Taxpayers To Pay For Buyout Of Failed Mortgage Giant

Bank of America is paying $4.1 billion for its purchase of Countrywide Financial. However, the main question is, who’s helping them pay for that buyout? The taxpayers of the United States.

That’s because Bank of America, which is solidly profitable, will be able to use some of Countrywide’s losses to offset its own taxable income. The tax break could total about half a billion dollars over the first five years, according to an estimate by tax guru Robert Willens, who left Lehman Brothers Friday after a 20-year run and will be in business as Robert Willens LLC starting next week. The losses could be worth considerably more to Bank of America starting in the sixth year, depending on how big Countrywide’s losses are when Bank of America formally acquires it.

At this point, of course, no one knows how much in losses Countrywide has run up since the junk mortgage market began souring and defaults accelerated. Countrywide itself probably doesn’t know. But it seems almost certain to ultimately be in the billions. In tax circles, Bank of America is famous for its 1988 purchase of the failed FirstRepublic Bank of Dallas, which was being auctioned off by federal regulators.

The Countrywide tax break isn’t in that league, but it would still be worth a lot of money. Willens estimates that Bank of America will be able to deduct $270 million of Countrywide’s losses annually for the first five years it owns the firm.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor


South Florida Condos Buckle Under Hundreds Of Foreclosures

It has been two months since Arnold Kovelman moved into his rented condo at Club at Brickell Bay in Miami, when he heard the knock on the door at 8 a.m.

”I was kind of like sleep walking and this woman is there with a badge. She’s saying she’s the sheriff and she’s there to serve my landlord a FORECLOSURE,” said Kovelman, 27, a senior account executive for a New York-based Web development company.

Kovelman’s rental was one of 80 in the luxury condominium at 1200 Brickell Bay Dr. that dropped into FORECLOSURE in 2007. The Club at Brickell Bay ranked first among condominiums in Miami-Dade and Broward counties with the most units in FORECLOSURE. Borrowers owe lenders more than $42 million.

As the region’s housing market sputters into the new year, a collection of largely unoccupied new towers are straining under hundreds of millions of dollars in defaulted mortgages. In the 20 buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties with the largest numbers of units in FORECLOSURE, loans in default totaled more than $271.8 million, according to an analysis by Condo Vultures, a Bal Harbour real estate consulting firm and brokerage.

The epicenter is Miami’s financial district along Brickell Avenue, where three of the top five buildings are located. Condo Vultures’ principal Peter Zalewski jokingly refers to that area as Miami’s “FORECLOSURE district.”

Vanessa Arellano Doctor

Buying In Miami: Some Advice

Individual home units are slowly dwindling, owing to the fragile condition of the economy. These homes often are priced in thousands or hundreds of thousands of precious dollars. The present trend is to find a place that, though not detached, will provide the much-coveted privacy, yet will offer accessibility to the amenities of urban living.

Such is the perception of living in a condominium (or condo as it is popularly referred to). The condo consists of several homes that stand on one land. The condos offer affordability. True, it is not a separate and detached property with its restrictions; and yet these restrictions maintain and enhance the value of one’s properties with its elaborate security set-up to protect its residents.

In today’s endless hustle and bustle, one wonders where in this world you can build a place called HOME, for peace and quiet to savor the fruits of your labor and yet keep abreast with the hectic pace of progress; a place where an extra hour of relaxation invigorates the mentally and physically battered mind and body; a place where diverse businesses flourish and entrepreneurship never falters such that even retirees have endless opportunities of being productive instead of wasting away their life waiting for pensions. There is indeed such a place, thank God!

Miami Beach

Miami Beach was incorporated on March 26, 1915 and is a distinct municipality of Miami Dade County in Florida. It has a population of less than 100,000. Being an island it boasts of white sands and vistas of the palm trees, sun, and majestic waters are truly picturesque. Business opportunities abound. Its being sound can be gleaned from the vibrant nightlife it offers. Indeed, Miami Beach is an island that mingles with urban life.

Some Advice

Here are some advice to whoever wants to buy a luxury condo in Miami Beach:

FIRST: KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. There are specifications for every unit that will satisfy what you require.

SECOND: Inquire the present selling rates so that you can adequately prepare your finances. What you want may not be within the reach of your pockets.

THIRD: Buying condos can be compared to air fares. There are “Peak Seasons” and “Off-Peak Seasons” in the condo market. Be aware of these times, so you know when to initiate negotiations. real estate agents know this. Inquire from reputable firms that deal with real estate.

FOURTH: Be patient when negotiating. Rushing towards what you believe are rock-bottom prices may in fact be an over price. Being patient increases your negotiating power such that you may bring down the price lower than what you have originally prepared.

FIFTH: Be dressed smartly and appropriately for the negotiations. Sellers can gauge your bargaining power from the way you are dressed. But don’t overdo it, or they’ll end up assuming you can afford more than you actually can and slap you a high rate.

FINALLY: Keep in mind that as demand for luxury condo units increases, prices will also go up leading to its APPRECIATION and attaining what is called a HOME.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor

Comfortable Condos in Miami Real Estate

Miami is one of the best places in the US. It is one of the cruise ship destinations in the world.

Thousands and thousands of people are visiting Miami to board cruises ships. There are plenty of people who love to stay in Miami for few days to explore the beauty that this place can offer. There are lots of condos in Miami real estate, definitely, in high demands for people as vacation rentals and homes as well. Yes, more and more people are relocating at Miami real estate.

Miami is really one of the best places that people love to visit, in order to enjoy and explore the city. Miami has tropical climate with humid summer months and warm winters. You can absolutely enjoy the weather here. Travelers love the weather in Miami. Actually, the sunny weather is what people want that is why they flock to Miami to enjoy.

Not only the weather that can make you enjoy in Miami, the pristine beaches and hot nightlife are what most people take advantage as they visit the city. Yes, plenty of people take advantage of all of these. They will definitely explore every place that Miami has to offer.

Miami is not only four tourists. Yes, there are lots of tourists that come to the city every year but the city is for business as well. Hard it right, the business and multinational corporations are booming in Miami. It is the one of the busiest ports in the nation. The city is great to visit and it is also great to live in.
Miami real estate has lots of condos. Actually, the city is known with its luxurious condos. Miami real estate also offers homes, mansions, commercial properties and so on. In Miami real estate, there are lots of residents, investors and people are looking for condos to relocate.

There are plenty of reasons why people are falling in love with the condos in Miami real estate. They prefer to purchase condos since they feel more secure when living in a condo. In condos, there are security guards that roam around, so even if you are out for travel or vacation, your place and stuff are safe.

When you are in a condo, you do not have to worry about mowing the lawn, planting trees and so on, since the maintenance is the one responsible with all of that.

Buying condo is a great investment, if in case, you are not staying at your condo, you can have it rent to gain income.

If are planning to purchase a condo in Miami real estate, you have to work with real estate agent to help you in finding the condo you want. The agent will assure you to find the condo that you want and the amenities that you need.

But take note, you need to seek for a real estate agent that can truly aid you in your quest. Find an agent that is very familiar with Miami real estate and has the expertise and experiences.

Eliza Maledevic Ayson

Broward County Area Approves Affordable Housing Project

The city commissioners of Pembroke Pines have approved an agreement with the Stiles Corp. to build 250 affordable housing units.

The units would be built on the City Center site, on Pines Boulevard between Palm Avenue and Hiatus Road. Commissioners unanimously approved the initial project at a meeting Wednesday night. City officials say they’re applying for state grants that would total $5.5 million toward the building of the project.

”I hope the state will look favorably on our application,” said Commissioner Angelo Castillo. “The hope is that we can bid out for a company to build those units of affordable homes for our residents. The city needs a range of affordable-housing options for working families.” Castillo said set deed restrictions would prevent homeowners from selling them at higher prices.

But the total cost of the project is still unknown, said Dave Frank, the city’s administrative services director, who is overseeing the details of the plan. ”We’re at the beginning of a very long process,” Frank said.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor

Florida Gov Rallies For Tax Amendment

With surveys indicating that the passage of a property tax amendment is no sure bet, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist spent Wednesday barnstorming across the state and trading accusations with opponents about the true impact of the measure that goes before voters on Jan. 29.

Crist hit major media markets in Central and South Florida, telling voters that the property tax amendment would be good for Florida’s economy. However, the fate of the amendment may come down to who voters believe more: Crist or the labor unions and local officials who contend the amendment would be devastating to schools, police and fire services.

A recent internal poll done by Yes on 1, the political committee backing the amendment, showed it passing with a razor-thin 60.3 percent, just above the 60 percent threshold required to pass constitutional amendments.

”I think the governor is being disingenuous. I don’t think he’s telling the people the real ramifications of his tax amendment,” charged Fred Frost, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO, which on Thursday morning plans to hand out leaflets to workers at Jackson Memorial Hospital and BellSouth offices in Miami.

But Crist fired his own salvos right back at critics of the amendment, decrying what he called ”ludicrous” scare tactics. ”I wish they would start telling the truth to people,” said Crist as he stood in front of the three-bedroom home of Giselt Matos in the Miami neighborhood of Westchester.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor

The State Of Miami Beach’s Inland Apartments

The view around Miami-Dade County today is not the same as just a couple of years ago, as the rapid pace of development has totally reconfigured how the area looks and feels.

There isn’t much left of the old areas, as more luxury apartments rise within walking distance of the ocean, as well as into the interior parts. The city of Miami Beach has also seen its fair share of numerous man-made and natural changes over the years, including a booming regional economy, increased tourism, and a thriving real estate market.

More Investors Are Pouring Their Money In Apartments

Until a few years ago, individual European and Latin-American investors put their money into Miami rentals, however most institutional buyers did not. According to a longtime property analyst, “most institutions stopped at the Broward County line,, because they thought Miami-Dade was a foreign country”.

This mindset however, began to change when AIMCO purchased the 533-unit Morton Towers on Miami Beach, and is now called the Grand Flamingo, for $58 million in 1997. Another investor, Charles E. Smith, bought the 1,339-unit Mirador, another South Beach apartment building, in September 1999 and, more recently, the Harbour House in the beachfront area of Bal Harbour.

Miami-Dade Is Seeing A Luxury Apartment Building Boom

Although the luxury rental apartment sector is booming in Miami-Dade, however it is much harder for average folks these days, to find a place to live. According to local brokers, as of May 2001, there was only a 2% vacancy rate for all kinds of apartments, as compared to May 2000, when the vacancy rate was 2.4%.

The area’s tight middle-income housing market can be attributed to the fact that some affordable mid-level housing units are being taken out of the market by condominium converters.

How Apartment Housing Is Faring In Central Miami Beach

Collins Park is one of Miami Beach’s districts, and is considered to be the most “up and coming” neighborhood here, according to local news sources. Newspapers here cite the completion of the new Sanctuary Spa Resort, an updated public library, and several open projects as evidence for its claim.

The district is currently undergoing gentrification, as many of the old middle-income apartments, which were largely built in the 1980s, are now being purchased by major real estate developers, and are being be converted into condominiums. This trend is commonplace in many of the city’s neighborhoods, as districts that were once inhabited by lower-income families and individuals, are being purchased by larger developers and are being converted into middle-income, and upscale housing developments.

What’s Being Done To Fix The Area’s Apartment Shortage

Commercial real estate analysts agree that there is an apartment shortage in Miami-Dade, and they estimate that the county will need an estimated 3,000 to 4, 000 units per year However, there is little chance those units will be built, based on the last four years.

From 1997 through 2000, an average of 1,449 units were built per year in Miami-Dade. The average market-rate cost for a one-bedroom unit in Miami-Dade rents for $790 per month, and these are expected to rise on average by about 3% in 2001, the housing analysts further note.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor