Friday, May 30, 2008

Vacation Homes Wyoming: Jackson is Hot

How hot? "The least-expensive condo in all of Jackson right now is $331,000, and that is a 625-square-foot one-bedroom," broker Jeff Ward of Teton Village Realty told USA Today. The most modest single-family house in town runs $639,000 and the median exceeds $1.2 million. Jackson has heavy demand, limited supply and prices that still remain below Aspen and Vail in the luxury ski market. Besides, Jackson is a true two-season destination -- summer crowds headed toward Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are huge. Shown above: $645,000 1-BR Ten Sleep Condo. Below: the Tetons million dollar setting.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New York's Columbia County Bargains

What a difference a few months make! In December, I wrote that there were still nice second homes that were "affordable" -- in the $300,000 category -- in New York's popular Columbia County, within a 3-hr drive of New York City. A quick visit this weekend shows many homes now available in the $200,000-$290,000 range from Hillsdale to Hudson, Copake to Kinderhook. For listings, see Web sites for Weichert Realtors and Beach and Bartolo, among others.(Beach and Bartolo has the listing of the Chatham house, pictured.) MLS includes houses that with "motivated sellers" and half-finished properties.

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Where to Invest? Charlotte, Dallas Show Price Gains

Charlotte and Dallas are beckoning second-home buyers and perhaps investors. The latest news from the S&P Case/Shiller home index report is that for the first time in as many months, "we finally saw monthly price appreciation" in these two metro areas," David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index committee at Standard & Poor’s, said today as the dismal first quarter housing numbers showed declines elsewhere. "Charlotte was up 0.2% in March over February, and Dallas was up 1.1%.”

On the negative side, Las Vegas "remains the weakest market, reporting an annual decline of -25.9%, followed by Miami and Phoenix at -24.6% and -23.0%, respectively. Charlotte is the only market with appreciation over the past year, returning +0.8%. In March, half of the MSAs and both composites fell by more than 2% over February. Miami was the worst performer, returning -4.5%.

"Overall," according to the report, "the markets that grew the most during the recent real estate boom are the ones that are leading the current decline."

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Robb Reports "Best" Vacation Properties

Speaking of the Robb Report, as we did the other day, connoisseurs of luxury properties will be interested to learn that the magazine has named the El Dorado Golf and Beach Club near Baja California's (Mexico) Cabo San Lucas as its numero uno for its 2008 "Best of the Best" issue in the category of vacation properties where homes can be built and/or bought. The runners-up are: The Cliffs at Keowee Springs (pictured), South Carolina... Palazzo Tournabuoni in Florence... and Residential Suites at the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua, Hawaii.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Best:" Exclusive, Quintess, Solstice

Would you choose a destination club simply because it was named "Best of the Best" by the luxury-goods magazine Robb Report? Of course not. Still, it is undoubtedly a good selling point for Exclusive Resorts (best "full-size" club), Quintess ("mid-sized") and Solstice ("boutique") to advertise in looking for new members. The Best of the Best June 2008 issue notes that instead of 10 properties promised a year ago, Solstice winds up with 14 (including one at Villa Dolce in Florence, shown above) plus a 90-foot yacht, for its 92 members. By comparison Quintess has 425 members at over 80 homes, while Exclusive has a whopping 350 homes and more than 3,000 members.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Wachovia Finances Mexico 2nd Homes

Want a vacation home in Mexico? Wondering how to pay for it? Cascadas de Manzanillo, a beachfront community overlooking Santiago Bay and the Pacific Ocean now under construction in Manzanillo, Mexico, has announced a new US-based loan program through Wachovia Bank. It will assist U.S. buyers purchasing or refinancing homes in Mexico. "Designed to look and feel like the loan origination practices in the United States," this program is supposed to give customers at Cascadas de Manzanillo the "confidence of US financing." For more info:go to the Cascadas Web site.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

US City Dwellers: Swap for Paris?

"Do you have a personal home exchange season - like summer time - or do your home exchange requests vary according to your changing personal and business demands?" asks Ursula Godwin Niesmann, founder of Jewett Street, the well-established home swap agency based in Germany. She says that among European members of her group, "2- to 3-week summer swaps to major North American cities like New York, San Francisco, Montreal or Vancouver are very popular." And #1 choice among Americans, "despite the weak dollar": Paris. (Photo above is one of the Paris offerings -- a villa on the Ile de France with three bedrooms You can see more choices at the Jewett Street Web site.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Forbes Picks Posh Deep Creek

From Forbes magazine comes a list of new "hot spots" for second homes being bought by affluent buyers, even in this down market. Author Lauren Sherman features One Bal Harbour in Bal Harbour, Florida, where prices for condos started at $1-million.... Deep Creek, Maryland, a four-season resort in the western part of the state that includes lakes and Wisp ski resort... South Lake Tahoe, California, where Vail Resorts is building the Chateau at Heavenly Village, a new condo hotel... and Roxbury, Connecticut, a celebrity-studded community with multi-million dollar properties. Click here for article.

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