Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kids of boomers smarter about housing

NEW YORK – Oct. 31, 2012 – Members of Generation Y believe the recent housing slump has made them more knowledgeable about homeownership than their parents were at their age, based on 1,001 responses to a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate poll.

Nearly 70 percent of the 18- to 35-year-olds say they’re savvier about owning than Baby Boomers were at the same age. And most of them – about 75 percent – still recognize the value of homeownership and consider it an indicator of success.

Buying a first home isn’t easy, however. Despite affordable home prices and favorable borrowing costs, 69 percent of survey respondents said they would wait to make a purchase until they can afford a home and it doesn’t disrupt their lifestyles. Some 40 percent said they would work a second job to save for a home, while 23 percent would move back in with their parents to prepare financially for ownership.

“They’re not going to end up getting into a situation that they’ve seen … where they can’t keep the house because they cannot afford it any longer,” says Matt Rand of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, a New Jersey-New York-based brokerage of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. Members of Gen Y “are living at home with their parents, but this [survey] suggests they’re being strategic in living at home – not because they’re slacking.”

Source: MarketWatch (10/22/12) Hoak, Amy

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
 

Buffett’s firm buys Prudential real estate network

OMAHA, Neb. – Oct. 31, 2012 – Warren Buffett’s company said Tuesday that it is buying the Prudential and Real Living real estate franchise and launching a new brokerage brand for those agents.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s real estate unit is acquiring the network from Brookfield Asset Management. Berkshire’s HomeServices of America and Brookfield will launch Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices next year and begin switching agents to the new firm.

Buffett said he’s happy to lend Berkshire’s name and financial strength to the new company, which will be based in Irvine, Calif., and be led by a team of executives from Prudential Real Estate.

“I am confident that these partners will deliver value to the residential real estate industry, and I am pleased to have Berkshire Hathaway be a part of the new brand,” Buffett said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Berkshire’s HomeServices of America will be the majority owner. HomeServices already owns local brokerages with 16,000 real estate agents in 21 states.

HomeServices, which is part of Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy unit, played the lead role in the deal with Buffett offering final approval on the use of the Berkshire Hathaway name, MidAmerican spokeswoman Ann Thelen said.

HomeServices Chairman and CEO Ron Peltier said the deal gives the company a national franchise network with more than 53,000 agents to complement its local brokerages. Peltier said in an interview that he wanted to acquire a national franchise because building one would be too costly and take several years.

The Prudential and Real Living brands will be eliminated over the next couple of years.

“The strategy going forward is to migrate the franchises over to one super brand: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” Peltier said. That will help the company build one main brand online under the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices banner.

Peltier said the independent local brokers that HomeServices already owns won’t be forced to switch affiliation to the new franchise network, but they will begin noting they are owned by Berkshire Hathaway. For example CBS Home Real Estate in Omaha will keep its name, but add that it’s a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.

Peltier said that will help ensure that both the independent brokers it owns and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices locations will show up in Internet searches.

Berkshire owns roughly 80 subsidiaries, including railroad, clothing, furniture and jewelry firms, but its insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of the company’s net income. The Omaha, Neb., company also has major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co., IBM and Wells Fargo & Co.

Brookfield, based in Toronto, manages more than $150 billion worth of utility, infrastructure and real estate assets.
AP Logo Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press, Josh Funk, AP business writer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Insurers: Losses from Sandy won’t hit Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Oct. 31, 2012 – Insurance experts said Tuesday that home and business owners in Florida should not be affected by insured losses suffered when super storm Sandy ripped through much of the Atlantic seaboard and the Northeast.

Sam Miller of the Florida Insurance Council said the Florida market is dominated by state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., local insurers who operate only in Florida, and a smaller number of Florida-only subsidiaries under a few national carriers.

“The price of homeowner’s coverage in Florida in the private market is predominantly driven by scientific estimates of the costs of exposure,” said Miller, FIC executive vice president. “Hurricane Sandy will not have a direct impact on these estimates.”

Lynne McChristian of the Insurance Information Institute (III) said Sandy’s effect on reinsurance markets should be minimal since much of the damage is from water, and that is covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.

“Rates charged for insurance in Florida are exclusively based on past and expected losses that occur within our state,” said III’s McChristian.

Both said Sandy shouldn’t have a dramatic effect on the cost of reinsurance either.

“Reinsurers enter Hurricane Sandy with historically high levels of capital, and access to increasing sources of additional private sector capital,” Miller said. “Reinsurers, rating agencies and analysts expect vigorous, comprehensive competitive conditions to prevail in 2013, even considering potentially significant regional losses from Hurricane Sandy.”

However, Florida business and homeowners have experienced sharp increases in recent years on property policies although the state has not seen a hurricane since Wilma in October 2005.

All increases on property insurance premiums must be approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), which is recent years has consistently given its OK to hikes – often times by double digit amounts.

OIR spokesman Jack McDermott said it would likely be January at the earliest before regulators would see how insurers respond to losses from Sandy in future rate requests.

“We may begin seeing some impacts of the storm at that time,” McDermott said.
AP Logo Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press, Brent Kallestad.
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How will Sandy affect economy?

 
NEW YORK – Oct. 30, 2012 – Hurricane Sandy shut down Wall Street and disrupted business activity throughout the populous Northeast but it’s not expected to have a significant impact on the nation’s economic growth.

Economic losses from the storm will likely exceed the $12 billion to $16 billion in damage from Hurricane Irene, which battered the Northeast in August 2011, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics,

Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, estimates Sandy will result in $35 billion to $45 billion in total losses. Eqecat, which does catastrophic risk models, projects $10 billion to $20 billion in total economic damages, about half insured.

But property damage will be repaired, and lost economic output will largely be offset by other increased activity as residents rushed into stores to prepare for the hurricane.

“Assuming the storm creates havoc for no more than a few days, there should be little impact on fourth-quarter” gross domestic product, Zandi says. He hasn’t revised his forecast for annualized growth of 1.9 percent this quarter.

The storm forced the New York Stock Exchange to extend Monday’s closing to Tuesday – the first unplanned shutdown since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Port of New York and New Jersey, whose terminals make up the third-busiest container port in the country, also was temporarily shuttered and evacuated. And a Phillips 66 refinery in Linden, N.J. and a Hess refinery in Port Reading, N.J., closed.

The potential damage to homes from Hurricane Sandy-driven storm surges is likely to be greater than it was last year for Hurricane Irene, says Tom Jeffrey, senior hazard scientist for real estate market watcher CoreLogic. All told, nearly 284,000 residential properties valued at almost $88 billion are at risk for potential storm surge damage among the coastal Mid-Atlantic states, CoreLogic estimates.

Many people are not insured against such losses. But many homes in flood-prone areas are required to have flood insurance to get a loan.

The hurricane also means lost wages, production and sales for businesses throughout the region, which makes up about 15 percent of the nation’s economy. Business lost by department stores could be made up in coming weeks but lost restaurant sales will not be recovered, says Diane Swonk, chief economist of Mesirow Financial. At the same time, grocery stores and home-improvement outlets are realizing net gains as customers stock up on water, generators, flashlights and batteries.

Retailers did see an uptick in online sales during Hurricane Irene in August 2011, says Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s online division. Any increase, however, was likely more than offset by the decline in in-store sales during that storm, she says.

Swonk says homeowners forced to repair damage will likely make further renovations that they’ve put off, boosting economic growth.

The storm is “unleashing pent-up demand,” she says. “It’s the most perverse stimulus to the economy.”

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Paul Davidson, Jayne O’Donnell and Julie Schmit
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Friday, October 26, 2012

U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.41%

Mortgage Rate Trend Index
Most mortgage experts (53%) surveyed this week by Bankrate.com expect little change in rates over the short term, while the rest split fairly evenly: 27% expect a decrease while 20% foresee an increase.
WASHINGTON – Oct. 26, 2012 – Average U.S. mortgage rates rose only slightly this week and continued to hover near record lows, a trend that has helped boost home sales and refinancing.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage edged up to 3.41 percent, from 3.37 last week. Three weeks ago, the rate touched 3.36 percent. That’s the lowest level on records dating to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, often used for refinancing, rose to 2.72 percent. That’s up from last week’s record low of 2.66 percent.

The rate on the 30-year loan has remained below 4 percent all year, helping drive a modest housing recovery. And rates have fallen even further since the Federal Reserve started buying mortgage bonds in September to try to encourage more borrowing and spending.

Home sales have increased from last year, and prices are rising more consistently in most areas. Builders are more confident and starting more homes. Lower rates have also persuaded more people to refinance. That typically leads to lower monthly mortgage payments and more spending.

This week brought more positive news on the housing front. U.S. sales of new homes jumped last month to the highest level in more than two years, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. And slightly more Americans signed contracts last month to buy homes, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

Still, the housing market has a long way to a full recovery. And many people are unable to take advantage of the low rates, either because they can’t qualify for stricter lending rules or they lack the money to meet larger down payment requirements.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.7 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for 15-year loans also held steady at 0.6 point.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage slipped to 2.59 percent from 2.60 percent. The fee for one-year adjustable rate loans remained at 0.4 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.75 percent. The fee also was unchanged, at 0.6 point.
AP LogoCopyright © 2012 The Associated Press, Marcy Gordon, AP business writer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

US new home sales reach 2-year high

 
HIGHER SALES: U.S. sales of new homes jumped last month to the highest level in more than two years, the latest evidence of a sustained housing recovery that could boost the sluggish economy.
 
SUSTAINED GAINS: New home sales rose 5.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000. That's the highest since April 2010, when a federal homebuyer tax credit inflated sales. Sales have risen 27.1 percent in the past year.
 
MORE NEEDED: There are other signs the housing market is recovering, such as rising home prices. But new home sales are still below the 700,000 annual pace that is consistent with a healthy market.

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Fla. ranks 27th in state, local taxes paid

WASHINGTON – Oct. 24, 2012 – New Yorkers faced the highest state and local tax burden in the country (12.8 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes) in fiscal year 2010, while residents of Alaska can celebrate the lowest (7 percent), according to a new study by the Tax Foundation. Between those two extremes – both consistent over several years – a number of states in the middle of the pack have seen significant fluctuations.

Florida falls close to average. In the Sunshine State, residents paid 9.3 percent of their income in state and local taxes during fiscal 2012, according to the Tax Foundation study.

The nation as a whole paid 9.9 percent, the most recent year for which data is available. That percentage is consistent with the total from 2009 but down significantly from 10.3 percent in 1977 – the first year the Tax Foundation did estimates.

After New York, the states with the next highest state and local burden are New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Wisconsin. Following Alaska up the list of states with the smallest burden are South Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana and Wyoming.

The Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking report estimates the average total tax burden for residents of each state. It includes in-state taxes and also taxes paid to other states, such as those paid by residents who work in other states or cross borders to shop. The Tax Foundation says it studies taxes from the taxpayer’s perspective and counts all taxes paid, which differs from many studies that measure tax income recorded by state tax collectors.

“Some states are able to shift significant portions of their tax burdens to nonresidents, with Alaska being the most aggressive,” says Tax Foundation economist Elizabeth Malm. “The Last Frontier is able to export over 75 percent of its tax collections to residents of other states, by virtue of taxes on oil extraction. Major tourist destinations like Nevada and Florida are able to lower residents’ burden by taxing tourists, who are often nonresidents. Nationwide, over a quarter of all state and local taxes are collected from nonresidents.”

The complete tax study is posted on the
Tax Foundation website.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Investment firms eye single-family rentals

NEW YORK – Oct. 23, 2012 – As homeownership rates continue to fall, a new type of single-family homebuyer has emerged: large corporate investors.

With house values still depressed in many areas, investment funds and real estate trusts have been scooping up thousands of foreclosures across the U.S. in hopes of managing houses the same way large real estate funds hold apartment complexes and office buildings.

That trend has accelerated recently as Fannie Mae announced its first two bulk sales of foreclosed homes to investment companies, selling 94 Chicago properties and 699 in Florida to firms that have pledged to rent them for at least three years.

The federal mortgage-finance giant expects to sell nearly 2,000 units, the majority of them single-family homes, as part of a pilot program to stabilize cities hit hard by the housing crisis and to lighten its portfolio of foreclosed houses, which in June numbered about 109,000.

“We’re in unprecedented times,” said Don Cogsville, chief executive of The Cogsville Group, an investment company that bought the Chicago houses.

Until now, his firm has focused on distressed commercial properties and multi-family housing complexes.

“We view (single-family housing) as a real continuation of our strategy,” Cogsville said, adding that his company wants to buy more homes to gain economies of scale needed to manage scattered properties. “It is different, but it’s doable.”

Cogsville offered $11.8 million on the Chicago homes, putting $2 million down and agreeing to pay the rest over time by splitting rental income with Fannie Mae.

What remains to be seen is how the new ownership will affect neighborhoods, and how long investment firms will stick around if prices rebound.

“No one really has a crystal ball as to how this is all going to play out,” Cogsville said. “Time will tell the commitment institutions make to these local markets. But right now, institutional capital coming in is really going to help stabilize these communities.”

The bulk sales have drawn some critics. The California Association of Realtors has said Fannie Mae’s program takes ownership out of local hands and fails to publicly disclose the exact locations and sale prices of the properties bought by investors.

Some also worry a glut of rentals will hurt neighborhoods.

“We need home buyers in the properties,” said Sharon Bowler, chairwoman of the California Association of Realtors’ distressed property task force. “When you put this amount of rentals in one community, your housing values are going to drop.”

But studies show clusters of empty homes can invite crime and hurt home values.

“There’s growing evidence that vacant, abandoned foreclosed properties are not good for communities,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, co-director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, who has studied how foreclosures affect neighborhoods. “It’s surely a lot better to have a renter in a property than have a property that’s vacant.”

In 2011, homeownership dropped to 64.6 percent, the lowest in the past seven years, according to Census Bureau data. Single-family homes have steadily become a larger share of the rental market, rising from 30.8 percent in 2005 to 34.1 percent of all rental properties in 2011.

About two-thirds of the nation’s metro regions saw the number of single-family rentals grow by at least 10 percent in the past seven years. Roughly half – including Phoenix, San Diego, Indianapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Orlando – saw the number of owner-occupied homes shrink in the same period.

Institutional investors are poised to become a bigger force in the housing market in the months to come.

In September, the newly formed Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp. became the first entity to seek an IPO for its single-family-home real estate trust. It hopes to raise $287.5 million. Two Harbors Investment Corp., which spent $150 million this year to enter the single-family market, contributed its portfolio of homes to the new venture. It partnered with another investment firm to create a pool of 2,250 houses in five states by the end of August, according to a regulatory filing.

That level of spending isn’t unusual, or even that large. In June, Colony Capital officials told USA TODAY they planned to invest $1.5 billion in the single-family rental market in the upcoming year.

Colony owns about 3,000 houses, and expects to own and manage 15,000 to 20,000 houses by the end of 2013, the company said.

“It may sound like a lot, but if you put it in perspective here, we have a million foreclosures a year,” said Mark Willis, the Furman Center’s resident research fellow. He’s heard other firms talking about similar scales of operation: “Ten thousand is a number they all like.”

Other companies also have plans for expansion. In Phoenix, American Residential Properties President Laurie Hawkes said her company, with more than 1,500 houses in five states, hopes to take its real estate investment trust (REIT) public next year.

Many say the job would be impossible without sophisticated database systems and a careful eye on which properties they scoop up. Picking the right market – one with deteriorated home values but a rosy economic outlook – also matters. Hawkes said that made Phoenix, for instance, a better market for institutional homeownership than some Rust Belt cities.

Compared with renters in complexes, single-family renters tend to be older, have children and have higher incomes.

“We appeal to families,” Hawkes said. “Many of them are former homeowners. They are people who still want to have houses to live in.”

Left to be seen is how many firms stay in the single-family rental business. If sales prices increase, it could cut off discount buying, and make it more tempting for companies to sell their stock of homes. Eventually, many rentals could return to owner occupancy.

Census data show the largest percentage drop-off in homeownership is among those under 35. That indicates people are putting off buying, not abandoning it altogether, Ellen said.

“We think of single-family homes as owner occupied,” she said. “But those homes transition in and out. I don’t think these properties are now permanently rental properties. There’s nothing about becoming a rental that means they can’t transition back.”

Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Meghan Hoyer

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Who’s moving in? Adult kids, aging parents

WASHINGTON – Oct. 22, 2012 – Almost a third of homeowners expect their grown children or aging parents to eventually move in with them, according to a survey by one of the nation’s largest homebuilders.

About one in seven say they already have a “boomerang kid” – an adult child who moves back home – or elderly parent living under their roof.

The survey out today of more than 1,000 homeowners by PulteGroup, builder of everything from starter homes to upscale residences and Del Webb adult communities, shows that the rise in multi-generational households may continue.

“It’s an enormous change,” says Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders. “I remember when I was in college, no one wanted to be near their parents.”

A Pew Research report earlier this year showed that the share of Americans living in multi-generational households is at its highest since the 1950s. Young adults ages 25 to 34 are most likely to return to the nest. Almost 22 percent of young adults were living at home in 2010, up from 16 percent in 2000 and rising the most since the recession that began in 2007 and technically ended in 2009.

Average family size has gone up more than 3 percent since 2000, largely a result of tough economic times. The rise in immigrants from countries accustomed to several generations living together also pushed the number.

These demographic shifts are altering the needs of homebuyers and prompting homebuilders to create new floor plans. We’re looking at housing now for usable space,” says Deborah Wahl Meyer, PulteGroup’s chief marketing officer. “How do we make it practical?”

Pulte’s online survey shows that finances often drive these household arrangements. It also found many households where parents moved back in to strengthen family bonds.

Pulte is testing different features to appeal to the “new” American family of Mom, Dad, adult child and older parent and sometimes grandchildren.

Out: showy and dramatic living rooms and fancy dining rooms that are rarely used, Meyer says.

In: More than one master suite to accommodate adult relatives – often one upstairs and one downstairs. And an open family-office space off the kitchen where the kids do homework or parents pay bills online.

Connie Kirby and husband Evon, a retired New York City detective, bought a Pulte home in Mesa, Ariz., a year ago. They live with their three children (ages 16, 14, 11), his father and a nephew, 21, in a six-bedroom, 4,400-square-foot home.

“It was easier and more economical to move in together,” says Connie, 44, a travel agent.

“Our neighbor has three generations in their house.” She expects her kids to stay when they’re adults or leave and come back.

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY
 

Construction in 4 Fla. cities up 9.6%

CHICAGO – Oct. 22, 2012 – For major-metro regions in Florida – Jacksonville, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Tallahassee, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – had an increase in actively bid construction projects, according to the third-quarter BidClerk Construction Index (BCI). This increase covered both private and public construction projects that grew year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter.

Overall, Florida actively bid construction activity increase of 9.6 percent compared to one year earlier. Private construction rose 19 percent, while public construction rose 4.3 percent.

In a quarter-over-quarter analysis for all construction projects, the major-metro regions in Florida saw an increase of 12.3 percent. Third-quarter public projects saw an increase of 20.8 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012, while private projects increased 1.4 percent.

Miami
In a year-over-year analysis for the Miami region, actively bid public and private construction projects rose 10.8 percent compared to one year ago. Private projects increased 22.4 percent and public projects increased 4.4 percent.

Quarter-over-quarter, combined private and public construction projects in Miami increased 12.3 percent. Private projects rose 2.8 percent and public projects rose 19.3 percent.

Orlando
In a year-over-year analysis for the Orlando region, actively bid public and private construction projects dropped 4.4 percent compared to one year ago. Private projects decreased 3.1 percent and public projects decreased 5.6 percent.

Quarter-over-quarter, combined private and public construction projects in Orlando decreased 3.3 percent. Private projects decreased 4.5 percent and public projects dropped 2.2 percent.

Tampa-St. Pete
In a year-over-year analysis for the Tampa-St. Pete region, actively bid public and private construction projects rose 24.5 percent compared to one year ago. Private projects increased 23.7 percent and public projects increased 24.9 percent.

Quarter-over-quarter, combined private and public construction projects in Tampa-St. Pete increased 16.9 percent. Private projects decreased 9.1 percent and public projects rose 37.8 percent.

Nationally, actively bid combined public and private construction projects increased 3 percent in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the same quarter a year ago. Third quarter 2012 public construction increased modestly, rising just 0.2 percent, while third quarter 2012 private construction rose 12.3 percent, year-over-year.

BidClerk, a provider of construction project data and marketing tools for building product manufacturers, contractors and distributors, releases the BidClerk Construction Index quarterly.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®
 

Neighbors wait, worry as banks take longer to sell foreclosed homes

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 22, 2012 – A neighborhood’s chances of recovering quickly from the hung-over U.S. housing market depend not only on how many foreclosed homes it has but also, it seems, on which banks own the properties.

Bank of America, for instance, takes almost two months longer on average to sell a foreclosed property than EverBank Financial does, according to new, nationwide data from the research company RealtyTrac Inc. And BofA, the lending giant that inherited many of its troubled mortgages when it bought Countrywide Financial in 2008, has been taking longer this year to sell its foreclosure properties than it took last year.

A lot of things can happen when long-abandoned houses sit on the market for additional months. By slowly releasing their foreclosed properties, for instance, some lenders have benefited from rising home prices this year; in the core Orlando market, prices are up 16 percent since the start of 2012.

But those long-held properties also rack up more unpaid association fees, overdue property taxes, repair costs, neighborhood complaints and even code-enforcement fines as the months wear on.

At Cranes Roost Villas in Altamonte Springs, the first thing residents and visitors see as they enter the gated community is a leaky corner unit draped in blue tarp so long that the plastic sheeting has started to disintegrate.

“Bank of America put a bright-blue tarp on top of roof rather than repair it,” said longtime resident Richard Campanaro. “Half of it has blown off. It would make a wonderful haunted house if you wanted to do something for Halloween. It’s terrible – I wouldn’t even want to enter the property.”

Last year, it took Bank of America an average of 5.3 months to sell a foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. So far this year, it has averaged 6.7 months. Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo & Co., Ocwen Financial and Citigroup have also fallen further behind in selling their foreclosed properties. Through September, all of them were taking at least 20 percent longer than they took in 2011, based on RealtyTrac’s nationwide data.

Smaller banks appear to be more nimble when dealing with foreclosures, perhaps because they aren’t faced with nearly the same volume of properties, said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president. And mortgage servicers with portfolios of higher-end properties are better able to sell those homes than are companies saddled with less-desirable houses.

But the longer a bank-owned house sits idle during the foreclosure process, the deeper it falls into disrepair.

“Banks are not typically too willing to repair these homes, particularly if there are property flippers ready, willing and able to buy the more scratch-and-dent variety of homes and fix them up,” Blomquist said. According to RealtyTrac, the number of flippers is up 25 percent nationally and 34 percent in the Orlando area compared with a year ago.

Two nonprofit housing organizations recently filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, accusing Bank of America of failing to maintain foreclosed houses in 10 cities’ minority communities, including Orlando’s. The groups included photos of houses with unlocked doors, mold, interior walls spray-painted with graffiti, and piles of trash heaped outside.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based lending giant denied any wrongdoing and said it stands behind its property-maintenance-and-marketing practices. “Bank of America is committed to stabilizing and revitalizing communities that have been impacted by the economic downturn, foreclosures and property abandonment,” spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said.

Orlando Code Enforcement Officer Mike Rhodes said he sees repeated problems in low-income areas and elsewhere with houses owned by various lenders. A review of code violations within the city found that Wells Fargo had the greatest number of code infractions among the nation’s top five lenders.

A year ago, for instance, Orlando cited Wells Fargo for failing to secure a swimming pool at a foreclosed house in downtown Orlando. At the same house last month, Orlando cited Wells Fargo for overgrown landscaping and debris in the backyard. And just two weeks ago, Wells Fargo got a notice for broken front windows and black water in the pool.

Repeated safety violations at the same bank-owned houses have become such a recurrent theme for local governments that some of them, such as the city of Tampa, have considered establishing foreclosure registries, which require lenders pay $125 to register a property within 10 days of filing a foreclosure notice.

In registering a property, banks have to provide contact information for a property manager in case the house falls into disrepair and the local government – or the neighborhood’s community association – wants some action taken.

Rhodes said there has been some discussion about creating a registry in Orlando, but getting the properties “signed up” does not ensure the houses will be maintained. He said his staff already knows whom to call at most of the mortgage companies with foreclosures in the city, so he questions whether such a registration is necessary.

“You call a company in Texas that manages the assets of Wells Fargo, and they contact someone here,” Rhodes said. Calls, though, don’t always resolve the problems.

“We’ve got a situation in Parramore, the property is owned by Wells Fargo,” Rhodes said. “There are squatters, drugs being dealt and you name it.”

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said the company inspects foreclosures monthly, registers foreclosures as required, maintains abandoned houses and secures them.

“We occasionally receive code violations or concerns regarding the condition and maintenance of homes in our servicing portfolio that are not foreclosed,” the bank said in a written statement. “If the property in our servicing portfolio is delinquent and vacant, but has not yet gone to foreclosure sale, we will maintain and secure it.”

The time JP Morgan Chase takes to sell its foreclosed properties has held steady from last year to this year. Lisa Shepherd, vice president of Chase’s REO and Preservation unit, said the company has not changed its sales strategies in the past year but has been able to move more properties as it winnows its inventory.

“When there is less distress inventory in the market, we find there are more interested buyers,” Shepherd said. She added that Chase works with local real-estate agents and makes necessary repairs, taking into consideration the neighborhood overall.

Prospects for banks generally to work through their foreclosure inventory in Florida do not look promising. RealtyTrac projects that foreclosure filings in the state will continue to increase for the next six to 12 months, and that will likely increase the average time to sell for many of these lenders during the next year.

“However, because buyers and investors finally appear to be flocking to the market, pulled by low prices and interest rates, I don’t expect the influx in bank-owned inventory to cause a major dip in average prices,” said Blomquist, the RealtyTrac vice president.

Back in Altamonte Springs, Campanaro said it’s sad that he has grown accustomed to the shredded blue tarp that creates an eyesore at the entrance to his neighborhood.

What’s even sadder, he said, is what that does to the property values for residents trying to rebuild some equity in their homes.

Copyright © 2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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Friday, October 19, 2012

Fla.’s housing market continues upswing in Sept. 2012


ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 19, 2012 – Florida’s housing market had higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Florida’s real estate market is no longer in recovery mode – stability and growth gain solid footing,” said 2012 Florida Realtors President Summer Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Realtors across the state are reporting consistent increases in home sales and median prices, and multiple offers from buyers isn’t unusual. In fact, increasing buyer demand in many local markets is creating inventory shortages – and that’s putting pressure on prices. For sellers who may have been reluctant to enter the market, it’s now time to reconsider. Conditions are turning to a sellers’ market.”

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 15,643 in September, up 2 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed by not yet completed or closed – of existing single-family homes last month rose 40.1 percent over the previous September. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in September was $145,000, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in August 2012 was $188,700, up 10.2 percent from the previous year. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in August was $343,820; in Massachusetts, it was $317,750; in Maryland, it was $255,498; and in New York, it was $225,000.

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes-condos, a total of 7,329 units sold statewide last month, down slightly (-2.9 percent) from those sold in September 2011. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhome-condos in September increased 30.6 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $105,736, up 18.8 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in August 2012 was $176,700.

Last month, the inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months’ supply; inventory for townhome-condo properties was also at a 5.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors. Industry analysts note that a 5.5-months’ supply symbolically represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

“The onward march of Florida's housing market continues,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Inventories have now tilted to the point where we truly have a sellers’ market forming. Prices are up smartly and have been for quite a while. It’s getting to the point where Florida is the place to buy, but it may soon move out of reach for many households.”

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.47 percent in September 2012, lower than the 4.11 percent averaged during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors website (www.floridarealtors.org) and click on the Research page; then look under Latest Housing Data, Statewide Residential Activity and get the September report. Or go to Florida Realtors Media Center (http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and download the September 2012 data report PDF under Market Data. (http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data)

© 2012 Florida Realtors®
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A beautiful Aventura View

video

U.S. new home starts rose 15% in Sept.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 17, 2012 – U.S. builders started construction on single-family homes and apartments in September at the fastest rate since July 2008, a further indication that the housing recovery is strengthening.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that builders broke ground on homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September. That’s an increase of 15 percent from the August level.

Applications for building permits, a good sign of future construction, jumped nearly 12 percent to an annual rate of 894,000, also the highest since July 2008.

The strength in September came from both single-family construction, which rose 11 percent, and apartments, which increased 25.1 percent.

Construction activity is now 82.5 percent higher than the recession low hit in April 2009. Activity is still well below the roughly 1.5 million rate that is consistent with healthier markets.

Still, the surge in construction suggests builders believe the housing rebound is durable.

Builder confidence reached at a six-year high this month, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. The group’s index of builder sentiment rose to a reading of 41. While that’s still below the level of 50 that signals a healthy market, it has steadily climbed over the past year from a reading of 17.

Sales of new and previously owned homes have been slowly improving this year, and home prices are starting to show consistent gains.

Record-low mortgage rates have encouraged more people to buy. And the Federal Reserve’s aggressive policies could push long-term interest rates even lower, making home buying affordable for the foreseeable future.

Housing is expected to keep improving next year. But many economists say economic growth will stay muted until companies step up hiring and consumers start spending more.

Though new homes represent less than 20 percent of the housing sales market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to data from the home builders group.
AP Logo Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger, AP economics writer.
 

Smaller new iPad out next week?

McLEAN, Va. – Oct. 16, 2012 – There’s another new iPad in the works, and it’s expected to be unveiled by Apple next week.

The iPad Mini, as analysts refer to it, will have a smaller screen, similar to competing tablets from Samsung and Amazon – and a lower price.

The tablet will sell for $299, have a screen between 7 and 8 inches (down from 9.8 inches for the full-size iPad) and be available in a Wi-Fi-only version, predicts Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. Other iPads have both Wi-Fi and cellular service plans available.

Apple declined to comment.

A new, smaller iPad would come at a time when many companies are dramatically increasing their portfolio of smaller tablets – and finding success with buyers. Amazon just unleashed several new Kindle tablets, including a beefed up $199 Kindle Fire; Google and Samsung have the $199 Nexus 7. Both have 7-inch screens.

Microsoft, however, is taking a different path. It will launch its answer to the iPad, the Surface tablet, at a splashy event in New York on Oct. 26. No price has been announced for the Surface, which has a larger screen.

By not having a 7-inch model, “Apple is ceding 20 percent of the market to competitors,” says Munster.

Apple in the past has insisted that consumers prefer the large screen of its iPad. But now, says Munster, “There are some people who just naturally prefer having a smaller tablet,” and Apple can satisfy them.

Munster projects that Apple will sell 5 million to 10 million of the smaller iPads by the end of the year, depending on whether it can meet the expected demand. “If things go smoothly, it’s 10 million. If things don’t go well, it’s 5 million,” he says.

The new iPhone 5, which burst out of the gate three weeks ago with sales of 5 million phones, has been plagued by supply issues. Apple could sell way more phones if it had them, Munster says.

Apple introduced a new iPad in March. That successor to the iPad 2 sports a brighter, sharper screen and an improved video camera.

Nearly 75 million iPads have been sold since the tablet was introduced in 2010.

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Jefferson Graham.


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Realtors Property Resource nationwide Nov. 1

WASHINGTON – Oct. 16, 2012 – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) announced that Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) – a property database with technology tools and features for reports and analytics – will be accessible to Realtor members nationwide starting Nov. 1, 2012.

Access will give all association members one-stop access to public data and other information, NAR says. The public cannot access RPR – only Realtors.

The online system covers 147 million properties and offers information on mortgage and tax liens; school data, test scores and parent reviews; mapping by school zone, neighborhood, zip code, city, FEMA etc.; aerial photography and street-level views; Census, demographic and lifestyle data; and neighborhood information.

If a local MLS chooses to participate with RPR, listings can be accessed directly through RPR along with data relevant to that home, such as refined property facts, comparables and a Realtor Valuation Model (RVM). The RVM offers a snapshot of the home’s value based on RPR data.

NAR created a website that offers
more information about RPR. To sign up or use RPR, go to the Realtors Property Resource website. RPR also hosts a blog.

Florida is approved for an online RPR course and a class that includes CE credit.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®
 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Market Trends: Broward County - Southeast Florida MLS Board

This information is a combination of all residential properties.
Number of homes for Sale vs. Sold vs. Pended

Days on Market & Sold/List Price Ratio

All reports presented are based on data supplied by the Mid-Florida Regional MLS, Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Northwestern Dade Association of Realtor, Realtor Association of The Palm Beaches, Jupiter, Tequesta, Hobe Sound Association of Realtors, St. Lucie Association of Realtors, RMLS (direct members), Realtor Boards of Southwest Florida, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and The Beach, Suncoast MLS of PRO Biz, Inc. or their MLSs. Neither the Associations nor their MLSs guarantee or are in anyway responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Associations or their MLS may not reflect all real estate activities in the market. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed

Market Trends: Dade County - Southeast Florida MLS Board

This information is a combination of all residential properties.
Number of homes for Sale vs. Sold vs. Pended

Days on Market & Sold/List Price Ratio

All reports presented are based on data supplied by the Mid-Florida Regional MLS, Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Northwestern Dade Association of Realtor, Realtor Association of The Palm Beaches, Jupiter, Tequesta, Hobe Sound Association of Realtors, St. Lucie Association of Realtors, RMLS (direct members), Realtor Boards of Southwest Florida, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and The Beach, Suncoast MLS of PRO Biz, Inc. or their MLSs. Neither the Associations nor their MLSs guarantee or are in anyway responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Associations or their MLS may not reflect all real estate activities in the market. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Insurance pays if buyer dies before closing

MOBILE, Ala. – Oct. 15, 2012 – Many things can go wrong in a real estate deal between contract signing and closing, though accidental death of the buyer is rarely one of them.

Still, a new insurance product offers to give sellers peace of mind if the buyer dies unexpectedly. Called AssureClose, the insurance guarantees closing following the “accidental death of a buyer.” Should that happen, AssureClose buys the home.

According to AssureClose’s media release, the cost is less than $100 for an average home.

Should the buyer meet an unfortunate end, AssureClose gives the estate two options. Heirs can walk away with refunded deposits on the purchase, or they can buy the home themselves at a 10 percent discount.

For real state agents, AssureClose promises full payment of commissions, and it’s marketing the product, in part, to agents who wish to protect their commission and offer an added benefit to homebuyers.

Trawick International offers AssureClose, which is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London.

For more information, go to the
AssureClose website.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What to expect when you’re inspecting: Inspection Tips

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oct. 11, 2012 – Many homebuyers don’t understand how a home inspection works. Buyers should first understand an inspection isn’t adversarial. Everyone involved in the purchase – the buyer, the buyer’s agent and the listing agent – have the same goal, which is to move forward with a clean sales transaction.

Inspection tips

• The buyer, who hires and pays the inspector, should make sure the inspector is licensed. He or she should also read the seller’s disclosures and note any questions they have for the inspector.

• If possible, buyers should follow the inspector everywhere, including the roof and into the basement or crawlspace. However, buyers should understand that an inspector’s job is to note problems. He may not have all the answers, such as information about the cost of potential improvements.

• While the home listing agent advocates for the seller, the buyer’s Realtor should also take part in the inspection to help advise the buyer how to proceed if the inspector uncovers serious flaws.

• After the inspection, the buyer and his Realtor should examine the detailed inspection report and discuss the next step.

• Experts generally recommend that buyers not bring along a relative or friend who is a contractor. Since they’re not licensed property inspectors, contractors could raise unnecessary red flags that hamper the transaction.

Full inspection versus four-point inspection

For some older properties, mortgage lenders or insurers require a four-point inspection, which sounds as if it’s top of the line compared to, say, a one-point inspection that doesn’t actually exist. However, “four point” refers to the number of housing elements checked, not the quality of the inspection.

Since the cost of the four-point inspection is generally lower than a full inspection, some buyers cut corners to save money. However, they should understand what a four-point inspection does not cover.

In general, the elements covered in a four-point inspection are the ones that could cost a lot to repair should something go wrong shortly after a home purchase. They include: roofing, electrical work, heating-air conditioning systems and plumbing.

Other elements that can need repair in the early years of homeownership – such as appliances, hot water heaters, etc. – are not included in a four-point inspection.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®


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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Home prices build to new peaks in dozens of U.S. markets

 
WASHINGTON – Oct. 9, 2012 – As U.S. home prices begin to edge up after largely falling for years, prices in a smattering of cities are already at all-time highs, new data show.

More than 100 metropolitan areas hit their peak home prices in July and a few did in June, according to data through July from mortgage tracker Lender Processing Services. Those areas include Pittsburgh and Anchorage. Another 50 areas are within 2 percent of their previous peaks, LPS’ home price index shows, including: Austin; Denver and Boulder, Colo.; Indianapolis; and Portland, Maine.

Many cities whose prices are at or near peaks never experienced the large swings in prices, up and down, that marked the national market’s boom and bust in the past decade, says Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics chief economist. Those cities haven’t had as far to come back to hit highs.

Some of the markets have also risen in tandem with growing local economies, especially those built on strong energy and agricultural business.

All told, the 150 areas account for about 7 percent of the nation’s residential housing stock.

Their price trends are a stark contrast with prices in most of the country.

Nationally, July home prices were up 1.2 percent from a year ago. But they were still 30 percent below their 2006 peaks, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index of 20 leading cities.

But a look at a wider group of cities illuminates what Realtors have long maintained. National housing prices don’t always reflect what’s going on at a local level, where job growth, housing supply and other regional factors play big roles.

Most of the cities that are hitting highs now are smaller than the nation’s leading cities. Almost half are in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and North Dakota, the data show.

In Texas and Oklahoma, home prices didn’t rise as fast or as much as the U.S. average leading up to the bursting of the housing bubble, Moody’s Analytics’ research reports show.

“We’re been pretty steady in good and bad times,” says Ron Croushore, owner of Prudential Preferred Realty in Pittsburgh. Average prices there have been rising since 2010 after dipping only slightly, Croushore says.

Some of the cities have also been standout job creators. Pittsburgh and Denver, for instance, posted faster job growth than the average for 49 similar size cities from the first quarter of 2010 to the same quarter this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says. While LPS shows Denver 2 percent off its previous home price peak, Case-Shiller’s latest data show prices 5 percent off their 2006 peak.

Las Vegas prices are still 56 percent off the 2006 peak, LPS says. Other cities with July home prices more than 45 percent off former peaks include Cape Coral, Fla., and Riverside, Stockton and Bakersfield, Calif., LPS’ data show.

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Julie Schmit
 

Sellers have trouble estimating sales price

 
NEW YORK – Oct. 9, 2012 – Many homeowners think their home is worth a lot more than it really is, according to HomeGain’s third quarter 2012 National Home Values Survey Results of 300 real estate agents.
 
Seventy-seven percent of sellers say their home is worth more than their real estate agents’ recommended selling price, according to a survey of real estate agents.
 
Nearly 40 percent of real estate agents say homeowners believe their home value is 10 to 20 percent higher than it really is, with another 40 percent overestimating 1 to 9 percent. Only about six percent of homeowners underestimate the value of their home, believing it’s worth less.
 
Meanwhile, most homebuyers believe homes for sale are overpriced.
 
Twenty-three percent of real estate professionals say that buyers believe home prices are overpriced by 10 to 20 percent, and 36 percent say prices are inflated by less than 10 percent. About 28 percent say home prices tend to be fair.
 
The survey found that about 77 percent of homes sell for less than the listing price. Nearly 60 percent of real estate professionals say that the average difference between listing price and sales price is less than 5 to 10 percent.
 
Source: HomeGain
 
© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
 
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Backyards are highly overrated

 
WASHINGTON – Oct. 8, 2012 – After a dreary few years, the housing market is showing signs of life. A mid-September report from the National Association of Realtors found that home resales rose 7.8% in August from a year before. New housing starts are up, too, which has people thinking about what kind of space they’d like to live in. One major focus of this question? The great outdoors.

According to a survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 64% of architecture firms are reporting increased interest in outdoor living spaces: places for adults to relax; places for the kids to play. People want “a luxurious outdoor world, to get away from their everyday lives at home instead of having to go somewhere,” says Janet Bloomberg, with KUBE Architecture.

There’s just one problem: Evidence shows that for all we lust after outdoor sanctuaries, such retreats have little to do with the lives we actually live. Neither adults nor children spend much leisure time outdoors, and in making the trade-offs to have private outdoor space, we could be making ourselves less happy overall.

Mistaken impression

Anyone who studies how Americans spend their time eventually comes to a stark conclusion: Impressions and reality differ a great deal. A fascinating book published this summer, which came to a similar discovery, was Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, the result of an anthropological study of middle-class Los Angeles families. Researchers from UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families recorded hours of footage, documented possessions, and clocked how people spent their days to the minute.

Few of those minutes turn out to be spent outside.

Children averaged fewer than 40 minutes per week in their yards. Adults spent less than 15 minutes of time per week in their yards. These families had sunny Southern California weather. They had nice porch furniture, trampolines, even pools. They just didn’t use them. Many families told researchers that they used their backyards all the time, but then were rarely observed out there in this multiyear study.

The great indoors

Jeanne Arnold, one of the lead researchers, pinpoints two main culprits: first, general busy schedules (work, school, activities); but second, the prevalence of media options, which “seem like magnets, whether it’s television or computers or video game consoles.” Rather than use their outdoor retreats, people would retreat by turning on a screen. People don’t like this image of their lives. So they don’t acknowledge it -- to researchers, or with their budgets.

“They’re willing to spend to sort of perpetuate that illusion,” says Arnold. By having nice yards, pools and decks, they could “attempt to project something that’s not necessarily going on, but is clearly ideal” -- a family that spends time together outside.

All this would be humorous, except that yards come with externalities. A family moves to the exurbs for a private patch of green. But to buy less than six minutes a day of play and 2 minutes of adult leisure, the parents pay with increased commutes. The Census reports that the average commute is about 50 minutes a day, and battling traffic seldom makes people happy. One 2004 study in Science of Texas working women found that commuting ranked at the absolute bottom of the happiness scale on any given day.

To be sure, even if a backyard isn’t used, it can still bring happiness. Leonard Kady, chairman of the AIA’s Small Project Practitioners group, notes that “you’re always looking into the space.”

But the broader point is that, while a private, beautiful yard seems part of the American dream, Americans spend little time using those yards we pay dearly to get and upgrade. If the kids are just going to play Nintendo, or you’re just going to watch TV, better to live close to work, even if there’s no yard, so you can be home more to enjoy the screens.

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Laura Vanderkam. The author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” Vanderkam is a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Party Patrol - Miami Carnival Edition

Miami Carnival parades into Miami’s nightclubs all week long

It’s time for the biggest Caribbean Festival of the year and the parties will be rocking throughout South Florida. North, south, and on the water - there’s a dancehall celebration for everyone. Here’s a special Party Patrol Carnival Edition!

THURSDAY, OCT. 4
Girl Power Miami
2200 East 4th Ave., Hialeah
Islands United presents the 12th Annual Girl Power Event at Hialeah Park. There will be a cast of DJs and performances by top Caribbean artists such as Machel Montano & the HD Family, Patrice Roberts, Nisha B and more. Hosted by Vanessa James and Barry Hype, this promises to be one of the biggest events carnival weekend. Doors open at 8 p.m. For information and tickets call 646-372-1895 or go to
www.islandmix.com or www.islandsunited.com
FRIDAY, OCT. 5
Sun Rum & Soca on the Water
On the waters of Miami Beach
www.sunandrum.eventbrite.com
Forget the clubs - take the party to the water for the first Official Sun Rum & Soca Party In D Water. Two boats, a private sandbar, all-inclusive food and drinks, and music to keep you dancing through the day. Boat leaves from Waxy’s on the River at 3 p.m. For tickets (currently available for $125) or info call 561-66-2503.
Miami Carnival 2012 Wear What U Dare at SoBe Live
1203 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
www.sobelivesouthbeach.com
SoBe Live welcomes Miami Carnival weekend with a special Wear What U Dare edition of Friday Night Live in honor of the festivities. Admission is only $25 in advance. There will be a LIVE surprise performance and music by SBSSHutdown Allstar DJs throughout the night.
Sextacular De’ Miami Carnival Edition
1100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
www.casamodernamiami.com
Celebrate Columbus Weekend and Carnival all in one at Casa Moderna in downtown Miami. Dance the night away to music by DJ Dougla from the Aspire Family Ent. and Doe $ Works and many more. Special guests Tony B, SLI, and more will keep the party hype while hosting the night. Doors open at 8 p.m., tickets are $25 in advance and $40 for VIP. Get them while you can by calling 347-813-5948
SATURDAY, OCT. 6
Wet Fete Pool Party at the Deauville
6701 Collins Ave., Miami
www.deauvillebeachresort.com
Rain or shine the Deauville Beach Resort will be rocking from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the Carnival/Columbus WetFete pool party event. Ladies in swimwear are in free until 3 p.m. There will be soca, reggae, hip-hop, and much more. Hosted by Mr. Groovy Benjai alongside D-Life, the day will be filled with performances by GBM, Supa B, DJ Bulletproof, Massive B, Young Chow and Steelie Black, to name just a few. For more information go to Socavivor.com.
Miami Carnival 2012 We the Best at SoBe Live
1203 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
www.sobelivesouthbeach.com
Sobe Live continues with the Carnival Weekend Main Event hosted by the Gully God, and special guest, reggae, dancehall star, Mavado. DJ line-up includes DJ Black Chiney, DJ Exeqtive and DJ Nasty from 99 Jamz. Doors open at 11 p.m. Tickets are currently available on wantickets.com.
SUNDAY, OCT. 7
Jabba Strikes Back at Bongos
601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
www.bongoscubancafe.com
Sunday head to Bongo’s for Jabba Strikes Back a Miami Colors Affair and dance till you drop. Inside you’ll get a little of everything while on the outside patio you can dance Soca all night long. Doors open at 11 p.m. and ladies are in free until 11:45 p.m. To purchase tickets in advance call 305-438-9488

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