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US Homebuyers Investing In Florida Real Estate 

The amount of homebuyers in Miami have tripled over the past couple of years. According to a new analysis by Redfin, in July the net inflow of Redfin users moving to Miami rose to 7,610 from 2,216 last year. 

Milagros Alvarez, a Miami real estate agent at Redfin, said that “the pandemic has brought even more out-of-towners to the area because so many people can now work wherever they want.”

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“Homebuyers are moving here from all over the map—Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Columbia, Mexico City, Pittsburgh and Philly, to name a few. The beaches, warm weather and low taxes are the major draws. Florida has also been much less shut down than other states during the pandemic, which some house hunters see as a positive,” said Alvarez. 

Alvarez also warned that the warm weather in Florida may seem like a main selling factor, but it also comes with its downsides. Miami is one of the most vulnerable cities when it comes to natural disasters or damages caused by weather-related events. 59% of Miami properties face some level of flood risk. 

Sea levels in Miami-Dade County are projected to rise by two feet by 2060, which would displace thousands of residents. The region also faces extreme heat risk, however, Alvarez explained that climate change hasn’t deterred Americans from flocking to the Sunshine state. 

“The homebuyers I talk to rarely mention climate change. Most of them aren’t concerned. A lot of people seem to have this idea that it won’t impact them in their lifetime, so it doesn’t need to be a consideration when buying a home.”

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Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, warned that “the recent UN climate report shows that places like Miami will see the impacts of climate change within the next thirty years. Miami homebuyers should think about how they can make their homes more resilient to climate change and how their finances would be impacted if their homes lost value,” he said.

Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Austin, and Atlanta have also been experiencing exponential rises in real estate investments, according to Redfin. The report also claimed that US citizens were mainly moving away from New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

“Big, expensive cities normally lose the most residents, and that trend accelerated during the pandemic as remote work gave people the flexibility to leave expensive job centers for relatively affordable places.”

“Yet, a handful of the metros that experienced the largest outflows in July saw fewer people leaving than a year earlier—likely because many of the pandemic restrictions that made those places unattractive places to live have now been lifted,” the report said.

Miami Condo

Area Expert Explains Possible Causes Of Miami Condominium Collapse 

A major condominium complex collapsed in Surfside, Florida this Thursday, leaving one dead and over 100 individuals missing. Miami-Dade County authorities are currently investigating the Champlain Towers South Condo specifically to try to figure out what exactly caused the collapse. 

While the official cause has yet to be determined, an area expert has compiled a list of possible reasons that this building collapsed and shared it with the media. Gary Slossberg is the founder of the South Florida construction company, National Home Building And Remodeling Corp. 

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“In a general way, there are many things that could happen. Construction defects or engineering defects. I’m not suggesting there were any construction or engineering defects, but simply pointing out the possibility. I think there is some value, and it makes some sense to do periodic inspections,” he explained.

Engineering inspections happen every five to ten years normally, and these inspections typically involve removing drywall or other external materials so that experts can inspect the steel beams or structural aspects of a building to make sure they’re not eroding away. 

Slossberg also explained that the “salt in Miami’s coastal air could potentially facilitate the erosion of steel, and evidence of that could appear in the form of rust stains or exposed rebar, which is like a cancer for a building, by the time you see it, it could be too late.” 

“While salt can have a severe impact on coastal buildings, I’m not sure how long it would actually take for salt to completely erode a building’s materials to the point of collapse.” 

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Solssberg also suggested “if the building were constructed with a post-tension slab, or a concrete slab that has cables running through it, and one of those cables came loose, that could have led to its destruction. It could take down a whole building.” 

The condominium was built in 1981, back when Florida and Miami-Dade County specifically had completely different construction codes. 

“With every hurricane, new construction codes come out. New engineering codes…This is 40 years later [since the building was constructed]. The codes have changed at least a dozen times. I know they have. So, some of these older buildings are not really built to withstand the type of same weather conditions as when they were built originally.”

Another possibility, he said, is that the “building’s balconies may have had some constructional issues. Many Miami-area buildings are built with concrete balconies that are back-pitched, meaning they don’t allow water to escape properly after it rains.” 

“There’s a lot of concrete restoration going on, and this is where you see a lot of that rust and rebar coming through the slab between the water sitting there and the salt air — it’s just not a good combination,” he said.

“But again, I don’t know if that would take down the whole building. We just still don’t know what happened.”

Americans Are Flocking To Florida To Embrace Post-Pandemic Life

Florida has become one of the hottest travel destinations in the past few months as more Americans are receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations and ready to get back to a greater sense of normalcy. 

Beyond just vacationing, many Americans are looking to invest in real estate in Florida, specifically in Miami where social outings have been occurring constantly since the beginning of the year. 

Antonio Khoury is the Managing Director at Compass & principal of the Antonio Khoury Group. He recently was interviewed by Forbes Magazine to discuss this recent influx in Miami investments and travel to Florida in general. 

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The Antonio Khoury Group has been working for over a decade and has seen over $500 million in sales. Khoury said many individuals from Boston and New York have been adding Florida homes as a part of their dream real estate portfolios in this post-pandemic era that we’re all entering. 

 “We made an immediate expansion to the Miami market knowing that we could leverage our strategic alliances within Compass to best serve the needs of Northeast clients looking to purchase a home in the region. My real estate group has facilitated over $20M+ in successful closings in Florida in the past few months,” said Khoury. 

“The mass exodus during COVID-19 to South Florida, was certainly evident. I would argue that COVID-19 expedited plans of owning real estate in a warmer climate.”

Most of the new clientele in Florida, however, is made up of individuals who found themselves on the luckier end of the spectrum in terms of economic and social impact of the pandemic. 

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“The second largest contingency of buyers in the South Florida market are those who have benefited from their companies remaining virtual or have adapted to long term flexible work structures, i.e. young professionals from Boston and New York. These buyers have found the Miami market a much more attractive home base due to its perks. Things like more accessible luxury rental prices, more accessible luxury condo prices, private outdoor space, the warm climate, all the while in the same time zone as both Boston and New York are attracting these young professionals,” Khoury explained. 

Khoury is adamant that any prospective buyers for Florida real estate need to do their research before making any final decisions, especially if they’re looking into Miami. 

“Miami has many distinct neighborhoods, which are set for different lifestyles and personalities. Brickell, for example, is the area with the most high-rise full service residential buildings, offices, restaurants, and nightlife. Given the overall full-service aspect of the neighborhood, it has become the go to area for those seeking pied-a-terres.” 

Khoury recommends that any buyer who’s looking to invest in Miami for a second property should simply vacation there first to make sure that its really worth putting their money into. America is still very much in the middle of combatting this pandemic, so it’s important to remember that the market and social settings in all of these locations will change drastically in the coming months.

Florida COVID-19

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Discusses Record Breaking Covid-19 Numbers In Florida

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez claims the city is breaking record after record of Covid-19 reports as Florida passes 200,000 cases.

Miami Florida

Popular East Coast Weekend Getaways

If you’re living on the East Coast and constantly craving a get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there’s a whole world of options for potential places to go that don’t have to occupy more than 48 hours of your life. The concept of a weekend getaway allows us to go on vacation without spending nearly as much money as we would on a more extended break, and also doesn’t require us to use any of our precious PTO or sick days. So where should you go this weekend? 

If you crave the excitement and flashy lights of a Las Vegas casino, then look no further than Atlantic City, New Jersey. Widely considered to be the “Vegas of the east,” Atlantic City offers all the flashy lights, cameras, and action of its west coast counterpart. Within the past few years Atlantic City has undergone extensive redevelopments to cater to a more sophisticated clientele, however, the beaches, boardwalk and casinos maintain the classic AC charm that many of us have grown to love. 

The New Jersey Transit system also allows for easy train travel for individuals from Pennsylvania, New York or other parts of Jersey. Once arrived, travelers can choose between a myriad of highly-rated seafood establishments and steak houses. Resort and spa deals help emulate a relaxing weekend in paradise for visitors, while casinos will give that AC energy that most are looking for. 

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Cape Cod, Massachusetts 

Since summer is right around the corner, Cape Cod is next up on the list. Cape Cod, Massachusetts is the epitome of beach town postcard views and “fun in the sun” energy, all year round. Even during the winter months, the city thrives with travelers who enjoy their many famous golf courses, wineries/bars, and whale watching excursions; which are typically the most successful in the winter months when whales are migrating through the area. 

Lighthouses and a series of intimate Inn’s surrounded by the town’s most famous seafood establishments give the town an old-school beach vibe. If you’re from Boston, there’s plenty of public transport options for you to get to the boardwalk promptly. If you’re from New York, you may want to consider a three-day weekend, as getting there could take up to five hours via public transport. 

Long Island, New York is a popular getaway for anyone working in surrounding metropolitan areas because of how many different towns and activities there are to do. Out east, there’s the Hamptons and Long Island’s wine country which will give any adult a little taste of west coast napa valley life on a weekend budget. The Long Island Railroad allows for easy travel coming into the island as well as travelling around it if you’re feeling a more nomadic experience. 

Long Island is known for its diverse range of food establishments to eat at, and the pizza and bagels are just as famously good as they are in New York City. Speaking of, unless you’re coming in from the city of course, NYC is just a short train ride away for exploration, the LIRR will even bring you right to Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan. 

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Lake Champlain, Vermont 

Vermont may not seem like it would be a top priority in terms of weekend destinations, however, unless you’ve already been don’t knock it until you try it. Burlington, to be more specific, is just over three hours from the city of Boston, and has direct one hour flights from NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., allowing for easy access. The city is known as a biking town when the weather allows, as the Lake Champlain Bikeway surrounds the entire perimeter of Lake Champlain, giving some of the most incredible views. 

In addition, Burlington is the home of famous ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, so feel free to take a factory tour while you’re visiting and reward yourself after a long bike ride around the lake with a pint of your favorite flavor. Like every other option on this list, Burlington is also home to a whole slew of fancy restaurants and comfortable/affordable hotels.

Finally, the furthest getaway spot on our list goes to Miami, Florida.While Miami is more than just a simple drive for those of us on the northern end of the East Coast, a two hour flight really isn’t that bad if it means spending time on a warm white sandy beach. Besides a year-long sunny climate and landscape beach views, Miami is one of the most social cities in America. They have a buzzing nightlife, accompanied by famous restaurants and hotels, including the Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine in Little Havana, Joe’s Stone Crab seafood restaurant, and  La Mar by Gaston Acurio, which is most famous for it’s instagram-worthy waterfront view.

Green Iguana

‘Falling Iguana’ Warning Issued In Florida As Temperatures Reach Record Low

Weather reports in Miami, Florida this week call for cloudy skies, below average temperatures, and a hefty chance of…falling iguanas? Well, according to the National Weather Service for Miami’s Twitter, a chance of snow and a major drop in temperatures means that falling iguanas are surely a possibility. 

However, there’s no need to worry about the well-being of these Florida reptiles, as they aren’t dead, but merely paralyzed. It’s definitely one of the weirdest phenomenons that’s brought on by the cold weather but once explained, it does make sense. According to reports from Live Science Magazine, when temperatures drop into the 40’s or lower (Fahrenheit) in Florida, an iguanas metabolism slows down to preserve the animals energy. Depending on how cold it actually is, the metabolism can slow so much that the iguanas become completely “stunned” by the cold, and are left immobile. 

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This is, however, quite rare for Florida in general, but there have been reports of random storms of “raining iguanas” in the past; such as in 2008 and 2018. Iguana’s more often than not spend the majority of their days and nights in trees where they blend in from predators, but can still catch some sun and find a shelter for sleep. So when they’re in a more relaxed sleep-induced state at night, and their metabolisms begin to drop along with the temperatures, they have a tendency to just succumb to their own weight and fall from the trees; thus creating a “rainstorm” of iguanas.

“Iguanas — and most reptiles — are ectothermic, which means they rely on external temperatures to regulate their own body temperatures. If the weather becomes too cold, iguanas enter a state known as torpor, a type of hibernation in which they conserve precious heat by dramatically slowing down their metabolic functions,” wrote Mindy Weisberger, a Senior Writer at Live Science. 

Last week the temperatures in Miami reached 33 degrees Fahrenheit, which prompted a now viral video from Ginger Zee, a chief meteorologist at ABC News, to circulate around the internet. The video from Zee’s Twitter shows camera footage of a frozen iguana with stiffened limbs falling from a tree branch. Zee also mentioned in the tweet that the temperature was the lowest it’s been in Miami in nine years, so this type of bizarre event made a lot of sense to experts. 

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Specifically, the Green Iguana is the lizard subspecies that is most commonly known for falling out trees and giving Florida residents quite the shock. The species is most commonly found in southern Florida, however, to scientists they’re viewed as an invasive species, as they’re not native to this part of the country. 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), females can lay up to 76 eggs at a time, hence the “invasive” nature of the species. According to their site, the FWCC claims that green iguanas aren’t protected under traditional wildlife protection laws because of their non-native classification; however, they are protected under animal cruelty laws. 

When it comes to what Florida residents should do if they see an iguana frozen on the ground, it’s recommended that they just leave them alone, as it doesn’t take that long for the iguanas to reheat and revive their mobility. Unless you find that the iguanas somehow managed to land in a dangerous setting, such as the middle of the road, it’s best to just keep the creatures where they are. Male green iguanas can grow up to 5 feet in length, so it’s unlikely any predators will come out of the woodwork’s to try to hunt them in their frozen state, and if that is the case, it’s best to just let nature take its course. You don’t want to mess with the circle of life anymore than Florida residents want a frozen iguana to land on their head in the middle of winter. 

Art in Home

Art Is The Newest Luxury Real Estate Trend

Real estate trends change every year. As our world continues to modernize and our culture continues to advance, we notice the spaces that we find on the market are doing the same. Luxury real estate is an industry that constantly needs to be up to par with what’s considered new and exciting in the eyes of society. 

So for 2020, what’s the trend? What’s keeping luxury clients engaged and ready to invest in future properties? For Miami, the answer is art. Miami has become a major hub for artwork and culture within the past few years — after all, they already are known for their annual Art Basel festival, which is one of the most attended and prestigious art fairs in the United States.  

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2000 Ocean is one of Miami’s newest and most talked about luxury real estate developments to come out of 2019. The luxury high rise apartments are priced anywhere between $2 million to $9 million and were developed by KAR properties, one of the most notable real estate firms in the US today. Shahab Karmely is the CEO of KAR, and recently discussed 2000 Ocean and KAR’s new art curator program that they plan on implementing into their luxury properties in the new year. 

“It [the art curating program] is part of our lifestyle services offerings. Art is part of mainstream culture today and Miami is at the center. Today incorporating lifestyle factors including professionally managed art programs are necessities if you want to be in the true luxury sector,” Karmely explained

Art has often been a symbol of sophistication and culture. The simplest piece can be representational of any worldly issue or personal journey; it’s completely subjective, which is the beauty of it. Every person can interpret a piece differently, and inviting that energy into the home, one of open conversation and understanding over the creative process, is exactly what’s on trend right now. 

In a time full of disagreement and argument, politically, our world has grown to be a battle, a constant back and forth in terms of opinions. As such, adding something like art into the home that can promote a positive difference of opinions is what real estate developers want to accomplish. 

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For 2000 Ocean specifically, Art Curator Megan Kincaid is leading the effort for the new luxury apartment properties. According to Karmely, Kincaid was hired as an expert who can offer education to clients and provide them with an understanding of what it is to have beautiful art in these luxury properties. 

“[Kincaid] will organize exhibitions of modern and contemporary art for residents, curate rotating shows, lectures, and art-inspired events. Personal art exhibition outings around Miami are offered. The program is meant to enhance living through art in your home and Miami. To enjoy art, you need knowledge and appreciation. We will overcome that by educating homebuyers who may have felt art was not for them,” Karmely said. 

When it comes to “staging” a luxury property, showing it with an art piece as the focus of a particular space in that property is a marketing strategy that’s been used for years. Staging in general shows clients what a home could look like if they were to move in. When it comes to luxury properties, the goal is to not only give the space a “home-y” feel, but also an extravagant one. Art tends to always make a space feel more luxurious, as it’s mainly found in museums or in the homes of the extremely wealthy depending on the piece, so when it becomes the focal point of a room, it gives off that same effect. 

Miami is kickstarting one of 2020’s first of many real estate trends. It will be interesting to see how art in the home develops and expands throughout every tier of real estate and how the market reacts. For now, only time will tell. 

Hard Rock Stadium

1972 Miami Dolphin’s Named The “Greatest Team In NFL History”

The National Football League has officially named the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the greatest team in NFL history. ESPN reports that during the Dolphins finale home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the 22nd, the 1972 team was honored during halftime with an arena wide toast. The football legends all raised a glass of Dom Perignon to celebrate a monumental and well-deserved accomplishment. 

The NFL named the 1972 Dolphins as a part of their “NFL 100 Greatest” series that they created to end the decade. The NFL worked alongside the Associated Press to collectively go through the NFL’s history with a fine tooth comb. They created a mini television special that consisted of 20 one-hour long episodes; clips from the special are now available on the official NFL website.

“The NFL and the Associated Press (AP) came together to select the 100 greatest across five categories – Plays, Games, Characters, Game Changers and Teams. The 80-person blue ribbon panel was comprised of experts selected by the AP and NFL Media. Supporting the rankings, NFL Films conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and legends that aired across 20, one-hour episodes with four episodes that were dedicated to each topic,” said the NFL in their official statement regarding the special. 

The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami was filled with MVPs from the 1972 team, including former coach Don Shula, quarterback Bob Griese, receiver Mercury Morris, offensive linemen Larry Little, fullback Larry Csonka, and defensive back Dick Anderson. All of these names carry such recognition already for true football fans, especially those who have kept up with the Dolphins for a while, and now they’re all getting another well-deserved NFL recognition. 

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Don Shula and Bob Griese (right) at the halftime ceremony honoring the Dolphins 1972 Perfect Season 

The 1972 team was so significant to the history of the NFL because of its unmatched level of skill from every player, and record shattering season. The 1972 Dolphins won their Super Bowl that year, which was the perfect finale to an already perfect season, literally. They are the only team in NFL history to remain completely undefeated throughout the entire season and including any postseason games (Superbowl VII). The closest team that almost joined the Dolphins and their undefeated season title was the 2007 New England Patriots, who did record the most consecutive wins (18) before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. 

“I’m tired of people saying we were named the greatest team. We took that s***. We earned the goddamn thing. Only one team can claim perfection: us. That came from our hard work. Nobody elected us to perfection. We were the first definition of that in the NFL. Nobody gave us s***. We took it. We took the hilltop and put the flag up. Now anybody is welcome to join us. But there will be two of us, and we will always be the first,” said former fullback Larry Csonka before the game this past Sunday.

During halftime all the former members of the 1972 Dolphins who were present took to the field wearing their sports blazers that were the signature Dolphin green-blue. The team jokingly referred to these as their “perfection” jackets, referring to their perfectly played season. The halftime ceremony involved the signature champagne toast along with a reading of every players name. Every player who was present also received a personalized golden football once their name was announced. 

The ceremony ended with a standing ovation and a song for former Coach Shula, who will be turning 90 at the beginning of 2020. Fans joined the former teammates in singing “Happy Birthday” to the legendary coach himself, a perfect ending for a perfect team.