Editor's note:
Hiding in plain sight

Sep.September 20, 2018 11:00 AM

Heidi Patalano

When a group of Venezuelan nationals was accused of using South Florida real estate purchases to launder money this summer, one of the darker truths about the market became all too difficult to ignore: It’s shockingly easy to use local real estate to conceal ill-gotten gains, and those with a vested interest have poured millions into efforts to ensure that realtors and developers remain unaccountable when it happens. Read reporter Keith Larsen’s fascinating examination of the case in question and the system that enabled it on here.

On the other side of the law, the upcoming election offers voters the opportunity to put a progressive or a Trump acolyte in the governor’s mansion. Reporter Katherine Kallergis took a deep dive into the races for governor, U.S. senator and attorney general, among others, to see which candidates have the backing of the real estate community. She turned up a revealing list of boldfaced names, with Warren Buffet and Howard Lorber, the Soffer Family and Armando Codina all filling the campaign coffers of the candidates they presumably hope will return the favor.

The winds of change are also blowing plans for ultra-luxury spec homes into the next cycle, as managing editor Ina Cordle’s examination of slowing sales demonstrates. But there’s one aspect of the local resi scene that endures: poaching. Our ranking of the top real estate brokerages in the tri-county region reveals that managers are perpetually engaged with the struggle to lure top performers from other firms. Douglas Elliman’s Jay Phillip Parker called it “one of the ugliest things we do.”

But poachers aren’t the only ones cringing. With foreclosures on the rise, companies specializing in single-family home rentals have swooped in to buy them up. “I hate to say it, but foreclosures are where we do our business. It’s our trigger,” said Yoni Dahan of World Class Realty, an Aventura-based firm that renovates and leases rental houses. We assess the sector’s heat factor here.

Other highlights in the magazine include a look at the top multifamily sales of the year and our sit-down with developer Jules Trump, who explains why he doesn’t mind people thinking he’s related to the commander-in-chief.

Enjoy the issue!


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Ranking the top residential brokerages of South Florida

The gambling gambit

Day in the life of: Tony Cho

The spec home slowdown

The Closing: Jules Trump

Major projects on the ballot

See no evil: How a culture of secrecy boosts South Florida’s condo market

Backing the ’burbs

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