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Oh! Canada

Featured image: ©istockphoto.com / benedek

Canada, a land of beautiful scenery and congenial spirit, balances energetic city life with a calmer, relaxed lifestyle by the water. And if you ask Billie Pat Dall, sales representative at Bernice Whelan Realty Inc., about the real estate market, she’ll tell you that the area in which she sells (the Lake Simcoe and Barrie area of Ontario) is attractive for buyers who are looking for more space.

Only an hour north of Toronto, Barrie offers luxury homes at more affordable prices than in the city, ranging from $2 million to $20 million. Homes are complete with gourmet kitchens, main floor principal suites, home theaters, wine cellars, sports courts, and pools. Residents who live on the water enjoy charming boat houses with guest suites and tranquil water views.

According to Dall, Barrie is also an ideal area to raise a family, as residents have a wide array of outdoor activities at their fingertips.

“It is a place where kids can ride their bikes down to the beach and then over to one of the many tennis courts or to play basketball, and then back home to swim in their backyard pool. All of this is at your doorstep when you live in this region. There is also the added bonus of only being a one-hour drive away from Toronto, so parents can commute if they work in Toronto and visit for a Jays baseball game, theater or concert,” she explains.

Besides athletic endeavors, the Lake Simcoe region also hosts Canada’s largest camping and country music festival, The Hearts and Boots Festival, and Ontario’s biggest waterfront festival, Kempenfest.

Oakville, located just 45 minutes south of Toronto, boasts a thriving market as well, being one of the most densely populated regions in Canada. Lesley Cumming, sales representative at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, describes Oakville and Burlington as the “home to hikers, bikers, economic trail glazers, casual boaters, and local vendor enthusiasts.”

In Oakville and Burlington, you can find condos situated on the shores of Lake Ontario and 50-plus-acre properties with rolling hills, bank barns, horse stalls, ponds, and paddocks. Locals can head over to lakes, beaches, marinas, and conservation trails to absorb the stunning landscape.

Cumming notes that most new buyers in this region were previously urban dwellers from the Greater Toronto Area, in search of a smaller community with more property space. With varied landscape, cuisine, and population, Oakville and Burlington find a way to keep residents and visitors entertained while also cultivating an at-home feel.

“There is so much that is attractive about our region from the diverse cuisine, our local specialty shops, to our beautiful landscape. We have something for everyone,” Cumming says.

Featured image: ©istockphoto.com / Chinnapong

It’s time to discover these 10 extraordinarily refined places, each with distinctly different waterfront experiences.

Birmingham, Michigan

What’s tucked inside a Great Lakes luxury property? The better question is, what’s not? Aside from fantastic lakefront views, plenty of room for entertaining, and a spot for any water toys you may fancy, the area itself is famously well-known. Janine Grillo, a Keller Williams Domain Associate Broker, tells Unique Homes that the Great Lakes region is the
No. 1 freshwater boating destination in the U.S.

“The sheer size of this territory affords boaters a whole world of fun and a number of diverse places to explore on the water,” she says, noting that every day here feels like a vacation. “This summer, we are finding buyers are looking to enjoy life more, relax (and work) from home. The updated, roomy waterfront properties sell fast,” Grillo says.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada & California

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine. Bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? It is the same the angels breathe,” said Mark Twain in describing Lake Tahoe. Chase International President and CEO Shari Chase characterizes it in the same way, recounting this quote from where she calls home, on the Nevada side of the iconic area.

“Lake Tahoe is a real treasure,” Chase says in painting a picture of the 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide body of water, which is majestically surrounded by mountains. “Everything has a very spiritual essence to it here. The water is beautifully pure, with blues and crystalized greens,” she continues. The land boasts an outdoor lifestyle, where residents can easily take in treasured hiking trails, ski lodges, boating, beaches, art and more. Within one hour of the space are gems such as Virginia City, Genoa, and Jackson, California, which all are filled with wonderful recreation.

Prices here range from $3.75 million to $48 million, with most buyers prioritizing a spacious pier when considering their search.

Chase International Broker Trinkie Watson says that diversity of year-round outdoor activities, alongside good restaurants, art galleries and unique shopping are a huge draw to the area, as well as convenience to Sacramento and the Bay Area. Residents can easily take in treasured hiking trails, ski lodges, boating and beaches. “Whether it’s at the lake or on a beautiful trail in the mountains, it’s all gorgeous,” Watson says.

Londonderry, New Hampshire

The New England waterfront is known for its variety of seasonal landscapes throughout the year. Residents are able to experience the full extent of floral springs, fluttering snowflakes, peaceful waters, and crisp autumn leaves. And right now, in the summertime, the sights could not be better, says Morgan Smith, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty.

“We have hundreds of clean lakes with 360 degrees of spectacular scenery. Owners love to watch the loons, fish off the dock, kayak and waterski, and lazily soak in the clear, fresh water warmed by the sun,” she says. Coastal properties in New England feature properties with rocky ledges, crashing waves, and beaches that can be strolled for miles and miles.

With regard to how the market is faring, lower-than-average inventories are leaving very few properties for sale at a time. Prices of waterfront properties range from $1 million to $25 million, with buyers privy to direct access to the water, spacious frontage, and plenty of room for a watercraft, Smith says. She enjoys her daily life in the area, and wishes to share the elegance with new buyers. “I love spending time in Cape Elizabeth,” she says. “If I can be on a boat (or a hammock), and smell fresh air next to a body of water, I’m happy.”

Coronado, San Diego, California

The California oceanfront is star-studded with luxury at every turn. Coronado, San Diego is absolutely no exception. Broker Associate Scott Aurich of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty has lived in 17 different houses throughout the town and loved every second of it. To get away from it all, Aurich enjoys his early mornings more than anything else; he spends it surfing in tranquil waters, golfing through immaculate links, or entranced by friendly creatures at the stables. He stressed that Coronado camaraderie cannot be replicated anywhere else he’s seen.

Whether it’s the unique amenities the town has to offer, the community center with a gym, or the iconic $34 million Crown Manor estate he is representing, Coronado is truly special. But his favorite piece of home, he says, is the people. “The best thing is the people; it’s hard to describe,” Aurich mentioned. He finds that the kindness of his neighbors is where he feels the most pride. It’s not just Aurich that has noticed the grandeur; the temperature of real estate in Coronado is booming, to say the least. The demand is so high that at press time, only 54 houses were for sale. “The market is white hot,” Aurich said, explaining that the value of homes has gone up exponentially in the last 20 years.

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin, is a gorgeous peninsula with 250 miles of coastline — it’s surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan on the eastern side, and Green Bay on the western side. For weekenders or vacationers, the area boasts incredible opportunities for sailing, water sports, fishing, boutiques, restaurants and quaint villages that dot the shoreline, explains Jamie Sanger, a managing broker with Coldwell Banker Realty.

The county of Door has fantastic experiences in the arts, theater, and golf courses, but most of all, it is best known for its natural scenic beauty, she tells Unique Homes. With even multimillion-dollar homes and estates selling like hotcakes, any inventory that is available is selling for well over asking price. Sanger feels that her area and the lifestyles awaiting there are in particularly high demand: “I feel the pandemic has fueled our market, in that folks want to be able to ‘get away’ from the urban areas to enjoy a more peaceful, private, and healthy lifestyle,” she continues. This is what she sees in her own hometown as well, Ellison Bay, which she says has stayed tranquil and untouched by development in recent years.

Sarasota, Florida

Over in Sarasota, Candy Swick, president and broker at Candy Swick & Company, is dazzled by the diversity of people she meets every single day. “One minute you are having a conversation with an astronaut, a rocket scientist, an author, or an international ballet virtuoso from Russia,” she says.

Swick describes the water in Sarasota as “Carribean blue,” alongside a breeze that drifts in soft and cooling. Residents can enjoy multitudes of water sports, a world-class ice skating rink where Olympic figure skaters have trained, and ballet and opera performances.

As for the price tag, luxury homes are running from $2 million to
$20 million. Houses are frequently selling the day they enter the market, at list price or often in a situation with multiple offers. A typical bayfront home in Sarasota starts at $2.5 million, where buyers can view the magic, nightlife, and restaurants outlining the entire city. “We know that if an individual desired to enjoy a new restaurant for lunch and another for dinner, it would take more than a year to explore them all,” Swick said.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

“Think of a place that has beautiful beaches, with crystal-clear water and clean, silky-smooth sand; a place that is known as the yacht capital of the world, with spectacular vessels cruising in daily through the port,” says Shai Mashiach, a Coldwell Banker Realty agent, in painting a picture of his beloved home.

He notes that in the bustling housing market, several waterfront neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale are in high demand; particularly Las Olas and Harbor Beach, where prices start in the millions. Mashiach noted the convenience of the area as well; it’s only a one-hour boat ride to the Bahamas, a 30-minute drive south to Miami or north to Palm Beach, and one hour to the Florida Keys. “It’s a place that has the best restaurants, great nightlife, and magnificent people from around the globe,” he continued.

As far as his personal favorite to-dos, Mashiach and his family enjoy quality time on the water, fishing, or docking at a favorite restaurant on the Intracoastal for a spectacular meal. “From yoga on the beach to amazing deep-water fishing, Fort Lauderdale has a wonderful ambiance and everything you need to enjoy life,” he says.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico is known as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. A hundred-plus feet of visibility in the pristine, cobalt water is perfect for a deep dive, whether you’re a novice or expert. “The clarity of the water is just extraordinary,” says Cindy Case, a Realtor with Douglas Elliman. The island takes pride in differentiating itself from the mainland; as opposed to cities like Cancun, Cozumel boasts a private, more intimate community.

“It’s a unique, small island with a very relaxed vibe,” Case says. Yet, this does not eliminate the availability of ample restaurants, shopping, and hospital care. There are many properties available for sale along the water, and well-priced at that. Case notes the affordability of property on such a prime Caribbean island. When recalling her favorites, Case enjoys beach hopping along the backside of the island; she treasures the chain of beautiful, wide, white-sand beaches with restaurants and bars.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Picture year-round warm weather and sunshine, vast cultural diversity and delicacies, and a fabulous cosmopolitan lifestyle when thinking of residential life in Honolulu, Hawaii, says Tracy Allen of Coldwell Banker Realty.

“Breathtaking hikes along the Ko’olau mountain ranges and scenic coastal trails offer incredible vistas second to none. Visitors and residents love the vast cultural foods found in Hawaii, and come to the island to enjoy many different dining experiences,” Allen describes.

For purchases on the water, prices start at around $6 million, and can range from $8 million to $20 million as well. Allen says that waterfront homes in the area have generally been built within the last 10 years, and include modern touches such as lighter wood tones, smart technology, gyms, home offices, and large, professional kitchens.

Surfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, jet skiing, and canoe paddling are just a few activities keeping residents entertained. Allen wants buyers to know: if you’re looking for a diverse experience, Hawaii is for you. And when asked her perfect way to spend a day, her answer is simple; “The beach! You can never go wrong with our turquoise crystal-clear waters!”

Kaua’i, Hawaii

In another part of the islands, luxury on Kaua’i translates to “soulful” according to Hawaii Life broker Neal Norman. It is that very soul and heart that keeps residents smiling in the sunshine, just as Norman found himself when he moved in 25 years ago.

“We’re seeing purposeful buyers who want to live the lifestyle: that luxury, soulful living that Kaua’i provides,” Norman says. In the North Shore region where he is located, buyers and sellers are connected on the ocean view at a variety of prices, ranging from $3 million to $50 million. Dream homes are purchased on the daily in this blue-sky paradise, where residents can spend quality time with loved ones and friends.

Offering numerous outdoor endeavors, hiking, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, beach combing and biking are just a few of the fantastic opportunities in Kaua’i. “Buyers are finding solitude and serenity on this little island in the Pacific Sea,” Norman says. “Kaua’i is a rare and special place.”

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE UH Summer ’21 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

Peggy S. Lotz

MVP Realty LLC

GRI, ABR, AWHD, e-Pro, CIPS , GREP, PSA, RSPS, SRS, SFR, SRES

239.564.2140 | lotzrealestate@gmail.com | peggylotzrealtor.com

Raised with Midwest values of honesty and integrity, Peggy developed a very strong work ethic. Her background in real estate began in the 1970s in Wisconsin, and since then has worked in many facets of real estate, from residential and luxury markets to law offices. Peggy and her husband have lived in Southwest Florida since 1995. She serves the areas of Miromar Lakes, Estero, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples. Her passion shows in her commitment to you. Whether you are looking to buy or sell, her goal is to exceed your expectations. She will welcome you to “paradise”and provide you with exceptional service.

Listing by Peggy S. Lotz

Boat from Your Backyard Dock —Miromar Lakes, FL

 

For enjoyment, go fishing, skiing or enjoy water sports on 700+ acres of freshwater, and call Miromar Lakes, #1 Community in the USA, your home! This custom-built home has extensive upgrades, 3 split en-suite bedrooms, a den and pool bath. The gourmet island kitchen is full of amenities. Outdoor living includes an outdoor kitchen, saltwater pool/spa, lanai, and semi-private deeded pier with floating dock.

$1,595,000

 

 

Peggy S. Lotz originally appeared as an Elite agent in the Unique Homes Spring ’21: Elite edition. See her page here.

With powder-white sand and turquoise waters that offer tranquil swimming and world-class surfing, this gated seven-bedroom property — set on beautiful Lorient Beach — is one of St. Barth’s most luxurious beachfront estates.

“This property represents an extremely rare opportunity to purchase a beachfront estate in St. Barth,” says Tom Smyth of St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty who is listing the property for 35 million euros. “We generally see an opportunity like this once per decade.” 

Features include wraparound terraces providing easy access to the interior from all sides, a stunning pool, a spacious living area, a gourmet kitchen, and five equal master suites are all accessible from the courtyard.

Additionally, the expansive courtyard encompasses a private spa and a bar, and a two- bedroom caretaker’s house is located near the entrance. The property allows for expansion. 

 

For more information, contact:

Tom Smyth

St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty

St. Barth +590.590.29.90.10

Tom@stbarth.com

sothebysrealty-stbarth.com

 

With 500 feet of privately owned river frontage (with a dock) this stunning home in Minnesota overlooks the St. Croix River and is set on 17 acres. “The setting is spectacular,” says listing agent Sharon O’Flannigan of Coldwell Banker Realty. “It is completely private and secluded.”

Architecturally designed and built by Vujovich Design, the home features exceptional use of quality materials and details, creating a warm, inviting environment. “The great room, dominated by a stone fireplace, provides intimate spaces for conversation and relaxing,” says O’Flannigan.

Listed for $2.236 million, the home features a pool, pool house, pond and fire pits. “This home would be ideal for a family or couple who enjoy the outdoors, wildlife and the joy of navigating the magnificent St. Croix River,” says O’Flannigan. “It is a home to create memories in a naturally beautiful setting.”      

For more details and a full tour of this property, go to www.oflannigan.com.

With approximately 445 feet of water frontage, this property is set on 4.3 acres in Grosse Point Shores, Michigan and showcases panoramic views of Lake St. Clair.

The mid-century modern main house features four bedrooms and a heated terrace. Most of the main rooms have beautiful views of the lake. The house has been expanded and undergone extensive renovations to create what is now a 5,490 square foot home. The charming mid-century modern ranch style was retained and the great room features a stunning wood-paneled cathedral ceiling, two fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, which provide fantastic views of the lake. The open floor plan, along with the skylights, allows the home to be filled with even more natural light. The master bedroom suite includes two baths, an office and a walk-in closet.

The current owner purchased the adjacent property, which was then razed to create the gigantic 4.3-acre lot on the water. The property also includes a charming guest cottage with lake views and a quaint 1,065-square-foot farmhouse with two bedrooms, plus an additional carriage house.

The estate, listed for $9.5 million by Kay Agney of Higbie Maxon Agney Realtors, is one of the largest estates in Grosse Pointe — and the scenic home is the ideal place to lead a quiet life, surrounded by trees, with a perfect view of lake St. Clair.

For more information about this property, contact:

Kay Agney-Broker/Owner

Cell: 313 460 3041

83 Kercheval Avenue, GP Farms, MI

www.higbiemaxon.com

This property was featured in the Unique Homes Ultimate 2020 Issue. Click the link to learn more!

Photo courtesy of Kay Agney.

©istockphoto.com / SimonDannhauer

Government-sponsored incentives are drawing retirees to Panama.

From superior benefits for retirees and an assortment of visa options, to the captivating sights and real estate options available, there is much to see and even more to experience as a resident of Panama.

For retirees in particular, the benefits offered through Panama’s programs have crowned it as “one of the top retirement destinations in the world,” according to Stephanie Villarreal, president and Realtor for Your Panama Real Estate Connection. She notes that the government-sponsored “Jubilado” retirement program provides impressive discounts on a range of expenses, including dental/eye exams, medical consultations, restaurant bills, airline tickets and even car purchases. What is needed to qualify is an annuity/pension-like income of $1,000 USD per month. Having good, affordable medical services like, amongst others, the Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital in Panama City is another added benefit, Villarreal says. New residents find themselves taking on the Panamanian lifestyle in no time at all.

The process of immigrating to Panama is relatively simple as well, Villarreal says, and with the help of experienced law professionals, the process is straightforward and easy.

Basilica of the Mother of God is prominent in Casco Viejo, where churches dating back hundreds of years blend with activities for those of all ages.

Photo  ©istockphoto.com / rchphoto

“We work alongside attorneys to assist our clients with immigration and residency,” she adds. The Panama Friendly Nations Visa, for example, is also a popular special immigration program for citizens of selected countries who have professional or economic ties with Panama.

Those exploring their immigration options should also understand the differences in lifestyle of Panamanians, from “slower pace of life” to the fact that Spanish is the country’s main language. However, every difference also offers an opportunity to learn and experience the unique nuances of Panama. “Things in Panama move slower than in North America and Europe,” says Villarreal, “but with our team’s extensive knowledge and experience of how things work in Panama, we can assist our clients to adjust to life in the country.”

Adjusting to life in Panama can come easily with the help of the right brokerage team who will help guide potential buyers to their dream home or neighborhood. Villarreal says her team recommends that buyers should visit the country first to get a feel for what Panama is all about. “There are established ‘expat’ communities in Panama City, various communities at the beaches … there are many clubs offering get-togethers, bingo, Spanish courses and more.”

Add this to the plethora of good restaurants, cafes and bars amidst the cobblestone roads and churches of Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old quarter, and the amazing beaches and archipelagos, and there’s too much to fit into one trip. So, perhaps, make it a trip to last the rest of your life?

 

This article originally appeared in the Unique Homes Spring ’20: Elite edition

1814 Roland Street, Sarasota, Florida

Majestic 2.5-acre, gated residence on Sarasota’s Intracoastal Waterway. Six en suite bedrooms allow homeowners to enjoy the grandeur of their own private Sarasota getaway.

Features include a gym, upstairs kitchenette, wine cellar, and entertainment room with antique bar from early 1900s France. The pool area boasts travertine, an outdoor kitchen, and sauna. The open kitchen/butler’s pantry incorporates all current culinary conveniences.

6 bedrooms, 6 full and 3 half baths
Price: $6,500,000

Represented by: Sindy Carr, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
941.928.9308

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Featured Property: Punta Gorda, Florida

Rebuilt and redesigned from the slab up in 2005, this stunning home offers many recent updates. Enjoy the Florida sunshine from the cedar-lined front porch entry to the fully porcelain tiled, open floor plan with 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and an office. Gather around the floor-to-ceiling stone, gas/wood burning fireplace in the great room. Other features include boat lift and 2 docks. a lanai and pool with serene waterfront view. Direct access to the Peace River, Charlotte Harbor and Gulf of Mexico from your own dock.

Price: $739,000

SHARON KERR
Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty
www.SharonKerr.com
Sharon.Kerr@comcast.net
941.286.7315

For more details and a full tour of this property,
go to www.SharonKerr.com.

In Sarasota, Florida, this home is elevating the standard of luxury, waterfront living. 

1309 Vista Drive in Sarasota, Florida, is a gated French Country private estate located right on the bay. It was built in 2015 on the 1.5-acre-plus property.

Located in one of Sarasota’s most coveted neighborhoods, Harbor Acres, the property is just as close to the bay as it is to the bustling downtown district filled with restaurants and retail stores. The perfect blend of old-world charm and modern Florida luxury.

The interior of the home includes a La Cornue gourmet kitchen, imported French stone floors and cabinetry. But the quality doesn’t end inside — with over 244 feet of direct bayfront on the property, you can enjoy the water every day of the year.

1309 Vista Drive in Harbor Acres, being a perfect blend of French charm and modern style, is the quintessential home of the neighborhood and surrounding area.

Photos courtesy of 1309 Vista Drive.



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