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Unique Homes Online Exclusive
During the mid-year height of the Covid-19 pandemic, real estate agents comment on how the market stood, and in some cases prevailed, under enormous pressure.
This past Fall, luxury real estate agents from across the country spoke on Unique Homes’ first Zoom panel to discuss topics from the recent article “Space: The New Currency,” from Unique Homes Magazine’s recent Fall issue, written by Camilla McLaughlin. On this exclusive virtual panel, agents were able to discuss how the real estate markets of America endured (and continue to endure) through the turbulence that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. Throughout the discussion, these experienced panelists spoke on the changes their area(s) have undergone and the how the pandemic has affected the homebuying process. We’ve highlighted some of our distinguished panelists and their unique experiences below.
Mauricio Umansky, Founder/CEO of The Agency
Los Angeles, CA
In the beginning of “Space: The New Currency,” Mauricio Umansky, Founder and CEO of The Agency, notes that in the midst of the pandemic, consumers who were staying at home also found themselves asking impactful questions regarding their homes and their futures: where am I sequestering versus where am I at home? What do I want my home to look like? What do I want my second home to look like?
As one of the opening speakers, Umansky adds that though many of these questions may not be answered right away, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst for many potential home buyers to start a dialogue with their local real estate agents. “Sequestering at home, stay in, shelter in place, whatever it is we want to call it, has caused a conversation that is equal amongst everybody, whether it’s politically driven, whether it’s answering ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ and understanding that we can now work and operate from anywhere.”
Courtney Hampson, Vice President of Marketing
Palmetto Bluff, SC
Palmetto Bluff is a community in coastal South Carolina that caters to a mix of primary and vacation homeowners. Courtney Hampson, Vice President of Marketing for Palmetto Bluff, says on the panel that at the beginning of the pandemic many residents were already staying in Palmetto Bluff due to Spring Break, and were mandated to stay due to the shutdown. Many stayed until May when the state began opening up again, and there were several instances where those who extended their stay ended up moving to Palmetto Bluff full time. About a particular couple from New York with young children, Hampson says “They literally walked down the street into our real estate office, went on our tour, looked at available homes, closed two days later, our fastest closing ever, and that was it. ‘This is where we are,’ they said, ‘This is the plan now.'”
During the panel Hampson also stated that the utilization of virual tours and showings became more widely utilized, so much that they had to include the option on their website right away on their website.” She also noted that in the midst of everything, they found that buyers were buying almost like they were suffering from FOMO, or a Fear of Missing Out. “[Clients] are booking their stay at the hotel first, and … they have almost a fear of missing out. They’re not waiting to get here to look at real estate — they’re doing that virtually, going under contract and seeing their property the first time they come to visit.”
Carrie Wells, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
Though located on the opposite side of the United States, Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate in Aspen, Colorado experienced similar situations as Hampson had in South Carolina. March is typically the latter part of the state’s skiing season, but due to the pandemic the season was cut short, and those visiting found themselves sequestering in Aspen — and staying. She remarked that you can see this reflected in the school district alone, where 175 new students were admitted and a weight list was created for the Aspen Country Day School, Aspen’s main private school. She also noted that with the help of Matterport virtual tour technology many sales were able to happen, as clients wanted to be able to visit openings safely.
Wells remarked about her own experience with a New York family who stayed in Aspen until the summer. “He said, ‘I never realized that Aspen is so enjoyable in April and May,’ which are normally our off-season months. … People have experienced being here year-round, when they normally would not be here, and there’s so much to do other than downhill skiing that I think regardless of what happens with our winter, we’re still going to see our market continue to be strong.”
Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty
The title of the article “Space: The New Currency,” as well as the main point of discussion for the panel, was inspired by profound statement by Frank Aazami of Russ Lyon Sothebby’s International Realty. During the panel Aazami notes that when the pandemic began and people were sequestering, he noticed that areas that were previously difficult to sell beforehand, regions outside of Phoenix and Scottsdale such as Fountains Hills, Cave Creek, etc, were now like beacons that buyers were gravitating towards. Before there were no sales north of $3 million, but eventually there were closings reaching upwards of $4 and $6 million. The reasoning for this market change? Space!
In the article Aazami notes that from his region of Scottsdale, Arizona, his experience during the pandemic that no matter what buyers were generally looking for, a vacation home, relocation refuge, etc., the key point he saw was that consumers were looking for a safe haven, with plenty of space. Not only that, but consumers are also requesting specifics when it comes to this space in order to make their purchases personal and customized to their lifestyles, from multiple offices and indoor gyms to view decks and larger patios.
Chris Bernier, Churchill Properties
Boston’s North Shore, MA
Located just 30 minutes outside of Boston, Chris Bernier of Churchill Properties notes during the Zoom panel that despite the usual trends of buyers looking for smaller, more minimalistic style homes, space really is the new currency. He affirms that many buyers in his market are flocking toward the larger homes. These market shifts are no doubt due to the pandemic shifting priorities, and continues to show
James Torrance, Keller Williams Luxury International
Palm Beach, FL
James Torrance from Palm Beach, Florida has much to say about the pandemic has shifted Florida into more than just a retirement or snowbird refuge, seen in these clips from the Zoom discussion. He notes further that in fact a large wave of buyers from California and more specifically Chicago brought interest to the area and helped close several sales, a rarity in his area. What was also interesting that he notices are the importance of the private schools and districts in South Florida, as he mentions that many buyers were shopping around different homes once they had found a school system they liked, then picking from available homes nearby.
This, alongside his points about the importance of homes with multi-functional spaces such as guesthouses and just the overall outlook on how the market has shifted, highlight just how much action Florida has seen in the past several months due to Covid-19’s effect on real estate.
Roxann Taylor, Engel & Völkers Dallas Forth Worth
As an real estate agent with 40-plus years of selling experience, Roxann Taylor of Engel & Völkers Dallas Forth Worth was a fountain of wisdom toward the end of the virtual panel. She highlighted much of which was similar to what the other panelists had noted, including buyers prioritizing homes with large space as opposed to downsizing, putting houses on the market through a near fully-virtual process, and much more.
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Only once in a lifetime does a legacy property like 136 Fort Walker Drive become available! A unique home with spectacular water views on 3 sides, a stunning great room featuring floor to ceiling windows with 270-degree views. This elegant 2-story waterfront home features 2 master suites, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, gourmet kitchen, granite counters, 3-car garage and a boating dock. This private enclave is perfect for entertaining and enjoying. Located where Port Royal Sound meets the Atlantic Ocean, delight in brilliant sunrises and sunsets from multi-level decks, swim in the sea or the pool, or relax in the spa or on your own private beach surrounded by nature. $3,849,999
Click here for a virtual tour of this stunning South Carolina property!
For more information, contact:
Premier Island Properties
Tired of being cooped up working from home? Work from the beach! Make your summer of 2020 as enjoyable as possible on peaceful Isle of Palms.
Located just a block from the beach, this rental property situated 3005 Cameron Blvd in Isle Of Palms, SC boasts a beautiful private pool and fenced yard outside. Inside, the well-designed open floor plan offers elevator access and large spaces to enjoy inside and out, including the rooftop deck with ocean views, and private yard with plenty of seating to lounge around the pool and enjoy a poolside barbecue.
The well-maintained home is like your own private resort, boasting two master suites with oversized showers and Jacuzzi tubs, four additional bedrooms including a bunk room off the main living space, fully equipped gourmet kitchen, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors throughout, and elevator for easy access for all guests.
The light-filled great room with exposed beams and a cathedral ceiling is a comfortable place for your whole crew to gather for entertainment around the 60-inch HDTV with surround sound. Some may opt to enjoy the evening breezes and sounds of the ocean from the adjacent covered porch.
When it’s mealtime, preparation is a pleasure with the open kitchen and gas cooktop island where the chef can be in the center of the activity of the group. Large dining table seats 12 with additional options for seating at the breakfast bar, covered porch, or al fresco poolside.
A “reverse floor plan” with the living space above 4 of the 6 bedrooms, the master suite on this floor has a coffered ceiling, walk-in closet, and huge master bath with a double sink vanity, Jacuzzi tub and oversized shower. Just across the hall from the powder room is the bunkroom with two sets of bunk beds and TV.
The floor below has another master suite with the same layout as above, and an additional king-bedded room – each with their own private porch overlooking the pool. There are two more bedrooms with queen beds on this floor, the laundry room, and another covered porch with a row of rocking chairs off of the main entry foyer.
The location is ideal – just a short stroll one block to the beach access path at 30th Avenue to the gorgeous wide stretch of beach that spans the eastern side of the island halfway between the Isle of Palms Connector and the marina. See dolphins play near the shore, and on moonlit walks you will encounter crabs scurrying out of your path and you may even find sea turtles nesting during the summer or their hatchlings racing toward the ocean on warm evenings. Bike for miles on the beach, or tool around the island on a golf cart – rentals available.
Make Admiral’s Roost your summer home this year!
For more information contact Michele Miller, Realtor®
Charleston Realty Services – eXp Realty LLC
3 ocean watch photo courtesy of Haig Point; all others ©Dennis burnett photography
Daufuskie Island offers Southern charm and comfort that can only be found on an island with no bridges. Accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride, my journey to the Haig Point community began and ended with relaxation. Catching a glimpse of diving dolphins as I left the mainland behind was a warm welcome into the exclusive area. The sea island just off the coast of South Carolina, which is easily accessible from Savannah, is one that wholeheartedly embraces the easy pace of the Lowcountry.
“As soon as people step off the ferry they
typically fall in love with the island lifestyle,” says Lauren Hunt, the programming and communications manager at the private, member-owned Haig Point. “Their genuine commitment to the island is why they choose to build and live here.” Members welcomed me with open arms and shared the island’s charming attributes, all with similar stories of visiting and deciding to stay for the long haul.
If the 29-hole Rees Jones golf course, equestrian center, award-winning tennis facility, and beach club don’t entice you, the real estate will. It ranges in size and price, creating a diverse community with something to offer everyone. Haig Point goes beyond vacation and second homes. Permanent residents are enjoying the influx of younger residents. “More families under age 55 joined in the past three years than the previous 10 combined,” says Hunt. An island destination with no traffic — the island runs on electric golf carts — is an ideal opportunity for those hoping to enjoy a smaller, safer environment for their families.
Homesites for building your dream home and a collection of existing properties make up the variety of real estate within the current 270-home development. On the market for $2.995 million, 3 Ocean Watch in Haig Point was designed and built to the highest standards with stunning heart pine and woodwork soured from a 200-year-old house. Other properties range in price from the mid $300,000s to $3 million.
The island won’t be threatened by commercialization or overcrowding, due to building restrictions, according to Hunt. The community’s Architectural Review Board ensures the nature and integrity of the island remain intact alongside development. Across the water, Hilton Head Island is visible. “Hilton Head Island has 2 million visitors annually. That means easy accessibility to great restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. And with only an eight-minute commute, our hourly water taxi makes it easy to escape back to the solitude of Haig Point,” says Hunt.
3 Ocean Watch offers Calibogue Sound views.
Enjoy uncrowded, pristine beaches.
Haig Point offers a private Equestrian Center.
Located just 30 minutes south of Charleston, the Timbers Kiawah will be the first private residence club on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Developers unveiled the first model residence at this exclusive new property, which is slated to open in October. It will feature 21 residences in 3 oceanfront buildings, every room having a panoramic view of the Atlantic.
Each resident will be provided with full access to the club’s many luxury amenities, which will include a private clubhouse with a central lounge area, valet, temperature-controlled wine storage, kids play room and state-of-the-art fitness facility that will serve as the hub of the new resort. The private beach club will offer residents a luxurious oceanfront pool, bar/grill and beach services.
Kiawah Island itself boasts a long list of amenities that residents will be able to explore, including an inland waterway with access to the marina, which offers boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, crabbing and fishing, an optional membership to the Kiawah Island Club, offering private golf, tennis, fitness, dining, spa and sporting club, and wildlife viewing, including bottlenose dolphins, river otters, white-tailed deer and loggerhead sea turtles.
Residents will be 30 minutes from Downtown Charleston, minutes away from Freshfields Village, a boutique shopping and dining center, and 45 minutes from Charleston International Airport. Kiawah Island is also South Carolina’s prime location for sandy beach, a 10-mile long crescent, with 123 acres of parks and 30 miles of biking trails for those who love adventure.
The Ocean Club residences include 18 three-bedroom residences at approximately 2,200 sq. ft., starting at $475,000, and the three penthouse residences, at approximately 3,600 sq. ft., and start at $1,285,000. The architecture and design of the property is by Poss Architecture + Planning.
Kiawah Island is a prime travel spot today for those wishing to enjoy golf, luxury beaches and relaxation. Travel + Leisure named Kiawah Island the #2 Island in America in August of 2016.
Photos courtesy of Timbers Kiawah
New To The Cliffs Collection is the Creekside Farm with Community Garden And Golf Ridge Cottages With Scenic Views
By Samantha Myers
“It’s an exciting period of growth at The Cliffs, with the ongoing developments in both the Walnut Cove and Mountain Park communities,” says Kent Smith, president of Cliffs Land Partners. “With these distinct new offerings, we are continuing to expand our portfolio of unparalleled lifestyle and real estate opportunities that offer an elevated experience and quality of life to our residents.”
The Cliffs is a collection of seven premier private, luxury residential mountain and lake club communities in the Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains between Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina, as well as Clemson, South Carolina. Located at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, a 20-minute drive from Asheville, is Creekside Farm, a new property featuring 18 homesites with pastoral views of a 60-acre working farm and Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course.
“We have just launched an organic farm inside the gate. People have a strong interest in farm-to-table and we have been a little challenged in the planned community to fit that into an otherwise country club setting,” says Smith. “We decided to put it inside the community of walnut cove — we have a full-time farm manager, property manager, and people can get their fresh vegetables and produce and take it back to their homes without ever leaving the gate.” Complete with a barn built in 1932, the “agri-hood” will continue to supply members with fresh produce each week.
Also new to The Cliffs is The Golf Ridge Cottages at Mountain Park, which offers 22 home and homesite packages atop a picturesque ridgeline at the southernmost edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“We’ve seen a trend to more modest square footage, we’re seeing more empty-nesters who don’t want 6,000-square-foot homes, they want around 2,800- to 3,200-square-foot properties. Consequently, the properties are under a million, in the $800,000-900,000 range with beautiful views. We’re just breaking ground in that area.” Finish packages on these homes, planned by luxury builder Arthur Rutenberg Homes are available in Mountain Rustic of Craftsman style.
“Most planned communities are architecturally appealing and offer a wellness center and amenities,” says Smith. “The one big difference for us, The Cliffs, is where we’re located. We’re surrounded by 1 million acres of National Forest in a temperate year-round climate.” Besides its seven clubs, seven golf courses, and 6 wellness centers, the suite of amenities offered at The Cliffs include boating, watersports, a marina, beach club, cycling, paddle sports, tennis complexes, an equestrian center, hiking trails, wakeboarding and more.
“The person that comes here tends to be really immersed in the outdoor recreation and setting for themselves and their families,” says Smith. “Here you get all four seasons without too much of any in particular. Because of that, what we’ve come to see is a really active inbound population. We’ve got lots of people that like to hike and bike. The director of cycling for The Cliffs has ridden in 17 Tour de Frances. So much of the riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains is not unlike riding through the countryside in France.”
By Alyssa Apuzzio
Palmetto Bluff, the largest remaining waterfront property on the East Coast, has debuted its second residential community, Moreland Village. Surrounded by rich history dating back 12,000 years, the architecture is designed to create seamless transitions between the indoors and outdoors.
Crescent Communities at Palmetto Bluff has committed to the recent expansion of the Crescent-managed forest area by an additional 90 acres, protecting this land from development and allowing the organization to study and maintain the land. This increases Palmetto Bluff’s protected acres to 12,631.
“The needs and interests of the land and wildlife lead everything we do here at Palmetto Bluff, and we’re in great hands with the Conservancy team helping to ensure that the Bluff’s original inhabitants, its wildlife, prosper,” said David O’Donoghue, Crescent Communities executive vice president, resort and second home.
Amenities include The Boundary, which features a bowling alley, restaurant, smokehouse, two pools, a fitness center and an art loft. Palmetto Bluff is also home to the newly expanded AAA Five Diamond
Montage Palmetto Bluff with fantastic golf, spa, canoe club, and culinary offerings — all surrounded by 32 miles of riverfront and extensive nature trails.
Palmetto Bluff is currently home to 466 families, with the long-term plan of developing another 3,500 homes.
Photo courtesy Crescent Communities
Ownership opportunities are now available at Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences, a premier private residence club in one of the country’s most sought-after destinations.
Timbers Resorts, developer and operator of private boutique resorts and residence clubs, recently announced the first public offering of ownership opportunities at Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
The oceanfront development offers 21 residences, all embracing light, airy and natural design elements that complement the island’s atmosphere, across three buildings just minutes from Charleston. With floor plans ranging from three to four bedrooms, Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences offers two shared ownership categories. Owners have the option of selecting a 1/9th fractional interest in the property’s 2,200-square-foot three-bedroom residences, or a 1/6th fractional interest in the 3,600-square-foot four-bedroom penthouse residences. Pricing for the shared residential ownership interests ranges from $500,000 to $1.25 million.
Amenities at Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences include a private clubhouse with a lounge area, concierge services, valet, a fitness facility and a temperature-controlled owner’s wine wall. The private beach club will include an oceanfront pool, grill and specialty beach activities. Activities available to owners include 30 miles of paved biking trails, an inland waterway with access to the marina and river entry, and water sport activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, boating, crabbing and fishing. The destination also offers more than 90 holes of championship golf and world-class tennis including the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which will host the 2021 PGA Championship, also previously hosted at the course in 2012.
“Kiawah Island is a remarkably special destination that we have followed for many years knowing that our Timbers Collection Owners place tremendous value on oceanfront living in this region of the country,” said Greg Spencer, Timbers Resorts Chief Executive Officer. “The launch of sales at Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences is momentous for the Timbers Resorts brand and represents years of hard work and collective focus on delivering a truly unique resort club experience that feeds off the energy and storied history of the island.”
Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences will be conveniently located oceanfront on Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Drive, minutes from Freshfields Village, the community’s boutique shopping and dining center, and 45 minutes to Charleston International Airport. Construction is underway and the project is set to be completed in summer 2018.
Images courtesy Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences.
Timbers Resorts, recently announced that it is expanding into one of the country’s most sought-after destinations, Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences will be the first Private Residence Club on Kiawah Island offering 21 thoughtfully designed residences across three oceanfront buildings, along with a first-of-its kind collection of dedicated amenities on the island.
Kiawah Island was recently named Travel & Leisure’s #2 island in America and is just 30 minutes from Charleston, which was just named Travel & Leisure’s “Best City in the World” – the first American city to ever win the award.
Timbers Kiawah will include a private clubhouse offering a central lounge area, owner services team, valet, temperature-controlled owners’ wine wall, bar and state-of-the art fitness facility will serve as the hub of the new resort. There will be a private beach club, offering Timbers Kiawah Owners an oceanfront pool, bar and grill and beach services and more.
Kiawah Island is South Carolina’s premier beachfront resort community that boasts the area’s most well-known wide sandy beach, 123 acres of parks, 30 miles of biking trails, and the Kiawah River, offering boating, kayaking and fishing. Kiawah is also home to world-class tennis and golf, including the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which will host the 2021 PGA Championship, previously hosted at the course in 2012.
Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences will be located in the West Beach area of Kiawah Island on Southern Pines Lane, conveniently located minutes from Freshfields Village, the community’s boutique shopping and dining center, 30 minutes to downtown Charleston and 45 minutes to Charleston International Airport.
Photo credit to Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences.