Friday, February 29, 2008

Canada Shops U.S. For 2nd Home Bargains

Orlando, Las Vegas and other vacation home spots suffering fromt the burst housing bubble have newly interested buyers in Canada. "The combination of the strong Canadian dollar and plummeting real estate prices in the U.S. due to the sub-prime mortgage disaster has made buying property feasible again, especially in Florida and California where home prices had risen dramatically in recent years," says a column in today's National Post. Note to sellers: these are not just potential investors but snowbirds who have always wanted a warm getaway. For oil-rich buyers in Alberta, golf and gated communities in Arizona are a big draw.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

West Bubble Deflates: Tamarack Bankrupt

With the bankruptcy filing of the newest mountain resort and second home community in the U.S., Tamarack in Donnelly, Idaho, investors and owners wonder if the sound they hear is the air being let out of the West's luxury real estate bubble. The owners say dominoes started to fall last summer, but the key was the threat of foreclosure by Credit Suisse on a $262 million loan. Then a loan from the French bank Societe Generale (that the one where a rogue trader lost $7 billion) failed to come through. Tamarack is four years old and 90 % of the condos in its village have been sold, says the Idaho Statesman, but if they are not finished by Dec. 31, buyers can cancel their contracts.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shell,Tipi,Yurt: Yours to Rent

I'm bored with hotel rooms, condos and the like. Next time I head toward Litchfield, Connecticut I want to stay in the geodesic dome featured by, a major vacation rental site, in its gathering of "Top Ten Most Unique Vacation Rentals." Number One on the list: A curvy shell house in Isla Mujeres, Mexico on the beach, complete with a pool, that HomeAway says would be where the Little Mermaid would vacation on land. At $1,500 to $2,000 a week, it looks ideal for a honeymoon. Others: a tipi near Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, just over the Montana line...yurt in Santa Barbara, California...and two kinds of tree houses in Costa Rica and California.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Aspen: Prices Going Down?

Caught your attention, didn't I? Actually, in my week-long visit to Aspen that just ended, I saw only one real estate listing with "price reduced" in it. That was for a "cozy" 2-BR Twin River condo in nearby Basalt (above), 20 minutes downvalley, of just 893 square feet, for $595,000. According to real estate literature, Basalt is a bargain -- a mere $502 per square foot compared with $1,100 for Snowmass Village and $1,500 for Aspen itself.

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