Sydney Server Real Estate Blog

Archive for May, 2012

Apartments becoming more urban

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Apartments becoming more urban

WASHINGTON – May 31, 2012 – The location of an apartment building remains the most important feature for renters when choosing where they want to live, according to industry experts during a recent webinar hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The experts also discussed key market trends emerging in interior, exterior and outdoor living, and how generational differences affect apartment design.

Multifamily builders and developers are focusing more on urban projects near public transportation hubs because Millennials – the largest segment of the renting population – want to spend less time commuting and more time creating a balance between career and lifestyle.

“It’s all about the lifestyle for today’s renters. They want the urban experience of less commute time and immediate access to various activities,” said Jeff Kayce, vice president at Bozzuto Development Company and one of the webinar’s presenters. “Because of this, many developers are building near transit hubs and along transit lines. Bozzuto, for example, has been building many of its new apartments along DC’s metro line to create easier access for its renters.”

Another trend in apartment living is the design of a unit’s common areas. The areas are designed to have one space bleed into another, creating a more open feel.

“In the previous design cycle, we saw separate, distinct rooms,” said Rohit Anand, AIA, and principal of the KTGY Group and webinar presenter. “Now we have the computer room, media center and lounge all part of the same room, for example. This type of design helps foster interaction among residents.”

A focus on fitness also remains a top priority; however, the design of the fitness center has changed over the years. The fitness center is much more than a dark room overlooking the parking lot, according to the presenters. The size of the room is important – 1,200 to 1,500 square feet is the minimum – as well as the view from the center. Having state-of-the-art fitness equipment along with a yoga and Pilates area is also something many renters consider.

Blurring the lines of indoor and outdoor spaces is another trend in apartment design. The use of outdoor gathering areas is extended by incorporating heating elements and covered areas in the colder months, for example. The location of the pool has become important and often used as a design element.

In specific locations, niche amenities like dog runs, pet-washing stations, garden plots and bike storage/workshops are becoming more popular. Presenters agreed that it’s important for builders and developers to know their clientele before incorporating niche amenities like these.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

$30M investment to boost Fla. housing market

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
$30M investment to boost Fla. housing market

MIAMI – May 31, 2012 – Wells Fargo brings its NeighborhoodLIFT program to Miami this week, calling it “a major effort to help stabilize neighborhoods deeply affected by the foreclosure crisis.” It has a five-year goal of $300 million in mortgage purchase loans by Wells Fargo, and a $9 million investment in downpayment assistance grants and homebuyer support programs. Homebuyers could qualify for up to $15,000 in downpayment assistance.

Wells Fargo will collaborate with the City of Miami, the non-profit organization NeighborWorks America and its local Miami affiliate Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida to execute the program.

The program launches tomorrow and Saturday through a free large-scale homebuyer workshop at the Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC) from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Prospective homebuyers can register and learn more about the NeighborhoodLIFT program at or by calling 866-858-2151. Wells Fargo says pre-registration is encouraged but walk-ins are welcome.

The company says it plans to bring Florida NeighborhoodLIFT to three more Florida cities in the future with $7 million spent at each location:
• Tampa, June 22-23
• Orlando, July 13-14
• Jacksonville, July 27-28

All four Florida cities were chosen based on their high concentration of homeowners, foreclosures, delinquencies and overall housing inventory, Wells Fargo says.

Miami is the sixth city to launch the NeighborhoodLIFT program, following Atlanta, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

The June 1-2 NeighborhoodLIFT event in Miami is for anyone interested in buying and living in a home in the City of Miami. Downpayment assistance of up to $15,000 is available to those who qualify, buy and reside in a home in Miami. To qualify for downpayment assistance that may be applied to mortgage purchase loans with any lender, applicants must meet certain criteria including annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the area median income; completion of an eight-hour homebuyer education session with the approved NeighborWorks America affiliate; a commitment to stay in the home for five years; and qualification for a first mortgage on the property.

At the event, potential homebuyers can find out if they qualify for the downpayment assistance program for a mortgage purchase loan with any lender and reserve funds for 60 days – even if they have not yet found a property. They can also get pre-approved for a mortgage and, if they face credit challenges, they can sign up for free counseling.

In addition, prospective homebuyers may stop by the Wells Fargo Affordable Home Tour viewing center to preview the features and prices of about 100 homes available for sale in each city. And they can board a tour bus for a free ride to see and go inside the homes. Buses will depart from noon to 5 p.m. each day to the neighborhoods. Self-directed tours are also encouraged.

“This is a tremendous commitment by Wells Fargo to support homeowners and communities,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America, the national non-profit collaborating with Wells Fargo on NeighborhoodLIFT. “This is the kind of public-private collaboration that can help communities tackle difficult challenges and families realize their goal of sustainable homeownership.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Pending home sales down in April but up strongly from a year ago

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Pending home sales down in April but up strongly from a year agoWASHINGTON – May 30, 2012 – Following three consecutive monthly gains, pending home sales retrenched in April, but are notably higher than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. (more…)

UF: Consumer confidence in Florida jumps three points in May

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
UF: Consumer confidence in Florida jumps three points in MayGAINESVILLE, Fla. – May 30, 2012 – Consumer confidence among Floridians rose three points to 77 in May, reversing a three-month decline, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. The latest figure is nine points higher than it was a year ago. (more…)

Lenny Kravitz Designs an Urban Oasis in Miami

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Kravitz Design, led by international music icon Lenny Kravitz has been tapped to create the look for the residential property Paramount Bay; including all public spaces and outdoor areas. Kravitz Designs Inc., creates an “Urban Oasis” for Miami. Three entry levels of lush landscaping, a dynamic lobby with rich materials and modern style. He takes on soulful living for function, comfort and elegance.

Source: Paramount Bay, PR Newswire

Struggling homeowners worry about mortgage relief help

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Struggling homeowners worry about mortgage relief help

HOUSTON – May 29, 2012 – Money Management International (MMI) recently conducted a national housing survey to learn how homeowners act when they find themselves struggling with mortgage payments.

Survey respondents said they would first seek help from family or friends (50 percent) followed by their lender (26 percent), and then from housing counselors or a mortgage relief program (13 percent).

When asked what worried them about options for mortgage assistance, survey respondents said they were concerned about scams/fraudulent services (53 percent); that the services would cost them money they couldn’t afford to pay (51 percent); and that the process would be confusing, or they would choose a solution they did not fully understand (45 percent).

“Homeowners face real concerns when considering who to turn to for help with mortgage troubles,” says Jo Kerstetter, vice president of education and community relations for MMI. “For the millions of homeowners who still face possible foreclosure, it is important to remember that quality help is available for free from HUD-certified housing counselors nationwide.”

Additional findings:

• 25 percent of homeowners or someone they know needed assistance making mortgage payments during the last four years.
• 57 percent of owners would seek help only after a job loss; 35 percent only if they knew they would miss at least one mortgage payment; and 27 percent only after they had missed one mortgage payment.
• 63 percent of respondents who sought help did so when they were 1 to 3 months behind on mortgage payments; 22 percent were 4 to 6 months behind; and 4 percent were 7 or more months behind.

Free and safe foreclosure prevention help is available. Homeowners who have questions or concerns about their mortgage payment or loan should consider meeting with a HUD-certified housing counselor to discuss their options.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Paramount Bay Miami

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Paramount Bay is located in Downtown Miami’s booming Biscayne Corridor. The 47-story tower features more than 340 units and directly overlooks Biscayne Bay. 70% sold. Residents will enjoy unparalleled views from expansive glass balconies. Amenities that includes access to a world-class beach club, private elevator foyers, multiple swimming pools, a waterfront promenade, a unique full-service spa and fitness concept and distinctive on-site restaurant and retail offerings. Notable surrounding areas such as the Wynwood Arts District, the Design District, Miami Beach and the city’s cultural epicenter situated along Biscayne Boulevard are all easily accessible. This is an iStar Residential Property innovative design by Music Icon Lenny Kravitz for Kravitz Design, Inc.

Source: Paramount Bay, PR Newswire