Sunday, September 28, 2008

Have Prices Fallen Enough to Buy in Las Vegas?

Now may be the best time ever for investors to buy a home in foreclosure-slammed Las Vegas, says Glenn Plantone, whose National New Builds company based in Vegas specializes in undervalued markets."Since the beginning of 2008 the inventory of homes listed in the multiple listing service (MLS) has been slowly decreasing, while the volume of sales has slowly been picking up," he says, adding. "the average price of these homes has been dropping by about $10,000 a month." Thus, as of September 20008, homes with 20% down payments and fully amortized loans will now once again" make sense. Pantone, who says he is a full-time investor and a licensed realtor, declares that Vegas home prices are "as low as 30 – 50 cents on the dollar," making a purchase now a "great cash flow play." He also cites statistics indicating the migration into Las Vegas by residents continues unabated, providing a ready made buying public.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Quintess Members Visit Bali, Zululand via Leading Hotels

Taking a page from the book of other hybrid destination/travel clubs, Quintessoffers an additional option for members who buy into their portfolio of multi-million dollar homes in resorts and vacation cities around the world. Members, who pay as little as $210,000 membership fee and $21,000 annual dues for access to as few as 20 non-holiday days at these houses, also may choose to use 10 of their days on "Leading Experiences" at Quintess's hotel partner, Leading Hotels of the World. That means a stay at such places as Karma Jimbaran on Bali...a safari with base camp at Thanda, a set of bush villas in Zululand, South Africa... or a dive trip at the Great Barrier Reef while staying on the private Australian island of Hayman, pictured above.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seabrook, WA: Pacific Coast New Urbanist Town Takes Shape

Seabrook, Washington, yet another "New Urbanist" development, is located on the Pacific Coast of Washington State, 2 1/2 hours from Seattle. The new community is doing well, say the latest news reports, despite the downturn in vacation home sales. When completed, the beach community will have 400 homes on 303 lots. According to a recent article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, quoting developer Casey Roloff, Seabrook has sold 18 homes this year and in 2007 sold 34 houses, up from 23 in 2006, while other real estate areas struggle. Meanwhile, owners put 49 houses in Seabrook's rental pool in August, and they were more than 90 percent occupied. Its literature proclaims that Seabrook is a "pedestrian-friendly community where a short walk will get you anywhere you want to go." Prices began at $399,000 but waterfront property carries much higher price tags.A spokesman said that buyers were from 26 states and 3 countries but about two-thirds are Washington residents.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

New Luxury Bus to Aspen and Snowmass: Green, Reliable

The Hamptons jitney in New York City has proven that high-end vacation home renters and owners will take a bus to their far Long Island destination rather than fight traffic. Now Aspen and Snowmass, coordinating with Gray Line, are out to see if the same type of clients will -- gasp! -- take a bus from Denver International Airport to those Colorado vacation home meccas rather than take chances with iffy weather and sometimes-cancelled air shuttle service to the Aspen airport. Starting Nov. 14, for just over $120, passengers will board a deluxe nonstop bus with video monitors, bottled water, snacks, and a bathroom for the four-hour ground transport trip.

"It carries about 65 people so it's greener," points out Mary Lee Harder of Gray Line. The bus will be part of vacation packages offered by the resort. It should be noted that there is already service offered by Colorado Mountain Express on eight-passsenger vans for about the same cost.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Owners of Las Vegas Property Cannot Rent Out Their Units

Is there any end to the ugly real estate news out of Las Vegas? The website Halogen Guides forwards this awful glitch:

"Condominium owners at the Meridian Luxury Suites, just off the Strip, have been ordered to stop renting out their units to short-term renters, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

"It seems that the property was never licensed to operate as a condo-hotel, and by renting out units for stays of less than one month, the development was effectively running an illegal hotel operation, according to the County. Of the 678 condominiums, ranging from studios to two-bedrooms, only 12 were occupied by full-time residents, while the vast majority of the other units were placed into a rental pool and marketed to short-term guests...."
If you can't sell... and you can't rent short-term... you are left with unpalatable alternatives, such as trying to find a long-term renter (in market awash in rental alternatives), occupying the space yourself, sucking up the cost, or walking away and accepting foreclosure.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Renting Out for 17 Weeks Yearly Pays for Your Vacation Home

"According to government data, close to 40%, and perhaps as many as 50%, of the foreclosures in 2007 were of nonowner-occupied homes, which generally means vacation homes,"says Standard and Poors The Outlook. S&P Chief Economist David Wyss "expects this trend to continue into 2008 and 2009, pointing out that it's psychologically easier for people to skip payments on a secondary home, whereas they will scrimp and save in other ways in order to hold on to their primary home." But the article also quotes second-home expert Christine Karpinski as pointing out: "If you have a mortgage on your second home, renting it out only 17 weeks will cover your mortgage payments for an entire year ....If it's paid for free and clear, only five off-week rentals will cover costs like bills for your phone, power, cable, and association dues."

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