What Now? Series: Dynamic Housing Markets in the West

In 2017, Unique Homes is traveling the U.S. to find the dominant stories in each region of the country — This issue covers the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, California and Hawaii. 

By Camilla McLaughlin

Photo courtesy of Matthew Field

A mix of tech, entertainment and financial service industries along with sheer physical beauty and miles of coastline make California, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii unlike any other part of the country. Recognized worldwide as a mecca for technology and innovation, West Coast metros have an urban vibe that reaches across generations. Islands, bucolic country settings and premier enclaves with a worldwide reputation for ultra luxury add to the region’s singular blend of real estate. So, it’s no surprise the West has some of the most dynamic housing markets in the country with demand for upscale properties anchored by lifestyle, jobs, economic performance, gorgeous settings, and often stunning architecture.

Seattle and Las Vegas

Coming out of the recession, Seattle has been one of the strongest markets in the country, charting 32 consecutive months of year-over-year declines in the number of homes on the market. With less than a month of available inventory, homes in April sold within seven days. In Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington, sales took a little longer — 10 days. Compared to a year ago, Seattle’s median price is up by 17.4 percent, and just over 62 percent of those deals exceeded the list price. The median price in Portland is up 9 percent. Even though the city has had a robust market in recent years, luxury here still commands fewer dollars, with classic estates typically priced under $5 million.

Even in Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit by the downturn, the number of homes on the market continues to decrease, and the average list price is now over $600,000. More out-of-state buyers are eyeing this desert oasis, drawn by Nevada’s favorable tax environment and lower cost of living. Equally powerful incentives are innovative new construction, striking views, a more laid-back lifestyle, easy access and new communities. Ascaya, a new development in Henderson that showcases contemporary architecture, brings a new luxury paradigm to the region. To date, 15 lots have sold, and five additional reservations are on the books. This is a big change from last year when only 14 homes over $3 million sold in the entire Las Vegas valley.

Highest Price in Las Vegas: A $30 million estate in a mountainside setting at The Pointe at The Ridges in Summerlin.

Highest Price in Seattle: $26.8 million for a two-acre waterfront estate with views of the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains. 

Photo courtesy of Gorbis/Getty Images


Golden State real estate continues to amp up, with too few on-market properties the biggest drag on sales. Statewide, the May median price was $550,200, the highest level since August 2007. San Francisco prices continue to lead the state and the nation with a median of $1.5 million, but Los Angeles, home to some of the highest priced properties in the country, accounted for the second highest price increase in California in May, 6.9 percent year-over-year.

“This year’s market has been unbelievable with the highest volume of estate properties on record. Way ahead of last year, and last year was a record,” says Joyce Rey, executive director of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, of L.A.’s prime West Side markets. In the $30 million bracket, there have been 14 sales in 2017 compared to only three in 2016, an increase of 367 percent. In the $20 million bracket, 2017 transactions increased 182 percent, from 11 to 31, while those in the $10 million range were up by almost 20 percent. 

In part, Rey says this is due to the large number of foreign buyers in her market, whose familiarity with California is limited to Beverly Hills. “We just have a huge, strong demand with buyers coming from all around the world,” including China, the Middle East and Europe. “They look for move-in condition, prime locations and have a particular preference for views.” Contemporary architecture with walls of glass and light-infused streamlined interiors is preferred.

“Overseas buyers will still often look for a property that has multiple structures, or at least a guesthouse or caretaker’s quarters, but some of the most affluent buyers are Silicon Valley types or celebrity buyers who are not looking for the major estate with a lot of land but something sexy with all the bells and whistles and a lot of wow factor,” says Bob Hurwitz, founder and CEO of Hurwitz James Company.

Another luxury influx comes from the East Coast. Santiago Arana, a partner at The Agency, attributes this trend to a shift in the culture and tech advancements in the work place. “Executives and entrepreneurs are no longer bound to physically reside near work, which means they can enjoy the California lifestyle while working remotely from their L.A. home.” 

Stunning architecture and an integral indoor/outdoor synergy make this home designed by Brian Foster a work of art.

A record $250 million listing put L.A.’s ultra market in the spotlight this spring. In this rarified niche, list prices are at record peaks and sales have been strong, but the number of properties is on the rise. “There is a plethora of inventory; probably around 40 homes priced at $30 million or more on the Westside of Los Angeles, and this doesn’t include the dozens that are ‘pocket listings’ and not officially on the market or the MLS,” Hurwitz says. “In addition, there are many properties being built in the most desirable luxury home environs that will be hitting the market upon completion in the next year or so. This is thin air and the buyers who can afford and are prepared to pay such numbers are finite, so you are seeing some increasing opportunities to make aggressive offers and good buys.”

Another note of caution concerns foreign buying. Post-election, a few buyers from outside the country tabled purchases. Hurwitz explains: “Since a significant part of my marketing and clientele consists of targeting and representing foreign buyers, I am very attuned to this marketplace. Besides having offices and agents in a number of different countries, our business model is very proactive in terms of reaching out directly to the most affluent individuals and cooperating in a major way with wealth advisors, EB5 and education abroad entities and numerous real estate companies in these areas. I have seen some reluctance in investing in the U.S. recently due to uneasiness of the political climate. On a personal and painful note, I had my buyer, a member of the royal family in a Middle Eastern country, back out of a three-week cash escrow on a $40 million purchase of one of my listings as a direct result of the presidential election results.”

This Los Angeles home reflects a vision for contemporary interiors that is elegant, yet casual and inviting.

Photo courtesy of The Agency

On the Horizon in San Francisco:

Personalized condominiums: La Maison in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood is a collection of 28 uniquely designed individual residences in a five-story building. Each features high-end appointments. Building amenities include organic gardens and a rooftop deck.

Luxury Adaptive Reuse in Pacific Heights: The Pacific includes 76 boutique residences, 12 townhomes and four rooftop duplex penthouses, each with a private terrace. Interiors were inspired by international hospitality brands including Bulgari and the Satai.

What’s hot:

  • Rooftop decks are the latest “must-have” outdoor amenities. They have become a staple for condos, but increasingly single-family homes also incorporate a rooftop deck, particularly if there is a view. A luxury bonus is elevator access.
  • Bunk rooms in Tahoe are a favorite second-home addition, but this trend is not limited to Tahoe. On many of our “On Location” visits we’ve found that bunk rooms, often with an adjacent playroom, are not a rarity. Even adults find it’s hard to resist the pull of such cozy appointments.
  • Basements in both San Francisco and L.A. as residents scramble for more space.
  • Hybrid designs with an exterior reflecting one style and the interiors another. Frequently seen are combos with a traditional exterior and a decidedly contemporary interior.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Mayer Photography

What Buyers Want:

When it comes to luxury, few trends can be generalized, even downsizing and simplification. “Preferences are totally mixed, and luxury buyers get what they want. Luxury buyers don’t try to fit into a box. Instead, they make the box,” says Josh Reef, with Hurwitz James Company.

Few upscale consumers are willing to sacrifice to reduce square footage. “Our buyers prefer a high square footage for all the rooms they need and desire in a home, such as personal wine cellars and gym or yoga rooms. While there is still a demand for high square footage, buyers are shifting toward a more-casual home living environment. In exchange for formal living and dining rooms, buyers are requesting rooms that allow them to fully utilize 100 percent of their home on an almost daily basis,” says Arana.

Still, brokers say the one thing almost all buyers want is to have everything done. “Even at the lower end of prices, very few are interested in a renovation,” says Trinkie Watson with Chase International in Lake Tahoe.

Photo courtesy of Martis Camp Sales

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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The Top 25 Hawaiian Homes

The U.S.’s 50th state is far from last when it comes to luxury real estate. As part of this waterfront edition of Unique Homes, we researched the 25 most expensive listings in The Aloha State. Although the country’s eighth smallest state, Hawaii offers the fourth longest coastline (behind just Alaska, Florida and California). From acreage to penthouses, from organic farms to rooftop lanais, our snapshot of Hawaii’s priciest offerings is as diverse as the archipelago’s environment.

2676 E. Kauapea Rd., Kilauea
The ultimate Hawaii retreat on 15+ bluff-top acres with a white-sand beach, main house, guest pavilions, and caretaker’s quarters.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

5418 Weke Rd., Hanalei
A multi-property estate boasting old-Hawaii charm on the ocean at Hanalei Bay.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

1118 Ala Moana Blvd., GPH #36, Honolulu
The 10,000-square-foot Grand Penthouse has 5 bedrooms and over 1,300 square feet of outdoor patio space, including its own pool.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

1118 Ala Moana Blvd., GPH #35, Honolulu
On the 35th floor of Waiea, this 6-bedroom penthouse boasts a rooftop lanai with an ocean-facing infinity pool.
List Sotheby’s International Realty

4200 Anini Vista Dr., Unit D, Kilauea
An impressive estate on the dramatic coastal bluff of Kauai’s North Shore with views of mountain, shoreline, reef and beyond.
Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty

2620-A Kauapea Rd., Kilauea
This gated ocean-bluff estate has a deeded trail to the beach, a guest home and one of the most beautifully detailed homes on Kauai.
Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

2590 Kauapea Rd., Lot 65, KilaueaThis elevated 28-plus-acre estate features ocean, mountain and
extended coastal vistas.
Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

3244 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei
One of Maui’s most exclusive homes, this 13,422-square-foot residence is located on world-renowned Keawakapu Beach in South Maui.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

51 Kaikea Pl., Kailua
A 2.5-acre oceanfront property on 3 lots with private, gated access to Kailua Bay.
Aska Estate Hawaii Inc.

4000 Wailea Alanui Dr., Apt. 102, Kihei
Magnificent, totally remodeled “double unit” with the most dramatic oceanfront location in South Maui.
Dave Wagner, Wailea Point Realty Inc.

210 N. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua
Truly a resort within itself, this stunning Kailua beachfront estate has a 5-bedroom main house and 3-bedroom guesthouse. KW Worldwide

69-1566 Puako Beach Dr., Kamuela
Majestic oceanfront residence comprised of 1.16 acres with approximately 450 feet of prime ocean frontage on the Kohala Coast.
Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

72 S. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua
House of Paradise, a chic, sophisticated, contemporary avenue-to-ocean beachfront estate on world-renowned Kailua Beach.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

69-2014 Nani Paniau Dr., Kohala Coast
On 7.45 acres, this is one of the largest, privately owned oceanfront estates on the island of Hawaii.
Robert Chancer & Steve Hurwitz, Mauna Kea Realty

4469-W N. Waiakalua Rd., Kilauea
This is one of the most profitable certified organic farms on Kauai and comes with a Hawaiian-Japanese-style home.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

73-2230 Ala Kohanaiki, Kailua-Kona
The Moana Residence, on the best lot at Kohanaiki, is a 5-bedroom, 5.5-bath home of approximately 7,000 square feet under roof.
Joni Metzler, Metzler Realty

1133 Ikena Circle, Honolulu
With unparalleled attention to detail, this elegant property is designed in the 19th-century French style rarely seen today.
Sachi Hawaii, Pacific Century Properties

5403 Kalanianaole Hwy., Honolulu
Sophisticated and modern 1.43-acre oceanfront estate with 185 linear feet of beach frontage, a tennis pavilion, sparkling pool, Jacuzzi and pool pavilion.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

59-367 Ke Nui Rd., Haleiwa
Comprised of 2 properties. Here you can sit on your porch and have a front-row seat to view the world-famous surf spot called Pipeline.
List Sotheby’s International Realty

3 Kapalua Pl., #3, Lahaina
A rare opportunity to own a stunning Island Contemporary architectural masterpiece by award-winning Hawaii architect Jeffrey Long.
Keller Williams Island Living

600 Stable Rd., Paia
On approximately 500 linear feet of white-sand beach, this home offers world-class panoramic views of the ocean and the West Maui Mountains.
Wailea Realty Corp.

2332 Makiki Heights Dr., Honolulu
One of the largest estates in metro Honolulu, this hillside property features a main house and guesthouse on beautifully landscaped grounds.
Patricia Choi, Choi International

4383 Royal Pl., Honolulu
This island treasure, designed by Frank Roberts, AIA, has been home to the Doheny family for 50-plus years and offers the rarity of 165 linear feet of beach frontage.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

5949 Kalanianaole Hwy., Apt D, Honolulu
One-of-a-kind setting surrounded by water — a private lagoon on one side, a bird sanctuary on the other that opens out to the ocean.
Dolores Bediones & Takako Friend, Locations Hawaii

280 Poipu Dr., Honolulu
One of the nicest oceanview homes on Oahu, situated for the trade winds, with the pool area offering perfect breezes to ensure comfort.

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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Home Décor With Italian Inspiration

It’s no secret that Italy — home to many admired artists, designers and architects — has produced a range of beautiful artistry. So it’s no surprise that today’s Italian-crafted furniture continues to bring unique elements to any home, from bathroom to kitchen to outdoor living areas.

By Alyssa Gautieri

Machinne Volanti

Designed by Italian artist Piero Fornasetti, these hand-painted tile designs feature bright and whimsical patterns like balloons, planes and ships. Inspired by the frescoes that Fornasetti painted as a young man in his bedroom, Hastings Tile & Bath’s Machinne Volanti is reflective of Italian artistry. “We work very hard to find artisans and manufacturers whose products are unique — and unlike anything else you would find here in North America,” said Kevin Mashia, the director of tile products for Hastings Tile & Bath. “We certainly feel that the Fornasetti collection of tiles is the perfect embodiment of our continued mission.”

Photo courtesy of Hastings Tile & Bath

Gloss Black Appliances

ILVE is embracing the re-emerging kitchen design trend — black appliances and finishes — with its new Gloss Black color option available in the Majestic Collection of ranges and hoods. Known for its handcrafted Italian appliances, ILVE’s Gloss Black finish continues to bring luxury to life. “The Gloss Black finish is so rich, it adds a layer of elegance, drama and sophistication to the kitchen,” said Melissa Haber, director of sales and marketing for EuroChef USA. With more than 220 colors, three trim options and four leg options, this collection is truly customizable.

Photo courtesy of ILVE Appliances

Hexa Stools

Twentieth presents Lebello’s Italian-crafted Hexa Stools, which are available in a range of hexagonal shapes and colors, as well as three sizes and two heights. While they bring life to outdoor areas, these stools also use a knit-tech fabric and Breath-Air foam to provide extraordinary outdoor softness and elasticity. Twentieth’s Founder and Director Stefan Lawrence called the sophistication of the fabric an “incredible advantage.” “The stools may look ordinary from a distance, but the uniqueness lies in its knit-tech fabric,” agreed Lars Dahmann, Lebello’s founder and brand manager. “I find the product very striking. It’s a harmonious balance of innovative materials with a simple design approach.”

Photo courtesy of Lebello

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

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Waves of Change

Water views or frontage have consistently been desirable real estate attributes for as long as anyone can remember. Whether your home offers breathtaking vistas out upon the open sea or a tranquil setting with frontage to a babbling river, there aren’t too many who would object to owning a luxury, waterfront property. With this desire to be by the water, however, many buyers seeking frontage are finding that waves of change are taking place along the coasts in the form of rejuvenation and reconstruction.
By Kristen Ordonez

Photo courtesy of Soaring Imagery

Portland, Maine

Soaking in the views of Casco Bay, the greater Portland area offers much to be desired in the line of luxury waterfront properties — ranging from $2 million to $5 million — whether along the rocky coastline, open ocean or somewhere near the bay for easy boat docking. The highest sale in the greater Portland area in the last year was $4.05 million, according to Bob Knecht, Broker for Town and Shore Associates. Though the amount of waterfront space is limited, the possibilities to redesign and rebuild are fervent throughout the area.

“Maine is a very old state,” Knecht remarks. “It provides an interesting mix of old cottages and old estates with grand cottages, island cottages, new homes and remodeled homes.” People will often take an older waterfront home and renovate it; “you can’t change the location, but you can change the house,” says Knecht, a method that provides a lot of inventory and an overall healthy real estate market.

David Banks of RE/MAX By the Bay focuses on the towns of Harpswell and Brunswick, about 30 minutes north of Portland, which still present opportunities for waterfront properties under $1 million. He also notes that in the rocky coastline of Cape Elizabeth, just south of Portland, properties range from $3 million to $6 million, while in other towns north of Portland the waterfront prices range from $2 million to $6 million and include more areas for boating, dockage and privacy. Banks reports that the highest-priced waterfront listing is $11 million.

After “converting from a manufacturing state to an information state,” according to Knecht, Maine is the “number one luxury state in the country,” offering the largest income in tourism, great school systems and a “wonderful quality of life.”

Exquisite Shingle-style home with broad ocean views in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Photo courtesy of Lynne Dube.

Lake Burton, Georgia

Realtor Julie Barnett from Harry Norman, Realtors knows the ins and outs of Lake Burton, and how water frontage plays a major role in the Georgia real estate market. Located only 90 minutes from Atlanta, most buyers come locally from Georgia
or Florida, according to Barnett, to “escape the summer heat.”

“Lake Burton is a boutique situation,” says Barnett. “It is 2,775 acres with 62 miles of shoreline nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.” The location is very tranquil with cool, crystal clear water that lets you see straight to the bottom, as well as a 10-degree temperature difference compared to Atlanta. Apart from the lake are the properties in the vicinity, which according to Barnett vary in price depending on their purpose.

Similar to Portland, Lake Burton affords both tear-down lots and luxury new constructions. “Our properties range from $700,000 to $1 million for tear-down fishing cabins, and up to $6.4 million for a luxury estate,” says Barnett, a sizable difference from last year when the range was between $479,000 and $5.9 million. And with these lots becoming available, $3+ million homes are being built in their place. Because of this consistent remove-and-replace pattern of construction, each year the inventory of homes over $2 million increases.

The highest-priced home on the market in Lake Burton is one of Barnett’s listings, priced at $6.4 million. The 1.2-acre property features mountain, lake, and sunset views and belongs to country music star Alan Jackson. 

St. Augustine, Florida

For buyers in St. Augustine, the choice between either water frontage to the ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway is one of the easier decisions to make. This resort town on the northeast coast of Florida has a unique real estate market compared to the markets in the “big cities,” according to Stefanie Bernstein of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty.

Because of the large inventory of second homes that were built in the 1980s and early ’90s, “most buyers do not find what they want with a resale,” and turn to a tear-down and reconstruction deal. These kinds of opportunities provide cheaper options for those looking for new construction possibilities, which is appealing to those who are willing to build or pay higher prices for newer homes. Bernstein notes that because of its “small-town” status, many buyers are from Florida, while others travel down from states like Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and even Vermont.

Generally, the price range for waterfront homes starts at about $800,000 for properties with ocean frontage, and $550,000 for Intracoastal frontage. The average prices for the more expensive homes in the area are within the $3 million range. One of the highest priced homes in St. Augustine is over $4.2 million, according to Bernstein, and is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.  

Lake Arrowhead, California

Nestled in the hills of San Bernadino National Forest, luxury homes scattered along or near the shores of Lake Arrowhead tend to fill the vacation home capacity, according to Vicki Smith, Broker Associate at Coldwell Banker Sky Ridge Realty. “We have such a variety of luxury homes here, the plan is to match the buyers with homes that work for them,” Smith says. According to her, a large percentage of these homes are vacation homes for people who live in other parts of Southern California, especially Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, Orange County, San Diego County and the desert areas of Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage.

While there are enough high-end lakefront listings, Smith notes that all the areas around the lake are already built on, so not many new homes can be newly built and not every buyer gets exactly what they are looking for. Instead, most of the older, vintage homes are getting remodeled or refurbished in order to keep up with buyers’ needs. “We could use more lakefront homes on the market between the $2 million to $3 million range,” says Smith.

At this time, the highest-priced home in Lake Arrowhead is an $11.8 million listing by Smith, which is “an extraordinary home on its own private peninsula.” For those looking for luxury properties in the area. but not necessarily on the lake, these homes start around $500,000. Prices for lakefront homes are broken up differently depending on the remodeling process.

“For $900,000 to $1.5 million you can purchase a small (1,500 to 2,000-square-foot) vintage home that probably needs some work. For $1.5 million to $2.5 million, you can purchase a larger lakefront home (3,000 to 4,000 square feet) that has had some remodeling done, but today’s buyer will probably want to do additional upgrades. And for over $2.5 million you can get a beautiful home,” says Smith.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

The tear-down, rebuild construction plan is how most buyers get away with finding or creating their perfect luxury home along the shores of Lake Tahoe. According to Shari Chase of Chase International Real Estate, there are no subdivisions or new developments for the most part in the waterfront area of Lake Tahoe due to the land preservations and protections.

“On the Nevada side of the lake, over 95 percent of the land itself is owned by government agencies,” Chase states, affirming that the land is “very precious.” Due to these protections, the only way to really create new luxury home opportunities is to buy older homes and either refurbish or tear them down to build new.

Chase notes that most of these buyers, like so many others looking for waterfront properties in the U.S., are looking for a secondary home, or a third or fourth in some cases. Based on the location, most buyers of these properties hail from the San Francisco Bay Area and even Los Angeles.

Price points vary depending on home distinction, such as a condominium or townhome compared to a single-family home, according to Chase. On average, in today’s market, the minimum on-the-water price is between $4 million to $10 million. The newest home on the market in the Lake Tahoe region is one of Chase’s, a $75 million residence in Crystal Pointe, Nevada with 525 feet of waterfront and the highest price in the area.

The captivating views from this $75 million listing in Crystal Pointe are what Chase refers to as “epic, energetic and empowering.” Photo courtesy of Jeff Dow.

Pines Lake, Wayne, New Jersey

Northwest New Jersey is a region that provides many popular lakes and private lake communities with memberships to private beaches, tennis courts, sailing and an assortment of other social activities. Two popular communities in particular, Pines Lake and Packanack Lake, are found in Wayne, New Jersey, and have been around as early as the 1930s, according to Carole “Lynn” Brescia, broker/sales associate for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Originally starting as summer lake communities in the ’30s through the ’50s, these places have evolved over time into year-round communities, Brescia states. “Older homes are now being renovated and expanded, or torn down and replaced by larger, new homes that focus on the water views and lakefront access,” Brescia says.

Keeping with the trend of buying a vacation home close to home, most buyers are local and move up to a lakefront location for the views, the water access and the lifestyle. Many of them have specifically identified the community, Brescia notes, and “wait for the right location or property.” Some buyers are occasionally from out of state and “fall in love with the beauty of the lakes area and choose the lifestyle of being able to enjoy kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding and swimming.”

On the water in Pines Lake, the starting price for a rebuild or redesign is just under $1 million, depending on the size of a lot. A recent piece of land sold for over $3 million, and according to Brescia there are more opportunities up for grabs. “Currently there are renovated and newer homes between $1.3 million and $2.8 million,” says Brescia.

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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The Top 37 Waterfront Properties in Massachusetts

Whether it’s a beautiful cottage looking out upon the Atlantic Ocean from Martha’s Vineyard, a luxurious island mansion on the shores of Nantucket, or even an idyllic, historical home with bay views on Cape Cod, the shorelines of Massachusetts are appealing locations for buyers looking for a luxury, waterfront experience.

By Kristen Ordonez

Photo courtesy Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty

Gary Winn, Broker at Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty, knows all too well about the benefits of purchasing a waterfront home, specifically in Nantucket. “I can’t speak for all of Massachusetts, but buying waterfront property on Nantucket is a great opportunity and a great investment.”

Similar to other regions of New England, waterfront properties in Massachusetts aren’t limited by a small inventory, but instead face difficulties in finding room to expand. As Winn mentions, a stretch of land with water frontage is rare because “they’re not making any more” of them. However, this fact opens up the opportunity to either purchase an existing waterfront home with a long history, or start from the ground up by refurbishing or building a new construction. As featured below, many of the most expensive waterfront properties in Massachusetts are original mansions or homes that have been around for decades, as well as fully renovated estates that are new to the shore.

Nantucket and other shore towns in Massachusetts offer an array of opulent estates for the most discerning buyers, providing exclusive lifestyles that are not available elsewhere. “When you come to Nantucket, although you may not be travelling far, you really feel like you’ve gone someplace,” says Winn.

If you want to buy something for $10 million or more in Massachusetts, then here are your options:

4 Middle Valley Road and 48 Shimmo Pond Road, Nantucket
Designed by renowned Jacobsen Architecture, the Harbor Hill Estate on the Shimmo waterfront features luxurious amenities, state-of-the-art systems and exceptional execution on an elevated harborfront, 4.5-acre parcel with private beach stairs.
Listed by Donna Barnett of Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty

260 Polpis Road, Nantucket
With over 60 acres and unobstructed views over Polpis Harbor, this Swain’s Neck estate is situated on a peninsula and potentially the island’s most private family retreat.
Listed by Jonathan Radford of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

$32,750,000 to $28,500,000
72, 76 and 78 Pocomo Road, Nantucket
Unique waterfront compound with 300-degree dramatic views, privacy, direct access to a gorgeous sandy beach, boat moorings and multiple dwellings, including a main house, studio, 2-bedroom cottage, 6-car garage, pavilion and guesthouse.
Listed by Gary Winn, Bernadette Meyer, and Craig Hawkins of Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty

22 & 24 Easton Street, Nantucket
Perfectly situated on the inner harbor waterfront in the heart of Brant Point, this spectacular property boasts 120-plus feet of waterfront and one of only three private deepwater docks on the island.
Listed by Edward Sanford of Great Point Properties

13 Squam Road, Nantucket
This oceanfront, private compound was designed for the discriminating buyer to enjoy the island of Nantucket with a main house, thoughtfully designed outdoor living areas and a private boardwalk that leads to Squam Beach.
Listed by Chris Kling of J. Pepper Frazier Real Estate

97 Tilippi Run Street, Cape Cod, Chatham
Boasting one of the most spectacular properties on the Cape Cod shoreline, this shingle-clad, 6-bedroom estate is poised on 1.9 acres and majestically resides over the Atlantic Ocean, Monomoy
Islands and Nantucket Sound with 10,974 square feet of living space.
Listed by Christopher Rhinesmith of Pine Acres Realty

119 and 119R Eel Point Road, Nantucket
An outstanding property consisting of 2 homes, each sitting on nearly 2 acres; offered together, the main house, studio and cottage overlook 4 acres of oceanfront real estate on the north shore of Nantucket Island.
Listed by Gary Winn of Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty

46 Easton Street, Nantucket
The most authentic, unrestored Old Nantucket homestead available on the island, “Auburn Cottage” is available for new owners for the first time in its history. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own an iconic island landmark.
Listed by Bill McGowan of Lamacchia Realty, Inc.

40, 41 & 43 Ocean Avenue, Nantucket
Located just a short distance from the center of Main Street, “The Sheiling” is an elegant home with many custom details throughout and panoramic ocean views from almost every room.
Listed by Jeanne Hicks of Lee Real Estate

7 Starbuck Neck Road, Edgartown
A rare offering in one of Edgartown’s most coveted neighborhoods, this exclusive, 1.2-acre estate has spectacular water views of Edgartown Harbor, Edgartown lighthouse and Nantucket Sound from three sides of the house.
Listed by Thomas Wallace of Wallace and Co. Sotheby’s International Realty

79 Turkeyland Cove Road, Edgartown
Custom-designed by Bradenburger Taylor Lombardo Architects from San Francisco, and built by reputable island builder John Early, this unique and lavish home is in a league by itself.
Listed by Thomas Leclair of LandVest

192 and 187 Mishaum Point Road, Dartmouth
At the tip of Mishaum Point, Robert A.M. Stern created a Shingle-style masterpiece that is perfectly sited to embrace the full scope of its 270-degree ocean views and features handcrafted details throughout.
Listed by Robert Kinlin of Robert Paul Properties

The Oaks, 49 Margin Street, Cohasset
The Oaks, a private 9.41-acre peninsula with 1,800 feet of ocean frontage and a protected 112-foot deepwater dock, is a magnificent 20,000-square-foot Georgian Revival mansion that has been renovated to the highest standards.
Listed by Jonathan Radford of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

45 Hulbert Avenue, Nantucket
The iconic Brant Point property is complemented by native Rosa Rugosa, a lush side and front lawn for entertaining and a 6-bedroom home, which boasts a balanced blend of yesteryear and today’s modern amenities.
Listed by Laura Fletcher of Great Point Properties

50 Oyster Watcha Road, Edgartown
Ideally and prominently positioned on the southernmost peninsula of Oyster Pond, this idyllic compound offers over 1,200 feet of private waterfront on Oyster Pond and access to over 2,200 feet of Atlantic beach.
Listed by Peyton Wallace of Wallace and Co. Sotheby’s International Realty

Kragsyde, 27 Smiths Point Road, Manchester
Finished in 2015, this modern stone and glass estate is a spectacular waterfront property that combines uncompromised ocean views with breathtaking modern architecture, contemporary convenience and unsurpassed luxury.
Listed by Darin Thompson of Stuart St. James, Inc.

2 and 4 Morse Street, Edgartown
Multi-lot waterfront family compound consisting of two primary homes of equal quality and a separate studio/office, all with dramatic views of Edgartown Harbor, the Lighthouse, and Katama Bay.
Listed by Twanette Tharp of The Tharp Group

96 Beach Road, Edgartown
This dramatic compound is set amidst 150 acres of conservation land. Completed in 2010, and offering almost 10,000 square feet of living space, this 5-bedroom, 7-bath custom home affords every amenity with exceptional finishes.
Listed by LandVest

33 Proctor Street, Manchester
A rare opportunity to own a waterfront family compound consisting of 2± acres on Manchester Harbor. With 325± feet of water frontage, the property offers direct boating access to Manchester Bay and beyond.
Listed by Lanse Robb of LandVest

8 Lavendar Lane, Nantucket
Stunning 280-degree panoramic and unobstructed water views can be enjoyed from this Eel Point location. The house and cottage sit on 5.5 acres and have direct beach paths to some of the island’s most ideal beaches.
Listed by Chris Kling of J. Pepper Frazier Real Estate

421 Main Street, Osterville
Overlooking the beautiful waters of East Bay and Nantucket Sound sits this sophisticated yet intimate waterfront estate that has been completely upgraded from stem to stern with the highest-grade
materials and exceptional craftsmanship.
Listed by Robert Kinlin of Robert Paul Properties

19 East Tristram Avenue, Nantucket
The quintessential Dionis waterfront property featuring an
attractive 4-bedroom, 4-bath home, high elevations allowing for expansive views of Nantucket Sound, and a wonderful bath and beach house.
Listed by Edward Sanford of Great Point Properties

55 Eel Point Road, Nantucket
One of Nantucket’s most beautiful homes in one of Nantucket’s most valuable locations! Immaculate 5-bedroom, 5-bath residence on 2 acres with a rare backyard beach path.
Listed by Steve DiFrancesco of Hunter, Reed and Company

27 Ocean Bluff Drive, New Seabury, Mashpee
This truly exquisite home has easy access to the flawless white sandy beach and is situated close to all the activities of Popponesset, New Seabury country club and golf club.
Listed by Paul Grover of Robert Paul Properties

10-54 Sipson Island, Orleans
Sipson Island, a 25-acre landmark on the eastern coast of Cape Cod, is presented for sale in its entirety for the first time in generations and features several year-round dwellings and an extensive private beach.
Listed by Paul Grover of Robert Paul Properties

17 Squam Road, Nantucket
With 180 degrees of spectacular ground-floor ocean views, few opportunities arise to find another rare 5-acre waterfront parcel like this one.
Listed by Susan Chambers and Juliet Hunter of Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty

13 Kingsbury Lane, Orleans
This secluded 4.4-acre waterfront estate overlooking Pleasant Bay features a new 8,500-square-foot residence with magnificent views of a bay studded with islands.
Listed by Robert Kinlin of Robert Paul Properties

260 North Bay Road, Osterville
Capturing the luxurious spirit of Oyster Harbors, a private gated community, this stunning Royal Barry Wills waterfront residence features elegant interiors with rich details, extraordinary views and 275 feet of water frontage.
Listed by Robert Kinlin of Robert Paul Properties

4 Gosnold’s Way, Chillmark
A rare opportunity to own one of Chillmark’s premier waterfront
locations. Enjoy over 22.75 acres of scenic, natural landscape from this unique parcel.
Listed by Gerret Conover of LandVest

520 Shore Road, Chatham
Sand Bars is the largest waterfront parcel on Shore Road and offers stunning, elevated views of Chatham Harbor and the Atlantic.
Listed by Christopher Rhinesmith of Pine Acres Realty

“The Whale,” 849 Main Street, Vineyard Haven
Affectionately known as “The Whale” and owned by the same Vineyard family for more than 60 years, this West Chop waterfront home on 1.62 acres in Vineyard Haven is a true Martha’s Vineyard classic.
Listed by Carol Shore of Coldwell Banker Landmarks Real Estate

46 Shimmo Pond Road, Nantucket
“High Shimmo” is ideally situated at the end of Shimmo Pond Road, creating a private oasis accented with private beach and sweeping views of the harbor, the channel, and out to Nantucket Sound.
Listed by Edward Sanford of Great Point Properties

$10,750,000 or $20,000 a week
53 South Water Street, Edgartown
Harborfront on South Water Street, this 4-bedroom home is impeccably landscaped right down to the water’s edge. A quaint boathouse for kayak and fishing pole storage, plus a deepwater dock complete this special village home.
Listed by Gerret Conover of LandVest

32 Ocean View Avenue, Edgartown
Located on exclusive Ocean View Avenue, this custom contemporary home offers panoramic views of Edgartown Harbor and Chappaquiddick Island.
Listed by Thomas Leclair of LandVest

205 Eel Point Road, Nantucket
This waterfront wonder represents an opportunity to own 2.9 acres on the well-protected Madaket Harbor in Dionis. Enjoy beautiful sunsets, over 130 feet of beach, and water sports right out your back door.
Listed by John McGarr and Kristen Gaughan of William Raveis

“Cliff Cottage,” 22 Quitsa Lane, Chillmark
Originally built in 1850 and remodeled by the current owners, “Cliff Cottage” enjoys one of the most picturesque settings and water views on Martha’s Vineyard and reflects today’s lifestyle and amenities.
Listed by Thomas Wallace of Wallace and Co. Sotheby’s International Realty

32 Boldwater Road, Edgartown
This amazing property offers open living areas, countless unique features and an abundance of glass windows and doors facing the water and the beautiful landscaped grounds.
Listed by Gerret Conover of LandVest

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 


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On the Beach in Kailua

By Camilla McLaughlin

Rarely is exceptional architecture paired with a remarkable location, but in the residence featured on our cover those two circumstances converge in an ideal synergy, very much aligned with Hawaii’s timeless connection between people, nature and architecture.

After you the pass through the African sapele wood gates and 10-foot custom wood and glass entry, what is most striking about this property is the incredible flow between indoors and outdoors. A spacious courtyard shimmers with tropical vegetation. The crescent-shaped infinity pool complements the linear composition of the structure and directs attention through the home to the ocean and miles of sandy beach beyond. Walls disappear via pocketing sliding glass doors and steel construction to merge interiors with the spectacular setting, 90 feet on one of the most pristine beaches in Oahu. Not only do main rooms open on both sides, but others, such as the master bedroom, which includes an outdoor shower and private deck, do as well. All the bedrooms have ocean views.

The sense of flow continues between interior spaces. “No matter where you are, you always feel connected to others on the property,” says Annie Kwock, owner and principal broker of Trinity Hawaii on Oahu, who is marketing the property. “It is designed to give everyone a view of the ocean. Even the guesthouse has views.” The inland side captures the changing panorama and colors of the mountains.

In addition to three bedrooms, the main house also includes an office, which is ingeniously situated to open to extensive entertaining spaces and the pool. “It is a very intimate and engaging house,” says Kwock.

As private as the setting feels, it is within walking distance to a quaint town that is a bedroom community for Honolulu. The airport is only 20 minutes away.

The architecture and landscape are exquisite, but what really makes this house remarkable is the setting — two-thirds of an acre and 90 feet of oceanfront located on more than two miles of unsullied oceanfront. The list price is $15.9 million.    

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa To Welcome Permanent Residents This Fall

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa located on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman will welcome permanent residents at its new Residences at Seafire, set to open in November 2017.

By Kelly Potts


Upon entering the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, I immediately noticed the rolling blue waves. Those waves, however, were not the crystal clear water of the ocean right outside the resort, but the details of the lobby ceiling, which was inspired by the island and its culture.

“It was important to us for Kimpton to have a personality and have attributes of the island,” says Jackie Doak, president of Dart Real Estate. “There are bespoke and subtle touches of Cayman culture throughout the resort.” From the homey library featuring a traditional Caymanian catboat suspended from the ceiling, to the seafarer-inspired ropes and knots throughout the resort, I found myself discovering new island-themed details at seemingly every turn.

I was greeted each morning with views of the ocean through a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows in my room, one of 266 guest rooms and suites all with ocean or North Sound views and private balconies. The endless amenities include a family pool, an adults-only pool, an oceanfront kids facility, a public multi-use trail and a luxurious spa and fitness facility with seven treatment rooms, a Hammam and a relaxing garden soaking pool.

Three diverse restaurants can be found on site: the open and beachy Coccoloba where Mexican street food meets Caribbean sea food; Ave, a chic atmosphere offering fresh seafood and produce infused into coastal Mediterranean dishes; and Avecita, offering an intimate, exclusive culinary experience at the chef’s table. For a quick smoothie, coffee or sandwich to-go before heading to the beach, the hotel is also home to The Pantry at Seafire.

The 12-acre site will soon welcome permanent occupants at its newest development, The Residences at Seafire. Offering 62 high-end Caribbean-style living spaces ranging from studios to four-bedrooms, the residences will range from $1 million to $8 million.

The Residences’ 3,500-square-foot rooftop lounge, “The Nest,” is just one of the public spaces in the development designed by renowned Interior Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, featuring shaded lounging pits and cocktail areas. “The Nest is the highest man-made point on the island and the best place to watch the sunsets that inspired Seafire’s name,” says David Seerman, vice president of sales for Provenance Properties of Cayman.

“I foresee decades of new development and prosperity for the island that will not only benefit vacation home buyers, but also the people who live and work in the Cayman Islands,” Seerman says of the island’s real estate market.

The Residences are a standalone structure elevated to 24 feet, creating a sloped effect leading from the building to the adults-only pool and the beach beyond. “The pool and landscaping cascades down creating beautiful views even from just the ground floor,” says Doak.
The views weren’t the only thing they had in mind when developing Seafire and the Residences, however. “We take into consideration where the breeze comes from, how the sun moves over the property, how landscaping and water and shading can cool an area,” says Doak, “You’re developing for people to become attached to what you develop and to develop a really strong reputation for meaningful placemaking.”

Whether it’s a subtle, unique piece of décor or a gorgeous, hidden garden, you’ll constantly discover new things to enjoy at this luxury resort. Doak says, “We hope to make our locations desirable and make you want to come back and experience it again.” And Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa does just that.

Photos ©Don Riddle, courtesy Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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