Christine Aldrete Banks: Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

Christine Aldrete Banks

Re/Max Preferred

210.570.9530 / Cell: 830.279.8678 | christine@stoneoakliving.com www.stoneoakliving.com

Christine’s expertise spans more than 30 years, with accolades such as, CERTIFIED LUXURY HOME MARKETING SPECIALIST, plus Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, and Resort Second-Home Property Specialist, among others. She has exclusive reach through a network of luxury providers, to the high net-worth and international clientele. She delivers a boutique approach to executive listings, along with concierge buyer representation, in Stone Oak and North San Antonio. Additionally, Christine expertly represents Resort and Second-Home Property buyers and sellers, in the Texas Hill Country and the Texas Gulf Coast regions.  

Christine Presents: SPYGLASS ON THE ISLAND, Prestigious Town Homes in

Corpus Christi, Texas

Spyglass, where you deserve to come home to this summer, is pre-selling now at SpyglassOnTheIsland.com.

About the Property

Sophisticated Hamptons Styling! Well appointed homes on Padre Island with natural stone, barn doors, carriage house lanterns, walk-in showers, pedestal sinks, plantation shutters and illuminated balconies. Savvy floor plans with 1250 sq. ft, 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Two-story townhomes located just steps from the neighborhood park and boat launch. Fee simple ownership, not condominium. A terrific opportunity to own new town homes in Corpus Christi on one of the last remaining lots in Ports O’Call!

  • Bedrooms : 2
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Square feet: 1250
  • Quartz/Granite Counter Tops
  • Barn Doors
  • Carriage House Lanterns
  • Walk-in Showers
  • Stainless Steel Appliance Package
  • Pedestal Sinks
  • Plantation Shutters
  • Private Balconies
  • 10 Foot Ceilings

About the Neighborhood

Explore the treasures of the Texas Gulf Coast, from surfing, to sailing, to sand castles. Dive in to extreme sports, family fun, and romantic sunsets!  Miles of undisturbed Texas beaches and charming island shops beckon year-round. Look no further for the most stylish new town homes on Padre Island. Spyglass, the newest development in Ports O’ Call, a deed restricted community, is ideally located, surrounded by deep water canals, a short drive over the causeway from:

  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Casual Restaurants
  • Boutique Shopping
  • The Corpus Christi Marina
  • Fine Dining
  • Sailboat Regattas
  • Live Music
  • Sunset Dinner Cruises and Dolphin Watches
  • Water Sport and Watercraft Rentals and Charters
  • Historical Monuments

 

Christine Aldrete Banks originally appeared as an Elite agent in the Unique Homes Spring ’20: Elite edition. See her pages here.

 

 

 

 

Designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen, this estate in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania, sits on a sloping hillside, nearly invisible from the road.

The main home is grand without being grandiose, a quiet elegance that offers multiple experiences. Features within include two entertainment patios, a two-story library, four bedrooms, three full and 1 half baths, and a private office in the master suite. There are many fine details throughout, including five wood-burning fireplaces, a circular staircase, a custom light tower in the foyer. granite countertops and a kitchen island. 

As one turns down a pea-gravel drive past a series of perfectly placed pines and hemlocks, a sharp 120-degree turn to the west reveals a remarkable village-like cluster of five buildings on the left with the barn across the drive. From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm discovery. “Good architecture doesn’t really over-power its surroundings, it makes the site look better,” said Jacobsen.

The property is listed by J. Scott Laughlin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox and Roach for $1.295 million. 

     

This editorial originally appeared in the Spring 2020 edition of

Unique Homes Magazine. Click here to see more.

Susan Macarz loves the extraordinary, which is why she provides nothing but exceptional service and results to her clients. She knows that hiring a Toronto real estate agent is essential if you want to reduce your work, risk, and stress. Susan’s specialty is finding the perfect houses for sale in Toronto’s upscale and luxurious neighborhoods.

Click here to view Susan’s ELITE agent ad in Unique Homes ELITE 2020.

Click here to view Susan’s info on the Unique Homes Elite page. 

With her passion for interior design, she can focus in on your style, providing you with the best condos in Toronto. When you work with Susan, she listens to your needs and requirements. Susan can help you imagine yourself in the new space or find exceptional buyers who match your home’s personality. She is quick-witted, using her experience to assist in all kinds of buying and selling matters.

 

From Toronto townhouses and condos, to luxury penthouses and semi-detached homes, to single family homes or luxury estate homes, Susan can connect you with your dream home.

In the exclusive El Encanto development on Isla Saboga, Panama, this home has stunning views of the jungle, ocean and beach.

“This home in the beautiful Las Perlas Archipelago in Panama is perfect for a couple looking to get away from it all,” says listing agent Stephanie Villarreal of Your Panama Real Estate Connection. “Life on the island is very relaxed and the expansive deck on the main level provides a perfect space to enjoy endless views.

The total indoor and outdoor area is approximately 2,700 square feet (or 250 square meters) on three levels. The three-bedroom, two-full- and one-half bath is equipped with all the modern amenities.

“The house is meticulously maintained by the present owner and comes equipped with top-quality furnishings,” says Villarreal. “Attention to detail is evident throughout starting from the custom kitchen cabinets imported from Italy to the screened dining room and sitting area which is perfect to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets.  

The home, listed for $629,000 USD, is ready for immediate occupancy and the property is located only 35 miles from Panama City (next to Contadora Island) and is easily reached in under 2 hours by ferry from Panama City, or only 20 minutes by airplane to Isla Contadora and then a short 10-minute boat ride to Isla Saboga.

“Perhaps one of the most unique features of the property is that there are many mature trees including mango, papaya, coconut and plantain,” says Villarreal. “The ease of having tropical fruit at your doorstep is definitely a plus — not to mention that being on a tropical island, you are steps away from the beautiful beach and can relax in the clear Pacific waters or try your luck fishing.”

For more information on this property, please visit www.yourpanamaconnection.com

Travel through time and admire seven handcrafted designs in the New World Collection designed by Sasha Bikoff for New Ravenna, America’s premier mosaic designer and manufacturer.

The historical journey begins in the 17th century with Atlas Major, a charming rendition of Dutch cartographer Joan Bleu’s Baroque geography. The aged appearance of a crinkled, antique map was replicated by New Ravenna’s design team applying a honed finish to the 12 different stones, and then selecting a darker grout to finish the piece.


From the 17th century, we move to the modern world and the quintessential American textile pattern: the bandana. 

“Tile is a cultural emblem that represents a country’s aesthetic. There are unlimited beautiful tiles that feel Italian, Delft, Portuguese, Spanish. America’s history is younger and the culture has a more relaxed vibe. I’d like to define that through tile,” Bikoff says.

The iconic bandana print is available in two versions: East Coast and West Coast. A honed background was chosen by Bikoff and New Ravenna to give the allure of softened cotton, and grout lines and paisleys mimic the cloth’s permanent creases from being worn and folded hundreds of times. 

To contrast the bandana design, three delicate lace designs, Point d’Angleterre Lace, Queen Mary’s Lace, and Swiss Dot Lace bring in the gentle femininity found in women’s garments and home textiles to the collection. 

Designer, Sasha Bikoff

“The lace is a juxtaposition to the bandana prints and offers the same playful idea of turning a textile into a tile mosaic,” Bikoff adds.

 The designs, inspired by the complexity of antique lace, include honed and tumbled stone to create texture, and differing grout colors to highlight the intricate webbing. The New World collection is as versatile as it is beautiful, and can be installed on walls and floors, indoors and out. Add a splash of color and a dash of design to your home with help from New Ravenna.

Photos and featured image courtesy of  New Ravenna

By Jessica Ganga and Marlene Ridgway

North Cyprus 

“With 300 days of sunshine,  golden beaches, friendly people, and stunning countryside, it’s no wonder that many visitors seriously consider buying property in North Cyprus,” explains Aylin Pelin Onar, Broker/Owner and Global Luxury Ambassador of Coldwell Banker Maximum.

Cyprus consists of 480 miles of stunning coastline, attracting buyers from all over the world. ©iStockPhoto.com / Mindstorm-Inc.

As the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus boasts 480 miles of coastline, citrus groves, gorgeous beaches and has a capital growth average of 20 to 40 percent annually over the past three years, making it a prime opportunity for luxury buyers, according to Onar. There’s also a certain mystery surrounding the island that is appealing. “It’s no surprise that according to legend, Julius Caesar gave the island to Cleopatra as a token of his love.”

 

With the highest-priced listing in the area being an $8 million, 150,000-square-meter villa built on a private hill, it’s clear that there is an expanding demand for luxury properties. “Our market is growing due to improving local and international economic conditions,” says Onar. Situated between three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the location has contributed to the growing international market. “We are receiving clients from Turkey, Russia, Scandinavian countries, the Middle East, England, Israel and Australia,” notes Onar.

 

With the continuing development of new constructions and homes, the luxury market is expected to keep expanding to sustain the demand. Up and coming areas such as East of Kyrenia can provide the 5-star accommodations that luxury buyers now expect, including social facilities such as gym centers, spas, pools, and high security. “East of Kyrenia is the shining star, especially with its seafront luxury sites. The natural beauty, beautiful beaches, amazing mountain views, 18-hole international golf course, and 5-star hotels with casinos are the attraction points of this area,” says Onar.

Aylin Pelin Onar

Aylin Pelin Onar

Broker/Owner, Global Luxury Ambassador

Coldwell Banker Maximum

AylinPelin.Onar@CB.com.TR

www.MaximumVelver.com

Page 30

Luxury properties in Esentepe, Kyrenia, North Cyprus embrace the island’s natural beauty, such as this home with gorgeous ocean views that sold recently for $900,000 USD. Photo courtesy of Sadi Yolgecen.

Recently sold for $7.7 million USD in Kyrenia, North Cyprus, this house examplifies the ultra-luxury listings available. Photo courtesy of Sadi Yolegecen.

Canada

With its diverse landscape and abundance of land, Canada is an ideal location for luxury buyers seeking a new place to call home. Of Canada’s many cities, Toronto is one that is family friendly and among the safest in the country. “People see Canada as a safe place to invest their money and raise their family. Toronto is the biggest city in the country and the financial centre of the country,” says Barry Cohen, Broker at RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage in Toronto.

As Canada’s largest city, Toronto has grown to be a rich metropolis with no shortage of things to do. “It’s a very cosmopolitan, multicultural city,” says Susan Macarz, Broker at RE/MAX Ultimate Realty Inc. Brokerage. Toronto boasts picturesque parks and playgrounds, country clubs, a theater district and nightclubs, to only name a few. Toronto also features some of the best schools in the country, attracting families seeking to provide their children with a top-notch education, according to Macarz.

Toronto, the largest city in Canada. ©iStockPhoto.com / PGIAM. 

Toronto’s real estate market is diverse and continuously changing. “What’s happening is that there is very little land left in Toronto, so what people do is they buy big properties with an older house on it and they tear it down because they are buying it for land value,” says Macarz … Another trend that Macarz noted was the increase of townhomes and condominiums in the area, specifically Central Toronto, adding to the variety. “What I’m finding more often now is … there’s townhomes that are being built along the major streets. These townhomes start at about $1.5 million CAD and up,” says Macarz. Tall high-rises are being built that feature luxurious condominiums that have sizeable square footage, according to Macarz.

Along with urban-styled living spaces, Toronto is home to spectacular estates and mansions. According to Macarz, luxury buyers can find homes priced from about $4 million CAD to $30 million CAD. The most expensive listing in Toronto is located in the Bridle Path area, on the market for $32 million CAD by Cohen’s team. “It’s a magnificent multi-generational estate with a completely separate two story in-law apartment with its own entrance, elevator, and garage,” says Cohen. The 35,000-square-foot home also features an indoor pool and tennis courts.

Overall, both Macarz and Cohen made clear that Toronto is a premier location for people seeking to find their dream home.

In the St. Andrew-Windfields area of Toronto, elegance and contemporary blend in this listing recently sold for $7.1 million CAD by the Barry Cohen Team. Photo courtesy of Barry Cohen.

Barry Cohen

Barry Cohen

Broker, RE/MAX Realtron, Barry Cohen Homes Inc. Brokerage

Susan Macarz

Susan Macarz

Broker, RE/MAX Ultimate, Realty Inc. Brokerage

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Global ’19 Issue.

With Spring just around the corner, now is the perfect time to swing into health and wellness. Envisioning and reflecting on your health goals is a breeze when your home supports and sustains your best self. Wellness themed homes are the perfect balance between comfort and functionality, blurring the lines between a relaxing, replenishing vacation and a regular Thursday night.

Christie’s International Real Estate showcases five beautiful home retreats that are sure to make returning home after a long day as anticipated as jetting off to a luxurious retreat. 

Contemporary Mountain Retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Nestled en route to the Santa Fe Ski Basin and miles of hiking/biking trails, this home makes wellness a top priority. Melt stress away in the private spa with a professional-grade gym and indoor hydrotherapy SwimEx pool, and wind down after a long day in the patio hot tub.

Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island

This idyllic waterfront estate was crafted for the outdoor enthusiast and molded for relaxation. Enjoy a sunset walk along the private beach, or evening swim in the heated infinity pool. A serene koi pond invites quiet meditation and reflection. Taking it easy at this quiet seaside retreat is a beach-lover’s dream come true.

Alhambra-Inspired Palace in Marrakesh, Morocco

Nestled in the Palmeraie oasis, this home features designs in the tradition of ancient Moorish baths, and includes an authentic hammam, beautiful relaxation area, a spa, and lounges. Outdoors, guests and residents can relax in the rose and vegetable gardens, a pool area with pool house, or tennis court.

Hot Spring Estate in Ashigarashimo-Gun, Japan

This home is set in one of Japan’s ancient hot spring resorts, Yugawara. The home’s lavish spa amenities include both indoor and outdoor onsen (hot spring) baths, celebrating Yugawara’s rich history as a prominent hot spring, and providing the utmost relaxation.

River Oaks Estate in Houston, Texas

This estate offers ample opportunity for both fitness and relaxation. Achieve healthy eating goals in the custom-designed chef’s kitchen, and exercise in the professionally equipped gym and sauna housed on the top floor. Outside, a pool, tennis court, and practice golf course make fitness and wellness goals a reality. 

Photos and featured image courtesy of Christie’s International Real Estate 

star property itself, this private estate offers incredible attention to detail and elegant interiors that exude sophistication.

Patrick Fogarty of Hilton & Hyland represented the buyers, German national Ekkehart Hassels-Weiler and his new husband Omar Romero, who were eager to acquire this unique home. Fogarty says the home was on the market for less than a month and bought in under four.

Externally, the home is almost mysterious at first glance, as the long driveway affords complete privacy from the street. That mystery transitions into pure awe once the house is in full view, as Fogarty says the home’s proportions and classic design give it a grand feel that enhances with every meticulous detail. “The style is timeless rather than of the moment,” he says, adding that the overall aesthetic is tasteful yet opulent.

Built and developed by the seller, British property developers Ian and Richard Livingston, the estate greets visitors with a graceful motor court that features both trees and fountains. The front doors open to a striking grand entry with 30-foot ceilings and walls of marble, all opening up to a grand staircase and detailed floor plan. A strong yet beautiful harmony is felt in every room, from the dramatic kitchen to the tasteful master bedroom and baths. Interestingly, Fogarty notes that though “the home is grand in scale, [it] still manages to feel like a home.” Other features of this estate include a master wing, gym, theater, guesthouse, staff quarters and bocce court. The expansive backyard also boasts an ozone pool that highlights the perfect California indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Only approximately five minutes from Rodeo Drive, the 8-bedroom, 11-bath home remarkably reflects a sense of tranquility and serenity, allowing the new owners to relax with complete privacy. The blend of rich landscaping and natural materials, such as stones, wood, steel, and brass, also enrich its character and depth, making it a true sanctuary.

Photos by Berlyn Photography 2019.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

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Listed by Sotheby's International Realty agent Darlene Streit, this star property situated in Las Campanas is a prized jewel in Santa Fe real estate.

A Peaceful Paradise

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Christine Aldrete Banks: Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

Introducing Unique Homes ELITE 2020 Agent, Christine Aldrete Banks and Spyglass On the Island, a luxury development in Corpus Christi, Texas

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Listed by Ocean Sotheby's International Realty, this is your chance to buy a bit of Key West history, along with a unique house with serious celebrity status!

Prestigious and Pristine Property in Portugal

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal offers Quinta de Lago, boasting some of the most spectacular and beautiful villas in the Algarve.

A Modern Masterpiece: A Village of One’s Own

From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm coming from this Pennsylvania home.

The Ways to Wellness

With Spring just around the corner, now is the perfect time to swing into health and wellness. Envisioning and reflecting on your health goals is a breeze when your home supports and sustains your best self.

Vestige of the Historic Grand Estates of Chicago’s North Shore

With panoramic views of Lake Michigan, this incomparable residence in Winnetka, Illinois remains a vestige of the historic, grand estates of Chicago’s North Shore.

Elegance in Key Largo

This Florida Keys home is the perfect blend of serenity and luxury.

Exquisite Seaside Villa

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You Have Arrived: Frank Aazami and the Private Client Group

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Jump for Jubilado

From benefits for retirees and an assortment of visa options, to the sights and real estate options, there is much to see and experience in Panama.

ELITE 2020: Elegance Abounds in Massachusetts

This newly constructed Shingle-style home on coveted Smith's Point in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts, is strategically set on 3-plus acres.

Foxworth Realty: Luxury Real Estate in New York City

Foxworth Realty is like an artist’s palette when you need a primary, secondary or a weekend residence in New York City and the outer boroughs.

Elite 2020: Stars of Santa Fe

Listed by Sotheby's International Realty agent Darlene Streit, this star property situated in Las Campanas is a prized jewel in Santa Fe real estate.

Prestigious and Pristine Property in Portugal

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal offers Quinta de Lago, boasting some of the most spectacular and beautiful villas in the Algarve.

A Modern Masterpiece: A Village of One’s Own

From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm coming from this Pennsylvania home.

The Abundance of Aspen

Aspen’s abundance has grown in terms of luxury, from fine restaurants, world-renowned ski resorts to some of the most culturally stimulating experiences.

A Sunset Paradise

This exquisite new construction estate will excite the discerning buyer who is looking for quality, uniqueness and all the beauty of the Florida Keys.

To Ireland With Love

A new color collection from Curator pays homage to the artists of the Emerald Isle.

This Florida Keys home is the perfect blend of serenity and luxury.

A perfect place to escape, relax, and unwind as a family away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this 4,870-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-full and two-half-bath home was designed in harmony with panoramic water views. The home was designed as a transitional space, dictated by the style and taste of the homeowner, from traditional to contemporary. The current homeowner has chosen a more contemporary decor so nothing detracts from his eclectic art collection or from the views.

From the moment you enter the home you are instantly transported to a serene, peaceful, and timeless space. The open floor plan includes a spacious living area, which flows seamlessly into the kitchen, dining, and bar area. The kitchen features Amazonite granite and quartz countertops, a circular dining room table, and a low-slung wet bar that’s angled out to optimize water views, all while perfectly placed underneath the vaulted barrel ceiling.

On the first floor, there are three beautiful bedrooms with en suite baths. A staircase leads down to an enclosed garage that offers multiple entertainment spaces for kids and family, and numerous doors that open to an intimate backyard and keystone fire pit. Upstairs, the master bedroom boasts a wall of windows that opens to panoramic water views and a wraparound balcony.

While the exterior of the two-story home is traditional yet sophisticated, Nury Feria, principal of Design Perceptions Inc., created interiors that are “minimal, modern, clean, and comfortable.” The owners did not want anything to detract from the views and the art. The living room and kitchen open onto a spacious patio with pocket sliding glass doors. A curvaceous infinity pool with glass walls, dual fire globes, and a 16-foot cascading waterfall overlook the ocean and Buccaneer Island — one of the favorite amenities among Ocean Reef Club’s members.

Nestled on 2,500 secluded, tropical acres on the northern-most tip of Key Largo in the Florida Keys, Ocean Reef Club is considered one of the U.S.’s most unique and comprehensive communities. Located within an hour of Miami International Airport and 1.5 hours from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Ocean Reef Club is also serviced by its own 4,456-foot lighted runway. Offering 1,700 waterfront estates, private homes, condominiums, and boat slips. Ocean Reef Club also features an oceanfront Inn, a full-service spa and salon, and an array of dining and shopping options. Leisure amenities include a 175-slip marina, two 18-hole championship golf courses, world-class tennis and lawn sports, jogging/cycling paths, a cooking school, nature center, an art league, and more.

The blended elegance of one of the world’s most exclusive and private club’s paired with one of the Florida Keys most spectacular residential properties, makes 103 Andros the perfect place to call home. Eric Woodward and Molly Taylor of Ocean Reef Club Sotheby’s International Realty are representing the property. $22,000,000.

©istockphoto.com / ClaudioVentrella

While the pace of wealth creation may be slowing, the story now is how it’s spreading around the globe.

“The increasingly footloose nature of wealth.” That’s how global consultancy Knight Frank characterizes today’s trend in affluence. When it comes to real estate, all it takes is a quick look at the worldwide activity of major brands to see a clear illustration of this concept.

The locations of new affiliates of Sotheby’s International Realty in recent months include Oklahoma City, Arkansas and Kansas, along with Cyprus, Slovakia and Qatar. Qatar is the second location in the Middle East for Sotheby’s. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has extended its reach to global hubs, partnering with major firms in Europe and the Middle East. Now, they count Berlin, London, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Dubai and Frankfort in their network. Coldwell Banker has offices in 49 countries. Luxury Portfolio International, the luxury arm of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, has affiliates in more than 70 countries.

“The fact that the world is becoming smaller and smaller, the speed of information flow, and travel contribute to people’s interest in owning properties elsewhere, both for Americans and foreign nationals,” explains Joyce Rey, executive director, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.

Markets may go through cycles and new partnerships emerge, but the foundation of global real estate hasn’t changed. “The luxury buyer understands that one of the best, if not the best, investments they can make is property,” explains Michael Jalbert, executive vice president, Global Field Operations for HSF Affiliates, the parent company of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Chatter regarding a potential recession might form a smokescreen, but wealth creation will continue to be a constant, according to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report, which forecasts a rise, over the next five years, of 22 percent in the number of individuals whose net worth exceeds $30 million, a group often classified as Ultra High Net Worth, UHNW. Over the next year, existing UHNW, especially in the U.S., expect their wealth to increase.

When Rey began her career in the 1970s, foreign buyers were a rarity, especially in Southern California. Today, she says, the percentage of foreign buyers purchasing ultra-luxury properties, those priced above $20 million, has remained pretty steady. “Usually it waffles between about 20 percent to 25 percent. And that hasn’t changed over the years.” For the first nine months of 2019, foreign buyers accounted for 31 percent of purchases of $20-million plus residences in Los Angeles’ tony west side.

Rey was one of the first to reach outside U.S. borders to forge connections. After the increase of Japanese buyers in 1980s, she traveled to Japan to meet one-on-one with agents and potential buyers. “I feel if a quarter of your buying population is foreign, you should be reaching out to the foreign market,” she says.

Bob Hurwitz, founder and president of the Hurwitz James Company (HJC), was also on the leading edge of the global outreach. “In the early 90s, I recognized that the buyers for my highest-priced properties were more and more often originating from overseas. This was actually before the Internet was even a reality for marketing purposes. As a result, I started focusing a significant percentage of my marketing to exposing my listings here in the states to affluent foreign buyers.” He also created a network of HJC representatives to promote his listings overseas. Currently, Hurwitz represents nearly $3 billion in luxury properties and developments worldwide.

Even those who work in the global arena today are occasionally surprised by the geographic diversity of investors and buyers. “One stat that recently jumped out at me is Aruba is home to 90-plus nationalities and ethnic groups, which I thought was fascinating,” shares Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International. “One of our affiliates there also pointed out that many of their buyers are coming from India.”

And this isn’t an isolated instance. Indian buyers are cropping up in many other primary and second-home locations, including Portugal. Among foreign buyers in the U.S., India ranks third after China and Canada. India is expected to lead the five-year growth in Asia’s ultra-high net worth population with a 39 percent increase, followed by the Philippines (38 percent) and China (35 percent).

Increasingly, the ultra-wealthy are not necessarily tied to one country or one region. Approximately, 26 percent plan to emigrate in the next year. Already, more than a third hold a second passport and 22 percent plan to buy outside their country of residence, according to Knight Frank.

However, 2018 saw only a marginal increase (0.8 percent) in the size of the ultra-wealthy population, which Wealth X describes as a “marked slowdown” from the year earlier. The combined net worth of the ultra-wealthy declined 1.7 percent, the first annual fall in three years, according to Wealth X. However, it’s important to view these changes in context, because 2017 saw dynamic wealth creation with double-digit growth in the number of ultra-wealthy and impressive gains in asset markets.

The global outlook this year is nuanced. Rising interest rates and the end of quantitative easing means we are reaching the end of super-charged returns on everything from classic cars to art and property, according to Knight Frank. Government policies continue to transition as some countries seek to attract wealth, with a record number offering citizenship and residency through policies regarding investment, while others restrict outflows of capital. Others, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK will continue to make it more difficult for wealthy non-residents to purchase properties.

Looking ahead, expectations are for slower price growth in key markets. But, as with any correction, a shift in values is an opportunity to which buyers respond, something that is already happening in London, where agents see a potential turnaround, particularly for higher-priced properties, underway.

“London’s general property market has experienced a slowdown and fall in housing prices. That said, the luxury property market is certainly bottoming out and we are experiencing buyers returning to the market, which is demonstrated by our revenues being up 146 percent year on year,” says Martin Bikhit, managing director at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co.

“Given all the uncertainty of Brexit, values in London have come down significantly. It’s a buyers’ market,” says Jalbert.

The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to sterling makes the value equation even more appealing. “American buyers have been able to take advantage of savings up to 45 percent compared to the 2014 peak of the market. U.S. buyers believe that the market is going to spike post-Brexit and there is now an opportunity to buy competitively. Indeed, this is illustrated by the fact that American hedge funder Ken Griffin was the buyer behind two of London’s most expensive property transactions within the past year,” according to Bikhit, who calls this surge a “pre-Brexit boom.”

Hurwitz sees luxury penthouses in many traditional hot markets, including London, as good opportunities for buyers, since those prices have seen a big decline. Other recommendations in Europe include France as well as Tuscany, which, he says, has an appeal that transcends the strictly financial. “Finding something totally renovated in an authentic manner is key.”

A flat or pied-à-terre in Paris has become a rite of passage for Americans, says Anton, noting reports of particular interest coming from Silicon Valley. Paris is one of the bright spots in Europe, placing third on Knight Frank’s list of the

fastest-growing luxury markets.

“France and Italy are still two of our top locations and our offices are expanding in numbers and experiencing a very solid claim in the market,” says Craig Hogan, vice president, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.

Berlin is Europe’s rising star. It has topped Urban Land Institute’s list of markets to watch in Europe for four years in a row, and currently ranks second after Madrid on rankings of the fastest-growing luxury real estate markets. Luxury residential here is a small but vibrant niche, with the number of privately owned apartments selling above 1 million euros growing by 17.5 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Stefan Schulze, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate, says, “If Berlin succeeds in further expanding its potential in scientific and culture fields and remains one of the influential centers in Europe, it can be deemed certain that not only the number of premium new development projects but also the quality of luxury real estate will continue to grow sharply.”

Global Buyers in the U.S.

From the perspective of foreign buyers in the U.S., Hurwitz says, the market has changed multiple times over the last few years, fueled by factors as diverse as the attitude and oversight of a foreign buyer’s own government regarding money leaving their country, to crushing economic changes in their country of origin, to U.S. government restrictions on shell companies buying, to various others. Hurwitz says, “I still believe the U.S. is a safe bet and I am telling my clients to buy here.”

During the 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019, global purchases of U.S. properties fell sharply, with purchases declining by 36 percent. The dollar volume as well as the average price also declined. Rather than lack of interest from potential buyers, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cites what he calls “a confluence of factors — slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale.”

John Smaby, NAR president, adds, “There is still significant interest in U.S. properties across the globe, and the U.S. is still seen as a safe, secure place to invest.”

London

©istockphoto.com / _ultraforma_

Tuscany

©istockphoto.com / mammuth

Paris

©istockphoto.com / Givaga

Madrid

©istockphoto.com / SeanPavonePhoto

Global Bright Spots

Along with real estate professionals from over 27 countries, Stephanie Anton recently returned from her company’s international conference in Athens. “It was thrilling to hear and see firsthand about so many bright spots in the market,” she says, including places where property markets were hard hit by political and financial turmoil during the recession. “One that was particularly obvious was our host city itself. The optimism of the Greek people was palpable.”

Both Spain and Portugal are seeing an influx of buyers and a surge in sales. Both suffered during the recession and are experiencing a strong turnaround.

“I think there is a sentiment of Europeans kind of holding their breath and waiting to see what happens with Brexit. But yet, there are also bright spots and the bright spots are more of those second-home markets because they’re lifestyle purchases. And so people are less concerned about the economic impact of Brexit because of making decisions on purchasing second or third homes,” Anton observes.

Some of the strongest luxury markets this year have been in resort locales. San Miguel de Allende continues to rank at the top of best cities and second-home destinations. “Our typical luxury buyers are investors looking for properties to take advantage of the lucrative vacation rental market, or shopping for their second or third vacation homes,” says Nancy Howze, with CDR San Miguel.

“Upscale consumers tend to have a broad world view,” says Jalbert. “They understand markets and are attracted to a range of places. Buyers in different parts of Europe are looking for a weather change, so it’s no surprise to see the resurgences of locations along Costa Del Sol and Portugal.” Jalbert adds that almost 100 percent of the luxury transactions in their eight offices in Portugal are from buyers outside the country. “It’s just an incredibly enchanted place where they have beautiful properties, but where there has also been significant investment in infrastructure,” he says.

One thing that has remained constant across the globe is the attitude of the elite regarding buying. Some of the highest sales in the last year can be tracked to global buyers, according to Hogan. “They will spend the money but need to know it’s a wise decision.”

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

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