Say Goodbye to Risky Loans!

Government-insured mortgages are about to get more expensive.

The Federal Housing Administration, which is the largest insurer of low-down payment mortgages, announced Wednesday that it will raise premiums by 10 basis points, or 0.1%, on most of the new mortgages it insures.

Translation: A borrower opting for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage who puts 5% or more down will now pay an annual insurance premium of 1.3% of their outstanding balance. And someone who puts less than 5% down will pay a premium of 1.35%.

The agency said it will also raise premiums for borrowers with jumbo loans — or loans of $625,000 or more — by 5 basis points, or 0.05%, and increase the minimum down payment requirement on these loans to 5% from 3.5%.

[via CNN Money]

Inventory: Only Challenge to the Real Estate Recovery

The real estate market is in the midst of a major comeback. Sales are greater than any time since 2007. Consumer confidence is increasing. Economists are now saying housing is the major tailwind to our nation’s overall economic recovery.

However, there is one major challenge that could stall the housing market: a lack of inventory.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report:

“Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 8.5 percent to 1.82 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.8 months in November, and is the lowest housing supply since May of 2005 when it was 4.3 months, which was near the peak of the housing boom.

Listed inventory is 21.6 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.4-month supply. Raw unsold inventory is at the lowest level since January 2001 when there were 1.78 million homes on the market.”

A recent survey by Redfin reveals that the challenge seems to be continuing into 2013. New listings taken in the first 14 days of the year decreased by 30% as compared to the first two weeks of 2012.

A lack of supply will be good news for prices in the short term. However, for a long term recovery in housing, an increase in current inventory is crucial.

South Florida Luxury Market Continues to Climb, Sings Chorus of Brokers

Last year was strong for South Florida’s luxury market and now more brokers are saying that the ultra-prime market is officially back on track to reach pre-recession levels, the Sun Sentinel reported. During the recession “it was awful,” David Serle, broker for RE/MAX Services in Boca Raton, said. “Sellers really had to change their mindset.” But today buyers believe the bottom has passed, John Poletto, principal at Nestler Poletto Sotheby’s International Realty in Boca, added, after selling nine units in nine weeks for $7 million at the 200 East project.
“The absorption of the overhang of inventory opened the opportunity for new construction to enter the marketplace,” Philip Spiegelman, principal of International Sales Group, said, noting that developers have announced or started building 99 condo towers featuring nearly 14,500 units in the tri-county region.
“We are not going to see enormous [price] gains over the next several years,” Paulette Koch, an agent with Corcoran Group, said. “But people have gained confidence in the marketplace.” [Sun Sentinel] –Christopher Cameron


Contact me, Donna Zalter, for the latest luxury properties in Boca Raton, 954.483.4212, [email protected]


New Listing: La Mer South Tower – Hallandale Beach La Mer South Tower Hallandale Beach
Wake up to a gorgeous ocean view, heated pools and full tennis courts at La Mer Condo South Tower in Hallandale Beach, Florida!
Unit currently available for $399, 999 at 1904 S Ocean Drive.
E-mail me for more information [email protected]

Miami Food: Let Them Eat Cupcakes! Misha’s Cupcakes

Misha’s Black Bottom Mini Cupcake
No holiday season is complete without cake!
Misha’s cupcakes has quickly blossomed from a South Florida family business into a chain of shops serving delicetible mini-cupcakes that make the perfect treat. The bakery has enough flavors to put a smile on the face of pickiest kid or adult at your holiday party. Check out the full list of cupcake, mini-cupcake and seasonal flavorshere, and find your local Misha’s here!

Miami Food: Momi Ramen

Ramen has never looked this good! If you are looking to try something delicious and different, stop by Brikell’s Momi Ramen, 5 SW 11th St. The authentic Japanese-style decor make Momi a great stop for lunch or dinner and sake!
Donna’s Tip: Momi Ramen is Cash Only. Entrees range from $15-$18
Click to View Menu!

(Photos via Thrillist)

Remembering Our Children – Sandy Hook Shooting

 As a mother of 3 young children, my heart aches for the parents, families and teachers of the young victims on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Tragedies like this remind me of the importance of investing into our children’s physical, emotional, and mental safety and health. Every child deserves to find sanctuary in school and be surrounded by the support that encourages them to ask questions, learn and grow. My greatest gifts, my amazing children.
Unfortunately, many young people feel misunderstood at school–a lack of acceptance that all too often triggers acts of violence. We, as a community, have an obligation to look after our children, the next generation of leaders, and remind them that acceptance and love begins within ourselves.

I recently read a children’s book by a South Florida author, Nancy DeMarchi, that reinforces the simple, yet important message that it’s OK to be yourself. The book, Prissy Polly’s Curious Cat in a Bunny Suit, is a perfect story to help any child understand why some people change who they are because they are afraid of being rejected. Most importantly, the book reminds us that compassion and acceptance of another person can help change that person’s life for the better.

Art & Culture: Borscht Film Festival

The Miami art scene is known for pushing the envelope and the Borscht Film Festival is a perfect example of that! The festival features some of the best local and regional film makers as they tell their Miami stories. The festival will take place at O Cinema in Wynwood on Saturday, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th.

In addition to the festival, there will also be a lunch and petting zoo in front of the theater at 3pm on Sunday, December 16th. Get your tickets now! Borscht Film Festival Tickets

Click here for more information on the Borscht Film Festival!

Food & Culture: Larua Atria Fashion & Art Show
at Cara Mia Trattoria Italiana

This Art Basel, I traveled off the beaten path to Cara Mia Trattoria Italiana for a fashion show by young designer, Laura Atria. The restaurant was filled with young artists, wine and the most authentic Italian food I’ve had outside of Firenze! I enjoyed the chicken parmigiana, the tiramisu and of course, the art!
Visit Cara Mia for brunch, lunch or dinner at 1040 Alton Road on South Beach,
and tell them Donna sent you!

Art & Culture: Miami Says Art! – Art Basel Miami Beach

Read their lips, Miami Says ART!
The JW Marriott Miami Hotel kicked off Art Basel week with Miami Says ART/The Retrospective. The opening reception on December 3rd, 2012 attracted more than 100 of Miami’s arts leaders to see the work of artist Martin Kreloff.
For more on Martin Kreloff visit:
For more on the JW Marriott Hotel Miami visit: