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January 21, 2005

Gears Grinding, Hammers Hammering, Horns Honking

The Source reports on the building boom and the noise that comes with it on St. John:

"David Holzman, who owns Innovative Builders on St. John, said Monday he expects the construction boom to continue for the next 10 to 15 years. He predicted that "hundreds if not thousands" of houses will be built in the next few years."

Thousands more? I would like to know how many homes are on St. John already. Thousands more doesn't seem quite doable anywhere in the near term. It would put a severe strain on the island's infrastructure and natural resources.

We are already hearing from some that there are too many rental villas - what happens to the vacation market with a flood of thousands of more places to stay?

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New Resort to Rise on Sandy Beach in Puerto Rico, Thanks to Loan From Private Lender Kennedy Funding

Wednesday January 19, 5:52 pm ET

HACKENSACK, N.J., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixty beachfront acres in scenic Arroyo, Puerto Rico, will become the island's latest destination hotel/resort, thanks to a $1,000,000 loan from Kennedy Funding, a direct private lender based in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Kennedy Funding continues its international outreach with this loan, which is the latest project on a lengthening list that includes Fiji, the Virgin Islands, and Mexico, as well as parts of Europe and Asia. With the banks in many countries particularly reluctant to lend against undeveloped land, Kennedy Funding has established a reputation as a 'go-to' funding source for projects such as the one in Puerto Rico.

Arroyo is about an 80-minute drive southeast of San Juan, and 30 miles east of the city of Ponce. The vacant land, heavily forested with coconut palm trees, boasts 4,000 linear feet of water frontage along the South Caribbean Sea. Overall, the 60 acres of prime agricultural land is beautiful and lush, and the owner/developer has received preliminary approval to rezone for use as a tourism location. The town of Arroyo is already considered a vacation spot for native Puerto Ricans, and local awareness is high. Transforming this parcel into a destination hotel and resort remains both a challenge and a major opportunity.

Jeffrey Wolfer, president of Kennedy Funding, is of the opinion that Palmas Development, LLC, has the capability and the determination to make a success of this project. "They have a clear vision for these 60 beautiful acres, and it is the kind of forward-thinking, positive land use that Kennedy believes in. We fund developments of this sort all over the world, wherever we find a business that has everything in place, except funds."

Kennedy Funding offers loans to an increasingly wide range of borrowers, from land-use developers to resort builders, entrepreneurs, and businessmen. They have the resources to arrange for financing from $1 million to $100 million, making loan commitments in as little as 24 hours, and closing quickly, often in just 2 weeks.

While specializing in commercial real estate loans, Kennedy Funding has expanded its scope of lending to include a wide range of enterprises, including amusement parks, high-profile golf courses, TV and radio stations, airlines, and sports complexes, among others. Their extensive knowledge base and solid reputation has seen them manage everything from the most complex of financial transactions to simple acquisitions, workouts, refinancing, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.

January 15, 2005

How you use a vacation home counts

Real Estate Notebook, From the Auburn Journal

By: Robert J. Bruss
Friday, January 14, 2005 11:31 AM PST

Millions of U.S. taxpayers own secondary or vacation homes that they use part of the year. But they often fail to maximize their tax savings from their part-time residences. Keeping simple tax records for your second home can result in saving hundreds or even thousands of tax dollars.

Depending on your personal use time of your vacation or second home, Uncle Sam puts you into one of four possible tax categories.

If you itemize your income tax deductions, your vacation or second home mortgage interest and property taxes will always be deductible. But there can be additional tax breaks, depending on how much time you personally use the property.

No personal use time: If you didn't personally use your vacation or second home and rented or had it available for rent all of 2004, then your second home is classified as a rental property.

In this category, you can deduct virtually all applicable expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, homeowner association fees, utilities you paid, repairs, and depreciation.

In addition, in this category you can deduct reasonable travel expenses to inspect (but not occupy, except for repair work) your rental property (especially if it is in Hawaii or the U.S. Virgin Islands!).

Because your property is essentially a rental, your tax result will probably be a "tax loss" (primarily due to the non-cash depreciation deduction). But Uncle Sam considers rental property a "passive activity" even if you actively manage the property, collect the rent, and select the tenants.

An exception occurs, however, if you are a full-time "real estate professional," such as a real estate salesperson. Then there is no annual limit to your qualified rental property tax loss deductions from your other ordinary income, such as realty sales commissions.

However, if you didn't "materially participate" in managing your second or rental home in this category, or if you own less than a 10 percent interest in a property partnership, or if the property is in a "rental pool," then your tax loss exceeding the rental income must be suspended for future tax deduction use. Without material participation in rental decisions, any tax loss is not deductible from your other ordinary taxable income.

Below 14 days of annual rental: If you rented your second or vacation home to tenants less than 14 days in 2004, regardless how much rent you received for those few days, that rent is 100 percent tax-free income to you and need not be reported to Uncle Sam. However, you can still deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and any uninsured casualty loss (such as water or snow damage) expense.

For example, I own a second home condominium, which I personally used 48 days in 2004. But I rented it to tenants less than 14 days. Because I rented it less than 14 days, I need not report that rental income but all I can deduct as personal itemized deductions are the mortgage interest, property taxes and any uninsured casualty loss.

Annual personal use under 15 days or 10 percent of the rental days: If your second or vacation home is in this very desirable category, there is no limit to your tax loss deductions against your ordinary taxable income (except for the $25,000 annual passive loss limit explained above). Rental income and deductible expenses are reported on Schedule E of your tax returns.

Suppose you rented your second home to tenants for 90 days in 2004. You personally occupied it for seven days. Because your personal use is below the 15 days and 10 percent of rental-day thresholds, you can deduct up to $25,000 of qualifying losses against your ordinary taxable income. But Internal Revenue Code 183 says you must show a rental activity profit at least three of every five years in this category.

Annual personal use exceeding 14 days or 10 percent of the rental days: This category of heavy personal use, but modest rental use, requires the rental income and expenses be reported on Schedule E of your tax returns.

But any resulting tax loss in this tax category cannot be used to offset your ordinary taxable income. However, unused losses are "suspended" for future tax deduction benefits, as explained above.

The correct order in this category for deducting secondary or vacation home expenses is mortgage interest, property taxes, uninsured casualty losses, operating expense, and depreciation.

If the mortgage interest, property taxes, and uninsured casualty losses exceed the rental income, however, these excess deductions can be itemized on Schedule A.

CONCLUSION: Vacation or second homes usually do not provide great tax deduction benefits. However, they can save tax dollars, depending on your personal situation. More important, your secondary residence is probably appreciating in market value, resulting in future resale profits.

If you convert your second home into your principal residence for at least 24 of the 60 months before selling it, up to $250,000 of your sales profits can be tax-free (up to $500,000 for a married couple where both spouses qualify). For full details, please consult your tax adviser.

Archive link for this entry: How you use a vacation home counts | |

January 11, 2005

Timeshares move into a higher bracket

This is a new article from the International Herald Tribune discussing high end time shares and mentions the Ritz Carlton Club on St. Thomas:

"We didn't look at this as an investment in anything other than our vacation," said Robin Morgan, speaking of the one-twelfth share, or 21 days, that she and her husband, Ken, purchased at a preconstruction rate at the Ritz-Carlton Club in St. Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, in 2001 for $85,000.

Click here for the whole article.

Archive link for this entry: Timeshares move into a higher bracket | |

January 08, 2005

Real estate offerings keep growing

Over on the News of St. John Frank Barnako is reporting on the rising inventory of real estate on St. John.

Archive link for this entry: Real estate offerings keep growing | |

Year in review

There is a lot of interesting stuff in this year in review article in the Daily News, much of it regarding or mentioning various real estate deals.

Archive link for this entry: Year in review | |

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