This Week in Miami Real Estate: Lender acquisitions, office openings and more

by Andrew Morrell


Miami-based mortgage lender Movement Mortgage announced Jan. 9 that it planned to acquire several retail branches from Eagle Home Mortgage, the financing arm of Lennar Corp. Terms of the deal have not been fully disclosed, but HousingWire reports it will involve the acquisition of 35 retail branches and around 230 employees of Eagle Home. Movement estimates it could ultimately add $1.5 billion in mortgage origination volume per year to its books. While Lennar and Eagle Home are headquartered in the Miami area, the branch acquisitions are mostly concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West regions, including states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado.

Movement currently counts 650 branches of its own as well as 1,500 loan officers nationwide.

“We want to grow, and we relentlessly look for purpose-filled, growth-minded mortgage professionals who want to make a meaningful difference in their industry and communities,” Crawford said in a statement. “We found all of those qualities and more in the team at Eagle Home Mortgage. I’m excited and honored to welcome these talented individuals to Movement.”

  • Also this week, Eagle Home found itself at the center of a lawsuit filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court. The Tampa Bay Times reported Jan. 7 that a former Eagle Home employee alleges in the court filing the lender approved mortgages for unqualified buyers, made misleading statements to convince borrowers to sign and committed other acts of fraud. The former employee further claims she was fired for bringing these issues to the attention of her superiors. Eagle Home and Lennar did not comment on the suit, citing a rule against discussing pending litigation. Eagle Home did recently settle cases with the U.S. Department of Justice, which alleged the company failed to fully comply with federal lending standards in some instances.
  • Douglas Elliman expanded its South Florida presence with the opening of its first office in Coral Gables Jan. 7. The office at 1515 Sunset Drive will eventually accommodate around 75 agents, according to a press release from the company. Maggie Buck will take over as the office’s chief broker after having served as managing broker at the firm’s Miami Beach office. New York-based Douglas Elliman now counts 20 Florida offices in total.
  • Boca Raton developer SobelCo. is celebrating the topping-off of 321 Water’s Edge in Fort Lauderdale Jan. 15. The project is a collection of 23 luxury estate homes in two- and three-bedroom plans with prices starting at $2.2 million. Douglas Elliman Development Marketing is handling sales of the homes, which are scheduled for delivery this summer.
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