 15.8 percent and the days on market from last list date rose 19.8 percent for lofts compared to the same quarter last year.

The price per square foot paid for co-ops and condos flew up 19.7 percent in the fourth quarter compared to fourth-quarter 2005 in Manhattan's Uptown area, while climbing 4.2 percent in the downtown area, and falling 3.1 percent in the east area and 1.1 percent in the west area of Manhattan.

Read more...



Webcam provides view of project's progress

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 16:28:00 +0000

Orlando Sentinel : Orange County News

With investor-owners located worldwide, from Ireland to South America, The Point Orlando Resort near the Orange County Convention Center faced a challenge in keeping buyers updated on progress of the two condo-hotel towers now rising near Wet 'n Wild.

Technology has done the trick. A live Web-camera shot offers viewers anywhere 24-hour visual access to the scene on Carrier Drive near Universal Boulevard.

"I always used to have to run out and snap pictures and send them out to people individually, but now this is very helpful. Anyone, anywhere in the world can watch the towers go up, with this dedicated webcam," said sales coordinator Debora Pludwinski. The Web address is www.thepointorlando.com

Read More...



Realtors give readings on local markets

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 14:08:00 +0000

Inman Real Estate News - Realtors give readings on local markets

Part 1: Word-On-The-Street market snapshots

Friday, December 22, 2006

By Matt Carter
Inman News

Editor's note: No one knows the local real estate market better than Realtors. In this two-part series, Inman News sought out local insights on what's happening on the ground and what agents think is in store for 2007.

Read more....



More people using Web for real estate search

Sat, 16 Dec 2006 05:00:00 +0000

Inman Real Estate News:

More people using Web for real estate searchPew study: 39% of Internet users look for housing info onlineFriday, December 15, 2006Inman News
The number of Internet users who look for housing information online has grown steadily over the last six years, a new study finds, thanks to more online resources for listings and other real estate information.

Nearly two in five adult Internet users in the United States, or 39 percent, have looked online for information about a place to live -- double the overall number of Americans who had done so in 2000, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That was up from 34 percent in 2004 and 27 percent in 2000.

Overall, more than a quarter of all adults in the United States, or 27 percent, have looked online for information about housing, more than double the overall number of Americans who had done so in 2000 (13 percent).
Younger Internet users were more likely to seek housing information online than older Web users. Fifty-one percent of Internet users 18-29 years old have searched online for housing information, compared with 43 percent of Internet users 30-49 years old, 27 percent of Internet users 50-64 years old, and 15 percent of Internet users age 65 and older.

Moreover, 9 percent of Internet users 18-29 years old reported in August that they looked for housing information on a typical day, more than double the percentage (4 percent) in this age group who said the same thing two years earlier."

More...:


Source: Inman News



Condo auction attracts many bidders

Tue, 12 Dec 2006 14:19:00 +0000

Tampa Bay Business Journal - Monday December 11, 2006.

Forty condominium units at The Hamptons at Tampa Palms were sold at a public auction over the past weekend, at an average price of $148,000 a unit.

J.P. King Auction Co. of Gadsden, Ala., managed the sale of the units, which were among the most expensive converted apartments in the Tampa Bay area. The auction attracted 171 bidders from 15 states as far away as Minnesota, Nevada and California.

The sale disposed of 20 two-bedroom units, 15 three-bedroom units and five one-bedroom units, at a total price of just above $5.9 million, a J.P. King spokesman said.


More....



NAR: Pending Home Sales Indicate Market Stabilization

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 19:20:00 +0000

NAR: Pending Home Sales Indicate Market Stabilization

WASHINGTON, December 04, 2006 -
Pending home sales are hovering in a narrow range, another indication that a stabilization is occurring in the housing sector, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* based on contracts signed in October, slipped 1.7 percent to a reading of 107.2 and is 13.2 percent lower than October 2005. The index had trended up from a cyclical low of 105.6 in July, and a decline from year-ago levels is narrowing. In September, the index was 13.6 percent below a year earlier, while in August the decline was 14.0 percent.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said a fairly steady pace of home sales can be expected for the next two months. “It’s important to focus on where the housing market is now – it appears to be stabilizing, and comparisons with an unsustainable boom mask the fact that home sales remain historically high – they’ll stay that way through 2007,” he said. “In addition, a temporary correction in prices distracts from the fact that it is primarily the number of home sales that affects the economy, and the number for this year will be the third highest on record.”

The index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed and the transaction has not closed, but the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

More...



Sold out condo hotel: a sign of hot times in Napa

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 01:19:00 +0000

Napa Valley Register Online | LocalNews
: By KEVIN COURTNEY, Register Staff Writer
Sunday, December 10, 2006 1:13 AM PST
Want proof that downtown Napa is becoming a hot address? One hundred investors together and paid an eye-popping $63 million last week to own rooms in the luxury Westin Verasa hotel on McKinstry Street.

The condo hotel hasn't yet risen from the ground, but two of the 100 buyers paid $1.25 million each for suites that will overlook the Napa River and the planned Oxbow nature preserve, said Benjamin Tice, director of sales for Westin Verasa.

Buyers, who paid an average of $630,000, will own rooms at the Westin Verasa. They will be entitled to stay at the hotel up to 29 days a year. The rest of the time, the rooms will be rented to the public.

'We sold out,' Tice said of the first phase. The hotel's remaining 60 units will be put on sale early next year. Now starting construction, the hotel is scheduled to open in late 2008.
Playground Destination Properties, a division of Intrawest, a major hotel-resort developer, sold the 100 rooms within a few months of opening a sales office on First Street."

More....



REBNY Report Shows NY Condos and Co-op prices still rising

Thu, 07 Dec 2006 20:39:00 +0000

December 7, 2006

The Manhattan Residential Sales Report is compiled by REBNY through confidential surveys provided by the city’s major residential brokerage firms. Individual brokers submit data and REBNY publishes its findings in an effort to help buyers and sellers determine current fair market values.

The report indicated that northern Manhattan condo prices were up 60 percent to $558,000 and those condos on the east side jump 45 percent to about $1.4 million. The report also showed cooperatives’ median sales prices on the east side rose 13 percent to $865,000 and downtown co-op units rose 20 percent to $662,000.

The median price-per-square-foot for Manhattan condominiums rose one percent to $1,022. Median prices of condos between 851 and 1,000 square feet rose by 10.6 percent, and units between 1,001 and 1,500 square feet increased by 5.5 percent. However, median sales prices of units between 1,801 and 2,000 square feet fell 6.7 percent and units 2,001 square feet and larger dropped by 8.7 percent.

Source: Multi Housing News