25 May 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

As the country is heading into the Memorial Day weekend, marking the beginning of the summer season in much of the country, its original meaning often gets a bit lost:

The Holiday was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.

In the spirit of our fallen soldiers: enjoy Memorial Day!

In the meantime, my wife and I go packing – we're moving this weekend.

Source: Wikipedia. Photo: Cliffside Beach umbrellas ©Louis Davidson, date unknown

18 May 2012

South Florida plummeting residential inventory

Even as housing prices seem to bottom out in South Florida, supply has shrunk close to 2005 levels, according to Bloomberg's Businessweek.

BW reports that inventory has become so scarce that Realtors are resorting to unconventional methods to get listings. An agent based in Broward County began hosting happy hour soirees for potential sellers, a tactic that led to four listings, all of which landed buyers within a week.

“I tell them if they sell today or in two years, there won’t be a considerable amount of appreciation in their house and they might miss an opportunity to buy at the low end,” she said.

Southeast Florida total housing inventory. Source: SEF-MLS

Above chart includes all types of housing, including single family homes, townhomes and condominiums. Below are the current numbers for single family homes only for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties for the month of April:

Single family home sales data for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade, Florida, April 2012

Single family home sales chart for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade, Florida, April 2012
Southeast Florida single family housing inventory, April'11 - April'12. Source: SEF-MLS

[Businessweek via The Real Deal, own statistics compiled from SEF-MLS]

16 May 2012

Bogus viral email on home sales tax leads to confusion – again

Bogus email from 2010 made misleading claims on a new real estate sales tax

A viral email from 2010 claiming that the "Affordable Care Act" will add a new 3.8 percent sales tax on all houses marketed after 2012 has returned to confuse sellers, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The email claims that a buried clause in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “is set to screw the retiring generation who often downsize their homes.”

The email is correct in that there will be a new 3.8 percent sales tax on homes, but the tax only applies to individuals with incomes over $250,000 or those who make a profit of more than $250,000 on a sale, in which case, only the amount greater than $250,000 will be taxed.

[Palm Beach Post via The Real Deal]

05 May 2012

Supermoon to shine Saturday Night

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a space ship arriving from another galaxy? An elaborate Stephen Spielberg movie prop? An interstellar pizza pie? No, it’s Supermoon!

Scientists call it a perigee moon, a phenomenon that happens once a year when the moon, which has an elliptical orbit, makes its closest approach to the Earth. This year’s version will rise in the sky on Saturday night, achieving perigee status at 11:34 p.m. EDT. It will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter, according to the folks at NASA.

The best time for a little moon-bathing will be a minute later, at 11:35 p.m., when the Earth, moon and sun line up to maximize the moon’s brilliance.

Tony Phillips, the Mr. Wizard of NASA, notes that all the myths about hospital admissions increasing, crime running rampant and people behaving strangely are just that — myths. “The truth is, the moon is less influential than folklore would have us believe.”

The last supermoon, which occurred on March 19, 2011, received lots of media attention because it was 400 kilometers closer than the one will be on Saturday night.

But conditions should be ideal for viewing as National Weather Service forecasters in Miami predict a perfect night with partly cloudy skies and a low near 70. There will be a balmy breeze out of the south at 9 mph.

The moon will rise on Saturday night at 6:34 p.m. and set at 5:59 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Source: Palm Beach News. Photo ©hplang50 

04 May 2012

Chance Encounters with Modern Architecture (2)

The idea behind "Chance Encounters with Modern Architecture": A postcard of sorts, of unexpected finds of modern architecture – or perhaps art – which caught my eye, but without demanding or warranting a lengthy post.

It's about sharing delicious little morsels that pop up while on your way to church, Seaboard Wines or Emil's Sausages.

Today: Doctor's Office and Single Family Residence in Feldafing/Germany 

What is it: A freestanding two-story single family home with doctor's office downstairs. Built ca. 2006. (Notoriously private, shielded by strict laws and not granting access to tax records like in the US, details on European buildings like this are nearly impossible to obtain. Sorry.)

Why did it catch my eye: Feldafing, a small village (pop. 4,300) in Bavaria on Lake Starnberg, has been a summer retreat for wealthy industrialists from Munich in the 18th and 19th century. The building style from that period tends to be opulent, even for summer retreats, and rather traditional. The love of Germans for modern architecture pops everywhere though, including in this little gem, overlooking the golf course (founded 1926), the lake and the Karwendel mountains. 

Where is it: Feldafing, Bavaria/Germany. Map.

NE elevation
NE elevation
NE elevation
Approximate view facing ESE

As always, your comments are more than welcome!