Many Floridians living paycheck to paycheck, study finds

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

With its low incomes and comparatively high cost of living, Florida ranks No. 5 on a list of states whose residents are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

Florida trails only Hawaii, California, New York and Alaska on the list compiled by GoBankingRates.com.

“The Sunshine State might not feel so warm to many residents, with a relatively low median household income of $46,140, translating into a median [biweekly] paycheck of only $1,775,” the site says. “Of that, $593 (33 percent) goes to housing.”

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Florida becomes nation’s toughest state for renters

 

Palm Beach County’s hottest neighborhoods? They’re not where you expect

A property for sale in West Palm Beach's Parker Ridge neighborhood.
A property for sale in West Palm Beach’s Parker Ridge neighborhood. Photo by Jeff Ostrowski/The Palm Beach Post.

Pop quiz: Which Palm Beach County neighborhood can expect the heftiest price appreciation this year?

You’re probably thinking of an obvious choice — the oceanfront estates of Palm Beach, perhaps, or a quaint historic section of Delray Beach, or maybe a ritzy gated community in Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington or Boca Raton.

Wrong on all counts. According to Zillow, the fastest-gaining neighborhoods this year will be low-priced areas mostly passed over by the housing rebound.

In Zillow’s forecast for South Florida’s hottest neighborhoods of 2016, four of the top five are in Palm Beach County:

  • Villages of Oriole, the 55-and-older community at the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road west of Delray Beach. Zillow forecasts 3.5 percent growth. The neighborhood is dominated by homes priced at less than $100,000.
  • Parker Ridge, the area just east of Interstate 95 and north of Forest Hill Boulevard in West Palm Beach: Zillow projects 2.6 percent growth.
  • Palm Beach Lakes, the area just west of I-95 between Okeechobee and Palm Beach Lakes boulevards in West Palm Beach: 2.2 percent appreciation.
  • Roosevelt Estates, a neighborhood east of I-95 and south of Palm Beach Lakes in West Palm Beach. Zillow projects 1.7 percent growth.

“In some of the more obvious markets that have been hot in the past, home values has risen pretty far, and demand for housing has diminished to some extent because they’ve gotten so expensive,” says Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. “People are looking for more affordable housing, so we expect demand to increase for these kinds of neighborhoods.”

Zillow expects South Florida home prices to fall 0.4 percent this year, so cracking the top five required only a modest projected gain.

“It’s nothing to write home about,” Gudell says.

Student apartments near FAU sell for $105 million

University Park. Photo by Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post
University Park. Photo by Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post

University Park, the privately run student apartment complex near Florida Atlantic University‘s Boca Raton campus, and two other rental properties in Boca Raton sold this week for $105 million, according to property records.

The seller was Alexander Rosemurgy. The buyer was an affiliate of Investcorp International Realty of New York.

The Post’s Sonja Isger reports that rents at University Park range from $980 to $1,429 a month. The shiny new complex was the scene of a shooting Dec. 29 that killed a 19-year-old student staying with his girlfriend.

The 11-acre property is at 135 NW 20th St., less than a mile east of FAU’s campus. It fetched $70 million.

Also selling were:

Gov. Rick Scott touts job-creation efforts in visit to Boca

Gov. Rick Scott poses for a selfie in a crowd of middle school students in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, 2016. (Antonio Fins / The Palm Beach Post)
Gov. Rick Scott poses for a selfie in a crowd of middle school students in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, 2016. (Antonio Fins / The Palm Beach Post)

Gov. Rick Scott was in Boca Raton on Thursday morning touting his administration’s job-creation efforts.

Speaking at ADT, Scott credited cutting taxes and eliminating some regulations for creating a million jobs in Florida in the past five years.

He called for the Legislature, which is now in session, to create more incentives and further cut taxes in 2016.

Check myPalmBeachPost.com later today for full coverage of Scott’s stop in Boca.

Gov. Rick Scott greets people in a crowd after speaking about job creating efforts in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, 2016. (Antonio Fins / The Palm Beach Post)
Gov. Rick Scott greets people in a crowd after speaking about job creating efforts in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, 2016. (Antonio Fins / The Palm Beach Post)
Gov. Rick Scott poses for a selfie in a crowd of middle school students in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, 2016. (Antonio Fins / The Palm Beach Post)
Gov. Rick Scott poses for a selfie in a crowd of middle school students in Boca Raton on Jan. 14, 2016. (Antonio Fins / The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County foreclosures plunge

Sign_of_the_Times-Foreclosure

Palm Beach County foreclosures fell to pre-crash levels in 2015, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

There were 10,451 homes in some stage of foreclosure last year. That’s down from a peak of 43,438 in 2010 and the lowest since 2006, when the housing bubble was still inflating.

Measured another way, only 1.6 percent of Palm Beach County homes were in foreclosure in 2015, down from a peak of 6.8 percent in 2010.

The trend is similar in Florida, where foreclosures are off 67 percent from 2010 to 2015. Still, Florida ranks No. 2 among all states with 1.8 percent of homes in foreclosure. Only New Jersey’s 1.9 percent was worse.

Houses in West Palm Beach, Lantana, Lake Worth part of rental scam

house money

Federal prosecutors said Monday that cops caught three Palm Beach County men collecting rent and security deposits on dozens of houses they didn’t own.

The scammers targeted real estate investment trust HavenBrook Homes, which has been buying moderately priced houses in Palm Beach County. The alleged fraudsters changed locks, marketed the properties themselves and collected rent from unsuspecting tenants. A few examples:

  • 907 Churchill Road, West Palm Beach: The alleged scammers collected a mere $450 a month in rent for this 1,173-square-foot house. They also collected $1,950 in security deposits, application fees and first and last month’s rent. The victim paid by money order, prosecutors say.
  • 6608 S. Congress Ave., unincorporated Palm Beach County: The tenant paid $3,850 in cash to rent this house for an undisclosed period.
  • 716 S. 14th St., Lantana: A tenant paid $2,400 in cash to rent this 2,046-square-foot house.

The scammers also attempted to rent houses at 1120 S. M St. in Lake Worth and 1121 Magnolia St. in West Palm Beach.

Federal prosecutors charged Kesner Joaseus, Wadno Dorneau and Miguel Tilus with mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy. The trio collected more than $100,000 in rent in the first half of 2015, the feds say.

Bobbi Kristina Brown’s former Atlanta townhome is on the market

Bobbi Kristina Brown and her mother, Whitney Houston, in 2011. (Getty Images)
Bobbi Kristina Brown and her mother, Whitney Houston, in 2011. (Getty Images)

The former home of Bobbi Kristina Brown is on the market in the Atlanta suburbs.

Brown, the daughter of pop superstar Whitney Houston and musician Bobby Brown, died July 26 after being found unresponsive in a bathtub Jan. 31.

According to a listing for the townhome, at 9046 Riverbend Manor in Alpharetta, the 2,600-square-foot home is priced at $469,000. It last sold in September 2010 for $440,000.

Here’s the description of the house, via Zillow:

“Exclusive gated community situated on the Chattahoochee River with top amenities, including clubhouse, swim/tennis, park, pet walk & private walking trails. Luxury Craftsman-European style townhome w/open floor plan, great room, gourmet kitchen, coffered ceilings & built-ins w/attention to detail. Spacious master suite features fireplace & built-ins w/spa bath. Two additional guest suites w/private baths. Professionally finished terrace level, including elevator. Excellent schools.”

Photos of the home show architectural touches, including built-in bookshelves and a fireplace in a sitting room, and decorative pieces like an elephant-base bar with two stools.

According to Zillow, Robin Consor, of Keller Williams Realty Consultants, is the listing agent.

Controversy has surrounded Brown’s death, with some members of her family accusing her boyfriend, Nick Gordon, of injecting her with a “toxic cocktail” that led to her passing.

Her funeral was disrupted by an outburst by one of her relatives.

See more photos of the townhome on the Zillow listing.

Presidential debate moderator Neil Cavuto aims to be “invisible”

 

cavuto

As he prepares for Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate, moderator Neil Cavuto says he’s looking to an unexpected role model: Sgt. Joe Friday.

Friday, the straighter-than-six-o’clock detective on the TV series Dragnet, famously implored interrogation subjects to relate “Just the facts, ma’am.”

“The best debates are the debates where the moderators don’t make themselves the show,” Cavuto said Monday in a phone interview. “They let the candidates make themselves the show. I’m a fairly big guy, but I want to make myself as invisible as possible.”

Cavuto, an anchor at Fox Business Network and executive at Fox News, said he’ll avoid “snide questions.” Cavuto wouldn’t divulge what questions he’ll ask, but he said gun control, immigration policy and stock market volatility are obvious topics.

While Cavuto said he’s striving for a bland performance, he acknowledged that he might have to step in when candidates keep speaking after they’ve exhausted their allotted time. (During December’s debate on CNN, moderator Wolf Blitzer cut off time-clock scofflaw Sen. Ted Cruz.)

 

“It’s probably the most problematic issue I have to deal with,” Cavuto said. “The closer we get to some of these caucuses and primaries, the more desperate some of these candidates get.”

Cavuto said he’ll remind the candidates that they’ve agreed to limit their responses to 90 seconds, something Blitzer pointed out when Cruz ignored the time clock.

 

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Cavuto said. “If I come across looking as the jerk – which isn’t that hard for me to do — then so be it.”

The debate from Charleston, South Carolina, airs on Fox Business Network. Cavuto and Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo are the moderators.

Tire warehouse in Royal Palm Beach fetches $15.7 million

american-tire

The home of American Tire Distributors has sold for $15.7 million, according to a deed made public Friday.

Seller Exeter Florida in 2012 paid $5.8 million for the 6.5-acre site, then built a 124,420-square-foot warehouse. The property is at 601 103rd Ave. North.

The buyer is Cabot Properties of Boston.

Lennar closes $34 million land deal in Royal Palm Beach

crestwood

Miami homebuilder Lennar closed on its $34.3 million deal for 151 acres in Royal Palm Beach, according to property records.

Lennar plans 385 townhomes on the site at 980 Crestwood Blvd. The seller is the village of Royal Palm Beach, which once ran a water treatment plant on the site.