Florida Real Estate and Community News by MMD Realty

After more than 50 years, President Obama announced plans Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and broaden business ties after the swap of several jailed spies and the release of an American contractor held in a Havana prison.

South Florida could see substantial economic benefits if the U.S. and Cuba continue to make strides in stabilizing their relationship including many key industries such as banking, travel, shipping, trade, and real estate.

The head of Miami-based construction firm Coastal Construction Group, Tom Murphy, told the Miami Herald the new policy was “a first step,” and he’d like to see the embargo lifted next. Murphy said that could provide new business opportunities for those in Miami’s real estate industry. “I

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The Importance of Checking - REALLY CHECKING- Buyers Financial Capacity

By: Michelle Ross

I received a call yesterday to show one of my multi-million dollar listings. My first reaction, of course, was delight. After getting a bit of history from the gentleman who called me, I told him that our protocol was to always verify either proof of funds or a letter of financial capacity prior to the showing. I gave him my email address and told him I would confirm the showing once the documentation was verified.

**I want to interject a few thoughts here: 1) If a buyer gets offended that you are asking for these types of credentials, then the chances are they are NOT LEGIT! 2) It is incumbent upon you, as the listing agent to thoroughly check the

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The Virgin Group has partnered with Bain Capital and together are forming a new cruise line with plans to design and construct two new world class ships that will launch out of Miami/Fort Lauderdale-area ports. This will be the first major new entrant in the industry since Disney Cruise Line was formed in 1996.

Virgin Cruises has appointed former CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based The World, Residences at Sea, Tom McAlpin, as CEO of the new venture. McAlpin also served as president of Orlando's Disney Cruise Line as a member of the original founding management team.

Little information has been released about what Virgin Cruises will offer, but Branson has promised "to shake up the cruise industry" he said in an official statement. The official

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The Miami Association of Realtors has recently released their latest quarterly report and their statistics show that real estate in Miami is still a very desired commodity. Miami has seen 11 consecutive quarters of price growth for both condos and single-family homes, fueled by both foreign and domestic buyers.

During the third quarter of this year, the median sales price for a home in Miami-Dade County was $250,000, an increase of 8.7% compared to the same period last year. Condos saw an increase of 3.5%, bringing the median sales price to $189,000. It's important to note that there has been a 5% increase in inventory over the last 12 months. Home prices and sales are more moderate which is resulting in a more balanced real estate market. 

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Icon Las Olas, a high-rise condominium project that has been 15 years in the making, has finally cleared its last legal hurdle to begin construction, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The Related Group will start construction as early as December and expected to be completed by early 2017.

The 45-story building was first proposed in 1999, but was opposed for years by the neighboring Stranahan House museum over concerns that the building would cast a constant shadow over the historic home. The case was dismissed in 2011, however the project was again delayed due to market conditions.

Related Group currently has two other projects in the pipeline in Broward County: Auberge, the first new truly-oceanfront condominium in Fort Lauderdale in over a decade.

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The smart money is on Fort Lauderdale for investors in rental properties looking for stable returns in college towns, which are becoming increasingly desirable investment opportunities.

The city, which is home to Broward College — among other institutions of higher education – boasts an annual gross rental yield of 8.79 percent and an unemployment rate below the national average at 5.7 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by RealtyTrac.

Gainesville ranked third in RealtyTrac’s “Top 10 College Towns for Buying Rental Properties” list with an annual gross rental yield — calculated by dividing the annualized rental income by the average of the city’s median home sales price – of 11.34 percent.

Investors looking outside the Florida

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Exclusive Event: Celebrity Chef Cooking Demo and Wine Tasting


The first event in our Portfolio Event Series takes place this Thursday, October 16th at our gorgeous French Provincial-styled 16,000 square foot mansion. Top brokers from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and The Palm Beaches will be treated to an afternoon of great food with a cooking demonstration, by celebrity chef Dirk De Cuyper, a sommelier instructed wine pairing and an exotic chocolate journey while enjoying tunes by DJ1Tre. As a parting gift, guests will receive a signed copy of Charting Culinary Courses by Dirk De Cuyper.

The venue is one of my favorite homes, not only in South Florida, but of all-time! Down to the smallest detail, this home is impeccably finished with the ultimate in

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The high-end property market is booming in the Venice of America. From June 2013 to June 2014, the top 10 percent of homes by value performed better than the rest for the housing market in Fort Lauderdale.

Square footage values for high-end condos and townhouses rose nearly 18 percent to an average of $477, while square footage values for luxury single family homes reached an average of $570, an increase of 4.2 percent, according to data released by the Financial Times.

The area is becoming an increasingly popular destination for high-end buyers, particularly foreign nationals seeking a home with the benefits of the South Florida lifestyle without the Miami price tag. 

Fort Lauderdale airport's $2.3 billion upgrade is playing a key role in

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Applications for the EB-5 program have maxed out for the first time in the program's 24-year history.

Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the program allows foreign nationals to obtain the right to live in the United States by investing a minimum of $1MM, or in economically distressed areas just $500,000, and creating or preserving 10 jobs for U.S. workers not related to the investor. Applications for the visa investor program have almost tripled since the end of the 2011 fiscal year from 3,800 to the maximum allowed 10,000 which capped out last week. 

 

By law, no country is permitted to fill more than 7 percent of slots, but the Department of Homeland Security is allowing Chinese immigrants to take over unused slots from other countries.

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Prestige Estate Properties, the luxury division of MMD Realty, LLC, the elite South Florida real estate firm founded in 2011 by Michael Wekerle, of Dragon’s Den-Canada, Michelle Farber Ross and Dan Marino, welcome Boca Raton resident and luxury specialist, Melissa Johnson “MJ”.

Broker and Managing Partner, Michelle Farber Ross explains, “I’m thrilled to have MJ (Melissa) join our team. She is a seasoned Luxury Realtor who specializes in the Palm Beach County area.” She continued, “Melissa has a background in creative event planning and has organized some notable events throughout the Palm Beach social and polo scenes. We will be launching a series called “Prestige Estate Properties Portfolio Events” beginning with an exclusive Broker’s event at our

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