Category Archives: FOCUS


Category : FOCUS


“It’s a great fact that, in general, 80 [to] 90 percent of our buyers are coming here internationally,” Allen said. “They’re bringing their money from South America, they’re bringing their money from Europe, they’re bringing their money from Russia, they’re bringing their money from everywhere to invest in our city.”

Traditional lenders were slow to jump into real estate lending following the 2008 financial crisis, but today, more banks are lending commercially.

“Banks are diversifying their portfolios,” Bowlby said. “The banks have gotten smarter. When we were in the peak of the recession, it was hard for any real estate developer to get a loan and that has definitely changed.”

“What has surprised me is that we’ve come out of this and the insurance companies, the hedge funds … ßare now willing to take risks that the banks used to be able to take,” Bowlby said. “There is still a lot of liquidity available to real estate developers, it’s just not all coming from commercial banks.”

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The top securities regulator in Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission to stop a recently adopted rule he claims curtails state oversight of stock offerings by small and emerging companies.

In his suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin asserts that the SEC regulation is “arbitrary, capricious and otherwise not in accordance with” securities laws.

Under the rule, offerings of up to $20 million would have to be filed with the state and the SEC. Those between $20 million and $50 million would require SEC registration only.  State regulators strongly resisted the rule, arguing it pre-empted their oversight of a portion of the market they are best situated to oversee.

The SEC declined to comment on Mr. Galvin’s suit.

The SEC rule was vague in its definition of the kind of investor who qualifies to purchase the small offerings, Mr. Galvin said in an interview. It did not place net worth or salary restrictions, which means that local businesses could target retail investors in the area.

“It’s essentially saying everyone is a qualified purchaser,” Mr. Galvin said. “That’s where the states should definitely be involved.”


“It’s getting pricier,” said Robert Shiller, the Yale University economist who created the Case/Shiller Home Price Index and changed the way home prices are tracked.

While nowhere near the boom that preceded the bust in 2008, the price increases seem incongruent, Shiller suggested.

“We do see nationwide an increase in home prices and I don’t know if things are better. This boom has negative color to it,” said Shiller, expressing concern that bid wars often reflect a lack of available housing in the most-desirable neighborhoods.

The price trend is making housing less affordable for many Americans, who saw wages grow by just 2.6 percent since April 2014. The midpoint price for a home in the United States rose by almost 8 percent between March 2014 and March. In Florida, the price increase has been even steeper, with median home prices jumping 9.1 percent statewide and 17.2 percent in Manatee County during the same period.

The median selling price of a Manatee County home in March was $265,000. The median price nationwide was $212,000, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Some Manatee County homebuilders and developers have made moves to bring moderately priced homes to the area. In January, a division of D.R. Horton began building a 58-home subdivision in Oneco where selling prices are expected to start at less than $200,000. Other builders, including Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities, have sought to keep home prices low in some subdivisions by building attached villas. Neal is selling those homes for prices starting at about $212,000 in its Fairfield and future Villa Amalfi communities.

Leah Secondo, a real estate agent in Bradenton with Michael Saunders & Co., said lower-priced homes don’t stay on the market long. She’s sold six homes since January priced between $125,000 and $225,000. Four went to cash buyers.

“They understand that they can’t fool around and have to make serious offers,” she said.

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