Palm Beach Real Estate

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By Christine Davis/Special to the Daily News Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

This vintage home at 322 Clark Ave. with a beamed ceiling in the living room is listed for sale at $10.895 million by Fite Shavell & Associates.Photo by Robert Stevens, courtesy of Fite Shavell & Associates.

A Mediterranean-style home built around 1920 at 322 Clarke Ave. has a colorful history. Named Villa Filipponi, it was constructed for Count Carlo Filipponi and Countess Laurietta Ford von Stresenreuter Filipponi, the grandmother of Palm Beacher Frank Butler.

A Landmarks Preservation Commission report says the original architect of the house is unknown, but whoever it was had a highly developed artistic sense. The handsome architectural details include a clay barrel-tile roof, applied ornamentation, asymmetrical windows, wrought iron-railed balconies, decorative tiles and Corinthian columns. The Midtown home entered the town’s list of protected landmarks in 2001.

The home’s colorful past also includes an artist’s palette or two. Marilyn and Emmet Tracy bought the home in 1997 from artist Thomas McKnight and his wife, Renate.

“They lived here for a number of years before they moved to Litchfield, Conn., because he wanted a studio that would give him the room to paint large works,” Emmet Tracy said. “They made changes to the house, as did Patricia Morris and George Gillett when they lived here.”

The grounds surrounding the house on Clarke Avenue are lushly landscaped.

Architect Jeffery Smith of the Smith Architectural Group completed extensive work in 1990 for the McKnights, projects detailed in the landmarks designation report. The changes included the addition of a loggia and pool pavilion, and a 1,200-square-foot addition to the southwest corner of the house.

“The McKnights knocked down the house next door, which gave them the space for the gardens,” Tracy said.

When she established the gardens, Renate McKnight worked closely with landscaping designer Victoria Barton.

“Renate was so resistant to selling,” Tracy said. “She flies down here occasionally and comes over to see the gardens.”

Once the Tracys bought the home, they worked their own magic on it. In 2004, they expanded a sitting room, built an adjacent outdoor pergola, expanded the guest apartment and garage, and commissioned landscape designer Mario Nievera to create brick curved walkways throughout the garden.

Marilyn and Emmet Tracy

Marilyn Tracy decorated the interiors with the help of New York designer Charlie Moon, and she made design changes and additions to the garden “to the point where it was named to the Smithsonian honor roll of gardens in spring 2013,” Emmet Tracy said. “It’s a real attraction, and it’s been a very satisfying effort for my wife, to bring the transition from what it was when Renate had it.”

His wife mentions her own favorite spots in the gardens.

“I really love the potting shed and the orchid house,” Marilyn Tracy said. “I enjoy orchids, and the way that Mario designed the (winding) paths, there are five places that open up to the center of the garden. I think it’s a wonderful garden.”

The Tracys, however, are making plans to downsize. They’ve listed their seven-bedroom house – with seven bathrooms and two half-baths — through agent Thor M. Brown of Fite Shavell & Associates. Priced at $10.895 million, the house has 7,682 square feet of living space, inside and out.

Floors throughout most of the downstairs area are covered in Cuban tile. The covered entry, an addition designed by Smith, leads to a stately foyer and stair hall. To the east are the pergola and sitting room, the latter with a pecky-cypress ceiling and windows as well as French doors topped by fanlights. The room offers views of the garden.

Thor M. Brown of Fite Shavell & Associates

To the west, the two-story living room has a first-floor hallway and a second-floor arcade running along the south side. Archways lead into the hallway, where French doors open to a covered loggia with views of the patio and pool.

Features in the living room include a fireplace with a stone mantel; the room is crowned by a slanted cypress ceiling decorated with stenciling. West of the hallway are the dining room, a butler’s pantry, and the island-style kitchen equipped with stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops and a tile backsplash. The breakfast area has banquette seating.

Terra-cotta walls and a yellow ceiling lend drama to the dining room, which has a niche to display art, a small fireplace, antiqued-gold woodwork around the casement windows and French doors that lead onto a dining patio.

The main foyer opens to a stair hall detailed with arched-glass windows and a stone stairway with wrought-iron balustrades.

Upstairs and north of the landing is a guest-bedroom suite in which French doors open onto balconies. Two home offices to the south were used by the McKnights as an office and studio. Details in this area include high-gloss white floors, built-in stucco-clad shelving, a skylight, a Juliet-style balcony, a stairway to the rooftop, a window seat and touches of pecky cypress.

The second-floor arcade – with a wall lined in bookshelves beneath the windows — takes one to a master suite comprising a bedroom, sitting room and bath. The bath has a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, marble appointments and a floor of coral key stone.

Off of the pool courtyard, meanwhile, is a dining pavilion as well as a garage with a guest apartment above.

To the east of the house are gardens with specimen trees and, among the outbuildings, a little hut with a thatched roof, that has been enjoyed over the years by the Tracys’ grandchildren. Among the trees are a collection of Washingtonia palms.

“Some of them have grown many feet since we’ve lived here,” Marilyn Tracy said.

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Buyers snap up homes, condos as supply dwindles and agents search for sellers.  Homes for Sale in Palm Beach 

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer

With demand way up and housing inventory sharply down, Palm Beach this season promises to be a town where the art of the deal may require even more artfulness than usual, according to island real estate professionals.

So don’t be surprised if many of the properties that change hands over the next several months do so privately — without ever entering the two multiple listing services that serve the island.

“I think the market is very strong, although we have such limited inventory right now,” said broker Linda Olsson of Linda R. Olsson Inc. Realtor. “But there are plenty of privately listed properties. Properties are moving so quickly, people are not even listing them anymore. Frankly, they’re not even making it into MLS.”

Buoyed by the economic recovery and pent-up demand, post-recession buyers have returned to the island in droves. Although brokers encountered a busy sales season last winter and spring, the warmer months proved just as active, said Palm Beach-based Bill Yahn, the Corcoran Group’s senior regional vice president for Florida operations.

“It’s really bizarre. The phrase ‘the season’ is kind of a misnomer for us now. We were as busy during the past summer as we were during the previous season,” he said.

Although they don’t reflect off-the-market sales, figures in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors MLS show that recent closings for houses, vacant land and condominiums beat last year’s summer transactions. From June 1 to Oct. 9 of this year, 59 single-family properties changed hands, compared to 38 during the same period in 2012.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s International Realty’s latest “Market Update” report compares MLS single-family sales data from the first three quarters of this year to last year’s figures. In the first nine months of 2012, 80 properties changed hands. This year, that number climbed to 128.

‘More demand’

Condo sales during the summer also were better, although the numbers weren’t quite as dramatic — 107 this year versus 97 last year, according to the MLS. In fact, the condo market, which had lagged far behind the single-family recovery, finally appears to be back on track, said Scott Gordon, whose Scott Gordon Realty in Manalapan specializes in sales of condos and cooperative units.

“This was the first summer in maybe five years that we conducted a lot of business, and that’s great. We’re back to a year-round market,” he said. “There’s a level of confidence among buyers and sellers we haven’t seen before.”

The island’s overall property values are up as well, scraping levels last seen at the height of the real estate boom, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s office. For this year’s tax rolls, the overall “total market values” of property in town is $9.9 billion, based on 2012 sales, said county Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits. In 2007, that number was $10 billion.

Echoing other real estate observers, broker Christian Angle of Christian J. Angle Real Estate credits a variety of forces for sparking demand — historically low interest rates, escalating numbers of retiring baby boomers and more young families eyeing Palm Beach as their primary home.

“There’s more demand in general on our market, which has become a year-round market. It’s no longer just seasonal,” he said.

Angle and others also have seen more people seeking a residential haven from states that impose their own income taxes and estate taxes, neither of which is levied in Florida. Transplanted New Englanders have always been on that list, but brokers also have noticed a strong influx of house-hunters from California — an unusual demographic for Palm Beach.

David Fite of Fite Shavell & Associates

“We’re seeing a lot of people from California, Illinois and New York,” said David Fite, who owns Fite Shavell & Associates. “People are just fed up with taxing — and over-taxing.”

Limited inventory

In any event, the resulting uptick in sales has kept real estate agents busy, even if house-hunters this season will be frustrated to find that the available housing stock has simply failed to keep up with the continuing demand.

As of early last week, just 112 single-family houses and eight townhomes in Palm Beach were available for sale in the island’s MLS, the lowest number in recent memory, brokers say. Of the houses, seven also were being marketed as buildable lots, complementing an additional 14 land listings.

And according to the MLS figures cited in the Sotheby’s report, in the third quarter of this year, there were 157 single-family properties “active listings,” compared to 214 the year before.

It’s a similar story in the condominium market, Gordon said.

“Right now on the South End, there are 260 apartments on the market. And last year, we were probably at around 350,” he said. “Inventory is being absorbed, which is a great thing, and there’s just not a lot of inventory coming back onto the market. Anything that is nicely outfitted and finished with an exceptional view doesn’t last more than a week.”

When it comes to single-family homes, you can blame the tight inventory on lingering effects of the downturn, real estate professionals agree. Except for a few exceptions, never-lived-in houses just aren’t available because developers and builders only began returning to the island late last year. Once again enjoying ample credit lines, they have been buying land and readying plans for projects, none of which will be finished for at least a year.

Likewise, during the first sputtering years of the recovery, home buyers bought dozens of outdated homes, especially on the more affordable North End. They either have started planning custom replacements or remodeling the existing houses, with no intention of selling anytime soon.

“The builders are back. You can’t drive up a street in Palm Beach without seeing significant construction,” Yahn said. “But we’re short on potential tear-downs. In the Estate Section, for instance, there are only 10 or 12 properties that have not been landmarked or maintained. Most properties are landmarked, renovated or fairly new.”

The tight inventory has sent developers searching fervently for vacant land or outdated houses that they can demolish to build homes without specific buyers in mind.

“Builders have been reaching out to us,” Fite said. “Many builders have called us, and they’re looking for land — everything from interior lots to oceanfront to the Intracoastal (Waterway).”

126 Casa Bendita, Palm Beach. Listed by Kerry Warwick & Roger Warwick of Fite Shavell & Associates.

Likewise, private investors have returned to the market. This summer, for instance, entities linked to Palm Beachers Barbara Stovall Smith and her husband, hedge-funder Randall “Randy” Smith, bought at least seven Palm Beach houses at prices ranging from just under $2 million to more than $6 million, spending more than $23 million on the North End and in Midtown. Some of those properties already were leased when purchased, while others were immediately advertised for rent by agent Tina Roberts of Sotheby’s. And one house — 126 Casa Bendita — was re-sold privately at more than a $2 million profit within just a few weeks.

Reluctant to sell?

In the wake of so much activity, home buyers are competing for what’s left on the market. They have snapped up better-quality homes quickly — sometimes within weeks or even days of the properties entering the market, Fite said.

“We have seen bidding wars going on — and people getting their asking prices. We hadn’t seen that in a while,” he said. “Sellers are in a much stronger position than they were a year ago.”

The most active price segment for single-family homes in Palm Beach is in the lower to lower-mid price ranges — and those properties are typically on the North End or on certain streets in Midtown, Yahn said.

“The sweet spot of the market seems to be between $2.5 million and $6 million,” he said.

Still, many homeowners have yet to make the leap into the market, brokers agree, either because they don’t feel any real pressure to sell, they aren’t satisfied with the pricing picture, or they don’t want the hassle of showing their homes to buyers during the season.

And some would-be sellers aren’t sure where they would move, given the lack of properties on the market, said Ava Van de Water, broker of Brown Harris Stevens in Palm Beach and president of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors.

“Many sellers are saying, ‘Gee, I better look where I can go before I actually sign the papers to list my home to sell.’ They are very aware that there’s low inventory, so they go out first and look at what’s on the market that they might want to buy,” she said.

Deals on the down low

Brokers say they expect more listings to appear within the next few weeks, a typical occurrence accompanying the advent of the season. But they still expect inventory to remain tight.

And that means agents will likely be involved in more private deals this season. In some cases, a seller who doesn’t want his or her property to be listed in MLS will forgo the more widespread exposure in favor of working with an agent to privately market it in a so-called “pocket listing.” And that means relying on the agent’s network of contacts in the real estate community to get the word out.

In other deals, an agent working with a would-be buyer may be aware of a property that would fit the client’s needs but isn’t on the market. And that means a phone call to the owner — often with an offer — is in order.

“Everything is available at the right price, whether it’s listed or not,” said Fite, adding that house-hunters who solely rely on the Internet to identify properties for sale may miss out on a potential buy.

In fact, the summer’s largest sales in three categories — for single-family homes, vacant land and condos — involved private sales :

* The highest-dollar single-family sale so far this year, one that made national headlines: In May, radio shock-talk personality Howard Stern paid a recorded $52 million through a limited liability company for Martin and Diane Trust’s oceanfront estate at 601 N. County Road. The deal and several related ones, all totaling more than $71 million, were orchestrated by Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates. Moens, who is known for putting together complex off-the-market sales, never confirmed the identity of the buyer in this one.

* Moens also put together the year’s biggest land deal, involving nearly 2 vacant acres on Maddock Way. The June deal included two lakefront parcels that were not on the market when they sold to three Delaware entities for a combined $18.42 million. A third dry lot in the same deal sold for $5.7 million, but it had been listed in the MLS by agent Jim McCann of the Corcoran Group.

* The most expensive condominium ever sold in Palm Beach changed hands privately in May. Lee and Laura Munder sold their lakefront penthouse — No. 6A in Il Lugano, 300 Seminole Ave. — for a recorded $17.45 million to a company associated with the Tisch family of Loews Corp. McCann confirmed he was involved in the deal but wouldn’t comment further.

‘Patience’ a watchword

Overall, the volatile housing market is writing its own rules, said broker Linda Gary of Linda A. Gary Real Estate, who is urging would-be sellers to take advantage of the strong market.

“This is what I tell sellers: Now is the best time for you to sell; the market is changing all the time. We don’t know what’s going to happen in three years,” Gary said.

Olsson agreed: “It might be the last hurrah for low interest rates and lower prices, which are only going to go higher. The time to get in is now.”

Fite, meanwhile, advises would-be buyers to have some patience.

“With the tight inventory, it’s almost impossible to find people the exact house they want,” he said. “I think buyers are becoming more flexible because there’s a lot more competition for each property.”

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By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Sometimes, what seems like a package deal turns out not to be a package deal after all.

Earl Hollis Real Estate had originally set a combined price of $10.7 million for two North End lots, outlined here in white and bordering La Puerta Way. After the westernmost lot sold separately for a recorded $2 million, Hollis set a price of $9.6 million for the larger oceanfront parcel and its 1956 house. Photo by Robert Stevens, courtesy of Earl Hollis Real Estate.

Just ask broker Earl Hollis of Earl Hollis Real Estate, who had intended to find a single buyer for a pair of adjacent North End lots properties. Together, they would have comprised an unusually deep parcel facing 126 feet of oceanfront across North Ocean Boulevard.

Hollis had set a combined price of $10.7 million for the oceanfront house at 1178 N. Ocean Blvd. and a vacant lot immediately to its west on the corner of North Ocean Way and La Puerta Way.

But things change in Palm Beach real estate, as they are wont to do. The landlocked lot to the west has changed hands for a recorded $2 million in a deal that saw agent Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates acting for the buyers. The deed recorded Aug. 30 lists them as Patrick and Kelly Lynch, who also have an address in London. The Lynches do not own any other property in Palm Beach County in their names, property records show.

The lot that sold measures about a third of an acre. The seller was the estate of the late Standard Oil heiress Anne Terry Pierce McBride, for which her husband, Wolf Von Falkenberg, and West Palm Beach attorney Michael D. Tennenbaum served as personal representatives.

Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates

The estate still owns the oceanfront house and land, which Hollis has re-listed for $9.6 million. The house was built in 1956 and stands on a lot measuring nearly a sixth of an acre with a separate beachfront parcel and cabana.

The oceanfront property’s elevation sets it apart from others nearby, Hollis explains.

“It’s 5 feet above the road, so you can see the ocean from the first floor. That’s unusual,” he says.

In 2011 and 2012, two circuit-court judges ruled against McBride’s brother and three of her friends who had filed separate lawsuits seeking to invalidate Von Falkenberg’s claims to McBride’s estate. The court granted Von Falkenberg’s motion for “summary judgment” in each case.

In May 2012, another suit was filed against Von Falkenberg in circuit court on behalf of several nonprofit organizations disputing the disposition of McBride’s will under a trust agreement. But Von Falkenberg was never formally served with the complaint, said Tannenbaum.

“The suit was filed but never pursued, and (the organizations’) rights to the estate were never established,” he said. “The suit doesn’t have any substance.”

Attorneys with the law firm of Casey Ciklin Lubitz Martens & O’Connell, representing the plaintiffs, couldn’t be reached for comment.

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By Augustus Mayhew/New York Social Diary Homes for Sale in Palm Beach 

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Across the street from Villa Loual, a Marion Sims Wyeth-designed estate has found its way on to the market after fifteen years with the same owner. Stepping into the courtyard at 322 Clarke Avenue was like traveling back to the 1920s when so many places offered the signature Palm Beach formula for timeless pleasure, both a private sublime hideaway and a perfect party setting. It reminded me of an interview with Paris Singer I recently read. When Singer returned to Palm Beach following a weekend in late March 1918 as a guest at Charles Deering’s and his brother James Deering’s estates in South Miami, he announced plans that his lakeside clubhouse on Worth Avenue would be built in the Old World style, as if it had always been there for centuries.

Thor M. Brown of Fite Shavell & Associates

Thus, Singer instructed his architect Addison Mizner, who accompanied him to the Deerings’ estates, to create the ambience that today composes the legendary Everglades Club. Much like Wyeth’s bijou house along Golfview Road or Middle Road that he designed for Singer’s development company, the architect’s Clarke Avenue has lost none of the magic that put Palm Beach on the map.

For further information about 322 Clarke Avenue, contact: Thor Brown, Fite Shavell & Associates, tbrown@fiteshavell.com.

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Allan and Zelda Mason bought their North End house as newlyweds 25 years ago. 

By Christine Davis/Special to the Daily News Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homeowners Allan and Zelda Mason expanded the square footage of the house by adding several bays with French doors, including the ones facing the pool.

Allan and Zelda Mason were newlyweds when they bought their home at 1485 Via Manana 25 years ago.

“I had been living at my Everglades Avenue townhouse, but my husband wanted something fresh and new,” explains Zelda. “So we bought a spec house built by (Palm Beach architect) Pat Segraves. We were the first owners.”

Today, though, the Masons are planning to move across the bridge to Trump Towers on Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. Their three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home — with 3,694 square feet of living space, inside and out — is listed for sale at $2.6 million by agents Toni Hollis and Gloria More of Fite Shavell & Associates.

A beamed, pitched ceiling crowns the expansive living room of a home built in 1987 at 1485 Via Manana near the northern tip of Palm Beach.

Standing on a mid-block cul-de-sac near the northern tip of the island, the house and two neighboring properties were developed by Segraves of SKA Architect + Planner in the late 1980s.

The architecture combines contemporary influences with Mediterranean elements that include a barrel-tile roof. Among the features that attracted the Masons all those years ago was the voluminous living room, with its pitched beam ceiling, fireplace and bleached-oak floor.

One steps down into the living room from a hallway to the east, paved in Mexican tiles and defined by wide arches supported by columns. On the other side of the hallway are the kitchen, dining room and two guest bedrooms, one of which the Masons use as a den.

At the front of the house, the chimney for the living room’s fireplace is a prominent feature. Pat Segraves of SKA Architect + Planner designed and developed the house.

The center-island-style kitchen features a custom-designed oak cabinetry, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances and a breakfast area with doors that open to the landscaped side patio, which the Masons enlarged among several improvements they made to the property.

The dining room and one of the guest bedrooms also open to the patio, while the den and the living room have doors leading to a different patio facing the backyard’s salt-water pool.

Many of the rooms have French doors set into bays that were added by the Masons. “We pushed out the rooms, which enlarged the house about 10 percent,” Zelda explains.

Toni Hollis of Fite Shavell & Associates

In the master-bedroom suite, for instance, such a bay accesses the pool area. The master bathroom is set up like a dressing room with separate spaces for the Jacuzzi tub, a shower and a large walk-in closet.

Both the Masons have found the layout practical. Zelda says she enjoys relaxing in the den. Her husband appreciates the privacy afforded by the master bedroom being separated from the living area.

Gloria More of Fite Shavell & Associates

“You get to the master at the opposite end of the house, but it’s within a couple of steps,” Allan says. “It’s a cozy house, and quiet.”

He adds that the home’s proximity to the inlet is also a nice feature.

“It’s close to the point,” he explains. “I like to walk down to the pier and watch the ships go by.”

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

This traditional John Volk estate has been beautifully renovated and maintained to protect the architectural integrity and balance of the design. The classic four-bedroom, 3½-bathroom home is located at 327 Arabian Road in Palm Beach. It is set among large waterfront homes. Luxuriant privacy makes the property a perfect retreat and great place to decompress away from the busy parts of the island. This is a rare Palm Beach pocket hideaway in very private location. Fite Shavell & Associates lists the home at $2,895,000. The agent is Thor Brown, 561-301-7048, tbrown@fiteshavell.com.

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North End and Midtown properties acquired as investments and rentals.

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Three Delaware limited-liability companies have bought six houses totaling more than $20.3 million in several neighborhoods, according to deeds recorded early this month and in late June. The houses sold at prices ranging from a little less than $2 million to more than $6 million.

Joan Wenzel of Fite Shavell & Associates

The real estate agents involved and the sellers declined to discuss the sales, and representatives of the entities that bought the properties could not be reached for comment. But public records and multiple sources familiar with the deals have confirmed that all the sales are related.

The properties on the North End and in Midtown appear to have been purchased as investments and rental houses, and four have already been listed for lease through the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Real estate observers say Palm Beach’s residential rental market is more active than it has been in years, because the recession left in its wake a tight inventory of better-quality and newer homes for sale. As a result, many house-hunters are opting to rent a house on the island while they test the market. That scenario has created an opportunity for investors to buy properties to generate rental income.

Jonathan Duerr of Fite Shavell & Associates

Ava Van de Water, president of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors and broker at the island office of Brown Harris Stevens, acknowledged that there’s a vibrant rental market in Palm Beach.

“Rentals are very much in demand,” Van de Water said.

A search this week of the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service showed 79 single-family homes and townhouses available for rent at prices ranging from $4,000 a month to $90,000 a month.

Biggest deal

Sotheby’s International Realty agent Christine Gibbons, who goes professionally by Tina Roberts, represented all of the buyers in the recent deals. She also is the leasing agent for the properties that are on the market, and her for-lease listings appeared within a day of each other earlier this month in the MLS.

The most expensive property to change hands was a 7,888-square foot Mediterranean-style house at 235 Dunbar Road, which sold for $6.175 million via a deed recorded July 2 by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office. Roberts has it listed for rent at $35,000 a month.

2165 Ibis Isle Road, Chateau Rambouillet of Ibis Isle, Palm Beach. Listed by Joan Wenzel & Jonathan Duerr of Fite Shavell & Associates.

An entity named 235 Dunbar LLC bought the 1930s-era house from Baltimore attorney Bryson L. Cook and his wife, Cynthia. The Cooks had paid $5 million for it in 2004, records show.

Standing on a mid-block lot measuring nearly a half-acre, the four-bedroom residence has a separate two-bedroom guesthouse.

Agent Suzanne Frisbie of the Corcoran Group acted on behalf of the Cooks. They own an oceanfront house at 131 E. Inlet Drive, as well as a two-bedroom condominium in Chateau Rambouillet of Ibis Isle. The latter is co-listed for sale at $595,000 by agents Joan Wenzel and Jonathan Duerr of Fite Shavell & Associates.

Properties acquired

Four other properties were bought by the same limited liability company, L. Jakes LLC, with the deeds showing a New York City post office box as the company’s mailing address. Those transactions included the following:

* L. Jakes LLC acquired a furnished, four-bedroom house at 126 Casa Bendita, which changed hands for $5.375 million, which was the price recorded June 25. Roberts is asking $25,000 in monthly rent for the property, which has 6,000 square feet of total living space, inside and out, according to her MLS listing.

A renovated house at 126 Casa Bendita sold to L. Jakes LLC for $5.375 million, the price recorded with the deed. The property was listed by Kerry & Roger Warwick of Fite Shavell & Associates.

The sellers were retired steel manufacturer Charles E. Pompea and his wife, Tamara, of Jupiter and Old Saybrook, Conn. They completely renovated the 1967 house after paying $3.1 million for it in 2009, records show. Agents Kerry Warwick and Roger Warwick of Fite Shavell & Associates had co-listed it for $6.995 million. Their closed MLS listing said the recorded sales price reflected a “net” sale.

* A four-bedroom 1925 house and guesthouse at 206 Seaspray Ave. — with a combined 2,230 square feet of total living space — was acquired by L. Jakes LLC for $2.025 million, according to the deed recorded June 24. Offered for sale at $2.25 million by agents Paulette Koch and Dana Koch of the Corcoran Group, the house was already leased at the time it sold.

The seller was longtime Palm Beacher Liza Becker Risin, who shared the house with her husband, Dr. Michael Risin, and young children. The family also has a home in Rumson, N.J., according to property records.

Kerry Warwick of Fite Shavell & Associates

* L. Jakes LLC also bought a three-bedroom house and its three-bedroom guesthouse at 315 Seabreeze Ave. for $2.96 million via a deed recorded June 24. Roberts has listed the house for lease at $18,000 a month. Built in 1926, the house and guesthouse have 4,059 square feet of living space, inside and out, according to property records.

The Kochs at Corcoran Group had marketed the property at $3.45 million for seller Hilary Jandl, who acted as trustee of a personal residence trust in the name of R. Mark Schulhof. The trust’s address is in Brookline, N.H., according to property records. Schulholf is chief executive officer of Quadriga Art, a New York City firm that provides direct-marketing services to nonprofit groups.

* A deed recorded June 17 showed that a four-bedroom, 3,180-square-foot house at 286 Orange Grove Road sold for $2 million. Broker Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate had listed the North End property for sale at $2.275 million.

Roger Warwick of Fite Shavell & Associates

The sellers were Jamie B. and Russell M. Niemie of Albany, N.Y., who had bought the property for about $1.5 million in 2011. Russell Niemie’s career has included longtime tenure as chief investment officer for the New York State Nurses Association’s Pension Plan and Benefits Fund.

Angle also had the listing for the final house that changed hands — a 1950 four-bedroom house at 301 Brazilian Ave. that sold to 301 Brazilian Ave LLC for $1.8 million, according to the deed recorded June 24.

Roberts is marketing the furnished property on Brazilian for lease at $8,000 a month. Gloria G. Stuart sold the house, which has 2,928 square feet of living space, inside and out. She and her husband, Michael, also have homes at 129 Clarendon Ave. and in Fort Pierce.

Town rules

In remarks at a July 9 Town Council meeting, Councilman Bill Diamond mentioned that he had heard about the multiple home purchases. He asked the town staff to report back to the council about any licensing requirements and other rules governing entities that act “as a business” to rent out private homes on the island.

A town ordinance currently governs the frequency at which single-family homes in residential neighborhoods can be leased. A property owner can lease a home out to tenants no more three times during any calendar year.

Staff researcher Niels Heimeriks contributed to this story.

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First-quarter single-family-home sales were on the rebound, Evans Report confirms.

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Amazing what a real estate recovery will do.

Just consider: Far more Palm Beach single-family homes sold in the first quarter of this year than in the same period for each of the last five years, according to the latest Evans Report real estate analysis. The amount of dollars changing hands between Jan. 1 and March 30 skyrocketed in the single-family market. Meanwhile, condominium sales were up but their price picture was less rosy.

A never-lived-in ‘spec’ house sold to a trust in early March for $20.23 million, marking the first quarter’s biggest single-family home sale in Palm Beach, according to the latest Evans Report analysis. Agent Paula Wittmann of Fite Shavell & Associates handled both sides of the sale.

The total amount paid for single-family properties during the first quarter soared by more than 105 percent — from about $72.4 million last year to nearly $149 million this year. The increase at least partially reflects a real estate market where a tight supply of homes is driving demand and prompting homebuyers to reach deeper into their pockets to get the properties they want. A couple of major house sales recorded at $15 million or more didn’t hurt, either.

The report is compiled regularly by Palm Beach real estate attorney and property owner Leslie R. Evans and his son, Jason, who also is an attorney at Leslie Robert Evans & Associates. The analysis is based on deeds recorded at the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office and other sources.

The report shows 36 single-family houses and townhomes sold between Jan. 1 and March 30 this year, compared to 23 during the first three months of 2012. Looking back even further, single-family sales in the first quarters of 2011 and 2010 were just about flat — 27 and 26, respectively. Compare all those sales to 2009’s first quarter — at the advent of the recession – when just six single-family homes sold on the island.

Properties priced in the middle ranges saw the biggest jump in sales during the first quarter. In 2012, five houses sold for between $2.5 million and $5 million, while four properties changed hands at between $5 million and $10 million. This year, deals in those price categories clocked in at 10 and eight, respectively.

Among the four highest-dollar Palm Beach sales of the first quarter was a $9.04-million deal for 270 El Bravo Way. Gary L. and Terri Schottenstein said they bought the house for its lakefront lot. The property had been listed for $11 million. Agent Chris Deitz of Fite Shavell & Associates acted for the buyers.

And on the upper end of the price scale, the dollars recorded in single-family deals also are telling: Last year, the most expensive house sold during the first-quarter was a $10.4-million sale of 320 Ridgeview Drive. In the same period this year, two sales weighed in at $15 million or more — 260 Via Bellaria changed hands for $15 million and 102 Banyan Road sold for $20.2 million, the report shows.

Condo sales also rose during the first three months of this year to 64 versus 51 last year. But the total dollar amount of condo sales was up by just 6 percent — from $36.2 million to $38.6 million.

And although the number of condos sold was higher, the prices that individual units fetched were strikingly lower: The median sale price for condos fell about 38 percent, dropping from $450,000 to $278,750, the report shows. The median is the price at which half the condos sold for more and half for less.

On the South End’s Condominium Row, the first-quarter condo numbers were an especially mixed bag. Although 44 units there sold this year — compared to 30 in 2012 — median sale prices slumped about 35 percent, from $292,500 last year to $189,000 this year.

Median prices fetched townwide during the first quarter for single-family homes, however, were brighter — up $515,000 from last year to about $2.6 million for 2013.

“Brighter” is, of course, a relative adjective, as real estate agents who enjoyed the boom years in Palm Beach certainly know. Compare this year’s $2.6-million single-family sales figure to the first quarter of 2008, when the bubble was still expanding and 18 homes found new owners. The median sale price back then was — brace yourself — $4.67 million.

And that figure marked an $870,000 increase over 2007 levels, when 41 homes changed hands during the height of the land rush.

You can read the entire report at LREvansPA.com.

View entire article on the Palm Beach Daily News website

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SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

102 Flagler Drive, Palm Beach

A wide opening in the manicured ficus hedge framing the narrow length of the cul-de-sac reveals little more than the façade of a handsome, two-story carriage house enlivened by a riot of crimson bougainvilleas clambering on crisp white trellises. Tall hedges provide the privacy and serenity sought by those who dwell therein. At last count more than 20 species raised their shimmering fronds into the sky. Completely restored within the last few years, the impressive results are a credit to the owner’s talented landscape design. There are six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half-baths in the main house. In the guesthouse are two bedrooms, three full baths, a kitchen and a large living room. The guesthouse is graced with a veranda, furnished with casual lounge chairs. This home at 102 Flagler Drive, Palm Beach, encompasses more than 13,000 square feet of living space, with grounds of 32,000 square feet. An open loggia is a step down from its adjoining glass-enclosed counterpart; both face the ravishing gardens that spread beyond. The home also includes a generator with full system backup.

The oldest portion of the home, built in 1924, was designed by Palm Beach architect Marion Syms Wyeth. Interestingly, it has a basement, a rarity in South Florida, even rarer on a barrier island. The living room is of that time and although it is immense, around 1,000 square feet, the glow of its natural pine paneling, low ceiling and intimate seating arrangements make it quite hospitable and welcoming.

Upstairs are a number of spacious bedrooms ready for visiting family and friends. The master suite occupies the second floor with French doors opening up to a spacious veranda, which overlooks the expansive gardens leading up to the newly built pool. Next to the master suite is a marvelous sitting room.

This special home sits next door to the famed Breakers Hotel and golf course and is just steps from the sparkling azure waters of the sea. Fite Shavell & Associates lists the home at $11,750,000. The agent is Sonja Abrahamsen-Stevens, 561-573-9198, sabrahamsen@fiteshavell.com.

View entire article on the Florida Weekly website

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Former spec house on Nightingale Trail sold in April 2012 and again last month.

By Darrell Hofheinz/Daily News Real Estate Writer Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

Homes for Sale in Palm Beach

212 Nightingale Trail, Palm Beach. Listed by Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates.

The recession sometimes seems a distant memory in Palm Beach, given the flurry of recent home sales on the island. But the downturn’s effects still linger. Just consider the frustration felt by many would-be buyers confounded by the lack of newer houses for sale here. Their agents gently break the news to them: Builders just haven’t been building over the past few years.

So last year, a brand-new four-bedroom house at 212 Nightingale Trail was a prime plum indeed when it landed on the market in January. Built on “spec” without a buyer, the British Colonial went under contract within two months of being listed, the deal closing in April 2012 for a recorded $3.77 million. Agent Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates acted for the developers, Mark Goldman of Palm Beach and his son, Robert Goldman of West Palm Beach.

Represented by agent Suzanne Frisbie of the Corcoran Group, the buyer was Shadowcorp Holdings Inc., a company controlled by John W. Grand, according to public records.

Then last month, buyer became seller when Shadowcorp Holdings jotted down a $410,000 profit on the property, which changed hands for $4.18 million, according to the deed, which was recorded June 24.

Hazel Rubin of Fite Shavell & Associates

This time, the house was on the market scarcely three weeks before a contract was inked in April, according to records in the local multiple listing service. Broker Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate had priced it at $4.695 million. The buyers were a New York City couple, private-equity strategist William Ingram and his wife, Cathy Brienza Ingram. Ingram founded Sutton Capital Associates, among other enterprises, and specializes in investments involving media and communication systems.

Agent Missy Savage of Barrett Welles Property Group acted on the Ingrams’ behalf in the North End deal.

The house was designed by Michael Perry of MP Design and Architecture and built by Wittmann Building Corp. With 5,876 square feet of living space, inside and out, its amenity list includes 10-foot ceilings, custom millwork, an elevator and a state-of-the-art kitchen. The landlocked lot also has deeded beach access and the use of a neighborhood cabana on the beach.

When the house was first marketed last year, its exterior was white. Today, it has been repainted pink.

Whatever the hue, there’s obviously some green on Nightingale Trail, too.

See complete article on the Palm Beach Daily News website

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