- RICHARD FLORIDA The Atlantic Cities
- 8:35 AM ET 04/12/12
London, Hong Kong, and New York rank as the top three cities for the ultra-rich, according to the 2012 Wealth Report released by real estate firm Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank.
The report is based on detailed data on the number, distribution, and preferred locations of high net-worth individuals (defined as households with more than $100 million in assets). This is the globe-straddling capitalist over-class that Cynthia Freeland has dubbed the “new global elite,” or what the report itself labels the global economic “plutonomy” of the “richest 1%.”
There are now 63,000 households worldwide with $100 million or more in assets, up 29 percent since 2006 and projected to rise even higher in the future. The top ten current preferred locations for the ultra-rich are:
- New York
- Hong Kong
The report also asked respondents to predict the most important cities in 10 years. The projected key cities of 2022 include:
- New York
- Hong Kong
- São Paulo
On this list, Beijing and Shanghai move up, displacing Paris (which falls from fourth to seventh) and Miami (which drops off the list completely), along with Hong Kong and Singapore. Sao Paulo, Brazil, moves onto the list in eighth place.
What’s behind these rankings? According to the report, the ultra-rich value cities that offer “personal safety and security” most, followed by “economic openness” and “social stability” which top “luxury housing” and “excellent educational opportunities.” As the report’s authors explain:
The most significant driving force of any city is its people. It is crucial to have a livable environment for increasingly mobile populations, and to attract a significant workforce. More than one-third of the people in New York and London are foreign-born. Despite their astonishing growth, Asian economic powerhouses fail to reach that level of cosmopolitan culture. New York or London will continue to top the indices, but only if they ensure their strong cultural offers are unmatched and maintain open immigration policies.
But the rise of global superstar cities also has a dark side. According to Barron‘s Richard Morais:
Anyone who has recently tried to make their way through the thronged pavements of Piccadilly in London knows there’s another, more important and less politically-correct answer for why certain cities in the West will remain top dogs. The reason is flight capital. The globe’s rich aren’t really moving to London or New York – they are fleeing their home countries and cities.
Any private banker will tell you, that as soon as a centa-millionaire in Moscow, Beijing or São Paolo makes their fortune, the first thing they do is figure out how they can ferret away large chunks of that wealth to countries that guarantee political and personal freedoms, have sound legal systems, a favorable tax environment, good security and good schools for their kids. Those last two items are not to be underestimated. When asked what was the most important factor drawing them to a city, 63% of the globe’s super-rich said “personal security” and 21% said “education.”
The rise of these protected enclaves is creating very real tensions between the very wealthy and more average city residents.
Just one example – high-end apartments and townhouses in London and New York regularly top $50 million, pricing locals out of the market. It’s no coincidence that London boiled over into riots last summer and that the Occupy movement was born on Wall Street.
There is a very real danger that such disruptions are a “feature, not a bug” of global cities. As the Financial Times wrote last summer:
Globalisation has made our great cities incalculably richer but also increasingly divided and unequal. More than youth, ethnicity or even race, London’s riots are about class and the growing divide between the classes. This dynamic is not unique to London but is at work in many of the world’s great capitals. Instead of reducing and flattening economic distinctions, globalisation has made them sharper.
We make a big mistake when we look out across the peaks of privilege from our eyries in London, New York, Tokyo and Mumbai, and tell ourselves that the playing field is level. Our world, and especially its cities, is now spiky and divided.
Commercial Investors Eye Single-Family Homes
Published on: Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Written by: David Bodamer
With the latest data from the Case-Shiller National index showing that housing prices have fallen for the eighth straight month and are now back to January 2003 levels, the housing crisis appears no closer to its end.
But might there be an unlikely savior on the horizon for the single-family sector in the form of commercial real estate investors? On Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a pilot program through which it would take bids from investors to buy foreclosed residential properties in bulk for the purpose of turning them into rentals.
The pilot program is the result of an effort launched last summer by the FHFA, along with the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to solicit outside input on how the government could deal with its millions of real estate owned (REO) residential assets and help turn the housing market around. The first pool of assets is a group of 2,490 properties, including 2,849 units in some of the hardest-hit residential markets: Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. There are 1,743 single-family homes, 527 condos, seven manufactured homes, one co-op, 118 duplexes, 36 three-unit buildings and 58 four-unit buildings.
To date, investors have purchased homes in foreclosure auctions and rented them out. But investors can only buy one or two assets at a time this way. The idea here is to enable investors to buy larger pools of foreclosed homes in order to get them on the market as rentals and deal with the glut of troubled assets more quickly.
“This is another important milestone in our initiative designed to reduce taxpayer losses, stabilize neighborhoods and home values, shift to more private management of properties and reduce the supply of REO properties in the marketplace,” FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco said in a statement.
Investors must fill out a qualifying form on the FHFA’s REO Asset Disposition page, post a security deposit and sign a confidentiality agreement to access detailed information about the properties. According to the FHFA, only investors who qualified through this process will be eligible to bid.
The concept of involving the private sector to help solve the foreclosure problem has some high-profile backers.
Lew Ranieri, who helped pioneer mortgage-backed securities in the 1970s, and Kenneth Rosen, chairman of real estate market research firm Rosen Consulting Group, are the main authors on a policy paper issued this monthlaying out how the private sector’s involvement could help turn around the housing market and deliver attractive returns to investors.
“Without question, this is an opportunistic place to make investments,” Rosen says. “It’s similar to what opportunity funds have done with commercial real estate. There are more than one million units to be auctioned. Instead of having small players buy the assets, this would allow for bulk acquisitions.”
Overall, 453,266 residential units are currently classified as REO. Of those, the federal government holds nearly 50 percent of the inventory through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and another 9 percent with the Federal Housing Administration. In addition, private label securities hold 33.3 percent of the REO inventory and banks hold 17.5 percent.
But gaining control of those assets is a time-consuming process. In existing auctions, properties are sold one at a time. Private equity investors have gotten involved in converting vacant homes into rental properties, according to Rosen. But creating bulk programs could increase interest by making it easier for large investors to amass portfolios.
Investors then have several strategies for how to handle the assets. According to the policy paper, “Homes can be purchased for three potential outcomes, depending on a range of factors: the micro-conditions of the home, employment and income of potential tenant/owners and the macro-conditions of the neighborhood and market.” Specifically, investors could choose to offer the units in rent-to-own, rent-to-rent or resale arrangements.
In a rent-to-own scenario, an investor would enter a long-term relationship with a tenant who would offer the renter a right-of-refusal to buy the home. The lease could also be structured to give the tenant a share of any upside in a property’s sale. According to the policy paper, “This share can be structured to be payable regardless of whether or not the tenant purchases the home or be restricted to only if the tenant converts to ownership. This share can be pro-rated down or eliminated if a tenant leaves before the ?ve-year term.”
In a rent-to-rent scenario, the investor operates the asset as a straight rental property. And a resale would simply involve moving the asset to an owner-occupier.
“The private sector has a lot of solutions to the mortgage problem,” Rosen says. “They are engaged and want to be involved. I think this is something that has to be pushed as fast as it can.”
One caveat Rosen notes is that the government needs to ensure that the participants in the program are legitimate players. For example, the policy paper notes, “Programs that we deem to be unscrupulous are requiring tenants to pay a down-payment when signing a lease. We believe ?rst and last month’s rent and/or a security deposit in keeping with state law is acceptable, but do not believe additional advance payments are warranted.”
If all goes well, Rosen thinks the pilot program could be expanded “full scale” within a year with the government offering its inventory in bulk sales as well as banks and private-label securities conducting similar programs.
This article was republished with permission from National Real Estate Investor.
Swire’s deep freeze puts icing on mega-project CitiCentre
By Scott Blake
Miami Today February 9, 2012
With its massive Brickell CitiCentre project, Hong Kong-based Swire Properties is bringing a different twist to downtown Miami development — underground parking — that also will involve a first for the city: groundwater freezing, a project official told Miami Today.
“It’s never been done in Miami,” said Steve Krysowaty, president of CBP Construction Consultants in Miami.
Currently, preparatory work is being done for the freezing around the perimeter of the site, he said.
Using rods or tubes containing super-cold liquid nitrogen, groundwater freezing is needed while building a barrier to prevent more groundwater from entering the site. Eventually, the water will be defrosted and sucked out of the ground to make way for the complex’s foundation and two levels of underground parking, he said.
Overall, plans call for a six-story shopping mall, two office towers, two condominium towers, a large hotel, and plethora of amenities such as restaurants, nightclubs, a movie theater and a bowling alley.
Construction is expected to start before the end of the year with completion hopefully sometime in 2015, Mr. Krysowaty said.
Project officials at Swire’s Miami office did not return calls for comment.
Until now, developers have avoided going underground for parking in Miami because of the extensive groundwater here. Likewise, groundwater is spread throughout the CitiCentre site, Mr. Krysowaty said, adding that the complex’s foundation will be anchored to bedrock some 50 feet or so below the surface.
The underground parking is necessary because Swire wants CitiCentre to be a “street level” development immediately accessible to both residents and visitors on the ground, according to people familiar with the project.
That’s a unique feature in Miami, where large developments typically have multi-level parking garages on the bottom floors, with the featured development on top.
In addition, pile testing has been done on the site to determine the ground’s capability in various spots to support the weight of the structures, Mr. Krysowaty said.
The CitiCentre site involved in the freezing is divided by Miami Avenue and located primarily along Southeast Eighth and Seventh streets. The parcels are boxed in on the west by Southwest First Avenue and go just east of the Eighth Street Metromover Station.
Posted on Wed, Jan. 18, 2012
South Florida’s real estate crisis in one chart
By DOUGLAS HANKS
South Florida’s housing crash may be old news, but recent data offer some valuable perspective.The Federal Housing Finance Agency maintains appreciation indices for metropolitan areas, which are similar to the famous Case-Shiller index but more local. By stacking up Broward and Miami-Dade’s indices to the nation’s, the warning signs are hard to miss.
The chart anchors all three indices to the first quarter of 2000, so the numbers show appreciation since then. Real estate got out of hand across the country, with appreciation peaking nationally at 166 percent in 2007. But in Broward, values soared 272 percent. Miami-Dade did even better, up 283 percent.
It’s easy to see how quickly values collapsed, but the chart also points out something that tends to be overlooked amid the wreckage of real estate. Home values are still ahead of where they were in 2003.
But perhaps more surprising, local property has actually held its value better than the average home in the United States. According to the FHFA, the average U.S. home is worth about 40 percent more than it was at the start of 2000. In Broward, the average home is worth 49 percent more. In Miami-Dade, it’s 56 percent more valuable.
A sign of resiliency, or a hint that South Florida still has some dropping to do? We’ll probably find out this year.
The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine charts South Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession by comparing current conditions to levels set before the downturn.
The ETM crunches 60 local indicators to measure the economic activity, then finds when each indicator was at that level before the 2007-2009 recession. At the moment, the current economy most resembles where it was in June 2002. Visit miamiherald.com/economic-time-machine for updates and analysis of the latest economic data.
Native Miamian Loretta Cockrum developed 600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza, a building that features the latest in technology and a concept rooted in the stewardship of land.
600 Brickell is pre-certified Platinum under the LEED for Core & Shell rating system, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Core & Shell covers base building elements such as the structure, envelope and building-level systems, like central heating, ventilating and air conditioning. The rating system recognizes the division between owner and tenant responsibility for certain elements of the building varies.
Pre-certification is a unique aspect of the LEED for Core & Shell rating system that gives formal recognition to a project for which the owner/developer has established a goal of achieving certification under LEED. It provides the core and shell owner/developer the opportunity to market to potential tenants and financiers the unique and valuable green features of a proposed building.
BY INA PAIVA CORDLE
Equipped with the utmost in technology and environmental sustainability, 600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza is the latest entrant to Miami’s financial district, soaring to 40 stories of glass and steel.
The lobby is lined in eucalyptus wood, the floors decked in marble. And set back from the street, it is skirted by a grand plaza, designed to be to Miami what Rockefeller Plaza is to New York.
Yet, beyond the modern office building’s exterior, its conceptual roots are firmly planted in Midwestern fields of corn, and Southern plantations of timberland.
600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza, just completed, lies at that crossroads of the past and future — years in the making and designed to next-generation standards, but now mostly unoccupied, its destiny is still unknown.
The building was developed by native Miamian Loretta Cockrum, who grew up spending her summers at her family’s farms in Indiana and Illinois. It was there that she formed a love of the land.
Nearly 40 years ago, after working for the nation’s largest ranch management company, she started her own business, Foram Group, helping families run their farms.
Now, she views Brickell Avenue’s newest commercial real estate tower — the only one in Florida LEED pre-certified platinum, the highest green rating — as the natural progression of that stewardship of land.
“It is the foundation of our sustainable commitment, because if you are managing farmland and timberland and you are not an incredible steward of that property, there is nothing that will deteriorate faster,” said Cockrum, whose company still manages 25,000 acres in South Carolina, Georgia and Colorado, for its clients. “So it applies to the building of a vertical building.
“Therefore, we didn’t wake up one morning and say this sounds like a cool idea, let’s build a LEED building. . . . This building is a culmination of all those years,” she added. “It just happened to get wrapped up in a vertical construction project.’’
Built at a cost of $310 million, including $180 million of equity, 600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza is owned by a family originally from Malaysia, which has entrusted the preservation of its ample wealth to Foram Group, as its fiduciaries.
In fact, Cockrum created the tower as part of a 100-year strategic plan for the family, geared to be relevant 25 years from now, Cockrum said.
“You have to be building for a future,” she said. “I told them we are not going to be profitable in the beginning, and may not see a profit for 10 years,” she said. “They said do whatever you have to do.”
Cockum, who has represented the family for 35 years, first purchased the Brickell property in 1990. Over the next six years she assembled all the various parcels (in addition to the 85,000 square-foot building), including three outparcels between Brickell Avenue and the Metromover.
“My original plan,” she said, “was to hold it for 10 years and then build a significant building, a flagship for this family portfolio.”
Brickell was coming alive as a vibrant location, not just to work, but as a place to live and a destination to dine out.
“It was that energy and that ignition of life that would allow us to build something like this,” Cockrum said. “Otherwise, it’s just another stagnant office building.”
In 2006, Cockrum began the design and construction process and first applied for LEED silver status, a lower level than the current platinum. The former building on the site was torn down in late 2006, and she broke ground in April 2007.
But hindered by the recession and real estate market downturn, as well as competition from other new Class A buildings, she slowed construction. At the same time, she had her team of architects, engineers and builders take a fresh look at how to make the building stand out.
The end result is an office tower with 614,000 square feet of rentable space that qualified for platinum precertification, with all the latest eco-friendly and high-tech features.
Among them: the building uses “daylight harvesting,” within 15 feet of the perimeter of the building. There, sensors keep the light at levels considered optimum to decrease eye strain, and adjusts if it gets cloudy or as the sun trails, said Tracy L. Story, president of Foram Management and Leasing.
Additionally, the lights turn off completely when someone leaves the room.
The bathrooms are also equipped with automatic sensors to turn on and off the lights. They also have dual flush toilets and waterless urinals, Story said.
Water conservation is another key feature. Rainwater is collected and recirculated back up to cooling towers, with overflow directed to the irrigation system and to fountains on the plaza.
As a result, Story said, the building uses 30 percent less water than the average office building and offers an 18 percent savings on electricity, which add up to lower operating costs for tenants. In addition, the windows are impact-rated at 334 miles per hour, she said.
The building is directly connected to the NAP of the Americas in Miami, one of only eight Tier 4 Data Centers globally. And it has wireless Internet access throughout the building and on the plaza, among other high-tech offerings.
In earning its pre-certified platinum score, the highest level of certification, 600 Brickell achieved 45 out of 61 possible points, said Ashley Katz, spokeswoman for the U.S. Green Building Council, which develops and administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system.
Included in its credits, 600 Brickell achieved points in the category of innovation and design for sustainable sites, exemplary performance in energy and atmosphere, and exemplary performance in green housekeeping, Katz said.
Tenants have the option of building out their spaces in accordance with LEED commercial interior requirements, though certain features such as daylight harvesting and recycling are mandatory, Story said. And Foram intends to apply for full platinum certification once a majority of the tenant build-outs are made.
“We believe the building can accommodate any forward-thinking company that can appreciate the benefits of LEED, the technology aspects of the property, the security aspects of the property, and wants the amenities and location this property offers,” she said.
Among the amenities, on the building’s 14th floor, where Foram has its offices, is a rentable conference center with state-of-the-art video conference equipment, as well as a fitness center with more than two dozen Cybex machines
Outside, the grand plaza has lighted railings and fountains, and offers space for entertaining.
“The plaza is designed to integrate the community into the building, to enhance the live-work-play experience that is Brickell,” Story said.
600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza’s official “coming out party,” scheduled for last weekend, celebrated the opening of the building, with the lighting of hundreds of thousands of colorful lights.
“We selected the first Saturday of December as the annual event because we really see this as something in the future that will be extremely significant for the holidays,” Cockrum said.
Soon, restaurants and possibly other service providers are expected to occupy the street-level retail space. Various bids are under consideration, Story said. Foram is leasing the 15,000 square feet of ground level space, plus the 14th and 15th floors, while Jones Lang LaSalle is now the broker for the rest of the building’s office space.
“We get six to eight calls a day,” Story said of the retail space. “And the key is to get the right mix for the building, so they feed off each other.”
As for the office space, besides Foram and its affiliate companies, so far just two tenants have leased space at 600 Brickell: Credit Agricole, which is leasing the entire 37th floor, and de la Peña Group, a Miami law firm, which is leasing about 3,000 square feet on the 17th floor.
De la Peña Group moved just a week ago, after spending 18 years on Brickell Key. The boutique litigation firm chose the new building for its location, efficiency of space and availability of conference rooms, and technological advantages, said Leoncio de la Peña, founder and managing partner of the de la Peña Group.
“The most important factor is connectivity,” he said. “The practice of law has changed dramatically and the type of law we practice has changed dramatically. We are 100 percent dependent on the Internet, and clearly the best building with the most secure, the most consistent and the fastest Internet is 600 Brickell, period.’’
Glenn H. Gregory, senior vice president for Jones Lang LaSalle , marketing and leasing agents for 600 Brickell at Brickell World Plaza, said the timing of the building, after deferring its entry into the market until now, should work to its advantage. For $42 to $46 a square foot, he said he will be marketing the “Class A tier one plus” office space to all South Florida businesses with leases expiring in the next five years. Other Class A competitive properties are in the $40 to $44 per square foot range, he said.
“The marketing program for 600 Brickell will cater to not only domestic tenants that have the need for the connectivity the building offers and sustainability,” Gregory said, “but we will test the market for the international tenant that might not have chosen Miami and may not be here today.”
In fact, the commercial real estate market in downtown Miami and on Brickell has stabilized, said Jon Blunk, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield, who is based in the firm’s Miami office.
“Rates have hit bottom,” he said, “and hopefully are slowly on their way back.”
Still, it’s a difficult climate in which to convince tenants to move and pay the costs of relocating, and it could be a long haul to lease all the space at 600 Brickell, Blunk said.
“It’s the most expensive building probably built in downtown Miami and Brickell, so it has the most amenities,” he said. “It should command the highest rents — in the low to mid $40s.”
Yet, Cockrum is counting on seeing the space leased.
“By this time next year if we are not significantly rented, and/or committed to rent, I will be disappointed,” she said, “because I will feel that what we have provided and what we’ve done and what we’re offering maybe wasn’t that special. . . . It’s very risky to be this cutting edge.”
Cockrum, 74, is a third-generation Miamiam. Her grandparents came here in 1923, settling in Coral Gables.
After studying dental hygiene at her mother’s request, she worked for six months as a dental hygienist in Atlanta. Later, Cockrum spent five years in the Atlanta office of Oppenheimer Industries, which she said was the largest ranch management company in the United States, with 5 million acres under management.
“I was running an agricultural management company — we managed farms and timberland,” she said. “I bought the crops, I sold the corn, I did the financial statements. I helped families manage family farm operations.”
It was a case of necessity, she said. Her husband had become ill, and she knew she would have to support her children, who were in their early teens at the time.
“I hadn’t worked for 14 years, so I got this job and it was something I was passionate about and it’s something I am still passionate about,” said Cockrum, who continues to run the agricultural arm of her company today.
It was in Atlanta, shortly before she launched Foram as an agricultural management company, that she met the Malaysian family that now owns 600 Brickell. In fact, Foram stands for Farm or Ranch Management.
“I started it in ’78 in Atlanta on my dining room table,” she recalls. “Like most women in the 1970s who were starting a business, it was very unusual.”
In 1986, she moved Foram’s headquarters to Miami.
“It was circling back to my roots, because my grandfather was in the real estate business at the time of George Merrick, in Broward and in Miami-Dade,” she said. “It’s pretty much in my DNA.”
Foram operates as a wealth manager, investing solely in real estate. Today, Foram has 26 employees and represents three families as clients. All are foreign, and each is very private and does not want their identities disclosed, she said. In all, the company manages hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate in Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, including agricultural land.
“I develop properties, but I’m not a developer. To me that is a dirty word,” Cockrum said. “I am building real estate portfolios for families, but only a part of what I do is develop a property, if it is appropriate for a particular portfolio. . . . What I do is build value in real estate, and if that means I build a building on a property we already own, that is what I do.”
Over the past 15 years, she said Foram has purchased for its portfolios close to 1 million square feet of office buildings in Florida, including Miami.
“I love the city, I feel very attached to it, it’s very much a part of what I want to leave behind better than I found it,” Cockrum said. “And I really think that has a great deal to do with why 600 Brickell is what it is. . . . The plaza — the city really needs something of that significance to make it a special place.”
COUNCIL APPROVES SITE PLAN FOR FORMER SONESTA PROPERTY
Key Biscayne Council members voted unanimously Monday, August 21, to approve developer Consultatio Key Biscayne LLC’s new site plan for the 350 Ocean Drive property. (The former site of The Sonesta Hotel).
As Consultatio Chairman Eduardo Costantini told local leaders, the new site plan significantly downsizes the project the Council approved in 2007 in order to address concerns about mass and impact on neighbors. “If you approve this project, I think it’s going to be a superb project. We’ll look forward to working together as a team,” he said.
Site plan complies
The project’s 646,415 square feet of livable space equals a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 1.435; a FAR of 2.0, or 899,863 square feet, is allowed. Maximum lot coverage is 40 percent, or 179,972 square feet; Consultatio’s plan shows 35.7 percent coverage, or a 160,630-square-foot footprint.
The project also eases in below density caps: Projects with this zoning can have 16 residential units per acre, meaning 165 units on the 10.5-acre Sonesta lot; Consultatio proposes 154 units, or 15 per acre.
Elsewhere, the proposed project meets height caps of 150 feet; more importantly, Consultatio vastly exceeds rear setback requirements of 25 feet, meaning the 150-foot buildings are far from neighboring single-family homes. The project’s west rear setback, the one that impacts Holiday Colony (the east rear setback is from the ocean), comes in at 393 feet, 11 inches.
Only 12 freestanding villas would sit within that nearly 394-foot area, Kurlancheek said, and the villas are capped at 35 feet in height, the same as single-family homes. “There’s a 50-foot setback until you get to the villas themselves,” he added.
Consultatio was able to move the bulk of its development further back by eliminating two of the original four towers. The new design features two 14-level towers linked by a shorter structure that features 10 levels worth of condo units atop a three-story high open breezeway.
A key condition states the Village must be in compliance with its Comprehensive Plan standard of 2.5 acres of open space per 1,000 residents before it can issue a Certificate of Occupancy for the 15-story residential tower. Or, the Village and Consultatio can sign a binding contract stating the open space facilities will be completed within a year of the CO being issued.They state Consultatio will grant the Village two 25-foot-wide public beach access paths, one on the north side of the property from Ocean Drive and the other on the south side of the property from East Heather Drive. Both paths will include improvements like paving and landscaping.
Helfman added Consultatio’s plan includes a $7 million voluntary contribution to the Village’s Land Trust, a fund set up for the sole purpose of acquiring public land, plus another $1.5 million toward improvements at the Key Biscayne Community Center or another recreational need.
The sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Miami-Dade County rose by 51 percent in the third quarter, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors. It was the 13th consecutive quarter of increasing sales in Miami. The average sales price of single-family homes also rose, jumping 19 percent, and the average sales price of condos jumped by 21 percent. “Strong demand from international buyers is fueling robust sales activity in Miami despite low consumer confidence and high unemployment,” said Jack Levine, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors. “Local sales are expected to set a record this year that should exceed the height of the boom in 2005.” Total housing inventory in Miami-Dade County fell 38 percent from the same period in 2010, with a 65 percent total drop since August 2008. –Alexander Britell
Casino and resort developer Richard Fields is asking $175 million for his 1,750-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The asking price is believed to be the highest for a ranch in the U.S.
The ranch, called Jackson Land and Cattle, is a valley property with 35 buildable sites. It’s made up of a 450-acre equestrian center bought around 2004, with 52 stalls and an indoor riding arena, plus a 1,300-acre ranch bought around 2006 that belonged to the late Wyoming Gov. Clifford Hansen and his family. There’s a main house and guest house. The hope is that the buyer will be conservation-minded, said listing broker John Pierce of Hall & Hall. Juliet Chung looks at a $175 million ranch listing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which may be the most expensive listing in the U.S., as well as a cheaper ranch next door which can be yours for just $100 million.
Mr. Fields is chief executive of Coastal Development, whose projects include the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and, through an affiliate, the Suffolk Downs racetrack in Boston. Mr. Fields says he and his family are selling because they don’t get to spend much time there anymore. Mr. Fields is also asking nearly $10 million for his vacation home on 44 acres in Jackson.
A Second Wyoming Ranch Hits the Market for $100 Million
Also in Jackson Hole, a 1,848-acre cattle ranch is on the market for $100 million.
Walton Ranch has three miles of frontage on the Snake River and is under a conservation easement, though some development is possible. There’s a 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom main house and a manager’s housing complex with two homes, a bunk house, outbuildings, barns and corrals. The seller is the estate of oil geologist Paul Walton and his wife, Betty, who assembled the property over decades.