Category Archives: Luxury Property

The Prices Of Aspen Real Estate Are Not Extraordinary Anymore

Aspen real estate has always had a treasured place on the upper tears of the price ladder. But what enables us to judge if real estate is pricey or affordable. There are two different ways to measure this: Real estate might look cheap or expensive compared to the budget you have for buying a property and it might look reasonably or excessively priced compared to other luxury real estate in other resorts like Deer Valley or Utah.

The first case is to do with your personal finances. Your budget is setting the tone. If you have $300,000 to spend on a condo then Aspen or Snowmass will definitely look expensive. On the other hand if you budget is $3 million then comparing Aspen properties to other luxury ski destinations will show you that prices are on par or lower than its competition.

Aspen condos in the central core of town range from about $1,300 to $1,900 per square foot depending on all the usual criteria like location or state of upkeep. Prices in Vail, Colorado are about the same for Lionshead and Vail Village developments. International real estate prices, for example in Dublin, have far outpaced Aspen. For international buyers Aspen can feel like a bargain.

The weak US Dollar is doing its share to make US properties look attractive for buyers from the Euro zone or British citizens.

Aspen and Snowmass with its few thousand single-family homes and 5,000 condos between them are on par with standard Manhattan Real Estate. This is not comparing Aspen to the Fifth Avenue co-ops that demand prices of up to $6,000 per square foot. Manhattan with its millions of dwellings is priced similar to a luxury resorts like Aspen and Snowmass. This should ensure that real estate in Aspen will do well in the future.

The US Real Estate Faces a New Crisis

This time last year, my wife called me and said the four words no husband ever wants to hear…

Honey, we have termites.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, we live in Florida – everyone gets termites here. The pest-control guy had found the clue – a few bug wings. But where was the nest?

I found it soon enough, up on our second-story deck. The structure’s made of concrete, but the decking itself? Yep – plywood. Just walking around up there, you’d never see it. But the critters had bored a little hole through the tarpaper sheathing, steadily chewing away the wood underneath.

It’s not unlike the new U.S. real estate boom. It appears a bedrock of economic strength. But as I’ll show, events far away – in China – are now weakening this market in subtle, powerful ways, with repercussions for the U.S. economy itself.

When people talk about the rebound in U.S. real estate, primarily they’re talking about luxury homes. It’s the hottest, most lucrative end of the market. Sales for houses priced above $1 million rose almost 9% last year, more than double any other price category, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Buyers from China are the ones setting those record prices. How?

One is sheer numbers. Chinese buyers account for nearly a third of all home purchases by foreigners in the U.S. (and nearly triple those of Canadians, the next closest nationality group).

Two, Chinese buyers are more than happy to pay above top dollar – their median purchase price is $523,000 – more than twice the U.S. average.

Three, cash is king – and Chinese homebuyers love cash. According to the NAR, 76% of Chinese purchases were all-cash transactions.

First Australia, Then U.S?

But what happens now, after a 40% crash of the Shanghai Composite Index, and a still-slowing Chinese economy?

If you read the headlines, the “expert opinion” is uniformly bullish on what China’s woes mean for U.S. luxury home purchases. The rationale is that further weakness in China will only spur mainlanders to buy more U.S. real estate, not less.

To me, that sounds like bubble talk. I heard similar rationalizations when I was a financial journalist, covering the boom and bust of the U.S. housing market.

Perhaps America’s luxury home realtors should look to Australia, where Chinese property buyers also drove up luxury home prices to insane levels. More recently though, sales have started to tail off in the places where Chinese buyers are most active – the two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

And Morgan Stanley, in a recent note, became the first major financial institution to declare that Australia’s housing cycle has peaked. The bank’s analysts expect “further declines in auction clearance rates (i.e. sales) and house price momentum, with a negative impact on construction occurring over 2016.”

Could the U.S. luxury home market not be far behind? The anecdotal data certainly points in that direction.

Realtors in the San Francisco Bay area now tell local media that buyers from China are hitting the “pause button.” Another said she’s seeing price reductions among her high-end ($3 million and up) properties. A Sotheby’s agent told KCBS-TV, “It’s been a little slower now. I feel like there’s been some kind of shift.”

In Miami, where Chinese buyers were a rising force in the marketplace, luxury home sales fell 10.6% in the most recent quarter. The number of listings keeps rising too – up 15% from year-ago levels.

Recession Risks?

Even the Chinese themselves may be seeing the writing on the wall. I ran across an article on a Singapore-based website aimed at high-wealth, English-speaking Chinese recently. The title of the article? “Now Is Not The Time to Buy in San Francisco.”

The national data also raises an interesting point. In a midyear report, Realtors.com noted that the total number of foreign buyers of U.S. real estate fell 10% in the 12-month period ending in March. Yet the dollar volume of their transactions (we’re talking residential sales here), rose 13% to a record $104 billion.

Translated, it means fewer buyers chasing higher prices. To me, that says “bubble.”

So let’s say I’m right, and that bubble has peaked. What does it mean?

Morgan Stanley, in its recent call on Australia’s Chinese-fed housing bubble, believes the coming U.S. real estate slowdown raises the risk of a recession in the Land Down Under.

Could it happen here too?

Considering so many of these homes are purchased for cash, the risk to the banking system seems minimal.

On the other hand, homebuilders haven’t been this confident in years. This summer, the Wells Fargo/National Association of Home Builders sentiment index hit its highest level since November 2005 – just before the U.S. real estate sector went over the cliff.

Likewise, the boom in luxury residential sales spurs a Field of Dreams mentality (“If you build it, they will come”) among builders and developers. That means lots of speculative development, and ever larger orders for lumber, concrete, premium windows, cabinets and lots of other high-value building components.

What happens if real demand doesn’t meet expectations?

It’s just another sign, as Jeff Opdyke has mentioned often, of a U.S. economy left with very few “legs” for support.

Luxury Yacht Charters

Luxury Yacht Charters Top Class Service More Affordable Than You Think

Cruising leisurely on an opulent yacht, living la dolce vita as the world glides slowly by may seem an unreachable dream. But it might be more affordable than you think using luxury yacht charters. For the period of your choice, chartering operators make available all benefits of yacht ownership with virtually known of the hassles.

Chartering is easy and uncomplicated. A charter agreement is basically the boating equivalent of a property rental agreement. It is a usually specified for a short period of time, perhaps a few days or perhaps a few weeks, longer if desired. These agreements provide access to a luxury vessel on a cost effective per person per day basis.

One of the first priorities on boarding a charter vessel is to complete a comprehensive familiarization with the vessel and desirably also the expected weather conditions during the journey (at least the next 24 hours), particularly if the charter is a bare boat arrangement. A thorough briefing is considered standard operating procedure by experienced mariners and charter operators.

Some brokers mail out a DVD presentation in advance of the charter or alternatively post it onto their website for viewing online. Others also make available a selection of itineraries detailing each of the anchorages and special features along the journey. Still others provide a selection of reading so that passengers to get the most out of their experience.

Charterers are not expected to have any formal boating qualifications, or even any previous boating experience. However, if they express a lack of confidence or appear unable to master even the most basic techniques and principles, the chartering broker will recommend that a skipper accompany the party for the first day, as a minimum. Chartering agreements normally specify charterers make available a bond amount as a contingency to cover any damage to the vessel.

In conclusion, luxury yacht charters are available at coastal locations all around the world. They are easy to arrange and can provide an experience vastly different to that known by many people. Try it out, you may find a new passion. Although this sort of trip is way out of the budget for most people there is a select special few who can enjoy luxury at this level, if this is you, you are very lucky so remember that when you are floating around in the infinity pool.

Boston Condo Market In Real Estate Frenzy

The Boston Condo Market has been on a mega rebound over the past few weeks. Downtown inventory rates have dropped significantly and prices are still climbing. Many Boston condos that we have been tracking over the past few weeks have went under agreement at full or over asking price showing the stability & possible frenzy in the 2007 Boston real estate market.

Last week we all read about the real estate frenzy going on in Manhattan right now. Is it the buyers who have been waiting for the bubble to burst over the past 18 months and now are faced to purchase now or rent for another year? Is it the low interest rates that are still active in our marketplace? What is causing this new renewal of the Boston real estate market?

New condo developments in Boston are also on the hot seat. With even more projects coming up this shows the lack of luxury condo properties or full service condos. We are glad to see more of this type of condo property being built as it is the wave of the future. The Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brighton Allston, Charlestown, Chinatown, Fenway, Leather District, Midtown, North End, Seaport, South Boston, South End, Waterfront and the West End in Boston are all hot and downtown Boston will continue to boom.

Not surprising, some immediate suburbs like Brookline, Newton, Medford & Quincy are also picking up on this trend. Traditionally these markets don’t cater to the full service young professional, however, we are seeing all new types of luxury condominium properties popping up around the skirts of Boston also.

Immobilier – Saint Tropez

I have known the cream of the crop Immobilier in Saint Tropez from the mid 80s when I visited the place to survey buying property in St Tropez.

During my first visit to their office I was much impressed not only by their cordiality and prompt service but also by the ease of communication; they are multi lingual. I am a frequent visitor to the French Riviera because that happens to be our family’s most preferred holiday destination. All these years we have never even considered using multiple sources for our purpose,

But this time around the objective was rather different. I have always cherished the idea of owning a villa of our own on the French Riviera, preferably in Saint Tropez and what else but visit there and make inquires.

I am at the verge of retirement and I do expect a handsome retirement bonus. My family is in full agreement with me for making this investment. Expecting it to be a protracted undertaking I decided to call them right away; and so I did giving them all the details that they asked for. I also reminded them that the purchase was to be finalized after my retirement. They expressed their understanding and confirmed their plan to proceed accordingly. It was heartening news when they informed me that by the time I would be ready for the purchase a low in the cost level was highly probable.

Finally, about two weeks before the retirement I received a hefty and immaculately prepared plan from them including a guideline to proceed and a list of proposed properties not restricted to Saint Tropez but in Ramatuelle, Escalet, Gassin, Grimaud, and throughout the French Riviera. That was indicative of the mutual trust, which is extremely rare, especially in the real estate business.

Listed were modern and more traditional villas and a host of other choices with a range of facilities any one could only dream of. In fact the options were so numerous that I thought I needed help to sift through the plethora.

The family was so excited about a house, their own house on the Riviera; they couldn’t stop talking about it. Each had a plan of his or her own while there on the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean with crystal clear blue water and a lot of new things to do about which they could only dream while here. Some were already extending invitations to their friends to visit us during vacations

Finally the moment of departure was upon us. Every thing done or taken care of and we were off on an early vacation which of course included closing the deal on which we had been working.

The journey was not eventful. While all were busy thinking of the coming days, they did not seem interested in much else. As usual the chauffer was there with the sedan and we drove to our lodging. All was comfortable and cozy as usual.

The whole family voted in for a property in Saint Tropez on the seaside. Our Immobilier in Saint Tropez got immediately to work and with out any hassle the deal went through. We moved into our own house and the routine of setting up our home got under way.

A Guide to Better Living in Luxury Apartments

There is an enormous difference between living and surviving, and renting luxury apartments constitutes nothing less than living. If you have never experienced that quality of life, you should know that nothing is equal to it. Some would even argue that they have many benefits over owning a house. There are many reasons for this argument.

Why Luxury Apartments Are More Expensive on Paper

These residences come with their set of expenses. The security deposit will be quite steep compared to alternatives, not to mention the brokerage fees as well as the rent. The rent is higher than that of standard housing, but the benefits versus the extra expense will quickly make you realize that it’s the better option. For starters, when a person owns a house, they’ll need to do all of the maintenance. On the other hand, when renting a cheap house, tenants discover that the owners may not be too keen on holding up their part of the deal when it comes to repairs. Luxury apartments also tend to be much safer, with the added security features plus the fact that not just anyone can get into such a complex.

Design Ideas to Consider

The ability to furnish the place and make more changes than one would have been able to in other apartments is something that most would-be tenants overlook. Many luxury apartments are fully furnished, but there are also some of them that allow tenants to do what they want with the design. Some designs that go well with these kinds of living spaces include minimalist and contemporary designs. A contemporary design will look fantastic in almost any area. It has a warm feel with a more inviting appeal than many other designs. Minimalist designs, on the other hand, are focused on space saving and living with the bare minimum. It would be an excellent solution for singles and people that care for the environment.

Other Useful Tips to Consider

It may not come as a surprise, but these apartments do not always come with cleaners. It is, therefore, advisable to secure the services of a reputable cleaning service. Once you are sure that the house will always be sparkling clean, you’ll be able to focus on other, more important things in life. All things considered, the extra expense is minimal. Keep in mind that your house will be the place that you’ll be entertaining friends and, in some cases, possible future business contacts. Having it clean with beautiful kitchenware for serving guests goes a long way.

In general, luxury apartments are costlier than most of the other alternatives, but the extra expenses are worth every dollar considering what you get. These types of houses are not suitable for everyone, which is why the final verdict will often be determined by a combination of personal preference and budget.

5 Factors That Make Luxury Apartments Even More Luxurious

Luxury apartments are continuously reaching new heights with luxurious interiors, concierge services, in-house spas and Jacuzzis, home automation and much more. Kitchens equipped with fashionable gadgets and appliances, gardens transformed into a natural ecosystem and state-of-the-art entertainment zones.

Developers are putting everything together to meet demands of the ever-evolving base of luxury consumers, which gives a boost to the luxury housing market. Here are some of the factors that make luxury apartments seem to be even more luxurious.

Technology and Home Automation

Luxury homeowners today want it all when it comes to technology and builders strive to incorporate this tech-trend to meet the market demand. With a touch of a button on your smartphone, you can control your apartment’s climate, lock your doors, and control your alarm as well as the lighting system in your home. Technology has enhanced the security of luxurious apartments which alerts the homeowners of any intruders or perpetrators.

Luxurious Interiors

Modern d├ęcor and interior design enhance a spacious layout. The rooms are turned into striking displays with luxurious decorating materials, contemporary artworks and elegant home furnishings. Luxurious interiors enriched with creative artworks and home furnishing ideas are always unique, rich and exclusive. Most lobbies are furnished with braised leather and expensive items that create a bright and beautiful space.

Entertainment is essential for luxury living and one never feels to leave the comfort of their luxurious apartments. Homeowners further extend this trend with amenities such as indoor pools, indoor basketball courts, and lavish sports bars. Gaming and theatre rooms act as the primary source of daily entertainment with smart TVs installed in every room of the apartment.

Efficiency Of Design

Home luxury is defined by efficiency of the design and layout. Some of the top trends for residential landscape projects include sustainable and low-maintenance designs. Indoor and outdoor living starts with ceiling to floor doors that slide seamlessly into the wall, opening into the backyard. Masonry block construction walls in these apartments help to reduce the heating and cooling costs. The roofing is done with better insulation in mind. Some of the meticulous touches that go into the design of luxurious apartments include hardwood floors, and natural stones. Adding natural stones and wood elements give a natural and organic appeal to various rooms such as spa bathrooms, a spacious living room and kitchen, and many others.

Meticulous Landscaping

The inside and outside of luxurious apartments depict an origin of beauty and elegance. Its design elements express a wide scope of knowledge and variety. The meticulous landscaping in the entire compound is designed to evoke feelings of comfort, calmness, and simplicity when you are walking along the elegantly manicured pavements.

Living In A Gated Community

Gated community living promises a unique lifestyle which balances privacy, community and connectivity. Gated communities offer exclusive access to facilities such as swimming pools, game courts, club houses, gymnasiums and much more. With the advancement in technology, home automation systems and strictly controlled entrances make it much safer. A gated community has much to offer in terms of safety, facilities, neighbourly appeal and mostly a luxurious lifestyle. Luxury gated community apartments are built on lush and green environments. The natural beauty of such a home is maintained through grooming and extensive landscaping.

Home Flood Insurance

Home flood insurance is a necessity depending upon your location. If you live in an area that is prone to storms of all sorts and you are aware of the damage caused despite pre-emptive measures, then this type of insurance is a must. The NFIP or National Flood Insurance Program was established to provide insurance plans to those living in areas that are constantly at risk of water damage.

If the community or neighborhood you belong to is already part of the NFIP, you could sign up with the help of an insurance agent. If the community you are in does not have coverage, ask assistance or consult regional legislators on ways to transform it. As a homeowner, flood insurance is a good investment because you never know when nature could strike. This insurance is a policy that most homeowners neglect since they do not live near the coast or near large body of water. However, the climate is unpredictable so even if you do not live in these areas, floodwaters could still affect your home.

A flood insurance policy can avoid extra costs and future headaches. Make sure to research and evaluate the cost of flood insurance and what it covers, as well as your homeowner’s policy. While the NFIP helps people affected by water damage, the funds are limited and there is no guarantee that you will get enough to cover the cost of losses incurred. Furthermore, the President should declare the flooding to be a disaster. When you have a flood insurance policy, the insurance company will reimburse you of the losses you incur from the flood of the expenses on repairs due to damage caused by flood.

You have to present a list to your insurance provider of the damage in your home and they will take care of the rest. The last thing you need after a flooding occurs is to worry on how to pay your bills for the next month. That is why, regardless if your area is prone to flooding or not, a flood insurance is necessary because safety is always important. It would not be a good idea to wait until something untoward happens before you take action. Weigh your options well and decide if paying a small amount every month is worthwhile to protect your home and family. Keep in mind that when flood happens, it would be too late and you could end up paying for the damages caused by flood.

Without a flood insurance, there is a chance of facing a big risk that could seriously lead you to being broke during an inconvenient and unexpected time. Remember that our homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage and even a few inches of water inside your home can result to thousands of dollars lost. Flood insurance is available to homeowners and renters. Keep in mind that there is a thirty-day waiting period as soon as you purchase a flood insurance before it goes into effect, thus, it is important to have a policy as soon as possible before flood waters threaten your home and your family.

Luxury Condos Can Be Eco-Friendly, Too

These days, the ‘green’ label gets thrown around a lot. There’s no end to the list of things advertised as less harmful for the environment than their traditional counterparts. Far from following the trend, the housing industry has long been ahead of the curve. Residential development continues to sit at the forefront of this commitment to green building, with alternative insulation materials going mainstream, solar panels popping up on rooftops across the country, and water-saving technology becoming the norm. But while these additions and renovations can be great, many eco-minded homebuyers don’t realize just how efficient and environmentally friendly it can be to live in multi-unit buildings. Luxury condos are green by their very nature!

The Benefits of Population Density

The more that a single structural element, utility, or appliance can be shared, the more efficient it is. In a luxury condo, a shared wall does what two separate walls would in houses. That translates to half as much building material to construct the wall, whether it’s wood, brick, concrete, etc. It’s also common for utilities to be centralized in a condominium complex, meaning that the hot water heater serves multiple units, a far more efficient use of energy than heating multiple small water heaters. The same holds true for air-conditioning and heating, which benefit from scaling up and serving multiple residences. By combining these functions that would need to be replicated at each individual home, multi-unit homes maximize efficient use of building materials and electricity.

Space to Breathe

On the other side of the equation, minimizing sprawl by sharing structures and appliances leaves more room on the property for outdoor features. Luxury condominiums have a much smaller footprint, on a per-unit basis, than individual homes. This means that the grounds can be larger and more luxurious, with water features and even small community gardens that would not be possible on many small lots.

The Cutting Edge

While luxury condos are, by their very nature, environmentally friendly, developers are increasingly using multi-unit residential construction to push the boundaries of green living. This is owed, at least in part, to the overwhelmingly green values and trends displayed by young, hip urbanites. Young professionals have shown especially significant interest in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for buildings. LEED certification encourages developers to incorporate alternative energy sources like solar panels for electricity or hot water. Another LEED innovation is the use of so-called grey water systems to recycle sink and drain water into the landscape. This water-saving technology is especially popular in the arid West, where drought has forced cities in California and Arizona to mandate cuts in public water.

Today, many homebuyers are interested in spending on environmentally responsible housing choices. Whether it’s a first home or a retirement pad, more and more buyers should look to luxury condos as eco-friendly options.

Luxury Villas in Hyderabad

Residential real estate in Hyderabad is known for its huge higher-end luxury villas today. This cyber hub of India is flourishing well with its booming economy and NRI interest. Real estate developers are unleashing new concepts like theme based ambience to exploit the opportunities lying in the premium housing segment.

“Luxury villas in Hyderabad are designed by renowned architects and they follow certain themes such as ‘Spanish style Villas’ or ‘Italian architecture’, which really attract High Net worth Individuals (HNIs),” Anurag Maheshwari of hyderabad properties. Talking about the trends further, he said, “Under a themed project, everything from the construction material, fittings, accessories to the designing of the villa is converged to a particular theme and these villas are devised to meet international standards”.

The builders meanwhile are leaving no stone unturned to catch the attention of HNI, and NRI investors interested in Hyderabad properties. Take for instance the 100 per cent Vastu compliant higher-end villas by Landmark builders. The group after enjoying tremendous success of its ‘Fortune Villas’ have introduced this concept at its ‘Stepping Meadows’ project, near 8-lane expressway. These luxury villas in Hyderabad are designed very aesthetically and have duly caught the attention of foreign investors as they are equipped with all the comforts that HNIs expect, sources told.

Meanwhile, most of the villa projects in Hyderabad are surfacing up at the outskirt areas like Kompally and Kondapur. Developers are eyeing huge tracts of land that are available in these areas, and since the land prices are very low, builders are expecting handsome margins on their projects.

But the gold-rush has been translating into escalating price levels in these areas. According to the sources, land prices at the outskirts that were in the range of Rs 15,000 to 18,000 per square yard in 2006 have now shot up Rs 50,000 per square yard. The story does not end here. Hyderabad real estate experts forecast that the prices would increase further once the benchmark projects come to fruition.