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Mortgage reduction announcement from Fla.’s Hardest Hit program

  • 12:09 pm Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Kim Miller

The Florida Housing Finance Corp. just announced a press conference for tomorrow concerning “important information” regarding the Hardest Hit Principal Reduction program.

There have been whispers that the group, which oversees the $1 billion Hardest Hit Fund, will reopen the application process for the landmark principal reduction plan.

Announced in September, the program offers up to $50,000 to underwater homeowners to cut their mortgage debt. Borrowers have to be current on payments and not make more than 40 percent of the area median income.

But the initial application period was limited to 25,000, a number that was reached within a [More]

75 Fla. seniors get reverse mortgage help through Hardest Hit program, $24 million still available

  • 7:09 am Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Kim Miller

A program that aims to keep Florida seniors with reverse mortgage out of foreclosure has enrolled 75 homeowners in the five months since it was launched and is still accepting applications.

The Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program, which is part of Florida’s $1 billion Hardest Hit fund, opened in November for seniors struggling with bills after taking out a reverse mortgage.

The program has dedicated $25 million to the reverse mortgage plan, and homeowners can get up to $25,000 each to prevent foreclosure. It is expected to help an estimated 2,500 seniors who are in danger of losing their homes because they can’t afford such housing-related expenses as taxes, community association dues and insurance.

As of May 1, 75 homeowners have been approved for the program to receive $1.05 million.

Reverse mortgages, available to people at least 62 years old, allow seniors to convert their home equity into cash, paying out either in a lump sum or monthly installments.

But borrowers remain on the hook for other property costs. Not paying those expenses can lead to foreclosure.

Heavily advertised reverse mortgages can be a boon for some homeowners who want [More]

$35 million Boca manse with Star Trek Enterprise replica for sale

  • 7:43 am Friday, May 9th, 2014 by Kim Miller

The Boca Raton estate of Marc H. Bell is on the market for $35 million, making it the most expensive single-family home listing in South Palm Beach County.

Bell, a financier and former chief executive officer of Penthouse-related FriendFinders Networks, is also a two-time Tony Award-winning producer of “Jersey Boys” and “August: Osage County.”

He apparently also has an affinity for Star Trek and video games. The 27,000-square-foot home, with eight bedrooms and 16 bathrooms has a theater that looks like an exact replica of the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise. The theater comes complete with original series sound [More]

Four reasons there aren’t more homes for sale

  • 8:08 am Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by Kim Miller

Palm Beach County’s inventory of existing homes for sale picked up in March for the first time in at least a year on an annual measure, but is still at less than six months’ supply, which is considered a balanced market.

While specific issues impact Florida’s market differently than others nationwide, such as consistently high foreclosure rates, there are other reasons for the lack of supply that are shared.

According to Redfin, more than half of all existing homes are unlikely to be put up for sale any time soon without significant changes in the housing market.

Here’s why:

1.Low [More]

Palm Beach County new home construction highest in six years

  • 7:00 am Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by Kim Miller

New home construction in Palm Beach County is at its highest level in six years, but land and workforce constraints could cause development to plateau as the real estate continues its recovery.

Builders started construction on nearly 600 new homes during the first three months of the year, an 11 percent surge from the tail end of 2013 and up 15 percent on an annual measure. At the same time, the number of finished homes was up 19 percent from the previous quarter, with an additional 1,170 homes still under construction.

An analysis by the Royal Palm Beach-based firm [More]

All Aboard Florida agrees to longer public comment period after input from Gov. Scott

  • 6:50 am Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Kim Miller

All Aboard Florida will tell the Federal Railroad Association that it is amenable to extending the public comment period from 45 days to 75 days following the release of the environmental impact statement.

The statement, which is expected in the next several weeks, will discuss the effect the express passenger rail service will have on areas north of West Palm Beach, including bridges and water traffic.

A notice released last night by All Aboard Florida said it was contacted Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott to discuss the timeframes surrounding the solicitation of public input for the project and that he emphasized [More]

West Palm Beach hotel sells for $15 million

  • 6:34 am Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

The 174-room Doubletree by Hilton in West Palm Beach has sold for $15 million, according to property records.
The seller was West Palm Beach Hotel LLC of Hightstown, N.J. The buyer was Hotel West Palm Beach LP of Greenwich, Conn.
The property at 1808 S. Australian Ave. last sold for $6.7 million, in 2004.

The Palm Beach Post reported Sunday that hotel room inventory stands to regain ground it lost to condo conversions, hurricanes and the real estate bust, as the number of rooms in Palm Beach County is growing for the first time in decades.
More than 1,000 rooms are under construction [More]

Indian River County rescinds support from All Aboard Florida

  • 7:15 am Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 by Kim Miller

The Indian River Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to rescind its support of the All Aboard Florida project, saying it acted without enough information last year when it wrote a letter commending the plan and its potential impact to Treasure Coast communities.

“We’ve become far more educated than we were in the initial blush,” said commissioner Joseph E. Flescher. “Questions unanswered are being revealed and there is no benefit for our community.”

Commissioner Bob Solari raised the issue in an agenda item.

Last year, the commission chairman wrote a letter to All Aboard Florida expressing its support of the [More]

Condo sells for $3.9 million to Venezuelan businessman who makes voting systems

  • 7:58 am Monday, May 5th, 2014 by Kim Miller

A Venezuelan businessman who is chief operating officer for Smartmatic Corp., which makes computerized voting systems, has purchased a unit at the luxury condominium One Thousand Ocean for $3.9 million.

Palm Beach County official records show the 4,000-square-foot waterfront condominium was purchased April 30. The sale price was slightly less than the $3.975 million paid by the previous owner in October 2012.

The building is located on the north side of the Boca Raton inlet.

Senada Adzem, Director of Luxury Sales at Douglas Elliman, said the buyer bought the home for his family to live in as a permanent [More]

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