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Buying a luxury condo apartment in New York

In the latest sign that New York City's luxury market remains strong, the developer of Manhattan's tallest residential tower said it has signed contracts to sell more than a third of its luxury condo units two years before the building is set to be completed.
The building, known as 432 Park, has a total asking price for its 126 units of $2.7 billion. That amount is the highest total asking price ever for a Manhattan condominium. The building's average asking price of $6,742 a foot also is near a record high. When finished in 2015, the tower will rise 1,396 feet, making it the tallest residential building in the USA. The exterior features 1,800 glass windows, each measuring about 100 square feet, and they are part of every apartment.
The Park Avenue building is part of a crowded field of luxury condo buildings in Manhattan. A few blocks to the west of 432 Park, Extell Development Co. is erecting a 1,004-foot-high luxury building known as One57. In addition, real-estate investor Starwood Capital Group and New York developer TriBeCa Associates recently started marketing the opulent Baccarat Hotel & Residences, which is under construction in Midtown.
There is concern among some developers that too many luxury apartments are being sold over a short period. Another economic downturn could hamper demand for this top real estate market. But for now, demand for these luxury apartments remains strong. For example, Extell said it has signed contracts on 70% of its 92 units. The average price of units sold is about $6,000 per square foot, a spokeswoman said. At a downtown Manhattan luxury project called 56 Leonard more than half the 145 apartments were sold in the first few weeks.
Condo developers in New York often begin to market the apartments years before completion of the building. Buyers typically sign nonrefundable contracts and put down deposits, paying the balance when the apartments are delivered.
Demand for high-price apartments is strong partly because not that much inventory is available. Brokers also point to a rush of affluent investors looking for hard assets that offer a view and other amenities.

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Source: Wall Street Journal, March 2013

New York City is expensive — but not that expensive compared to Hong Kong, Monaco, Paris and others

Real estate in Monaco is the most expensive in the world.
A New York luxury apartment is a dream for most of us but the city didn’t even get in the top five most expensive cities to buy a pricey home.
The most expensive homes in New York City average between $2,030 and $2,240 per square foot. Monaco (a small city state in southern France) leads the way, with upscale residences ranging between $5,350 and $5,920 per square foot. Rounding out the top seven is Hong Kong, London, Geneva, Paris, Singapore, and Moscow (based on a report by Knight Frank, a London property consultancy).
High-end units in New York City are considered a bargain to the top one percent of global millionaires. "The cost of entry for the ultra high-end end buyer is so low right now that we're seeing almost a new market pop up to specifically target" the super-rich, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, one of New York's top real estate research firms.

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Source: New York Daily News, March 2013

Real estate investors are targeting Las Vegas again

The sharp increase in US home prices - particularly in markets such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, which had been affected severely by the real estate crash - is raising concerns among some economists in the USA.

Home prices are now posting double-digit gains in some of the areas where so-called negative equity is severe. According to data from S&P/Case- Shiller, prices in Las Vegas were up 10 percent from a year earlier, and Phoenix was up 22.8 percent. Those big increases could fuel speculation and is raising concerns.
The S&P/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 5.5 percent from the same month a year earlier, up in 19 out of the 20 metro areas tracked. That was a significant increase and a sign that housing will probably continue to rebound this year with supply tight and demand strong.
While prices may be rising, home ownership is struggling, an indication that investors are playing a big part in fueling the market's rebound.

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Source: Los Angeles Times (January 2013)

Real estate tycoons buying US properties

2012 was record-year of sales for luxury trophy properties across the USA.
In Manhattan, there was a record set in March by the sale of a penthouse at 15 Central Park West for $88 million by the former chairman of Citigroup, Sandy Weill, to the daughter of a Russian billionaire. Another famous example is the casino king Steve Wynn who paid $70 million for a 14-room duplex at 50 Central Park South. Another example are the unanimous buyers who signed contracts for a pair of duplexes at One57, a Midtown tower still under construction, for at least $90 million apiece.
High-end markets in cities across USA, including Miami and Chicago, caught the fever and also produced record sales prices in 2012.
In Miami, an Italian buyer paid $25 million for a penthouse on South Beach, while a Russian bought a 10-bedroom house at Indian Creek Village for $47 million. The biggest Miami trophy is Casa Casuarina, the former mansion of the fashion designer Gianni Versace. Owned now by the telecom mogul Peter Loftin, it went on the market for $125 million in June — and was at that time one of the two most expensive residential listings in the country, according to Forbes. The house has 10 bedrooms, 11 baths, and a 54-foot mosaic-tile pool lined with 24-karat gold.
Chicago has also seen its share of trophy apartments. An 89th-floor penthouse at Trump International Hotel and Tower, at about 1,200 feet above the ground, it is the tallest residence in North America. It listed at $32 million.

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Source: New York Times

Chinese developers acquiring real estate in USA

Chinese developers are aware of the trend among mainland Chinese people to buy property in the United States. In fact, Chinese are one of the largest groups of foreign buyers in the USA, just behind Canadians. As such, many developers have started to look for their own projects in the USA. These Chinese developers focus their efforts on cities where mainland Chinese would be likely to live, such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Miami.
Many Chinese who want to buy real estate overseas are now doing so in the USA. Properties in the United States are a relative bargain when compared to those in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing or Shanghai. While USD3 million might buy a 500 square foot one bedroom apartment in one of these cities, that same amount can buy a 5,000 square foot house with some land in certain parts of USA. Chinese buyers will then use these homes as investments to rent out, second homes or have their children use it while they are attending an American high school or university.

Source: northcountyhomesinfo.com

Real estate market in Malibu (California) is booming again

The luxury Malibu real estate market turned positive again in 2012. According to records from the L.A. Multiple Listing Service, the sales of homes over USD 1 million were the highest since 2005.

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The industry experts in Malibu have positive expectations on the real estate market. The Malibu Times said, “2012 has ended the sweet five-year period of the ‘buyer’s market’ in Malibu.” According to a recent article from the California multiple listing service, “California is one state posting significant improvements” as the “housing market continues to improve.”
If the American economy continues to improve, the momentum that started in 2012 should make 2013 a record-breaking year for the luxury Malibu real estate market.

Source: MariSolMalibu.com

6% increase in USA home values in 2012

Based on Zillow, a US real estate research company, the value of homes in the USA increased by an average of 6% in 2012, the first annual increase in more than five years. The National Association of Realtors also published a report indicating a 10% increase in prices on average.
This rebound is good news to the U.S. home industry, which has been undergoing tough times since the recession. The worst year for U.S. real estate was 2008, when home values decreased by $3.2 trillion.
"The housing market really turned a corner in 2012, as historic affordability and sustained investor interest helped keep demand at a boil," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.
For its analysis, Zillow tracked 177 of the largest real estate markets in the USA. This year, more than three-quarters of the markets are in positive territory for the calendar year.

Source: CNBC News, December 2012

New York real estate prices set to soar in 2013

Real estate expert predict that prices of property in New York are set to increase significantly in 2013, as inventory continues to go down and home buyers continue to aggressively look for condos in Manhattan. .
Data from the real estate firm Rutenberg indicates that most new developments in Manhattan will take up to 3 years to be completed and those that are finished will only have 20 to 30 apartments each. As such, there is a lack of affordable homes for purchase. For example, two new developments— one at East 79th Street and Third Avenue and another at East 79th Street and Lexington — are indicative of this trend, as they are priced at USD 2,000 to USD 3,000 per square foot.
Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, a major real estate brokerage, said that Manhattan prices are already at historic highs, and the few properties going online in 2013 are mainly luxury buildings with few units. As a result, prices have spiked, and there's little large-scale residential construction anticipated until 2014.
"What you are seeing is that a lot of people are starting to realize the rental market has gotten away from them," he said. "Rentals prices are up from where they were a year ago."

Source: DNAInfo.com, November 2012

Forecast for US real estate market

The US real estate market is expected to continue its rise in 2013, according to Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac is the second largest secondary market mortgage provider.
Mortgage rates will likely remain near their record lows in the first half of 2013, Freddie Mac reports. However, the low rates are expected to start increasing slowly during the second half of the year. Still, mortgage rates are expected to remain below 4 percent.
Some other forecasts for the housing market in 2013:
• Home values are expected to increase 2 to 3 percent in 2013.
• Vacancy rates are expected to drop to 2002 and 2003 levels for apartments and single-family homes for-sale

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's Chief economist says: "The last few months have brought a spate of favorable news on the U.S. housing market with construction up, more home sales, and home-value growth turning positive. This has been a big change from a year ago, when some analysts worried that the looming ‘shadow inventory’ would keep the housing sector mired in an economic depression. Instead, the housing market is healing, is contributing positively to GDP and is returning to its traditional role of supporting the economic recovery."

Source: Freddie Mac, December 2012

US rents rise

Based on a report published by CoreLogic in December 2012, rental income produced from residential properties increased 12 percent year-over-year. This strong growth in rental income is the result of fundamental shifts in the US real estate market. Moving into 2013, this trend will continue due to continued rise in rental demand and the cautious behavior of lenders in extending credit to borrowers.

Source: Live Trading News, December 2012

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