Top Celebrity Home Buyers & Sellers of the Past Decade

These stars are experts at scratching that real estate itch.

In the 10 years since Zillow rose from a twinkle in co-founders Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink’s eyes to an online real estate powerhouse, home-loving celebrities have been powering through some real estate of their own.

Oprah was far and away the top home buyer during that decade-long stretch. But Ellen DeGeneres, Cher and Nicolas Cage (hello, “Moonstruck”!) were no slouches in the home buying and selling arena during that time.

Oprah Winfrey

America’s favorite billionaire owns homes all over the country, from Chicago to Nashville to Hawaii. She’s even bought a 2-bedroom in a small Indiana town where she once owned a whole farm.

Recently, the television mogul paid $14 million for a high-tech mansion in the box-canyon ski town of Telluride — complete with a seven-person hot tub and a “wine mine” — and $28.85 million at a recent auction for this sprawling horse farm in Montecito.

RearPatio_resized

Ellen DeGeneres

Beloved comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres has been buying copious numbers of homes since before she married Portia de Rossi. “I’ve never bought to sell. I always say: ‘This is it. I’m never moving.’ People laugh at me now,” she told The New York Times.

DeGeneres bought this Malibu home from fellow house-flipper Brad Pitt.

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She also spent $26.5 million on an acreage in Montecito with ocean views.

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A couple of years ago, she went on a streak of owning homes for just 6 months each, including the famed Brody House in Los Angeles.

Nicolas Cage

“Other people own beachfront property; I have ghost-front property,” actor Nicolas Cage said of owning the most haunted mansion in New Orleans, the Lalaurie House.

Not that he limits himself to ghosts. Among the dozen-plus places he’s called home over the past decade are a castle in Bath, England, and a castle-looking home in Rhode Island, which he sold at a 60 percent loss.

Nicolas Cage RI home exterior

Cher

The multi-talented entertainer with seemingly endless energy found time over the past decade to trade real estate, including buying this home in the coveted 90210 ZIP code.

Cher's home

She also bought a home in Malibu where family reportedly live. It’s near her villa there, where she told Architectural Digest “every room has two views of the ocean.” The remodel of her villa wasn’t cheap, she acknowledged. “My mother once said to me, ‘What you need is a very rich man.’ And I said, ‘Mother, I am a very rich man.’”

Cher has also sold a slew of homes in recent years, from Palm Springs to West Hollywood to Los Angeles, where her son Elijah Blue reported lived in this home near Venice Beach:

Living Room 2

And she auctioned off her Hawaiian estate for a hefty $8.72 million:

chers-hawaii-home

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

Here’s a power couple with a powerful appetite for real estate. They’ve bought at least six homes in the past decade and sold one to Ellen DeGeneres. That doesn’t even count the $22.5 million sale of the Beverly Hills home Pitt and ex-wife Jennifer Aniston sold after their split.

Jolie and Pitt recently cut the listing price on the New Orleans mansion they bought in 2006 for Pitt’s Big Easy filming of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by $850,000.

Brad and Angelina's New Orleans home4

Julia Roberts

Here’s a superstar with a super-long list of homes. Roberts bought her main residence, at Malibu’s Point Dume, in the early 2000s, but has done a fair bit of transacting in the meantime.

She’s asking $26 million for a lush Hawaiian estate that’s near two other Hanalie properties she owns:

Julia Roberts' home4

While she dropped the price on that tropical oasis, Roberts raked in more than she was asking — for a total of $5.35 million — on a Greenwich Village penthouse for which she paid $3.9 million in 2010:

Julia Roberts' living room3

Roberts still has a pad in Manhattan, which she’s reportedly renting out. But she’s unloaded a lot, including homes in her hometown of Smyrna, GA, and in Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and Venice, the latter to actor Tim Robbins. Across the country, she’s sold homes in Tennessee, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

For a guy his size, Dwayne Johnson is surprising nimble — at home trading.

The Rock has leaned mostly toward home selling over the past decade — most of those homes in Florida. He’s unloaded at least 10 homes there over the past decade, including this mega-mansion outside Miami with two 3-car garages and a deluxe master bath:

exterior

master bathroom

Rosie O’Donnell

Here’s another talk-show host with a voracious appetite for real estate. O’Donnell’s most recent score is this mansion in West Palm Beach with 180 feet of waterfront:

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She paid $5.3 million for it, fully furnished, which shouldn’t be a stretch given the $9 million sale a couple of years ago of her Greenwich Village penthouse:

Rosie O'Donnell's living room

She tried unsuccessfully to sell four riverfront homes she collected in Nyack, NY:1 wash ave from the water

But the comedian had better luck selling multi-million-dollar homes in Chicago, Manhattan and Miami Beach.

Kelsey Grammer

While Sideshow Bob was busy being a, well, sideshow on “The Simpsons,” the actor who voices him was center stage in the first season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” in which his marriage fell apart — precipitating all sorts of real estate swaps.

The property-loving Grammer unloaded many of his and ex-wife Camille’s holdings in recent years, including their main home in Malibu:

Kelsey Grammer main home

The Grammers also let go of homes in Beverly Hills, Hawaii, The Hamptons and this ski retreat in Colorado:

Grammer_bdrm

Before his marital woes began, Grammer sold a Bel-Air estate to actress Salma Hayek for $13.5 million.

Reese Witherspoon

For a while, this Oscar winner was a Brentwood fanatic. She bought three homes in the posh Los Angeles enclave, including an “enchanted cottage,” that collectively went for $13.6 million in 2014.

Witherspoon sold her Ojai getaway at a loss:

Reese Witherspoon Ojai home

She picked up a $12.7 million Pacific Palisades mansion, along with two homes in Nashville suited to a Southern belle. One of them is a historic home she plans to restore:

front door

*Fuente: http://www.zillow.com/blog/top-celebrity-buyers-sellers-191397/

10 Homes For Sale With Stunning Outdoor Kitchens

You’ll never go hungry in these homes with outdoor kitchens as beautiful as their indoor counterparts.

Ever wonder what it would be like to flip burgers while overlooking the Pacific Ocean? Do you imagine whipping up a frozen margarita just steps away from your infinity pool? (Remember — plastic cups only!) Outdoor living and entertaining spaces have exploded in popularity over the past few years, replacing the tried-and-true charcoal grill with full-service cooking areas, including ventilated grills, smokers, rotisseries, weatherproof cabinetry, outdoor refrigerators, stone sinks, and more.

Dream big and take inspiration from these stunning outdoor kitchens across the country, from homes for sale in Malibu, CA, all the way to Myrtle Beach, SC.

 

Under the Texan sun: $589,900, 2249 Cardinal Blvd., Carrollton, TX 75010

Built in 2011, this four-bed, three-bath home in Carrollton, TX, has a stylish interior and an even more extraordinary exterior. Dine under its pergola or covered patio any night of the week — each part of the outdoor kitchen is complete with ceiling fans to cool you off on a hot summer day. When it does get too hot outside, simply head inside to the indoor kitchen, complete with granite countertops and an island bar area — perfect for gathering friends and family around.

A screened-in dream: $750,000, 222 E. 25th St., Houston, TX 77008

This Houston, TX, abode is a chef’s dream, complete with a screened-in patio and kitchen grill area. There’s no need to ever step inside when a refrigerator, sink, grill, and warmers are all at your fingertips on the patio. Not to mention, the home’s most distinctive amenity — the Jacuzzi tub — is conveniently adjacent to the outdoor bar. As for rainy days, there’s a full bar inside too, as well as two large, renovated bathrooms and a home gym.

Outside on the Intracoastal: $995,000, 1545 Pachino Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

This extravagant beachside mansion has massive kitchens — inside and out. The backyard features a central cooking area, screened lanai, and a remote-controlled fire pit. Entertaining is easy-breezy on the back patio as the wind from the Intracoastal Waterway joins you for alfresco dining. This new construction Grand Dunes estate was completed in December 2015 and offers large windows that stream in natural light from the home’s expansive backyard.

Myrtle Beach masterpiece: $999,900, 3604 Tabby Lane, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582

Another Myrtle Beach, SC, beauty, this home has breathtaking inlet views to enjoy from the outdoor covered patio. Watch the Carolina Panthers on the outdoor flat-screen TV or sit and enjoy a drink at the bar while your filet mignons sizzle on the grill. The extravagant interior is simply a bonus to the exterior amenities, complete with traditional decor, a large master suite along with three additional bedrooms, and an entryway mudroom with handy built-ins for storage.

Embrace the unusual in Oregon: $1,733,000, Address Not Disclosed, Bend, OR 97703

Vibrant colors are no stranger to this Bend, OR, home — and we hope entertaining isn’t either. Relax by the fire or enjoy happy hour with friends at the shaded outdoor kitchen as you become one with nature. Can you believe those mountain views? Once inside, pear-green accents and plum walls add whimsical charm to this 3,490-square-foot home’s interior.

Chateau California: $9,250,000, 1414 Paseo La Cresta, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274

This chateau-style sanctuary has picturesque views outside its whopping 10,400 square feet. Carefully select a wine to sip while overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the home’s extensive wine cellar. If you tire of the outdoor perks, including a pool, spa, and spacious cooking and dining space, head inside to the home gym, movie theater, or game room. Pro tip: Even if you don’t have an outdoor kitchen, add a bistro set to your own outdoor living space to create a breakfast nook, like on this home’s balcony.

Oceanfront oasis: $10,800,000, 6400 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663

This modern oceanfront abode, called “La Cristal de la Mer” (the Crystal of the Sea), will keep you entertained in its sky lounge, complete with an outdoor fireplace, grill, and dining area. Easily stroll down to the beach from your back door and listen to the waves crash as you watch TV in the indoor/outdoor lounge. Inside, take a decorating note from the home’s award-winning interior designer, Karen Butera: The house features Ann Sacks glass tile, backlit white onyx countertops, Swarovski pendant lighting, and Italian cabinetry.

Malibu’s most wanted: $10,995,000, 28830 Bison Court, Malibu, CA 90265

This ’bu abode will transport you to an island oasis within your own backyard. Create a feast on commercial-grade appliances, then relax as though you’re at a resort on plush white lounge chairs by the pool. This space truly embraces indoor-outdoor living: Almost the entire dining area and (inside) kitchen open to the outside, giving it a luxurious yet exotic feel — the palm trees don’t hurt either. While only minutes from the beaches of Malibu, CA, you’ll never want to leave this California hideaway.

Rooftop haven in Hermosa Beach: $25 million, 2806 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

This custom Italianate villa will make your jaw drop: It features custom mosaic tile floors, a great room with 800-gallon saltwater aquarium, and master bath with steam shower, just to name a few perks. But the pièce de résistance is the rooftop kitchen, accessed by a 16-foot rotating skylight (yes, you read that correctly). And there’s more: This five-bedroom, 10-bath home has its own sports bar complete with a pool table and flat-screen TV, a three-car garage, and its own movie theater.

Ski bunny paradise: $36 million, 455 Sunnyside Lane, Aspen, CO 81611

This mountainous haven will surely make you a homebody — everything you could ever dream of is right inside the eight-bedroom, nine-bath property. No heavy lifting required: The home is fully furnished and move-in ready. You’ll be able to cook for your crew in two outstanding kitchens — one inside and, you guessed it, one outside. And while you may get lost in the 14,000-square-foot house, the wafting smell of steaks cooking on the grill will draw you back to the outdoor spa and fire pit.

*Fuente: http://www.trulia.com/blog/homes-for-sale-outdoor-kitchens/

7 Secrets of Celebrity Real Estate

Stars’ house-hunting expeditions look quite a bit different from everyone else’s.

Never mind what the celebrity magazines say: When it comes to home listings, the stars are not just like us.

Agents who represent celebs on either side of a real estate transaction must tread carefully.

“The last thing you want is your neighbor taking a selfie with your Academy Award,” said Kofi Nartey, who recently launched Compass’ global sports and entertainment division.

1. No cell phones allowed

Nartey and other agents frequently prohibit cell phones inside properties listed by stars. Allowing them is not worth the trouble, and people who are truly interested in buying the home — sometimes celebrities themselves — tend to understand.

2. Discretion is key

Because paparazzi and gossip mongers are constantly lurking, it’s important to be discrete about all sorts of things — including what exactly a celebrity client is looking for in a home. Take the star Nartey represented who was deciding whether to buy homes “based on how many people could fit in the shower.”

That was a tricky expedition. “Sometimes you can tell from photos; sometimes you preview it,” Nartey explains. “Sometimes you call the listing agent and say, ‘This is going to sound odd, but how many people can fit in the shower?’”

3. Tell a story

Celebrities who agree to publicity for their multi-million dollar listings often have more control over the message, and an agent can have a lot of fun with those stories both in the media and in presenting homes to potential buyers.

Michael JordanWhen Nartey was marketing the Michael Jordan estate outside Chicago, which is listed for $14.855 million, “we were able to talk about the breakfast club, which was a group of his teammates who got together for breakfast and to train at his house.”

Even former homes of everyone from Cher to Groucho Marx can gain publicity points for the lingering stardust.

4. Some stars are shy

Fame brings more eyeballs to a property, and sometimes more money. But it can cut both ways: Stars who value privacy must take extraordinary steps to hide their ties to a home.

That can start when the home is bought, by using a trust name and address that’s not traceable to the real owner. Still, photographers and fans have a way of ferreting out celebrities’ homes — one reason that, by the time they sell, they’re ready to leverage their celebrity.

Even then, the going can be rough.

One star had people trying to climb over his fence as soon as news of his listing hit, said Sally Forster Jones of the John Aaroe Group. She has brokered her share of celebrity real estate transactions, including for Mariel Hemingway, Candy Spelling and baseball player Coco Crisp.

5. Other celebs are just weird

It helps when celebrity sellers move to another home so prospective buyers can drop by without invading their privacy. But some insist on staying.

Christophe Choo of Coldwell Banker Previews International in Beverly Hills had one client who hung out in her bedroom during showings and hid behind a screen while potential buyers were in the room.

“I can’t tell you how private some of these clients are,” he said.

6. Watch out for looky loos

People used to dropping by open houses just to snoop can forget about that with celebrity homes — or almost any luxury listing.

Agents are good at sussing out whether you have the dough to buy a place, and whether you’re genuinely interested. There’s the Internet, the polite-but-probing telephone interview, and the network of other agents. Some agents require people to come with their own real estate agents.

“We vet who the buyer is, so they’re not going to see a home just because of the star appeal,” said Forster Jones.

On occasions when an open house is permitted for a select group of brokers, there will often be security guards in bedrooms and even in large closets, Choo said. “There can be maybe 10 people manning a private open house.”

7. Keep the entourage happy

Control is a big deal for many high-end clients, whether they’re used to the limelight or the board room.

“A well-paid billionaire or businessman likes to be in control of situations,” Choo said. Even celebrities who are not control freaks can have PR managers, lawyers and others who are, he said, adding that he can’t mention the names of famous clients whose homes he’s sold.

*Fuente: http://www.zillow.com/blog/7-secrets-celebrity-real-estate-203470/

SEVEN PLAYFUL PALACES

Luxury homes around the world with play spaces, kid-friendly art, and amenities

Flair, refinement, and…family life? Of course. The comforts and conveniences of luxury living can easily be extended when children are part of the family. Many grand homes and estates boast amenities for kids as well as for adults, and swimming pools and playrooms are only the start. Today’s high-end homes often include arcades and home theaters, pro-style sports courts, or fancifully constructed play spaces. Whether designed to fit in with a sophisticated adult aesthetic or spectacular enough to appeal to even the most discriminating grown-up’s inner child, kid-friendly features are just as attractive and appealing as the properties they enhance.

Chicago Choo-choo
Chicago, Illinois

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The spacious grounds of this handsome Tudor-style home feature wooded landscaping, waterfalls, an expansive wood deck and nearby pool, grassy lawns and stone paths, and a separate two-bedroom coach house. Best of all is a miniature rideable train, with an engine that can pull 10,000 pounds and large enough for children and adults alike to comfortably ride. The train circumnavigates the perimeter of the property, crosses a bridge, and circles the pool deck. Indoors, the billiard and game room likewise has an electric toy train that winds through the room and even through walls to the adjoining family room. Adult spaces are not shortchanged—the magnificent foyer, carved stairway, vaulted and beamed great room, library, sauna, steam room, and wine and fur vaults help ensure that residents and guests of all ages are catered to.

Toronto Toyland
Toronto, Canada

The colorful arcade room in this unique Toronto residence enjoys plenty of natural light and has its own 1950s-style soda bar
The colorful arcade room in this unique Toronto residence enjoys plenty of natural light and has its own 1950s-style soda bar

Spacious and light-filled, this 15,000-square-foot, six-bedroom home presents lovely, tree-filled views from nearly every room. Inside, natural light showcases exquisite craftsmanship and detailing. Parquet wood floors lie beneath the entry skylight, the home office has a wood-panelled ceiling and parquet-detailed walls, the master bedroom has a vaulted night-sky mural set into the ceiling (as well as a full-length treetop view.) The arcade and game room, a source of fun for kids and adults alike, is brightly painted in cheerful colors. The pool with a child-friendly slide and the spa, both of which adjoin the private gym, are enclosed in a greenhouse with a retractable roof.

Florida Fantasyland
Boca Raton, Florida

This lakeside estate in Florida is a 6.5-acre private family resort that has its own waterpark.
This lakeside estate in Florida is a 6.5-acre private family resort that has its own waterpark.

Covering six and a half acres of prime lakeside property, this magnificent Florida estaterepresents the ultimate in outdoor family living. An expansive, covered outdoor kitchen, dining room, and bar look out onto the home’s private waterpark wonderland—a tempting feature for all ages. A two-story pool with a gently sloping entrance and a plunging waterfall beyond surrounds a sunbathing island. While the waterfall drops from the height of a private, multi-story cliff with multiple waterslides, a curving lazy river can be experienced at a much more relaxed pace. Beyond, a private boathouse with a lift allows for easy access to the private lake.

Mexican Murals
Guanajuato, Mexico

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This grand adobe-style Mexican casa combines sophisticated family living with charming touches. Colorful murals featuring butterflies and Disney characters adorn the children’s rooms. A cobblestone central courtyard has a wishing well at its center, and a large grassy lawn includes a shaded playhouse and trampoline. A paddle tennis court, pool, and pergola-shaded spa are designed to keep older children and adults entertained. Impressive wood beams, stone floors, and patios—as well as the private shaded upper balcony and a vaulted brick ceiling—testify to the skilled craftsmanship that went into constructing this 16,000-square-foot home.

Theatrical Treehouse
Beverly Hills, California

The sprawling grounds of this Beverly Hills estate include a magical multi-story treehouse that could have come from a movie set.
The sprawling grounds of this Beverly Hills estate include a magical multi-story treehouse that could have come from a movie set.

This Beverly Hills mansion’s grand gate, winding approach, and 40-foot-high entryway present an elegant introduction to a property worthy of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The family room opens to a hand-cut mosaic pool and spa surrounded by a deck with plenty of room for entertaining. The pool pavilion has an outdoor kitchen and bathrooms, and behind the pavilion is a private tennis court. Far enough away from the pool pavilion to allow adults privacy but close enough that the tree-shaded play area it occupies can be supervised, a fairytale-like, four-story, tree-shaped playhouse is accented by a slide, swings, and other play equipment. The whimsical play area is adjacent to the six-bedroom children’s wing of the mansion, which also has a capacious attic playroom.

Home for Hoops Fans
Southwest Ranches, Florida

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This six-bedroom family home in an exclusive town in southern Florida just southwest of Fort Lauderdale offers every imaginable family amenity. Outdoors, a private kitchen and pool adjoin a spacious playground and Air Jordan lighted basketball court surrounded by expansive, palm-lined lawns that spread over 2.28 acres. Inside, a private arcade room and fourteen-seat theater serve up entertainment for all ages. The grand interiors provide plenty of adult-specific luxuries as well. While the master suite has a large closet for the lady of the house, the exercise room has a steam room and sauna. A cigar bar, wine storage, and gourmet kitchen also help make for effortless entertaining.

Cube for Children
Shanghai, China

This centrally located Shanghai home has a number of kid-friendly attributes: a grassy lawn, a pool, easy indoor/outdoor access, leafy views—and even a cube-shaped backyard treehouse.
This centrally located Shanghai home has a number of kid-friendly attributes: a grassy lawn, a pool, easy indoor/outdoor access, leafy views—and even a cube-shaped backyard treehouse.

This stylishly contemporary home feels like a private oasis in the center of Shanghai. Each room has outdoor views, the open interior allows for natural light throughout, and the use of natural materials contributes to the minimalist and organic aesthetic. The ground floor has rotating glass walls that allow full access to the rear terrace, pool, and lawn. On upper floors, leafy views, terraces, and a glass viewing cube all contribute to the feeling of living among the trees. The master suite seamlessly integrates with interlocking rooftop terraces. In the rear garden, a contemporary cubic treehouse give children their own treetop retreat and play space.

*Fuente: Luxury Defined Christie’s International Real Esate

THE NEW PARADIGM in INTERNATIONAL LUXURY REAL ESTATE

Expert insight on trends shaping the luxury residential real estate market from Christie’s International Real Estate’s 2016 white paper, Luxury Defined

The global prime property market continued on a steady growth trajectory in early 2015 after several post-global-crisis years of price appreciation and booming sales.However, shifting economic dynamics and financial-market volatility created a paradigm shift in the second half of the year and into 2016 across many luxury housing markets internationally.

Skyrocketing home prices and record-breaking luxury sales volumes that captured headlines worldwide in recent years were abated somewhat in 2015 and 2016. After starting 2015 at the same breakneck speeds that characterized 2014, volatile financial markets and related geopolitical uncertainty caused international luxury real estate market growth rates to finally begin to slow.

Many of the world’s prime property markets plateaued in late 2015 as a result of macroeconomic factors that caused softening across the world’s financial markets: the slowdown in China’s economy, the drop in oil and commodity prices, and the unrest in Russia/Eastern Europe and the Gulf regions. The confidence and buying power of many high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) were impacted. Despite these factors, meaningful pockets of the world’s most affluent continue to turn to luxury real estate as a safe and tangible wealth-storage asset. The volatility of real estate is, indeed, substantially lower than that of the stock market as observed in a 14-year comparison of the S&P 500 and the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. HNWIs are likely to continue to invest in property because it can weather changing economic cycles, creating long-term value and superior risk-adjusted returns.

Luxury Housing Sales Return to Historic Norms

Global economic issues resulted in a small contraction in the number of billionaires, according to Forbes (1,810 billionaires, down from a record 1,826 in early 2015), the first drop in this ultra-affluent population set since 2009. Some of this shift in international wealth can be attributed to the impact of the strong US dollar and the concurrent drop in other more commodity-tied currencies, which had both a positive and negative impact on different markets, hampering inbound investment in some and attracting new interest in others. “The greatest impact in the luxury real estate market has been the fluctuation in global financial markets over the last year,” says Alex Head of First Team Real Estate in Orange County, California. “In our market this is having a positive effect as foreign buyers are seeking the tangible investment real estate allows, with the added benefit of the security of the U.S. dollar.”

Second-home resort markets saw on average a 10% increase in year-on year luxury home sales

Despite a slowdown in the second half of the year, the 2015 international prime property market was characterized by steady overall growth. Across our more than 100 surveyed luxury housing markets worldwide, million-dollar-plus home sales grew by eight percent over 2014, a decline on the 16 percent jump recorded in the prior 12-month period, yet still solid levels of overall growth.

Del Dios Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, California
Del Dios Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, California

Luxury property sales in the world’s top global economic hubs—Hong Kong, New York, and London—plateaued in 2015 and into 2016, despite several outlier top sales. While prices have continued to increase, demand at the top end of the market has begun to level off but without pointing toward an overall collapse or lack of confidence in the luxury market. On the contrary—as evidenced by Hong Kong’s record-breaking $194 million top sale, ultra-affluent investors continue to recognize the longterm value in the purchase of prime property in prized international cities.

Luxury property sales cool from their frenzied pace in 2014; primary markets steady<br/>Growth in the number of annual $1 million-plus home sales by market type, 2014 vs. 2015
Luxury property sales cool from their frenzied pace in 2014; primary markets steady
Growth in the number of annual $1 million-plus home sales by market type, 2014 vs. 2015

Beyond the big three, many top-ranking US housing markets experienced more normal levels of growth in luxury home sales as compared to prior years. San Francisco, which recorded explosive growth in year-on-year luxury home sales of 62 percent and 19 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, saw a 12 percent jump in 2015. California’s flourishing economy also resulted in stable gains across many of the state’s other luxury housing markets. Million-dollar-plus sales in Los Angeles grew by five percent annually, with transaction volumes soaring at mid and low luxury price points, and remaining consistent at the upper echelons (82 sales above $10 million in both 2015 and 2014). Despite a drop in Canadian buyers due to exchange rate pressures, “Coachella Valley’s high-end market inspires optimism,” says Harvey Katofsky of HK Lane Real Estate in Palm Springs, adding that his firm’s sales for 2015 were better than 2014.

Low interest rates, a weaker euro, and lower-than-peak property prices prompted many HNWIs to consider the purchase of a second home in prime European destinations. “The strong US dollar has brought Americans back into the market,” explains Michael Baynes of MaxwellStorrie-Baynes in Bordeaux. In Paris, luxury sales jumped by more than 20 percent in 2015, the first significant uptick in three years. Much of the resurgence has been fueled by American and Middle Eastern buyers, who comprise 27 percent of overseas buyers, up from 16 percent in 2012. “The sales increase was due to the return of newly confident buyers attracted by prices at 2011 levels, down 20 percent from their peak,” says Charles-Marie Jottras of Daniel Féau Conseil Immobilier, who adds that Paris is now one of the least expensive European economic hubs for luxury property.

A stately residence in the 7th arrondissement of Paris
A stately residence in the 7th arrondissement of Paris

Luxury housing markets worldwide recorded an 8% annual increase in million-dollar-plus home sales

Despite much media attention on the reduced buying power of HNWIs in oil-money-dependent markets, many astute Middle Eastern buyers continue to purchase prime property overseas, transferring a portion of their equity into illiquid assets in safer currencies and thereby leveraging against any devaluing of their own currency. Much like savvy Asian investors who were “saved” by their geographically diversified equity and property portfolios during the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, the acquisition of prime property abroad remains an important portfolio strategy for many ultra HNWIs based in turbulent home-country markets. Geographical diversification for these affluent individuals is more important than ever.

Top luxury property markets stabilize from extraordinary post-crisis growth levels<br/>Growth in the number of year-on-year $1 million-plus-home sales (by percent), 2013 - 2015
Top luxury property markets stabilize from extraordinary post-crisis growth levels
Growth in the number of year-on-year $1 million-plus-home sales (by percent), 2013 – 2015

Australia and Canada—both commodity-dependent countries that experienced rapid declines in their respective currencies over the past 12-24 months—have witnessed brisk growth in their major prime property markets. Sydney’s million-dollar-plus sales were up by 15 percent and Toronto’s by a whopping 48 percent in 2015. Growth was not consistent countrywide, however. The differences can be attributed to two key variables— affluent buyer demand and inventory levels—that strengthened sales in some cities and obstructed growth in others. In Canada for example, cities with strong international appeal, most notably Victoria, Vancouver, and Toronto, continued on an upward trajectory, whereas luxury property sales in oil-money-dependent Calgary slowed. “Strong governmental, banking and investment systems, favorable migration trends, leading educational institutions, and stable employment have all caused our market to defy the impact on other marketplaces that are experiencing declines in sales volume and average prices,” observes Chris Kapches of Chestnut Park Real Estate in Toronto.

Luxury Forest Hill Residence, Toronto, Canada
Luxury Forest Hill Residence, Toronto, Canada

Compounded by the challenges posed by global financial market turmoil, growth in several prime property markets is also being stymied by local market issues. Many prime property buyers in London postponed purchases due to concerns of a mansion tax proposed by the Labour Party in the lead up to the UK’s General Election (May 2015). Despite Labour’s defeat, the anticipated post-election rebound in sales failed to materialize. Although prices remained relatively steady, London’s prime property sales ended down four percent year-on-year. Changes to stamp duty land tax for properties above £1.5 million that took effect in late 2014 along with a further three percent stamp duty on additional properties are among the causes. “These changes have understandably impacted the luxury London market at every level as people take stock and take longer to make decisions,” says Lulu Egerton of Strutt & Parker. “However, they have not stopped buyers purchasing our very highest quality properties as London remains a fabulous city to invest in and a very attractive place to live. Prices have gradually been adjusting to absorb the extra taxation and are now at a stable level.”

Commodity dependent countries Canada and Australia have both witnessed brisk growth in their major prime property markets

Other markets that saw significant annual sales declines were also burdened by imposing factors led by government intervention in the market. Cooling measures introduced between 2011-2013 in Hong Kong to curb price speculation continue to impact prime property sales. Luxury property transactions in 2015 dropped by more than 12 percent in total during the year and have continued on their downward slide in early 2016, registering their lowest month since 1991 this January.

WHO ARE THE NEW BUYERS of LUXURY REAL ESTATE?

How “millenipreneurs” (affluent millennial entrepreneurs) and other emerging buyers are influencing the prime property market

Up-and-coming homebuyers including high-income workers from the burgeoning tech sector and “millenipreneurs” are spurring a resurgence in prime residential markets across the globe.As part of our Luxury Defined 2016 report on the international luxury residential market, we explore the property markets that are attracting emerging buyers and how young HNWIs are reshaping the luxury residential landscape.

The Rise of the Millennipreneur

The health and pricing of luxury real estate markets are not always internationally fueled; the spending habits of local entrepreneurs also have an influence. Increasingly, where affluent millennial prime property buyers are to be found, so too are what Scorpio Partnership recently dubbed “millennipreneurs” —those of the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 1995) and active in entrepreneurship. Many of the “comeback” markets that have seen an uptick in sales transactions are also seeing an increased interest from affluent millennial and entrepreneurial buyers, particularly in the lower-mid luxury tiers.

Although these “millennipreneurs” frequently purchase homes in urban destinations, some are also choosing traditional resort markets with world-class lifestyle offerings as their primary residence. Today’s digitally connected business world is enabling HNWIs to employ lifestyle pursuits while still maintaining their globally connected entrepreneurial ventures.

Destinations such as Jackson Hole are seeing an uptick from these buyers. “Historically reserved for the understated wealth of iconic families like the Rockefellers or global leaders like former World Bank Chair Jim Wolfensohn, our luxury home buyers are now expanding beyond the historic demographic with a different type of buyer,” says Julie Faupel of Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates in Wyoming’s picturesque town of Jackson Hole, which saw year-on-year luxury home sales increase by 45 percent. “Still understated, Jackson has a new appeal to 30-something angel investors and dotcom sensations, as well as entrepreneurs and business owners with young families that are telecommuting in order to raise their families in this mountain destination.”

Near Jackson, Wyoming, Little Jennie Ranch is an iconic 3,011-acre working cattle ranch that is virtually unrivaled in its splendor and expansiveness.
Near Jackson, Wyoming, Little Jennie Ranch is an iconic 3,011-acre working cattle ranch that is virtually unrivaled in its splendor and expansiveness.

Lifestyle Arbitrage

Rising prices, limited inventory, and a flurry of low-mid level luxury home sales in major urban areas have also pointed toward this new phenomenon: local buyers moving to outer boroughs if not out of the city altogether seeking a lifestyle arbitrage. In Toronto, outer suburban areas and commutable cities as far away as Collingwood are flourishing thanks to buyers armed with a windfall of disposable income from their million-dollar-plus Toronto home sales. “As it is becoming increasingly expensive for many buyers to purchase in urban markets, many families and empty nesters are moving to the Southern Georgian Bay area where they are able to purchase more affordable homes in all price categories without sacrificing quality of life,” said Diana Lea Berdini of Chestnut Park Real Estate.

This waterfront home in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, is centrally located to ski clubs, golf courses, and other amenities of the area.
This waterfront home in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, is centrally located to ski clubs, golf courses, and other amenities of the area.

The phenomenon is not simply limited to urban pockets and smaller cities on the global hub fringe. High-end property markets in coastal communities are also witnessing this phenomenon. New Zealand’s North Island northeastern coastline has seen an influx of city dwellers who are purchasing luxury coastal properties after selling a high-value Auckland home. Million-dollar-plus home sales in the area have almost tripled over the past three years. Interestingly, this lifestyle arbitrage is at times being fueled by HNWIs who are flocking to areas once seen solely as second-home resort markets. Advances in technology, communication, business attitudes, and transportation are enabling HNWIs to live and work where their passions are best aligned.

In New York, the arbitrage is evident in much closer confines. As trendier Manhattanites migrated to upand-coming areas of Brooklyn, the prices of closer-in areas like Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and more recently Williamsburg, have ascended to the point that Manhattan is at times being viewed as a lower-priced luxury home alternative. Recent commentary has noted the move from Williamsburg to the Upper East Side, for example, as buyers seek out more affordable per-square- foot pricing and the convenience of Manhattan living.

This Upper East Side Mansion, comprising over 12,000 square feet, was a vision of Mott B. Schmidt, the great American architect whose commissions epitomized the best of Georgian style.
This Upper East Side Mansion, comprising over 12,000 square feet, was a vision of Mott B. Schmidt, the great American architect whose commissions epitomized the best of Georgian style.

*Fuente: LuxuryDefined Christie’s International Real Estate

TOUR JOHNNY DEPP’S SOUTH of FRANCE SANCTUARY

The private compound combines 18th-century architecture with a supremely private location just outside Saint-Tropez

Set amid the gently sloping grounds of the glorious French countryside, the A-list actor’s compound is ideally located just 17 miles north of the global resort destination of Saint-Tropez in Le Plan-de-la-Tour. His 37-acre estate centers upon an authentic 19th-century Provençal village, and Depp himself oversaw the careful restoration of the village’s native-stone structures, the thoughtful conversion of the dwellings for luxurious modern living, and the décor of each interior space.

Since acquiring the glorious but forgotten property more than a decade ago, Depp has invested over €10 million creating an artist’s haven and family-friendly retreat defined by a deep respect for the original architecture and history. His meticulous efforts and gift for marrying the traditional and modern are immediately apparent. From the first step into the village square, guests are enchanted by this storybook sanctuary and delighted by the discoveries greeting them at every turn.

Johnny Depp formed his 37-acre estate in Le Plan-de-la-Tour from an authentic Provençal village dating back to the late 18th century. Depp personally supervised the complete restoration of each building and upgraded each structure for luxurious 21st-century living.
Johnny Depp formed his 37-acre estate in Le Plan-de-la-Tour from an authentic Provençal village dating back to the late 18th century. Depp personally supervised the complete restoration of each building and upgraded each structure for luxurious 21st-century living.

The sweeping grounds invite leisurely strolls amid olive groves, vineyards, and 300-year-old oak trees before returning to the heart of the estate: the village square. Here, guests dine at Chez Marceline, a wonderfully inviting private dining room outfitted like a classic French restaurant. Its professional-grade kitchen assures all will enjoy the finest in authentic French cuisine. Nearby, Depp transformed the abandoned village church into the main guest house; inside, what was once a confessional now serves as a wardrobe.

 

With picturesque vistas in every direction, the property’s unpretentious yet luxurious aesthetic is emphasized in its stone structures, exposed wood beams, natural woods, and numerous woodburning fireplaces. Each building seamlessly integrates with the quaint village aesthetic and the breathtaking natural landscape. The estate’s inviting, Bohemian-style interiors extend over more than 12,900 square feet encompassing a 4,300-square-foot main house and six guesthouses for a total of 15 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms.

Adults and children alike are sure to be charmed by the covered wagon equipped with bathroom and kitchen; the skate park with half pipe; the “Pirates of the Caribbean” inspired wine cave suitably outfitted with skulls and brightly colored flags; and the state-of-the-art gym. Two swimming pools invite a refreshing dip at any time of day, and the larger of the two is surrounded by sand creating the feel of a private waterside beach.

 

Depp himself is a talented painter as well as a passionate art collector, so the artist’s studio on his estate is among his favorite rooms. For more than 25 years, Depp has been collecting the works of the Neo-Expressionist American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Recently, Depp sold nine of his Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings at the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary auctions on June 28 and 29 in London. In fact, these seminal works led the auctions’ success, attesting to Depp’s profound understanding and engagement with modern art. This same impeccable taste powered the creation of Depp’s one-of-a-kind estate in beautiful Le Plan-de-la-Tour.

A legacy property unlike anything else available today, the compound stands among the world’s most breathtaking estates. The prestigious home is listed by Rick Hilton, Chairman of Hilton & Hyland, and Michaël Zingraf, Founder & Chairman of Michaël Zingraf Real Estate.

*Fuente: Luxury Defined, Christie´s International Real Estate

HOW to MAXIMIZE SUMPTUOUS OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES

From poolside cabanas to open-air living rooms, elegantly appointed outdoor spaces are a key selling point in today’s luxury market.

Long gone are the days when a simple pool and patio set would do to maximize the value of your luxury home. Outdoor living as defined by today’s luxury market doesn’t entail a few extras on a long list of amenities as much as it does a true extension of a home’s interior living spaces, and a seamless blend of interior with exterior. The furniture, textiles, and overall design of outdoor living rooms, terraces, and poolside patios are carefully considered as yet another reflection of a home’s design aesthetic. Outdoor living spaces are well on their way to becoming a requisite rather than simply a value-add; responding to buyer demand, the global luxury market continues to raise the bar for outdoor luxury ever higher. This week in “Luxury Defined,” global experts in the Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate network share six trends for bringing the indoors out.

1. Four-Season Outdoor Living Room
Fully realized alfresco living rooms are distinguished by one signature feature: fire. Whether a dramatic stone hearth and fireplace, a firepit, or a chiminea, a fire element turns an outdoor space into an outdoor room that can be used year-round in warm-weather states throughout the U.S., including Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. “Florida’s weather is such that you can do virtually all of your living and entertaining alfresco, especially during the winter months, when the weather is characteristically warm and dry during the day and deliciously cool and comfortable at night,” says Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Company. Fire elements generate warmth and a welcoming ambiance; additionally, two-sided fireplaces can create a natural separation between outdoor spaces, such as a living room and dining area.

Fire elements provide warmth and enhance the ambiance of the outdoor living room of this luxury home in Nokomis, Florida.
Fire elements provide warmth and enhance the ambiance of the outdoor living room of this luxury home in Nokomis, Florida.

2. Poolside Cabanas 2.0
A perennially popular poolside accompaniment, the cabana today is designed to serve triple and even quadruple duty at summer homes in New England, including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. In addition to being a respite from the sun’s rays, cabanas may be furnished with a wet bar and stools, a kitchenette, and even a full-size dining table. “Our clients enjoy being able to spend the day outside with little need for going indoors,” says Liza McKenney from Great Point Properties. “Being able to fix drinks and food, dine outside, and get some shade is a plus for many. Stepping out your back door into an outdoor living area makes you feel like you have your own private oasis.”

This deluxe poolside cabana creates the sense of a true private oasis on the grounds of a summer retreat in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
This deluxe poolside cabana creates the sense of a true private oasis on the grounds of a summer retreat in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

3. Designer Flourishes
“Carefully selected furniture adds to the sense of stylish outdoor living,” says Maria Gryllaki of Ploumis Sotiropoulos. Gryllaki has worked with numerous properties in Greece where the designer treatment has been given to the outdoor patios and terraces of centuries-old villas: importing pieces from shops as far-ranging as London and Hong Kong adds just the right touch of contemporary sophistication. Comfortable, elegant seating and pillows done in luxurious fabrics further blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

The patios and terraces at this centuries-old villa in Hydra, Greece, have been designed with great care so as to blend the old with the new.
The patios and terraces at this centuries-old villa in Hydra, Greece, have been designed with great care so as to blend the old with the new.

4. Blended Indoor-Outdoor Living
Oceanfront estates from California to the Caribbean are being designed with an open-air concept that takes full advantage of the desirable weather and gentle ocean breezes. The concept is essentially built into a home’s design, notes Peyton Cabano from Willis Allen Real Estate. Architects are bringing the outside in by creating permanent, covered living spaces with all the same amenities as an indoor family room, living room, or kitchen— only one or more walls are absent.

Expansive open spaces, vaulted ceilings, and wall-to-wall disappearing glass doors afford unparalleled ocean views.
Expansive open spaces, vaulted ceilings, and wall-to-wall disappearing glass doors afford unparalleled ocean views.

The resulting designs capitalize on sweeping ocean views and make for an impressive space for living and entertaining. “When it comes to entertaining guests, there is no nicer setting than by the sea,” says Dominique Silvera, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at One Caribbean Estates. “Entertaining in a beachfront property creates an unmatchable ambience.”

Arguably the most luxurious property ever built on Barbados, One Sandy Lane features residences designed with indoor-outdoor living in mind.
Arguably the most luxurious property ever built on Barbados, One Sandy Lane features residences designed with indoor-outdoor living in mind.

5. Dining Alfresco
Dining outdoors against the backdrop of a breathtaking natural vista is a cherished tradition amid the desert landscape of the American Southwest and the majestic mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. In these places of rugged, natural beauty, understated elegance is best, so as not to take away from the grandeur of the surroundings. That being said, outdoor dining sets have come a long way. Today they are made in a variety of materials that are both luxurious and able to stand the test of time and the elements; teak and cypress are popular choices. Tabletop flourishes including candles, floral arrangements, and elegant tableware and stemware set the stage for an unforgettable evening under the stars.

Spectacular views from the patio of this Jackson Hole, Wyoming, retreat are the ultimate backdrop for an evening under the stars.
Spectacular views from the patio of this Jackson Hole, Wyoming, retreat are the ultimate backdrop for an evening under the stars.

6. Next-Gen Pool Design
Ocean Home magazine reports that the latest iteration of pool design trending in the northeastern states—including the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—is inspired by nature. Characterized by forest-like landscaping, rock work, and water elements that one might happen upon during a stroll through the woods—waterfalls, lily pad–topped ponds—these designs are as much about creating an environment as they are about the actual pool. Taking a page from nature’s playbook doesn’t mean scaling back on luxurious finishes, however. These homes may well have an outdoor kitchen or firepit, or perhaps both.

Featuring a cascading waterfall, natural rock work, and landscaping evocative of a forest, this stunning pool at an estate in Holmdel, New Jersey, characterizes the natural-pool trend.
Featuring a cascading waterfall, natural rock work, and landscaping evocative of a forest, this stunning pool at an estate in Holmdel, New Jersey, characterizes the natural-pool trend.

*Fuente: Luxury Defined, Christies International Real Estate

 

THE PRICE of LUXURY: A GLOBAL COMPARISON of SQUARE FOOT PRICES

On a per-square-foot basis, the glamorous Monaco ranks as the most expensive market for luxury housing worldwide, followed by Hong Kong and London

The average starting price for a luxury property worldwide is $2,200,000. But how much does a luxury property cost in a markets like Singapore, London, or Toronto? Is the typical price per square foot US$300 or US$3,000? Local context as well as supply and demand all figure into the prices found within different real estate markets, each of which has a unique set of characteristics. In its comprehensive report Luxury Defined 2016, Christie’s International Real Estate experts consider the factors that shape global cities’ real estate profiles and assess how these cities stack up against one another in terms of relative cost.

Many premier global centers—as well as prized second-home resort destinations—continue to command exceptional prices for prime property. A snapshot of 36 luxury primary and resort housing markets (see chart below) reveals that on a price-per-square-foot basis, global economic hubs Hong Kong, London, and New York are the most expensive markets for luxury real estate worldwide by a significant margin. Million-dollar-plus homes in the majority of other luxury housing markets span from just under US$1,100 per square foot to US$200. The exception to this rule is the tiny city-state Monaco, which towers ahead of all other markets and averages more than US$4,500 per square foot for luxury homes.

The following is a snapshot of relative values of luxury homes around the world.

Average Luxury Home Prices (Per Square Foot)
$1 million-plus-home sales, 2015

Monaco leads the pack of the highest priced (per square foot) luxury home prices in 2015, followed by Hong Kong and London.
Monaco leads the pack of the highest priced (per square foot) luxury home prices in 2015, followed by Hong Kong and London.

Monaco
US$4,500: Average price per square foot for luxury property

Monaco's ideal climate and coastal perch at the south-eastern edge of France has made it a perennial favorite among sun-seekers and sailing enthusiasts.
Monaco’s ideal climate and coastal perch at the south-eastern edge of France has made it a perennial favorite among sun-seekers and sailing enthusiasts.

Home to the world-famous Grand-Prix motor race, a glittering yacht-lined harbor, and glamorous casinos, the world’s second smallest nation is also home to the world’s most prized real estate on a price per square foot basis. Luxury properties sell for US$4,500 per square foot on average—more than double the next highest city or country around the world. This elegant waterfront estate overlooking Port Hercule exemplifies the allure of Monaco’s idyllic perch on the French Riviera. This apartment truly shines at dusk, when the sun sets over the nearby cliffs, affording residents prime views of the Mediterranean from both the floor-to-ceiling windows and the comfortable balcony.

London
US$1,930: Average price per square foot for luxury property

A four-bedroom row house in Notting Hill blends historic charm with state-of-the-art amenities in a classic family residence.
A four-bedroom row house in Notting Hill blends historic charm with state-of-the-art amenities in a classic family residence.

A cosmopolitan city since its days as the ancient Roman outpost of Londinium, London tops the 2016 luxury index with an average market sale price of US$2,356,000 and a typical luxury property starting at US$7,000,000. London is extremely desirable to international buyers, and it currently has more properties over US$1 million offered from sale than any other city. In 2015, London had the second-most expensive residential property in the world sell for US$140,000,000 or £92,000,000. This lovely four-bedroom row house in desirable Notting Hill (US$7,200,000 or £4,950,000) shows how a historic property that’s been skillfully and stylishly updated can suit a growing family and offer room for entertaining as well. A landscaped garden and cleverly designed wine room are among its many charms.

Hong Kong
US$3,000: Average price per square foot for luxury property

The vibrant waterfront city of Hong Kong remains one of the world’s most luxurious, with record-setting prices and high demand.
The vibrant waterfront city of Hong Kong remains one of the world’s most luxurious, with record-setting prices and high demand.

In 2015, the fashionable harbor city of Hong Kong edged out London for the most expensive residential sale in the world with single family home selling for $194,000,000 or HK $1,500,000,000. Typical luxury residences here start at US$5,000,000, and sell on average for US$3,000 per square foot. Hong Kong is also the site of the highest price paid per square foot on a single residential sale (US$19,563).

New York
US$1,860: Average price per square foot for luxury property

With its floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views, this luxury condo on West 23rd Street is typical of Chelsea, one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods.
With its floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views, this luxury condo on West 23rd Street is typical of Chelsea, one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods.

Known across the United States as the eternal home of the next “it” neighborhood and some of the costliest real estate in the country, New York ranks as the fourth most expensive city for luxury homes worldwide on a per square foot basis. Perhaps no neighborhood in Manhattan better illustrates the constant evolution of the city’s luxury market than Chelsea, where the art world elite dominate the streets along 9th and 10th Avenue and the High Line brings fresh blooms and serene green space to a former industrial rail line. New luxury condos are constantly taking shape here. In a West 23rd Street building designed by Neil Denari with interiors by Thomas Juul-Hansen, this exquisite 12th-floor residence has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide spectacular skyline (and High Line) views.

Paris
US$960: Average price per square foot for luxury property

Paris offers unparalleled access to art and culture, and its luxury properties are refined and stylish, as evidenced by this Beaux Arts apartment near the Champs-Élysées.
Paris offers unparalleled access to art and culture, and its luxury properties are refined and stylish, as evidenced by this Beaux Arts apartment near the Champs-Élysées.

The City of Light remains an international symbol of luxury and style. With its unparalleled concentration of art, culture, architecture, food, and fashion, Paris belongs in any list of top luxury locations worldwide. High-end homes in Paris range from new-build condos to grand Beaux Arts-style apartments that line the city’s leafy boulevards. Million-dollar-plus homes sell on average for just under US$1,000 per square foot. The city is now one of the least expensive European economic hubs for luxury property and prices are 20 percent below their 2011 peak. This exceptionally well-maintained two-bedroom apartment near the Seine and the Champs-Élysées is rich in period detail with high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, ornate plasterwork, and herringbone floors. At approximately US$5 million, it represents a typical offering with all the qualities that make Parisian luxury living unique.

Miami
US$750: Average price per square foot for luxury property

Miami’s spectacular waterfront is a prime setting for penthouse residences with commanding views.
Miami’s spectacular waterfront is a prime setting for penthouse residences with commanding views.

Neon-lit Miami is being stylishly transformed by the construction of sophisticated luxury condos along its iconic waterfront that are setting a new bar for interior square footage, spectacular views, and high prices. In 2015, the city broke a regional record with a US$55,000,000 sale of a new-build penthouse. Typical luxury listings in this culturally vibrant tropical mecca hover around US$1,000,000.

Sydney
US$680: Average price per square foot for luxury property

Sydney is home to the unique and historic Elaine estate, which has an exceptional waterfront perch in Point Piper.
Sydney is home to the unique and historic Elaine estate, which has an exceptional waterfront perch in Point Piper.

Australia’s most populous city set regional records in 2015 with a US$53,500,000 sale of a single residence, brokered by exclusive Affiliate Ken Jacobs. Luxury homes in the harbourside city sell on average for US$680 per square foot. With its cosmopolitan culture and spectacular sunny weather, Sydney is becoming an established global hotspot for prime property. It currently claims one of the most exceptional listings in the Pacific, the Elaineestate, a historic property located on the harbor. The estate is composed of multiple waterfront parcels as well as a magnificent Victorian that was once the residence of a prominent Australian media family.

Toronto
US$680: Average price per square foot for luxury property

This spacious five-bedroom estate in Kleinburg near Toronto was designed to resemble a French château.
This spacious five-bedroom estate in Kleinburg near Toronto was designed to resemble a French château.

Canada’s most populous city, Toronto, where luxury properties sell for an average of just under US$700 per square foot, ranked as the second “hottest” city for luxury property in this year’s Luxury Defined report.  Like Sydney, Toronto is known for its Victorian architecture mixed with innovative new designs as well as its spectacular waterfront position. This five-bedroom estate in nearby Kleinburg is listed at US$7,543,712. It sits on 1.28 acres of pristine land adjacent to a ravine and boasts top-of-the-line finishes throughout. Its many amenities include a 2,500-bottle wine cellar as well as a unique swimming pool and impressive gardens.

San Antonio
US$284: Average price per square foot for luxury property

This spacious two-story home in San Antonio combines sumptuous material finishes inside with a classic and beautifully-landscaped exterior.
This spacious two-story home in San Antonio combines sumptuous material finishes inside with a classic and beautifully-landscaped exterior.

On a comparison of luxury real estate on a price per square foot basis, one of the cities that offers the best value for money is San Antonio in south-central Texas. Million-dollar-plus homes sell on average for less than US$300 per square foot in this historic city, the seventh largest in the United States. This grand and impeccably crafted two-story home is a perfect example of San Antonio’s finest estates. Its expansive, 5,421-square-foot interior boasts scores of luxurious finishes, including warm wood paneling, porcelain and marble, hardwood floors, and an ornate wrought-iron stair rail.

*Fuente: Luxurydefined

FIVE SHINING OLYMPIC MOMENTS

As the Summer Games commence in Rio this month, here is a look at past events still cemented in sports history

Every Olympics has its stars and memorable takeaways and the Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be no exception. The world will watch Michael Phelps attempt to swim to further glory, rightly claiming the title of Best Swimmer Ever. The Fastest Human Ever, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, will be the joining Phelps at theses Games. After an injury scare earlier this summer, Bolt announced that he would be competing, and sports enthusiasts around the globe sighed in relief.

That said, there are Olympic moments that transcend time and continue to resonate. Here are our top five:

1) Rome, 1960

A brash, young boxer by the name of Cassius Clay from Louisville, Kentucky, all of 18 years old, quite literally pounded the international competition to claim the gold in the light-heavyweight division. Thirty-six years later, in Atlanta, Mohammad Ali — then a 10-time heavyweight champion as well as an eloquent spokesman for civil and religious rights, now battling Parkinson’s Disease — took to the Olympic stage one more time to face perhaps his most daunting challenge. The applause thundered and eyes welled worldwide as, despite all odds, Mohammad Ali’s failing body and shaking hands lit the Olympic Torch.

In Rome, Ali also surpassed all athletes in the time-honored tradition of trading national pins. He loved nothing more than walking through the Olympic Village to meet people from around the world, proving that he was an ambassador before he knew he was one. Ali went home after the 1960 Games to encounter Jim Crow laws in his home state. Even after bringing honor to the U.S. with this Olympic gold, he couldn’t dine in the same restaurants with whites. That experience forged his tireless advocacy for his race, and next, his newly discovered Muslim religion, and also his vehement objection to the war in Vietnam. In the end, his support for all races and cultures was universal. He was a humanitarian.

We cannot close this sport chapter without acknowledging Ali’s oratory talents. His comments were genius, for example: “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”

Mohammad Ali passed away in June.

Mohammad Ali the stole the limelight in 1960 and continued to dominate it over the next six decades.
Mohammad Ali the stole the limelight in 1960 and continued to dominate it over the next six decades.

2) Montreal, 1976

Way back in 1976, one was hard-pressed not to see Bruce Jenner’s face peering off a magazine cover, not to mention a Wheatie’s cereal box, after his record-setting win in the Olympic decathlon. The victory came at the height of the Cold War. Russian Nikolay Avilov was the 1972 gold medalist, an event long dominated by the U.S. and such iconic athletes as Rafer Johnson, Bob Mathias and Jim Thorpe. Jenner won back the title for the U.S. and in doing so, ascended into the firmament of Olympic greatness.

The Olympic Stadium in Montreal
The Olympic Stadium in Montreal
Jenner didn’t just win the decathlon, he broke the previous Olympic mark. No, he didn’t just break the previous mark, he pretty much annihilated it, by 164 points. Jenner then jogged gloriously around Stade Olympique as his competitors, prone in utter exhaustion, littered the track after the event’s 10th competition, the 1,500-meter race. The winner of the Olympic decathlon is typically bestowed the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete.” On that day, Jenner claimed it as his own.

The Decathlon will once again determine the Greatest Athlete of this Olympics.
The Decathlon will once again determine the Greatest Athlete of this Olympics.

Forty years later, after a turn in reality TV, Jenner publically transformed into Caitlyn Jenner, becoming the most famous transgender woman in the world and another champion — one for the rights of the LGBT community.

3) Los Angeles, 1984

These games were a supernova of Olympic star accomplishments – Mary Lou Retton’s All-Around Gymnastic Gold among the most notable – but no achievement shines brighter than Joan Benoit’s win in the first ever women’s Olympic marathon.

Women were finally given the opportunity to compete in the grueling 26.2-mile race, having been allowed to compete at the iconic New York Marathon since 1970. It was due time. Joan Benoit, small in stature but with the heart of a warrior, lined up with the rest of the field in gray uniform that looked a little too big and donning a quirky white cap. She had spent the time leading up to the trials recovering from knee surgery and relentlessly pedaling a stationary bike to keep in shape. It was almost unthinkable that she was in the field at all.

Benoit had begun to distance herself from the field by the first water station. The distance opened and soon television cameras couldn’t capture the leader and the field in the same frame. And still the distance opened, with Benoit, whose own mother described her as a little gray mouse, leaving the long-legged thoroughbreds in her wake. She won by more than four minutes. Four minutes? Enough time to enjoy a coffee and scan the newspaper. Second place went to Sweden’s Grete Waitz, widely considered among the best distance runners of her generation. Benoit’s field of competitors was world-class and she bested them all with grit and perseverance, thereby vaulting women’s running into the mainstream.

Track and Field, which includes the Marathon, will be a headliner event in Rio.
Track and Field, which includes the Marathon, will be a headliner event in Rio.

4) Barcelona, 1992

The U.S. Dream Team burst onto the scene in Spain, mounting a full court press of awe and athletic star power that continues to amaze. This was the first team of NBA players to compete in an Olympics following a rule change previously banning professionals on the Olympic basketball court. The motivation for the rule change was to up the level of Olympic play, and boy, these gods of hoops certainly dazzled.

The Dream Team still stands as the greatest sport team ever assembled in any sport. Superstars Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, who had just tested positive for HIV, formed the nucleus showcasing their competitiveness and wizardry at every turn. Add to that the thunder dunks of Charles Barkley and Karl Malone and the precision passing of John Stockton and opponents didn’t have a prayer – and few seemed to care.

The Barcelona Olympic Stadium
The Barcelona Olympic Stadium

Charles Barkley was a mainstay at the Olympic Village, much like Ali some 30 years prior. Like a gigantic Pied Piper, throngs of camera-toting fans followed him about and he achieved U.S. ambassador status by happily posing or providing autographs. There is a famous story, posted on the NBA website, of an opposing player in an early round guarding Magic and waving desperately at his teammates on the bench to get an action shot of the two of them. The Dream Team scored an average of 44 points over their opponents; rather than hanging their heads in defeat, the losing team only wanted autographs from the victors. At the medal ceremony, these seasoned pros with multiple NBA championship rings between them, jumped and laughed like giddy school kids, underscoring the power of the Olympic spirit and just how perfectly the game of basketball can be played when the world’s finest are assembled on one team.

The 1992 Dream Team brought basketball into international prominence.
The 1992 Dream Team brought basketball into international prominence.

5) London, 2012

It is hard to compete with an Olympiad that opened with the Queen Mother parachuting out of a chopper with Daniel Craig as the James Bond theme played, saw the Spice Girls reunited and then closed with Sir Paul McCartney singing “Hey, Jude.”

Athletes still commanded the spotlight. For the first time ever, at the London Games, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei entered female athletes. Women’s boxing was included for the first time, distinguishing these Games as the first where females competed in all events. These were also the first Olympics where every participating country included female athletes. Quite a statement.

In London, women’s boxing made its debut as an Olympic event.
In London, women’s boxing made its debut as an Olympic event.

In London, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, earning his 22nd medal. The fastest human ever, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, gifted with a surname that captures his speed, amazed once again by claiming the gold at the 100, 200 and 4×100 meter relay. He became the first man in modern Olympics to win six gold medals in sprinting and win the 10 and 200-meter titles at consecutive Games.  Both Phelps and Bolt are scheduled to compete in Rio so stay tuned.

This property in Hawaii has a built-in Michael Phelps swim spa. Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas by Master Spas were developed with input from 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman for all types of training, swimming, fitness programs and aquatic therapy. It features a unique propeller design that provides a wide, deep and smooth current — giving you a swimming experience that is far superior to any other swim spa. The Michael Phelps Swim Spa is energy efficient and has digital controls allowing you to set the water temperature where it’s most comfortable.
This property in Hawaii has a built-in Michael Phelps swim spa. Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas by Master Spas were developed with input from 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman for all types of training, swimming, fitness programs and aquatic therapy. It features a unique propeller design that provides a wide, deep and smooth current — giving you a swimming experience that is far superior to any other swim spa. The Michael Phelps Swim Spa is energy efficient and has digital controls allowing you to set the water temperature where it’s most comfortable.
*Fuente: Luxury Defined