Living in Miami provides residents with access to beautiful beaches, a draw that brings people from all over the world. For those who own homes along Miami Beach, some of the international interest may be changing the landscape thanks to real estate developers who see potential in the properties, but not the houses that are on them. According to the Miami New Times, the destruction of older homes and the new construction has many property owners upset about the effects on their own real estate, some of which have sparked disputes and litigation.
Much of the historic architecture that had lined the beach is now being replaced by large, empty houses. In real estate, these are often known as speculation homes because the builders are constructing them based on the options they believe a buyer may want, even though they do not have anyone interested in the property during the construction phase. Some homeowners in the area claim the changes are making the neighborhoods unappealing for families. Others complain that the companies are not adhering to the zoning laws, and that the value of their own properties is being compromised.
After the Panama Papers were made public, many have become concerned that corrupt investors are purchasing the spec homes with cash as money laundering schemes. The New York Times reports that the U.S. Treasury Department is getting involved in certain real estate transactions. Buyers who purchase homes in Miami-Dade County that cost more than $1 million must be disclosed to the Treasury Department by the real estate company making the sale.