South Florida condo purchasers are buying in bulk

Condo buyers have sprung into action in South Florida, but with a shaky market, the investment is risky.

Miami-Dade’s existing condo sales in May were up more than 70 percent compared with the same month last year.


Backed by a multibillion-dollar private equity firm in New York, a team of Miami investors and strategists launched Lionheart Capital this year looking to scoop up choice South Florida condos at rock-bottom prices.

In its first deal, the firm plunked down $120 million this month to buy up 146 units at the 2700 North Ocean Drive towers on Singer Island in Palm Beach County.

It marked the 50th bulk condo purchase in South Florida in the last two years, according to analysis by Peter Zalewski, a principal of the real estate consultancy Condo Vultures.

New figures released Tuesday by the trade group Florida Realtors indicate that investors like Lionheart may be getting into South Florida’s fragile condo market at an opportune time — but they also could be in for a long wait before condo prices return to pre-recession levels.

Single-family homes prices may have already begun to rise, with prices increasing for the second month in a row in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the Florida Realtors’ report found.

Miami-Dade’s existing condo sales in May were up more than 70 percent compared with the same month last year, with 972 units sold. That’s an increase of 34 percent over April. But with plenty of inventory still on the market, condo prices were still down, dipping 10 percent to $126,100, the trade group’s report found.

In Broward, median condo prices increased for the first time in more than three years, rising 1 percent to $81,500 in May. Year-over-year sales were up 21 percent to 965.

“We’ve seen a decline in inventory and increase in sales, and when you’ve got those two graphs going in a positive direction, it’s a good sign,” said Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors.

With signs of improvement trickling in for South Florida’s beleaguered housing market, investors that have large piles of cash at their disposal are seeking bulk deals, with plans to flip condo units for a profit post-rebound.

Options are limited for prime downtown Miami and Miami Beach locations, so many bulk buyers are being pushed to consider deals farther north, with Palm Beach County in the spotlight, Zalewski said.

Ophir Sternberg, managing partner of Lionheart Capital, said the choice to buy units at 2700 North Ocean in bulk allowed the investors to get a competitive price while the market was still down. The company is currently looking at other bulk deal options in South Floria, Sternberg said.

“We’ve been intensively searching the South Florida market for about a year for a high-quality oceanfront deal,” he said. “When we found this one, there was nothing better in terms of quality and location.”

Lionheart paid about $250 per square foot in the bulk purchase, about $803,500 per unit.

While only 96 of the 342 units in the luxury towers have sold in the past two years, current condo owners at 2700 North Ocean paid an average of $1.47 million per unit, or $520 per square foot, the Condo Vultures report found.

Sternberg said he planned to take some time to study the property, then begin a new marketing campaign in the fall to start filling the units.

In the last two years, bulk buyers have bought up more than 4,800 units in South Florida, paying a total of about about $1.5 billion, the Condo Vultures report shows.

These bulk purchases tend to boost sales numbers but keep median prices down, since they are often bought at a discount.

In Miami-Dade, year-over-year home sales were up 22 percent at 727, and the median home price increased by 1 percent to $196,700.

In Broward, sales were down 6 percent compared to May 2009, but prices rose to $216,400, a 14 percent increase compared to last year.

Florida’s single-family home sales also showed some positive signs in May, increasing 18 percent over the same month last year. Median prices, however, dipped 2 percent to $140,400.

Nationally, single-family home sales increased 19 percent over the year, and median price was $179,600 in May, up 2.7 percent from May 2009.

But Zalewski, who monitors local transactions on a weekly basis, says there is reason to be cautious about the state and national numbers, which are lagging indicators.

More recent reports by his team found that the inventory of single-family homes, town houses and condos on the market has been increasing in South Florida for the past three weeks, a strange turn after nearly two years of steadily decreasing numbers of homes for sale.

It could be a signal that homeowners who are not in foreclosure but have been waiting patiently for a rebound, may be beginning to put their homes back on the market. If inventory continues to increase over the next few weeks, it would be an ominous sign that the industry is headed for a stalled recovery, Zalewski said, emphasizing that additional inventory could keep home prices down in the months ahead.

“If we have six weeks in a row of [increasing inventory], we could be in trouble,” he said. “This might be a sign of a double dip.”

Bulk Condo Sales Miami


Brickell Key Miami Condos Sale Rent

On June 23, 2010, in Uncategorized, by dienerph


Brickell Key condo for Sale or Rent

When you purchase or lease a Brickell Key Condo you are essentially ensuring that every vacation you spend in Miami will be fun filled, enjoyable and memorable. Moreover, if you decide to permanently reside in a Brickell Key Condo, you will be moving to an area that gives you access to everything you need to live a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle. If you are looking to live in the very lap of luxury then you will want to check out the Brickell Key Condos for sale. Brickell Key Condos are situated right along the waterfront and nowadays, a condo on the waterfront of Miami Beach is the place to be if you are looking for the very best of everything. Conveniently situated smack dab in the middle of Miami?s greatest activity, Brickell Key Condos give their owners immediate access to a variety of resources. Brickell Key Condos are not very far from the Miami International Airport and vacationers can be in their condos in less than fifteen minutes from the time they arrive in Miami. Likewise, after unpacking, in fewer than 20 minutes vacationers can be on the Miami Beach having fun in the sun if they own one of the many Brickell Key Condos for sale.

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Brickell Key One Condo

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Carbonell Condo Brickell Key

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Courts condo Brickell Key

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Courvoisier Courts Condo Brickell Key

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Isola condo Brickell Key

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St Louis condo Brickell Key

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Tequesta Point One Condo

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Tequesta Point Two Condo

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Asia Condo Brickell Key

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Navarre Park Coral Gables

On June 15, 2010, in Uncategorized, by dienerph

Navarre Park Condo

Navarre Park Condo Miami
The Navarre Park Condo located in the “City Beautiful” of Coral Gables is a real find. Featuring a distinctive Coral Gables architecture, beautifully finished condos, assigned parking and great location. Navarre Park Condos are located at 290 Navarre Ave. Within close distance to the heart of Coral Gables known for its fine dining and shops. With its cozy and serene surroundings, the Navarre Park condo will surely make you feel at home. Navarre Park condo is built more like a boutique condominium tower with only 15 total units. Navarre Park has a selection of units that puts creativity and choice.

Navarre Park Condo


Brickell Key Two – Market Snapshot

On June 15, 2010, in Uncategorized, by dienerph

Brickell Key Two Condo Home Page

Over the past year, sales at Brickell Key Two have remained pretty constant. With inventory slightly lower than that of a year ago. March 2010 saw the greatest movement with only 4 units sold.

Brickell Key Two Condo is a great building with full amenities.


The 2700 North Ocean condominiums on Signer Island

By Alexandra Clough

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Builder Dan Catalfumo has managed to get out from under his 2700 North Ocean condominium on Singer Island in Riviera Beach by selling the project’s unsold units in bulk. And he did it in a way that releases him from a whopping $86 million mortgage – and gives him more than $25 million in cash to boot.

"He did really well," said Kevin Dickenson of Prudential Florida Realty in Palm Beach Gardens.

At a time when many condo developers are losing their properties to foreclosure, Catalfumo’s exit from the clutches of the housing crisis is pretty amazing. It’s also reminiscent of Catalfumo’s amazing victory in a stickier matter some years ago. Some might recall when the millionaire builder was on trial in 2005, accused of beating his then-fiancée, Heather Hill, at his house in 2003. The high-profile case, with its parade of lawyers and sordid allegations of violence, ended with a not guilty verdict by a panel of six jurors.

Back then, Catalfumo’s freedom was at risk. With the 2700 North Ocean deal, the only thing at stake was money. But it was a lot of money, reportedly millions of dollars from Catalfumo’s own wallet.

Now Catalfumo is free to focus on other projects, including the ongoing Ocean Mall mixed-use project, under construction on Singer Island.

For those into schadenfreude (glee at another’s misfortune), Catalfumo still faces problems with his commercial portfolio. Several of his buildings are in foreclosure, including the prominent PGA Design Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

But the 2700 North Ocean sale certainly gives Catalfumo breathing room. It’s also an opportunity for the property’s new owners, who are eager to take hold of this luxury condo.

On June 4, Lionheart Capital LLC of Miami closed on the purchase of 146 units in the 242-unit twin-tower beachfront condo. The $120 million price tag included the assumption of an $86 million mortgage from Fifth Third Bank, more than $25 million in cash paid to Catalfumo, plus various closing costs and commissions.

Lionheart consists of Flagler Group of Miami, a real estate firm with expertise in condo-hotels, plus two investment firms. One is Elliott Management, a prominent New York private investment firm with $16.9 billion in assets under management. The other, OZ Holdings, is a Miami-based private investment firm.

The broker on the deal was Mark Pordes of Pordes Associates in Aventura. Earlier this year, he was selling units at the nearby Marina Grande condominium in Riviera Beach when he said he approached Catalfumo about a possible bulk sale. Pordes said his sister, Mindy, knew of the Flagler Group in Miami, a real estate group with experience in condo-hotels.

At the time, Flagler and OZ were looking for a high-quality condo deal. "It’s a great location, quality construction and the best beachfront property we could find that was available," said Ophir Sternberg, OZ founder and managing partner of Lionheart.

Indeed, Sternberg said he paid Catalfumo millions of dollars above the loan’s value because "we felt Catalfumo had significant equity." Catalfumo was out of town last week and could not be reached for comment.

As for the future, Sternberg said the company still is studying the property, as well as the reasons for the slow sales. Of course, the building’s launch during the midst of the recession in 2008 didn’t help. The property’s condo units also are expensive, ranging from $900,000 to more than $3 million, with some penthouse units in the $7 million range. Lionheart plans to launch a new condo sales campaign in the fall. Sternberg said Lionheart also is looking for other deals in South Florida.

  • The play for the Palm Beach Mall is garnering national interest.

Real estate sources say buyers from coast to coast are ogling the property, now that word has leaked that ORIX doesn’t control all the land at the Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard site.

An affiliate of Turbo Investments of Luxembourg recently signed a deal to buy the Dillard’s building, land and parking rights for an undisclosed sum. ORIX, a Japanese financial services group, took control of the rest of the mall through its recent foreclosure of the West Palm Beach property.

Turbo’s presence could delay efforts to redevelop the 90-acre property along Interstate 95 into a "lifestyle center" containing shops and restaurants. This is because Turbo’s investment would have to be bought out before the Dillard’s pad could be redeveloped.

Bulk Condo Salas Miami Home Page


Carbonell Condo Brickell Key Miami | sale rent 

Carbonell Brickell Key Condo Features

The home of Carbonell is Brickell, a distinction that puts you right in the middle of the bustling business areas and shopping plazas, meaning you won’t need to travel very far from Carbonell to find trendy shops and eateries. The Carbonell condo is also close to Downtown Miami’s attractions, family friendly Key Biscayne and is minutes from Miami Beach. Choosing the Carbonell puts you in a central location near the best of Miami.

Carbonell Condo Brickell Key Miami | sale rent


Brickell Key Condos

On June 4, 2010, in Uncategorized, by dienerph

Brickell Key Condos

  • Brickell Key One (built in 1982)
  • Brickell Key II (built in 1991)
  • Isola Condo (built in 1990)
  • St. Louis Condo (built in 1995)
  • One Tequesta Point (built in 1995)
  • Two Tequesta Point (built in 1999)
  • Three Tequesta Point (built in 2001)
  • Courvoisier Courts (built in 1997)
  • The Courts Brickell Key (built in 2002)
  • Carbonell (built in 2005)
  • Asia (built in 2008)
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    Condo developers have sky-high dreams for Brickell area

    Construction on a 35-story condo tower is set to begin in July in Miami’s Brickell corridor. SkyPalace developers hope it will pump new life into the area’s real estate market.

    Isos Stamelos-Monroe, vice president of sales and managing broker of Skyline Equities Realty, stands on a balcony that faces the future site of a 35-story luxury condo, SkyPalace at Mary Brickell Village.


    Picture a lobby adorned with Roman columns, statues and a Swarovski crystal chandelier. Eleven stories above, a pool deck offers panoramic views of Brickell Avenue skyscrapers.

    Perching atop Publix at Mary Brickell Village, construction on SkyPalace, a new 35-story condominium tower, is slated to begin next month after three years of delay.

    Pending financing, Miami’s overheated condo market will get its latest infusion when the Mediterranean-style building is completed at the end of 2011. As the first residential building built in the Brickell corridor since the condo glut began, its developers hope it will pump new life into the area’s real estate market.

    “We want to be one of the only products available in the market upon delivery that’s new,” said Isos Stamelos-Monroe, 30, SkyPalace’s vice president of sales.

    To date, buyers — mostly foreign investors and second-home purchasers — have put contracts on 190 of the 369 units, priced from $249,000 to $2.5 million, he said.

    That’s a positive step for both the project and the market, said real estate analyst Michael Y. Cannon.

    “This is a sign that if they are successful in getting presales, and the construction lender lends, hopefully the market has made its turn,” said Cannon, executive director of Integra Realty Resources-Miami.

    Stamelos-Monroe is counting on existing condo inventory in the area to be absorbed and mortgages to be more readily available by the time buyers close on SkyPalace units.

    A March report by Goodkin Consulting and Focus Real Estate Advisors shows that 22,079 new condos were delivered in Miami’s downtown corridor, including Brickell, from 2003 through early 2010. More than 70 percent of that inventory has now been absorbed, leaving 7,500 new condos available in the downtown corridor.


    But Jack Winston, principal with Goodkin Consulting in Miami, said SkyPalace will have a “tough sell.” Since the recession began, condo sales have been sluggish and have only begun picking up this year due to bulk sales and sharp discounts.

    “In this kind of environment, to absorb [7,500 condo units] is certainly going to take longer than the 18 months it will take to finish the building,” Winston said, adding that mortgages for end-buyers may still be hard to find.

    Key to SkyPalace’s sales, Cannon said, will be highly competitive pricing. So far, Stamelos-Monroe said, recent presales have averaged $320 per square foot.

    “That’s about what market prices are for the rollback of prices of existing inventory of better buildings,” Cannon said. “So it sounds like they are in the right price range.”

    It has taken several years to get to this point.

    Skyline Equities Realty initially bought a build-to-suit project for the tower above Publix in Mary Brickell Village from Fairfield Residential in 2004.

    Due to delays in the construction of the village, Fairfield didn’t begin construction in 2007, as planned. So Skyline Equities Realty negotiated a purchase of the air rights — the rights to build above the planned Publix — for less than $9 million, said Stamelos-Monroe, who is also director of acquisitions for Skyline Equities Realty, and the grandson of the companies’ CEO, Evangeline Gouletas.

    Preconstruction sales of SkyPalace had already begun in 2004, continuing through 2006. But in early 2007, as construction continued to be delayed amid problems pulling permits and troubled real estate and financial markets, Skyline “needed to buy time,” Stamelos-Monroe said.