Economy Entrepreuneurship Real Estate

Louis Vuitton Opens in Design District

The Louis Vuitton Design District store opens with much fanfare.

Illustrious graffiti? Check. Well-heeled revelers and free-flowing bubbly? Check, check. Live beats?

The talk-of-the-town grand opening soiree of the Louis Vuitton Design District store on the eve of Thursday, Oct. 18, proved to be quite the over-the-top affair with a guest list boasting the President and CEO of Louis Vuitton North America Valérie Chapoulaud-Floquet and Miami’s socialites and influencers.

In celebration of the opening, the French Maison commissioned famed Los Angeles-based graffiti writer Marquis Lewis, known as RETNA, to paint a mural on the store’s façade. In fact, this is the first time Louis Vuitton has ever commissioned an artist to create an original work on one of its storefronts. “It is an honor to work with Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton has a deep appreciation for art and the creative process,” RETNA says. “Using their store’s exterior as a canvas for street art is exceptional and truly inspiring for me as an artist,” he adds.

The new Design District door offers a unique experience for shoppers. The main entrance possesses a specialized Travel Room teeming with classic trunks, luggage and travel-specific accessories — ideal for bon vivants. Replete with antique Parisian furniture, the ground floor houses a curated selection of men’s and women’s leathergoods, ready-to-wear, shoes, fashion jewelry, eyewear and textiles. A private salon on the second floor — voilà — exudes a more intimate experience for clients, also featuring RETNA. Très magnifique!

Louis Vuitton Design District is located at 170 NE 40th Street, Design District

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by Maria Tettamanti

Economy Projects Real Estate

Genting Group opening luxury boutique casino in Bimini

Bimini Bay Resort & Marina will partner with the Malaysian company. Construction has already begun on the casino.

Genting Group’s efforts to bring a casino to Miami may be uncertain, but the Malaysian company has found a way to plant its flag just a stone’s throw away from South Florida.

Genting Group has signed a deal to open Resorts World Bimini Bay, a luxury boutique casino at Bimini Bay Resort & Marina in North Bimini Island.

The deal, which is scheduled to be announced Friday in Nassau, is a strategic partnership between Genting Malaysia Berhad and RAV Bahamas, the developer of Bimini Bay and the Rockewell Island Beach Estates. This will be the only casino on the island of Bimini and the closest offshore casino to South Florida, only 48 nautical miles off the coast and accessible by a half-hour plane flight or a 2 1/2-hour boat trip. Before the casino opens, the owners of Bimini Bay will partner in the launch of a high-speed ferry service that will make the trip from South Florida in 90 minutes.

The casino is designed as an attraction for visitors to Bimini, a sleepy Bahamian island known more for its fishing than Las Vegas-style nightlife.

“The casino has always been an amenity we wanted to provide as part of our multi-tiered, mixed-use development,” said Leslie Bethel, chief operating officer for RAV Bahamas. “Everything happens in time. We were smart. We know [a casino] is something you develop when you have the ability to generate the traffic. Now we have the critical mass that we can go forward.”

Genting Group declined Thursday through a spokesman to speak to The Herald about the Bimini project. It will not be the first time Genting has done business in the Bahamas. In 1986, the company built the Lucayan Beach Resort and Casino in Freeport in a joint venture with the Bahamian government.

“We are delighted to return to the Bahamas and be a part of this exciting resort community,” Dana Leibovitz, president of Resorts World Bimini Bay, said in a statement. “Our shared vision to offer gaming entertainment, luxury amenities and world-class service will continue to attract many new visitors to the Bahamas’ gateway destination just minutes away from South Florida and other major U.S. cities by air and sea.”

Bimini Bay Resort & Marina is a master-planned oceanfront community on 560 acres developed by Chairman Gerardo Capo of Miami and his family. The project began construction in 2003 and opened its first phase in late 2007, bringing a luxury resort to the typically rustic island that was once a haunt of author Ernest Hemingway.

Today, Bimini Bay has over 480 luxury homes and villas, the largest yacht marina complex in the Bahamas, a shopping village, four restaurants and a Beach Club. Just over half of the units at Bimini Bay are rented out as part of a condo-hotel program. Since it opened, the annual visitors to Bimini have grown by about 50 percent hitting 50,000, Bethel said.RAV Bahamas signed a deal in 2005 to open a casino and luxury hotel with Conrad Hotels, Hilton’s luxury brand. But the economy was one reason that didn’t happen, Bethel said.

Genting Group had always been high on the developer’s wish list. RAV Bahamas had known Genting from Grand Bahama Island and first approached the Malaysian company more than 12 years ago when Bimini Bay was in the conception stage. The fact that the two are partnering now after Genting has invested $500 million to purchase real estate in Miami, is just a matter of timing, Bethel said. Genting and other US-based gaming companies are pushing the Florida Legislature to allow casino gambling outside of tribal land and parimutuel facilities.

“Genting Group is looking to grow its business in the Americas,” Bethel said. “They’re one of few gaming entities that are focused on growth and expansion. There is no relation to what we’re doing in Bimini and Miami.”

But unlike the U.S., where Genting has stumbled in Florida and New York getting the necessary government approvals, the Bahamian government has already approved this project.

“This is an important venture not only for RAV Bahamas and Genting Malaysia but also for the island of Bimini,” Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, prime minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, said in statement. “It provides further stability for the local economy in a destination that already enjoys a 79 percent repeat visitor return.”

Source: Miami Herald
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Economy Real Estate

Hong Kong Apartment Prices Going Through the Roof; Recent Sale Topped $8,100 Per Foot Levels

A 6,755-square-foot apartment at Hong Kong’s luxurious 12-unit Opus has been sold for HK$430 million (U.S. $55 million). That is $8,130 per square foot. The price makes the apartment Asia’s most expensive flat on a per square foot basis, and the second-most costly in the world after London’s One Hyde Park, according to Eva Lee, head of Hong Kong and China property research at UBS.

The average price of a standard-sized 600 square-foot apartment is about HK$4.5 million ($580,135 U.S.) In 2 1/2 years, property prices have increased 85 per cent.

Hong Kongers’ median monthly incomes increased 15 per cent to HK$20,200 last year, from HK$17,500 in 2009.

Li Xueying Asia News Network (MCT) reports Government data show the price index began climbing from the first quarter of 2009. It barreled past the previous 1997 peak, and every quarter since last year has registered new highs.

MCT notes one way of measuring affordability is the price-to-income ratio. Hong Kong weighs in at 18.6. This means a household has to save 18.6 years of its annual income without consumption to buy a standard flat.

By contrast, a four-room Build-to-Order HDB flat in Bukit Panjang takes the average Singapore household three years to pay off, while a resale five-room flat in Ang Mo Kio takes 7.3 years.

MCT states analysts estimate Hong Kong apartment prices have to fall by 19 per cent to 30 per cent before the “sandwich class” earning between HK$20,000 and HK$30,000 can enter the market.

Among the 10 points in Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying’s recent proposal are that the government will speed up the approval process of presale consent for private flats; sell public flats meant for rental; and re- zone government institution or community (GIC) sites for homes.

MCT states Hong Kong analysts estimate about 150,000 housing units, private and public, will enter the market in the next five years.

Based on population trends, Lee says Hong Kong needs 25,000 flats a year. With the under-supply of 5,000 flats a year from 2003 to 2009, she estimates 185,000 units will be needed by 2017.

But a closer look at the measures shows it is unlikely that all the promised 150,000 units will materialize, and even if they do, it will take awhile, MCT states.

One handicap the government has is an inability to control record-low interest rates, the news agency points out. The Hong Kong currency is pegged to the US dollar. That means rock-bottom interest rates set by the U.S. Federal Reserve are feeding the city’s housing boom as well, notes Dr. Edward Yiu of Hong Kong University.

by Alex Finkelstein

Economy Projects Real Estate

Miami pending home sales rise 15% year on year

Miami pending home sales rise 15% year on year

Pending home sales in Miami are continuing at record high levels, up 15% year on year during the month of August, according to the latest data from the Miami Association of Realtors.
The number of single family and condominium listings that pended in August increased 26.3% and 6.28 percent respectively compared to August 2011.

‘Pending sales in the Miami real estate market remain at historically strong levels, particularly when considering the current shortage of local housing inventory,’ said Martha Pomares, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors.

‘Pending sales continue to reflect strong demand compared to record sales levels in 2011. This activity is driving home prices to rise sooner and stronger than expected,’ she added.

She also explained that increased pending sales are an indication of increased future sales. A sale is listed as pending when a contract is signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

Total cumulative pending home sales, including single family homes and condominiums, in Miami-Dade County currently are 1% above what they were a year ago, up from 11,915 to 12,222, but 1.5% below what they were the previous month, down from 12,210.

Pending sales of single family homes were 10% above what they were a year earlier, up from 4,941 to 5,435, and 0.5% above the previous month, when pending single family homes sales totaled 5,407.

Miami pending sales of condominiums were 5.5% lower than they were a year earlier, down from 6,974, and 3.1% below what they were the previous month, down from 6,803 to 6,587.

The Miami real estate market has experienced rising demand from international buyers over the last year,’ said Patricia Delinois, residential president of the Miami Association of Realtors.

‘Foreign buyers have been and continue to be an instrumental factor in strengthening the Miami real estate market unlike any other in the nation. As a global city, Miami will continue to draw demand from international buyers and investors long into the future,’ she explained.

Nationally, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.6% to 99.2 in August from 101.9 in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is 10.7% higher than the 89.6 index reported in August 2011.

Source: Propertywire
Miami pending home sales rise 15% year on year

Economy Investment Real Estate

4 Reasons Why Foreign Investors Are Keen to Invest in Miami Real Estate

4 Reasons Why Foreign Investors Are Keen to Invest in Miami Real Estate

If current trends are to be analyzed, you will see a substantial rise in foreign investment in the Miami real estate boom. Market experts believe that high-end buyers from foreign countries are helping Miami real estate come out from its dark days. These are the reasons for these foreign investors to invest in the real estate market of Miami.

1. Low Prices

The city of Miami is still recovering from its rough patch after the country wide economic down-slide. This has caused the prices of properties to be at their all time low. The developers and investors of Miami Beach condos are desperately trying to remove the large number of apartments from their hands by offering low prices. This has seen a large wave of foreign nationals buying these properties. These high-end condos and apartments may not be exactly cheap for the US citizens, but these foreigners find these prices cheaper than the price of property back home. Thus, they are rushing to buy their own properties in the city.

2. Vacation Homes In Beautiful Locations

Miami is a beautiful place with the sun, beach and sand. It is an ideal place to set up vacation villas and homes. This is one reason for rich people from other foreign countries to come and invest in beautiful Miami Beach condos, facing the clear blue ocean. These investors are rich and price is not a factor for them. What they want is a villa or condo that meets their basic necessities and demands and with developers eyeing rich buyers there are plenty of expensively done high-end condos that these people can invest in.

3. Better Livelihood In The States

United States has often been the country where people want to migrate to for a chance at a better lifestyle. These foreign nationals upon arriving in the country invest in properties. Majority of the sale in Miami is in the residential market where these investors are spending all their money. The USA has a trustworthy legal system which places a lot of importance on property rights and these people feel that it is the safest place to invest their money in.

4. Low Interest Rates

With the Federal Reserve keeping the interest rates low to attract foreign investors, investors and developers from Japan, China, Germany and Russia are coming in. These investors feel that United States that is recovering economically is a safe market for their investment. Moreover, investing in projects in Miami where the real estate market is going through a boom, they will be able to gain more profit than in investing in their own countries.

Miami is one of the most popular cities in the USA and getting an opportunity to buy property in this city is not something that most foreign investors would like to give up. Property prices cheaper than their home country and the benefit of low interest rates are responsible for large scale foreign investment.

By Brenda Lyttle

Economy Investment Real Estate

Miami Leads US Property Market Recovery

Miami Leads US Property Market Recovery

The tide is finally turning in the U.S. real estate market and the charge is being led by increased prices and sales in Miami. The city got a head start by drawing attention from foreign investors early on and the attention has not waned despite rising prices. The Miami Association of Realtors report that prices were up again in August, making it the ninth consecutive month of gains. A shortage of homes for sale is helping to drive prices up faster and higher than in other areas of the country, but it doesn’t seem to bother investors who are still finding deals on properties in the Floridian hotspot. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.

Miami, which is considered as leading the property revival in the US, saw home prices rise again in August, the latest figures from the Miami Association of Realtors show. It is the ninth consecutive month of appreciation with buyers from overseas in particular fueling the growth of the real estate market.

The median sales price of Miami-Dade condominiums increased 28.4% to $146,500 compared to a year earlier, with prices having now increased for each of the last 14 months. The median sales price of single family homes rose 10.8% to $195,000. Despite the shortage of housing inventory, Miami home sales remain strong and continue to drive significant price appreciation, according to Miami Association of Realtors chairman Martha Pomares.

There is evident demand for Miami properties, particularly from foreign buyers and investors who recognize Miami?s desirability and profitability. Miami remains the top market for foreign buyers in the nation, and local international activity continues to grow, she said.

In August the average sales price for condominiums in Miami-Dade County increased 20.9% to $283,497. The average sales prices for single family homes increased 28.4 percent to $408,810. Statewide median sales prices in August increased 5.8% to $147,000 for single family homes and 13.2% to $102,980 for condominiums, according to data from the Florida Realtors Industry.

Total residential sales in Miami-Dade County increased 7% compared to a year earlier, compared to record sales levels in August 2011. The sales of existing condominiums in Miami-Dade increased 8% from 1,382 to 1,492.

Sales of single family homes increased 5% from 1,009 to 1,059, year on year. Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totalled 18,669 in August 2012, up 10.8% compared to a year ago. Statewide condominium sales totalled 8,767, up 5.7% from those sold in August 2011.

‘Miami is experiencing a mini-boom fuelled mostly by demand from international buyers but also by population growth resulting from migration from other states, baby boomers, and local consumers,’ Patricia Delinois, residential president of the Miami Association of Realtors.

‘Miami’s firm position as a major global city is expected to continue to draw demand long into the future, as businesses, residents, visitors and tourists, investors, and vacation and second homebuyers take advantage of all that our vibrant and unique city has to offer,’ she added.

Over the last year, the inventory of residential listings in Miami-Dade County has dropped 26% from 15,405 to 11,431. Compared to the previous month, the total inventory of homes decreased 0.2%. The figures also show that currently there are 4.2 months of supply in Miami-Dade.

Strong demand for bank owned (REO) properties and improved processing of short sales continues to yield absorption of distressed listings and to contribute to price appreciation.

In August, 45.8% of all closed residential sales in Miami-Dade County were distressed, including REOs and short sales, compared to 56% in August 2011 and 47% the previous month. In Miami-Dade County, 64% of total closed sales in August were all cash sales, compared to 62% in August 2011 and 64% the previous month. Cash sales accounted for 45% of single family and 78% of condominium closings.

Nearly 90% of foreign buyers in Florida purchase properties all cash, reflecting the stronger presence of international buyers in the Miami real estate market.

Miami Leads US Property Market Recovery