Mortgage rates hit 7-year highs – 30-year at 4.9%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 11, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates leaped this week to their highest levels in seven years amid global anxiety over rising interest rates that has gripped financial markets.

Costs for would-be homebuyers are climbing. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to an average 4.90 percent this week from 4.71 percent last week. That’s the highest level for the benchmark rate since April 2011. A year ago, it stood at 3.91 percent.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.29 percent this week from 4.15 percent last week.

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The Most Lucrative Home Renovations

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Our Favorite Backyard Makeover Ideas

As Summer comes to a close and the cooler air of Fall happens upon us, now is the time to start planning a backyard makeover for next year’s summer enjoyment. Outdoor space has vastly become an essential element of a luxury home’s floorplan. Forward-thinking architects are now drawing in an outdoor layout to round out their home designs as consumers have come to expect this type of extended living space in new-build homes. As the trend for outdoor spaces continues to grow and evolve, new ideas, products and materials are also coming to light. Below are a few of our favorite ideas for a backyard makeover.

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The Return of St. Barth’s Luxury Hotels

In the year since Hurricane Irma struck St. Barth, the island has made an extraordinary recovery.

Beaches and hillsides once covered in debris now flourish amid restoration programs and the addition of more than 1,500 new trees and plants. Gustavia’s restaurants and shops were revitalized and reopened soon after the storm. And as St. Barth prepares to welcome visitors back for the high season, some of the island’s top hotels are ready to make their long-awaited debut.

Joining Manapany on Anse des Cayes bay and Villa Marie in the hills above Colombier (both of which opened earlier in the year after renovations), here are the hotels returning to St. Barth this season. All are easily accessible when you fly to the island on Tradewind’s scheduled and private flights.

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Miami’s Best Day Trips are Only a Weekend Away

From rigorous courses to extracurriculars, sometimes students need a break, whether it be for a whole weekend or just a few hours. On days like that, Miami offers various opportunities to escape college life, even on a college student’s budget.

Here’s our list of the best places for a weekend getaway.

1. Crandon Park or Ocean Drive beaches

One of the easiest and most common ways to escape is to head to the beach. Crandon Park in Key Biscayne and Ocean Drive beach in South Beach are both public beaches that are usually less than a $25 Uber or Lyft away, making them great options for a trip that doesn’t break the bank.

Sophomore Shirley Gelman said that Crandon Park is her favorite beach because of its “relaxing atmosphere.” She added that it “makes you feel like you are on a mini island somewhere.” Having a barbeque, eating a meal under the palm trees, and watching the sunset are all ways to further enhance your visit to Crandon.

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Residents of these islands say they want to join Miami Beach. Will Miami let them go?

Residents of the six artificial islands stretching along the Venetian Causeway between downtown Miami and South Beach have a lot in common. Their kids go to the same schools, they shop at the same grocery stores and they share picturesque views of Biscayne Bay. They also have the same ZIP Code.

But the two westernmost islands — Biscayne and San Marco — belong to the city of Miami while San Marino, Di Lido, Rivo Alto and Belle Isle are part of Miami Beach. That division, according to some residents, causes headaches and confusion. It means that the islands are subject to different rules, different property tax rates, and even different parking costs. And when residents want to lobby for a new service or a change to the neighborhoods along the causeway, they have to go to two different city commissions.

Now, voters on the Miami islands are circulating petitions to become part of Miami Beach.

“It would definitely streamline the process for government operations, for advocacy for the neighborhood, for improvement, for city code enforcement,” said Mario Reyes, who has lived on Biscayne Island for more than 20 years.

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MUST-HAVES OF A HIGH-END SUMMER HOME

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One of the most asked questions this summer in luxury real estate has been, “What exactly are high net worth individuals seeking in their summer homes?” While each buyer is unique, there are several trends to keep in mind when working with these discerning clients. Our friends at Wealth-X took a look at a report by Christies, Luxury Defined, and shared with us their findings. We coupled these tips with our own research, as highlighted in our recent Luxury Market Report, to give you a greater insight into the luxury summer home market.

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Hurricane season peaks in September. Do you have the right insurance?

property insurance coverage in hurricane-prone Florida

 

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 21, 2018 – Keeping up with property insurance coverage in hurricane-prone Florida can be tricky, to say the least.

To help sort things out as summer and the storm season heat up, we spoke with Locke Burt of Ormond Beach-based insurer Security First and Doug Iannarelli of travel club AAA’s insurance division.

Question: What do I need?

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