Wednesday, December 28, 2005

...Unless You're Talking Ludlow

The same report cited below for Vermont shows that housing around Okemo Mountain Resort is driving up values around Windsor County. Herald says median price for a house in Ludlow is $300,000, according to France Provance from the Davis Mary W Realtor and Associates in Ludlow."


How Affordable is Vermont?

For second-home owners, the answer is: pretty affordable to buy, but watch the gas meter. The Vermont Property Owners Report says the median price for a single-family home purchased between March and June 2005 reached $187,500, a 17.7 percent rise over the comparable period in 2004."Without being a condo, you wouldn't find anything in Killington or Lake Bomoseen, but other than that, it's still a pretty good buy around here," one agent told the Rutland Herald.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Vermont Traffic Jams

Those are three words usually not seen in close proximity. But talk about the downside of weekend homes in popular areas! the Bennington Banner tells us that the access road to Stratton Mountain Resort, close to Winhall, brings about 10,000 people to this teensy village on winter weekends. And that brings traffic snarls and frayed tempers. In summer, by comparison, Winhall and Stratton have a combined population of 800 to 1,000, according to police.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Politicians Head Up to Downhill Resorts

As we all take off for a holiday break, have you noticed how many presidents, ex-presidents, veeps, cabinet members and would-be presidents head for the hills, literally? VP Cheney has a place in Jackson Hole, Rummy in Taos, John Kerry in Sun Valley. The latest candidate, Mitt Romney, nominally the Massachusetts governor, retains a place in Utah where he headed the winter Olympics 2002 effort. President Ford is closely identified not with his home state of Michigan but with Beaver Creek, CO. Even Jimmy Carter has been known to take a break from good works to strap on the boards at Crested Butte, CO.

All of which suggests... what? Only that the Rockies have become a holiday playground that rivals Florida, I suppose. Or that pols know what "going downhill" means. Happy Holidays.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

High-Rise Hold 'Em

More and more poker players are buying Las Vegas high rise condos, says Panorama Towers Marketing Director Michelle Lorenzo. Both professional and amateurs betting on the luxury building, she says perhaps because it's centrally located near all of the major poker rooms -- including the Bellagio -- and offers amenities such as valet parking, concierge service, 24 hour security, state-of-the art fitness facility, and spa.

She did not mention the tower hosting any tournaments of its own, however.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Luggage Caddy Is Latest Luxury

Flying to your snow resort condo or home with three kids, two friends and seven pairs of skis? Can't get everything in the SUV? Skis got lost last year? Issues like these have prompted a new niche -- luggage caddies. They pick up your stuff at home, deliver it to your slopeside door. Sports Express, based in Durango, CO was the first. Now, there are a half-dozen. Sure, it's pricey -- one ski bag collected three days ahead of time can cost $80 or more -- but “travelers are looking to make flying convenient again and hotels are seeking first-class amenities for guests. We cater to both needs in a simple, reliable fashion.” Zeke Adkins, Director of Marketing and Operations at Luggage Forward says.


Destination Clubs Go For Snow

Destination clubs continue to snap up snazzy ski homes even before they're built. Denver-based Exclusive Resorts just trumpeted its latest buys (10 units) at The Arrabelle, touted as the centerpiece of Vail's newly spruced-up Lionshead, as well as 10 new 3,000 square-foot 4-BR homes at Deer Valley, four at Great Bear Lodge within the Village at Northstar in North Lake Tahoe, and four new Kadenwood Estates homes at Whistler in British Columbia.


Go Solar, Get Tax Break

Starting on New Years Day 2006, you'll be able to get a Federal tax break when you add solar water, heat or power to your home. Even better, the Energy Tax Incentives Act allows the tax incentives for all income levels, according to Biggest solar bang for buck: installing a solar water heater. Prices have dropped and they are easier to install than they were a few years ago.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rich People Survey: Floridians Confident, New Englanders Not

What goes up, must go... maybe up, maybe down. In a survey of 1500 wealthy Americans nationwide, PNC Financial Services found New Englanders had "the most conservative expectations"for home prices -- one in 10 respondents expect a 20 percent or more increase over the next five years, 18 percent expect a decline. Nearly twice as many New Yorkers (19 percent) expect a 20 percent gain, while 20 percent expect a decline. Californians -- pretty confident. Floridians? Positively brimming -- 50 percent "expect the value of their primary residence to grow by more than 20 percent over the next five years." We want to know about Floridians' second homes. And wanna bet PNC will pump mortgage products in the Sunshine State before targeting those darn Yankees?


Monday, December 19, 2005

"Houstonians say 'Yes,' not 'Neigh,' to Ranch Life"

Cute headline from Houston Business Journal lassoes new trends:
First, that "recreational demand drives the land market, and second, "markets for rural Texas acreage remain robust." Texas A & M Real Estate Center data spurs this conclusion: baby boomers are buying "country properties as second homes and buying them close enough to the city to escape quickly." But, whoa! we knew that. What we really want to know is, are they making hay?


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Concierges -- Not Just For Hotels

Vacation home concierges "have evolved past the basics of plant and pet sitting. Today, concierges have become personal shoppers, delivery drivers, airport-shuttle drivers and more. They act as a liaison among clients and their interior designers, builders, Realtors and pool- and lawn-care specialists. And they provide peace of mind by answering security alarms at 3 a.m. and giving telephone, photo and e-mail updates during hurricane season." Florida's Lakeland Ledger reports. Cost? Between $12.50 and $35 for weekly or monthly visits. Caveat: be sure to ask about references from potential hires and check the local Better Business Bureau.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

On The Must-Read List

Before you sign on any dotted real estate contract line, check out June Fletcher's House Poor: Pumped Up Prices, Rising Rates and Mortgages on Steroids (Collins, $21.95). The Wall Street Journal reporter has all kinds of sane advice about this insane business. One smart idea: bargaining on an agent's commission rather than meekly accepting the "standard" (not!) 6 percent.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Cold Comfort in Utah

Recipe for a chilly winter at that condo you leave in the hands of a management company when you're not using it? Instructing the staff to turn the thermostat down to 55 when you are away, but not telling them to turn the dial up when guests are about to arrive. Two of us visiting Ski Solitude in Utah near Salt Lake City Wednesday night stayed at a two-bedroom unit that was absolutely frigid. "Oh, these heat up real quick," an attendant assured us when we complained. Wrong! The mercury had barely reached 65 by morning, while we slept under all the covers we could find.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Seaside at 25: Troubles in Paradise

"Seaside has never really proved anything about how Americans want to live, because the majority of its homeowners reside in places like Mobile and Atlanta and visit only a few weeks each summer." Read Seaside at 25: Troubles in Paradise, a NY Times story detailing the problems of hurricane damage and auto overload at Seaside, FL.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

No Bursting Bubble, But Air Seeps from Balloon

"Individuals are pulling back from buying homes and condos as an investment, in a move that could accelerate the cooling of the housing market," the Wall Street Journal reports a bit breathlessly. In markets such as Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, D.C., fewer people are competing to buy properties as an investment, and Some investor-owned properties are returning to the market for sale. "some investors who were betting on quick profits are instead being squeezed," the paper said.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Homes Can't Be Far Behind...

" By adding restaurants, shopping, performances, and other attractions to the usual array of roller coasters and rides, amusement parks are reinventing themselves into 'urban places that are denser, more exciting, with more mixed uses.' "-- so says Amusement Business. Does this mean vacation homes will soon sprout nearby?


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