Every year we select locations to highlight as Markets to Watch. This year change is underway and we take a look at some top performers, others that are beginning to transition, and a handful of under-the-radar locations that are emerging.
On track for another record with sales up more than 3 percent, Austin’s luxury patina shines ever brighter. In October, the medium home value in Barton Creek increased to $1.02 million, making it the city’s first million-dollar neighborhood. Austin’s charms include no income tax to win over newcomers, but music and tech might be tops.
Bozeman might seem like a sleeper on this list, but with ranches, the Yellowstone Club and Big Sky country it’s an under-the-radar hangout for demi-billionaires and billionaires.
Brooklyn, New York
No longer second best! Buyers are making Brooklyn a first choice. Median prices in the most expensive neighborhoods hit the $1 million mark. Israelis, Chinese and Western Europeans also gravitate here. It’s no surprise this New York City borough is No. 2 on Urban Land Institute’s Markets to Watch.
By August, the Chicago area recorded as many luxury sales as in all of 2016 or 2017. Sales of $1 million-and-up properties set a record in the third quarter with a 19-percent increase over 2017. According to RE/MAX, luxury is booming in the west loop area. Upscale suburbs trail the city. Lots of new condos and stunning new buildings open doors to more urban opportunities in a market that hangs in the balance.
Few cities have charted a post-recession course as strong as Dallas and the city remains Urban Land Institute’s No. 1 location for overall real estate prospects in 2019. But the dramatic post-recession price increases are over, say economists. Moderating prices and adjusting inventories are positive indicators that that a move back to a normal market is underway.
Real estate’s Rocky Mountain high isn’t over yet. Denver continues to rank in the top group on many lists. In the upscale bracket, a shift toward balance is underway with the inventory of $1 million-plus homes at about seven months. Year-over-year prices are up on average 9.29 percent. Boulder remains a sweet spot for luxury, ranking 10th among cities and towns with at least 10 neighborhoods considered million-dollar.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Projections call for appreciation as high as 10 percent this year. Nevada was the fastest growing state, with new platinum communities; forward-looking, innovative architecture; and spectacular views capturing the attention of buyers looking for lifestyle and tax relief.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Coastal South Carolina and Georgia are ground zero for demographic shifts and the growing ability among the affluent to live wherever they want — a trend just taking off. New developments including Palmetto Bluff add to demand for the Hilton Head region.
Moving toward balance. A long-awaited uptick in homes on the market is one of several hints of a market shift. Median prices reached a record high this fall, and homes still sell quickly. Still the inventory of homes for sale is one of the lowest in the country. Upper tier and move-up brackets are less competitive.
D.C. continues to be in the top group on watch lists but Amazon’s recent announcement makes real estate in Northern Virginia much more interesting. What the prospect portends for current homeowners is uncertain, but sure to make this a market to watch in 2019.
Park City, Utah
No longer just a ski hangout, this Salt Lake neighbor is luxury’s newest player. The most desirable neighborhoods see a shortfall of inventory. Land prices increased by 25 percent with the highest number of sales occurring at Promontory. Opportunities abound: new projects at The Canyons, a large expansion of Deer Valley, a $4 billion renovation of the Salt Lake airport and a bid for the 2030 Olympics.
Wikimedia Commons / Don Lavange
Beaches and skiing, does it get any better than that? Hipsters meet old money here. Ranked among the top 20 for entrepreneurs, the city has a growing tech industry and one of the best foodie scenes in the Northeast. Look for more new construction. Prices will continue to ease upward as more people discover this hidden gem.
Santa Barbara, California
Opportunities for buyers in many California locales continue to increase as markets shift. Median prices in Santa Barbara in November were down more than 25 percent, which is good news for buyers. The area remains a prized luxury refuge and lower prices open the door for newcomers to enjoy one of the most unique locations in the U.S.
The city’s iconic waterfront is being reimagined with a vision to increase cultural programming and urban amenities. Median prices have been increasing steadily, up 25 percent since 2014. New construction means more inventory with more on the horizon. Agents report steady and growing interest in individuals from high tax states.
Happier times are ahead for buyers in Seattle with active listings up by 41 percent. Even though inventories are still slim, it’s a good indication the frenzy is over. Closed sales in November were down 28 percent. Homes continue to appreciate but the increase has slowed to 5 percent. For buyers and sellers this is definitely a market to watch. The city still is in top groups in many rankings, but the frenzy is over.
Wikimedia Commons / Jeff Gunn
Canadian Baby Boomers and Millennials came together and turned up the heat on the luxury condos in 2018; single-family home sales decreased by as much as 44 percent. While the foreign buyers tax has reduced sales to overseas buyers, it’s also opening new opportunities for locals. Local buyers will continue to drive demand for condos here.
Luxury’s top performers in 2018. Not only are residences in demand, but new resorts are raising the bar for luxury and reinvigorating current markets. New developments in Turks and Caicos, including the ultra-indulgent Gansevoort Villas, turn up the heat on interest in the Caribbean. Easy reach from the U.S. and private enclaves generate new interest in the Bahamas. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is seeing new resorts and other regions along the Sea of Cortez are seeing new development. Mandarina in Nyarit is the site of One & Only’s first collection of private homes. Owning a private island continues to be an ultimate purchase and the Bahamas is ground zero.
Austin Board of Realtors
Michael Saunders, Founder and CEO Michael Saunders & Company
Anthony Hitt, President and CEO, Engel & Völkers Americas
Aleksandra Scepanovic, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ideal Properties Group
National Association of Realtors
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Kirkland, Washington
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Unique Homes Magazine.
Improving on excellence is not easy, but Overlook in Camden, Maine (featured on our cover) elevates already significant architecture along with 21 stunning acres perched above a desirable stretch of Maine coastline to an even higher strata.
By Camilla McLaughlin
Inspired by the iconic Gamble House in Pasadena, California, this home is a prime example of the Arts & Crafts style but interpreted for the 21st century.
As with many contemporary designs, the open concept entry showcases the views of Penobscot Bay and the islands beyond from the moment you step inside. But then the finely-crafted details in the millwork and joinery, and the world-class stained glass are all reminiscent of the more traditional designs of another era, a hallmark of Arts & Crafts design.
There’s a sense of peace here that exudes from the many ponds and waterfalls, and more than 5,000 specimen trees and plants set against the forest and mountainside. Inside and out, you are surrounded by the colors of nature. “The feeling of the house is one of extreme warmth and comfort. There is a purity of design with great value placed on organic materials and artisan-crafted workmanship that melds beauty with utility. There is a wonderful intimacy in the house and the property. This is a place you never want to leave,” says listing agent Scott Horty, with Camden Real Estate Company.
With a full complement of amenities (a large theater/cinema, a game room, a gym, sauna, and an equally wondrous guesthouse) along with the extensive infrastructure (geothermal heating and cooling, whole house generator and solar array hidden among the trees) you may never have to leave!
Beauty, peace of mind and connection to nature are all priceless. But the price of Overlook is $7.9 million…
Benchmark Residential & Investment Real Estate
207.775.0248 | LandryTeam@BenchmarkMaine.com | www.BenchmarkMaine.com
We help clients sell quickly and for the highest price possible because we work with them to price their home effectively, finish any projects that might distract buyers, and provide world class marketing and exposure to buyers in and out of the state. Not all brokers and real estate companies are equal – your home is one of your most valuable assets – you deserve to work with the best.
Listing by Tom Landry
10 Beacon Avenue
The house sits on an a dramatic outcrop of ledge. The landscape design took advantage of the existing features on the site and maintained most of what was already in place, exposed ledges, mature trees and native plants including blueberries and ferns. Even the foundation and steps from an older structure on the property were incorporated into the new design. The lot contains 7.9 acres, providing ample space for a guesthouse or studio if additional living space is needed.
Bar Harbor, the summer stomping ground of elites such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Astor family and President William Taft, is home to East of Eden — a mansion that survived a fire that destroyed most of the town in 1947.
One of Maine’s last Gilded Age mansions, East of Eden, is now for sale in Bar Harbor. The Gilded Age was a glittering era that took place after the American Civil War in the late 19th century, and was filled with economic growth from new technologies and new ways of organizing businesses. East of Eden, formerly known as Eegonos, was one of the few Gilded Age mansions in Bar Harbor that survived a fire in 1947 that destroyed most of the town. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
With its picturesque New England coastline, it wasn’t too many years after the British settled the area in the late 1700s that the people of the upper class decided Bar Harbor — originally known as Eden — would be perfect for their summer retreats.
Bar Harbor was the summer stomping ground of elites such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., J. P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Astor family and President William Taft who enjoyed playing his golf there. Nelson Rockefeller was born in Bar Harbor and kept a home in nearby Seal Harbor for many years. Today, the resort town’s summer season is filled with film and television celebrities, writers, artists, lobster rolls, water sports and ordinary people enjoying the scenery and laid-back atmosphere.
Designed by Guy Lowell, the home is a blend of Beaux Arts and Mediterranean Revival style. Its 15,000-square-foot manse construction was completed in 1909. The 2.5 story house is positioned on nine private acres of waterfront with a deep-water dock to tie up a yacht or to enjoy the sunset. There is plenty of room for guests and extended family with fourteen-foot ceilings, eight bedrooms and twelve baths. Old world features include a large marble foyer, columned separations between major public rooms, fireplaces finished in marble and wood, ceilings with decorative friezes and medallions and hand-painted wall murals.
In addition its the detailed restoration, all mechanical systems have been updated. There is also an eight-bay garage to accommodate owners and overnight guests. East of Eden is a quick drive to Arcadia National Park and Bar Harbor’s restaurants and shops.
One of Maine’s few remaining Gilded Age mansions, The Knowles Company has listed East of Eden for $15.5 million.
Photos courtesy of The Knowles Company Realtors
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
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.