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BUYING OR RENTING? HERE IS YOUR 2018 REAL ESTATE STUDY

Florida has an attractive real estate market, whether it’s the prices, tropical temperatures, lower taxes and more. However, with so many incentives, there is the doubt: what neighborhood to buy? How is the market for renters? Bendixen & Amandi International, in collaboration with the Miami Herald, have surveyed about 100 brokers, agents, and analysts to help answer these questions.

For those who rent, Downtown Miami continues to be the number one choice. Those with tight budgets may consider the neighborhoods of Homestead, Miami Shores, and Kendal. Investors: pay attention to the Design District. Although it remains popular, Miami Beach buyers, have to watch out for inflated prices.

Below is a summary of the study:

 

Prices

When asked if prices are feasible for buyers, on a scale of 1 to 10, the answer was 7. A big difference compared to last year’s results of 4.6. According to the June report of the Miami Association of Realtors, the average price of a single-family home increased from $335,000 to $355,000 year-over-year. In condominiums, the average price rose 2.1%, from $235,000 to $ 240,000.

The positive result found in the research can be explained as an oversupply of unsold condos and a growing number of new rental buildings – two factors that should make sellers and landlords adjust their asking prices to remain competitive.

“You’re starting to see the repercussions of overbuilding,” said Peter Zalewski, founder of Cranespotters, a website that tracks condo development in South Florida. “The supply of rental apartments is going through the roof, and the cranes come down, rents are going to come down, too. And there’s a 32-month supply of condos in downtown Miami alone, so the only way you’re going to move to a condo in this market is to lower your price. ”

While in the luxury market, half of the interviewees said that the inventory is high and the market is stagnant. However, this is not everybody’s opinion. Daniel de la Vega, president of One Sotheby’s International Realty, for example, said that the properties are being sold for 15-20% less than the asking price but that they are being sold.

“You have seven months ‘supply in the million-dollar single-family home market and 70 months’ supply at the over- $ 10 million range, so there’s a lot of inventory,” he said. “But these properties are still selling, and the [luxury] market is going to continue to appreciate. It will just be at a normal pace, nothing drastic. ”

Location

The large number of apartments being built, approximately 4,800 new apartments for rent according to a study by Integra Realty Resources, and another 5,062 under construction explains why Brickell, Downtown, and Midtown are the top of the list of the most attractive areas to rent. For buyers, the winners are Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Coconut Grove.

For the fourth consecutive time, Miami Beach was named an overvalued neighborhood with a median price per square foot of $520, according to Zillow. Brickell clocked in second at $ 497 per square foot, while the luxury enclaves of Sunny Isles Beach ($ 554) and Key Biscayne ($ 753) tied for third.

“Brickell has a majority of the properties that are condos,” a broker from Miami commented for the study. “They are always overvalued, because they are catering to offshore buyers.”

 

Feds Bust Five in $73M Fake Air Jordan Bust

You don't need to be a sneaker head to know the value of Air Jordans. Since their release 1984, annual releases of Nike's signature product are anxiously awaited, and some editions of the shoe can cost thousands of dollars on the secondary market. And if you can fool someone into thinking some fake Air Jordans are some real Air Jordans, you're making that profit instead of Nike.

You're also breaking the law. Federal prosecutors are claiming five New Yorkers -- Miyuki Suen, Jian Min Huang, Songhua Qu, Kin Lui Chen, and Fangrang Qu -- were part of an international counterfeit ring putting hundreds of thousands of fake Air Jordans on the street, and tens of millions of dollars in their pockets.

From Generic to Counterfeit

According to the federal charges (one count each of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and trafficking in counterfeit goods), the scheme was fairly complex:

[T]he Counterfeit Sneaker Ring imports containers filled with sneakers manufactured in China. These sneakers are produced to resemble Air Jordan sneakers in design and color, but, significantly, are "generic." That is, these sneakers are imported into the United States without the inclusion of logos that are trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Once the Generic Air Jordans arrive in the United States, they are altered within the New York area to add trademarked logos to the shoes. Once this alteration takes place, the shoes are considered "counterfeit." Thus, the Counterfeit Sneaker Ring arranges for the importation of Generic Air Jordans, the addition of USPTO-trademarked logos and marks to Generic Air Jordans to make them Counterfeit Air Jordans within the United States at a significant profit.

By Christopher Coble, Esq. 

Do I Need Proof of Citizenship to Open a Bank Account?

Last month, Bank of America reportedly froze access to a Kansas couple after they failed to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Josh Collins and wife Jessica Salazar Collins disregarded a form the bank mailed them in June asking whether Collins (who was born in Wichita) was a citizen, assuming it was a scam.

The couple's access was restored after Collins provided a driver's license, but the incident left many people wondering why the bank was asking for proof of citizenship in the first place, and others wondering if you need to be a U.S. citizen to open a bank account.

Citizen, Customer Information

Bank of America spokesperson Diane Wagner told The Kansas City Star the request was part of routine updates to customers' information. "If we don't hear from a customer in response to our outreach," she said, "as a last resort, we may restrict the account until we can confirm it is in compliance with regulatory requirements." In a statement last month, the bank asserted it is "required by law to maintain complete and accurate records for all of our customers and may periodically request information, such as country of citizenship and proof of U.S. residency."

However, federal law doesn't prohibit banks from opening accounts for non-U.S. citizens, and must only request and confirm their name, date of birth, residential address, and Social Security number. Some banks may request citizenship information as part of efforts to curb international money laundering. But there is no statute prohibiting banks from opening or giving access to accounts without proof of citizenship.

SSN, ITIN, ID

Many banks will ask for a valid photo ID and Social Security number when opening a checking or savings account. However, tourists, permanent residents, and even undocumented immigrants may still be able to open a bank account if they can provide a passport, individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), alien identification card number, or any other government-issued document that proves your nationality or residence.

An ITIN is issued by the IRS to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who don't have, and aren't eligible to obtain a Social Security number. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status, and you can fill out a form W-7 to request one.

You may also have to provide proof of address, for which a utility bill, lease, current driver's license, municipal ID should suffice.

If you've been denied access to your account based on your citizenship, or are having trouble opening a bank account due to citizenship issues, contact and experienced banking attorney for help.

By Christopher Coble, Esq