Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Octogenarian Threatens to Haunt Condos

A Wintergreen, VA 80-year-old has promised to haunt condos that have been approved for construction near his home. Locals say the pair of six-story buildings will "desecrate" the skyline of the Blue Ridge. The developer says the area has been designated for condos for years. But Earle Holliday, calling them the "abominable summit houses," says: "If there are ghosts and the summit house goes up, and I'm gone, I'm going to take a bugle with me and I'm going to blast every single person living there."


Little Colorado Burg Goes Artsy

Paonia, Colorado may not know it yet, but it's one of 10 great destinations for second-home buyers who are artists. The Web site EscapeHomes lists Paonia, which is on the Western Slope of Colorado in the mountains, about an hour from Aspen, along with such well-known art towns as Santa Fe, NM and Ashland, OR. I know Paonia as the home of High Country News, a great Western environmental newspaper, but maybe galleries will soon be lining its streets.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Vermont: Back to 'Greed is Good' Era

"The last time we had a real estate boom like this was in the late 1980s." -- Philip Dodd of Montpelier, publisher of Vermont Property Owners Report, a newsletter.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Learn to Earn

Real estate agents specializing in resort and second home market have a chance tio get great tips via a course offered by National Association of Realtors Business Specialties. The next ones: Hilton Head, SC in Sept. 2005 and just prior to the NAR Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA Oct. 2005.


Landlording Can Mean 3 am Phone Calls

"Landlording is no day at the beach," warns Lew Sichelman of MarketWatch to prospective vacation-home investors. "Are you ready to respond to a 3 a.m. phone call from a tenant whose water heater has sprung a leak? Do you have the mental toughness to toss a nonpaying tenant when she's crying crocodile tears on the courthouse steps? "

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

...But You've Got To Be A Sheik to Afford it

We need a adjective beyond "super-luxury." A new Australian mountain resort will come with private swimming pools for each hotel room. Builder: Emirates Airlines. Site:bordering Blue Mountains National Park. Enviros are sure to battle the development. It will be located in a World Heritage-listed area, according to a Sydney newspaper.

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Adams Family Values

This year Snowmass Village in Colorado shows the "strongest market we've seen in a long, long time, beginning with a 50 percent increase in overall dollar volume... 30 percent increase in the number of sales... a 25 percent drop in inventory (with another third of that inventory currently under contract" says BJ Adams & Co., Snowmass real estate agents. Business is so good that the Adams has made a najor purchase of its own -- a historic miner's cottage in nearby Aspen that will be its Aspen office.

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This farmhouse is B.J. Adams & Co. Snowmass Village office

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Monday, June 20, 2005

You Could Be Old Before Prices Come Down

Picture a caricature of "a stooped, old gentleman with a flowing white beard and cane. Underneath is a caption that says, 'The young man who waited for real estate prices to come down.'" That's the tale told by James H. Boykin, former chairman of the real estate and land development program at Virginia Commonwealth University, to a Richmond, VA reporter. Don't wait for the perfect time to buy that dream cottage in the mountains, cabin by the lake or beach house on the Outer Banks, he advises. The time is now.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Second Home Boom Hurts NH Miniature Golf

As condo conversions for vacation homes multiply, sumer rentals suffer-- and some folks in Weirs Beach, NH fear for their livelihood. "It's harder to make a living," says mini-golf course and go-cart owner Rusty Bertholet. Or maybe mini-golf and go-carts are just too 1950s for vacationers?


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hot Towns, Low Inventories

Yesterday I wondered why there seemed to be so few houses for sale in the hot vacation-home towns listed by the Wall Street Journal. June Fletcher, who wrote the WSJ article, suggests a reason: "One characteristic common to most hot markets is low inventory. Fewer houses means fewer choices, and the greater likelihood of bidding wars. That pushes up prices even more." I wouldn't be surprised if her article sent a flock of speculators to Brigantine, NJ. It was third on the hot list, yet median price (4th Q 2004) of a single-family house was only $358,500. Bet it won't be that low for long.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Where Hot Vacation Homes Are

What towns are the hottest for vacation homes? Depends on what newspaper or Web site you read. Today's Wall Street Journal lists Oceanside, CA, Morrow Bay, CA and Brigantine, NJ as the three towns with the biggest five-year gains in housing prices through the fourth quarter of 2004. Yet EscapeHomes, the oft-quoted Web leader on such matters, has no homes listed for either Morro Bay or Brigantine, and only two in Oceanside. So what gives?


Friday, June 10, 2005

Last-Minute Rentals? No Problem

"This year, last-minute renters are in luck. You need not be banished to unfashionable parts of the Hamptons, the farthest reaches of New England or less-than-pristine lakes in the Midwest. You're beneficiaries of changing American vacation habits, says the latest issue of Forbes. Of course, the news isn't all (ahem) sunny. While real estate prices have shot up, rental prices have, for the most part, held steady from Cape Cod to Lake Tahoe.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

A $1.395-million San Jose house


...gets you a Chandler, AZ house...


...and a Park City house


New Math: Sell One, Buy Two

How do they do it? Here's how: A couple in San Jose, CA sold their house, bought in 1980 for $300,000, for about $1.4 million. With the proceeds they bought a custom 5,200-square-foot house in Park City, Utah, for $700,000 and a Tuscan-style house with a guest casita near Chandler, Ariz., for $400,000. NY Times's Motoko Rich quotes owners in today's paper as saying their "retirement has beentransformed by the real estate boom."


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Whoa, Nelly! Says Financial Planner

Don't climb on the bandwagon. That's the advice San Francisco financial planner David Yeske is giving clients who ask about adding real estate to their portfolios. Why? "That's like driving in the rearview mirror," he told Marketwatch.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Attention Boomer Shoppers

Forget the museums. Don't bother with movie theaters. Hold the post-college courses. Open a big sporting goods store and you'll prosper, implies Coldwell Banker Affluent baby boomers surveyed just recently by the brokerage want homes near these favorite pastimes:
Shopping 71%
Golf 69%
Enjoy beach/waterfront 47%
Biking 24%
Hiking 22%
Fishing 12%
Athletic leagues 6%


Pity the Poor Hyper-Rich Taxpayers

What prompted Nevada to cap second home property tax hikes to 8 percent for the next two years? A tax revolt among the extreeemly wealthy residents of Incline Village on Lake Tahoe. One property there is listed for sale at $60 million. "Some residents are paying as much as $75,000 a year in property taxes," says the Christian Science Monitor. What the paper doesn't say -- those Incliners can afford any tax hike; it's the swankiest lakeside community.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Faxing in Your Flip-Flops

"Office Depot just introduced 'Town, Country, City, Shore,' a line of office furniture tailored for second-home owners," reports the Wall Street Journal today. "Its accents and surfaces 'create a relaxing, beach-house atmosphere,' according to the Web site.)"


Thursday, June 02, 2005

The "Fortune Five" -- Stay Away?

Where should you be careful about buying second homes? Here's a clue: Fortune magazine in its current issue lists these as the hotties in the current housing frenzy --Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin, Miami. In other words, maybe it's time to steer clear of these boiling boomtowns.


Flip on Your TV

Can you believe this? According to Fortune Magazine, this summer the Learning Channel will air a show about real estate flipping.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Block Island house is yours for just $3.2-million.


Slowdown on Block Island?

Construction crews are busy now, but if the paperwork at Town Hall is any indication, work on new single-family homes will take a nose dive next year, according to Block Island (RI) local paper. As of late May: only two permits for single-family homes have been issued this year, "the slowest I've seen it since I've been in office," said Building Department official Mark Tillson, a 16-year veteran.

Could the million dollar prices-- the cottage above is offered by Ballard Hall -- have something to do with the downturn?


Utah's Summit Sued

Can this happen in your neck of the second-home woods? A coalition that includes the NAACP, La Raza and the Disabled Rights Action Committee has charged in federal court in Salt Lake City that the dearth of affordable housing in Summit County violates the federal Fair Housing Act. That's where Deer Valley and Park City are. But the suit centers on unincorporated areas since Park City itself has a 20-year track record of fostering affordable housing. In an interview in a local paper, County Commission Chairman Bob Richer denied the claims.


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