Author Archives: Savino James

Realtor® Anthony Askowitz: Climbing for Children

Realtor® Anthony Askowitz: Climbing for Children

MIAMI — Always looking for a new challenge, RE/MAX Advance Realty (RMA) broker/owner Anthony Askowitz was asking his family for suggestions one day. On a whim, his brother-in-law’s girlfriend mentioned climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. “Within minutes, I went online and booked the adventure,” Askowitz recalled.

The grueling six-day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro took him across the globe and almost 20,000 feet above sea level. The successful ascent not only marked a personal goal for Askowitz but a charitable one as well. The local real estate leader invited friends and family to support a fundraising effort on behalf of Miami Children’s Health Foundation (which benefits Nicklaus Children’s Hospital) that has raised nearly $2,000 to date.

“I have been blessed with good health and opportunity, making this climb through challenging terrain and wavering temperatures possible,” said Askowitz. “Many children in our community are not so fortunate, and their courage inspired me to not only raise these funds but to keep climbing even when things got difficult on the journey.”

Supporting the community

RMA is a longtime supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, whose local beneficiary is Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

“Anthony has been a longtime friend and supporter of the CMN Hospitals Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital,” said Maria Moldes, senior director of programs and community relations for Miami Children’s Health Foundation. “Anthony’s passion for helping children in our community goes beyond leading the largest RE/MAX office in our community. Anthony always keeps CMN Hospitals top of mind with his creative fundraising efforts, including his annual online auction, his cufflinks sales, his yearly involvement with our MCHF5K walk, and his latest adventure, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro! Anthony, thank you for making miracles happen for over 20 years!”

Preparing for such a climb was as big a challenge as the climb itself. Askowitz climbed Machu Picchu in Peru and did the Lost City trek in Colombia before tackling Mount Kilimanjaro.

“To say climbed would be a bit of a stretch in each case; these are more like very strenuous hikes!” he said. “To do this, I had to take a hard look at my level of physical fitness. Although I play quite a bit of tennis and am in relatively good shape, I also turned 50 this year and realized I needed to add some muscle and lose a few pounds.”

So, he hit the gym, adjusted his diet, and made sure he got plenty of sleep.

“After a typical day on the journey, which usually consisted of a nine-hour trek carrying a 15-pound backpack, I was very grateful for the additional training I had put my body through,” said Askowitz.

New challenges

Askowitz is already on to his next challenge: “I want to visit the Amazon and live purely off the land for one week. Then, [I want to] live on a deserted island – Survivor-style (like the TV show). Finally, I would love an extended visit to Costa Rica, or another Spanish-speaking country and immerse myself so I can become fully fluent in Spanish.”

Whatever comes next, he’ll continue to support his community. In addition to his support of the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, he also does his part to help the homeless in the Miami area.

“I know it’s not much, but I carry around peanut bars and crackers to give to the homeless when I see them at intersections,” Askowitz said. “It’s an easy and personal way to help.”

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 165,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Median Prices Continue to Rise in Fla.’s Housing Market in April 2017

Median Prices Continue to Rise in Fla.’s Housing Market in April 2017

ORLANDO, Fla., May 24, 2017 – Rising median prices and constrained inventory remained a prevailing trend in Florida’s housing market in April, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. The trend resulted in a loss of momentum for home sales: Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 23,829 last month, easing slightly (-1.2 percent) when compared to April 2016.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Prices Up in 1Q 2017

Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Prices Up in 1Q 2017

ORLANDO, Fla., May 15, 2017 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices and more pending sales during the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 60,733 in 1Q 2017, up 5.1 percent over the 1Q 2016 figure.

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Florida Realtors® Education Foundation Awards $166,000 in Scholarships

Florida Realtors® Education Foundation Awards $166,000 in Scholarships

ORLANDO, Fla., May 10, 2017 – Hearing “the check is in the mail,” is welcome news to 104 well-deserving young people who live in communities across Florida. Why? These students — high school graduates about to enter their first year of college and others already enrolled in a college or university — have received scholarships through the Florida Realtors® Education Foundation Inc.

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Realtor® Anne-Marie Wurzel: Giving Kids a Chance to Dance

Realtor® Anne-Marie Wurzel: Giving Kids a Chance to Dance

The Wurzels, Anne-Marie, Robert and Reagan, enjoying family time together.

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — Realtor® Anne-Marie Wurzel is a fighter. Like most moms, the sales associate with Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Winter Springs wants to make sure her daughter gets every opportunity to thrive. That’s because 3-year-old Reagan was diagnosed at birth with glutaric acidemia type 1, a rare, inherited metabolic disorder.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: More Sales, Rising Prices in March 2017

Fla.’s Housing Market: More Sales, Rising Prices in March 2017

ORLANDO, Fla., April 21, 2017 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices and increased pending sales in March, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 25,921 last month, up 9.3 percent compared to March 2016.

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Florida Realtors®: Which Home Improvements Are Best Value?

Florida Realtors®: Which Home Improvements Are Best Value?

ORLANDO, Fla. — Before tackling a home improvement project, Florida Realtors® recommends that a homeowner do a little research first. For example, if a home improvement project costs $1,000, how much money will the homeowner get back if he sells the home – what is the return on investment (ROI)? In 2017, only attic insulation recoups more than its cost.

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Florida Realtors®: Prepare for Hurricane Season

Florida Realtors®: Prepare for Hurricane Season

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hurricane season will be here June 1, 2017, and lasts until Nov. 30. For the next six months, Floridians face an increased possibility of major storms and should take steps to help weather a severe storm.

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Study: Florida Ranks 5th for Commercial Development

Study: Florida Ranks 5th for Commercial Development

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Realtors®: It appears business is booming in the Sunshine State. When it comes to commercial development, Florida ranks fifth nationwide, according to the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), a commercial real estate development association. By sector, it’s third in retail, third in warehouse/flex sectors and seventh in office space.

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Generational Trends Among Home Buyers and Sellers?

Generational Trends Among Home Buyers and Sellers?

ORLANDO, Fla. –More Generation X households bought a home last year, thanks to an improving economy, multiple years of strong job growth and a notable increase in home values, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study.

The survey also found that:

  • A growing number of millennials and younger boomer buyers have children who still live at home
  • Student debt is common among Gen X and boomer households
  • More millennials are buying outside the city
  • Younger generations are more likely to use a real estate agent

The challenges faced by millennials have been widely reported, but little has been said about the many Gen X households who bought a first home and started a family only to be rattled by job losses, falling home values and overall economic uncertainty.

Recent Gen X buyers delayed homeownership longer than millennials because of debt. They’re the most likely generation to have sold a distressed property, and the generation most likely to be locked into their current home because it is worth less than their mortgage. Gen X buyers also had the most student loan debt ($30,000).

The uptick in purchases from Gen X buyers this year (28 percent) was the highest since 2014 and up from 26 percent in 2016. Millennials were the largest group of recent buyers for the fourth consecutive year (34 percent), but their overall share was down slightly from a year ago (35 percent). Baby boomers were 30 percent of buyers, and the Silent Generation made up 8 percent.

Younger boomer buyers increasingly consider adult children

This year’s survey also suggests that the soaring cost of rent in many areas is likely convincing middle-aged parents to buy a home with their young adult children in mind. Younger boomers were the most likely to purchase a multi-generational home (20 percent; 16 percent in 2016), and the top reason for doing so was that children over 18 years old either moved back home or never left (30 percent; 27 percent in 2016).

Student debt not just a millennial problem

Debt, particularly from student loans, appears to be a portion of the household budget of buyers in every generation. While millennials were the most likely to have student debt (46 percent), their typical balance ($25,000) was lower than Gen X buyers ($30,000). A combined 16 percent of younger and older boomer buyers also had student debt, with a median balance of over $10,000 for each group.

Among the share of buyers who said saving for a downpayment was the most difficult task, millennials were most likely to cite student loans (55 percent), followed by Gen X (29 percent) and younger boomers (9 percent).

More millennials moving to suburbs … with kids

Similiar to previous years, roughly two-thirds of millennial buyers are married. One aspect of their household that has changed is the number of children in them. In this year’s survey, 49 percent of millennial buyers had at least one child, which is up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago.

With more kids in tow, the need for more space at an affordable price increasingly pushes millennial buyers outside the city. Only 15 percent of millennial buyers bought in an urban area, which is down from 17 percent last year and 21 percent two years ago.

Millennial buyers and sellers overwhelmingly go online and use a real estate agent

Regardless of age, buyers and sellers continue to see real estate agents as an integral part of a real estate transaction. In this year’s survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. This kept for-sale-by-owner transactions down at its lowest share ever (8 percent).

Online and digital technology use during the home search has increased in recent years. Although millennials and Gen X buyers were most likely to go online, they were also the most likely to buy their home using a real estate agent (92 percent and 88 percent, respectively). On the seller side, millennials were the most likely to use an agent (90 percent), followed closely by Gen X and younger boomer sellers (each at 89 percent).

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 165,000 members in 55 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

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