If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we kind of like us some vacation homes. In fact, we are doing the happy-dance over at SecondShelters: vacation-home sales in the U.S. are rebounding. The National Association of Realtors tells us sales rose 10 percent in 2012, after tumbling — no make that, free-falling — 56 percent between 2006 and 2010.
Well, it’s all coming back big time. I had lunch with Phillip Day, who is marketing the beautiful BahaMar in the Bahamas, and he told me sales are really picking up, especially with foreign buyers in the international resort areas. They are paying cash.
Hawaii is totally hot and almost back to pre-recession madness. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hualalai Resort, which is half owned by fellow Texan and Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell, sold more second homes and lots in 2013 than any year since 2007.
And even the Journal says prices are back, too, up 24 percent, making up almost half of what they lost:
“I expect close to double-digit gains in second-home prices this year,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. He thinks primary homes will appreciate by only about 6%. The median sales price for a vacation home in the U.S. was $150,000 in 2012, up 24% from 2011, according to the Realtors association. The increase reflects greater sales of higher priced properties. Their pricey amenities range from movie-screening theaters to wine cellars, private boat docks and golf-cart garages.
Still, you have to pack and get to a second home, so why not live in the Hamptons year-round, 24/7, right here in Highland Park? Fresh to the market is this beautiful new home built by Jennifer Duncan Designs, 4337 Westway, that caught my heart over at Mathews/Nichols. David Nichols tells me Lloyd Lumpkins is the architect; he was with Robie Fusch before he went out on his own. I am so in love with that back yard — totally makes me feel like I’m on vacation in Maine — I may just go camp out!
The 8,960-square-foot home has a Highland Park address but more than 146 feet of frontage with a gorgeous backyard, pool, outdoor fireplace, and screened porch with electronic screens that come down at the touch of a button to create an entire outdoor room protected from the elements. Did I say Highland Park? Yes, that means Highland Park Schools. Enter to floor-to-ceiling white paneled walls, coffee-colored hardwood floors, beautiful crown moldings and windows, windows, windows. There is an incredible kitchen with all the trimmings: marble countertops, deep sink, abundant storage with Bosch, Sub-Zero appliances and a Wolf range with pot filler. Adjacent is a walk-in pantry, and a breakfast room that opens to the den. Also on this floor, and very smart: a guestroom in the opposite wing with full bath that could be a master should you want or need one downstairs. This one has a walk-in closet, a soaking tub, and a shower. Then there is the study with the adjacent “hide the mess” office across the hall.
Upstairs is the master suite with a ginormous bathroom, separate his and hers closets, soaking tub, steam shower and laundry facilities. There is another full-service utility with sink down the hall. Up here, too, three lovely bedrooms complete with window benches, built-ins, and en-suite spa baths.
I like the 12-foot ceilings down and 10-foot ceilings up — that is the trend: not too high, not too low, but just right. Also trending: the clean-lined finish-out throughout the home.
The home is about as walkable as you can get: located between Highland Park Village and the stores at Lomo Alto, you can leave the Porsches in the three-car garage and hoof it off for groceries or a latte.
I love it! Second home style for your first for only $4,950,000. I am sure the good folks at Inwood Mortgage will tell you that’s very smart investing…