Vancouver’s Olympic boom?
The arrival of the 2010 Winter Olympics created a huge boon for the luxury real estate market. Within that two-week period, $46.76 million in luxury properties were sold — $31.8 million to Olympic visitors.
“They came, they saw and they bought. It’s a great shot in the arm to how attractive this city is,” says Wong, principal of Magnum Projects.
Wong’s gold-medal victory was the sale of the $22.3 million-dollar penthouse at Three Harbour Green (shown), which he calls “the most luxurious condo address in Canada.”
“It’s a waterfront location. It only has 81 residences; each one is very generously sized. We call them ‘villas in the sky.’ A lot of people use these as entertainment-style living.”
Wong says the Olympics craze was actually “the icing on the cake.” He says high-end buyers came back toward the end of 2009. He points out immigration — from both within Canada and globally — and affordable housing will help the market continue to strengthen throughout 2010.
However, further from downtown Vancouver, it doesn’t appear that the Olympics had much of an effect at all. In fact, Mercia McKitrick of RE/MAX Treeland Realty says that if anything, the attention had somewhat of a negative effect on the suburbs.
“Everything slowed down here. Everyone was too caught up in [the Olympics]. But we’re expecting a moderate rise in price and activity in the next year,” she says.
McKitrick, who specializes in country homes and equestrian properties ranging from $1 million to $4 million, hasn’t seen the listings that she’s seen in the past, but predicts that movement will pick up again once people begin to see what areas outside of the city can offer.
“What we see is people waiting. We aren’t getting a lot of listings on the market and its been gradually coming back. As an overall, we usually benefit from the activity in Vancouver; the market has been very brisk. We will get more first-time buyers and people retiring out here because it’s more affordable,” she says.
— Jessica Decina
Mozambique & South Africa
Imagine a resort destination that’s perfect for both the well-heeled adventurer and the laid-back vacationer, where one can enjoy luxury spa services one day and take in the sights of roaming wildlife the next. It’s not impossible; in fact, it’s a typical day at two resorts in southeastern Africa — the Molori Safari Lodge in South Africa and Deacra Villas in Mozambique.
Just ask Barry Deacon, who manages Deacra Villas, a vacation resort in the village of Vilankulo in Mozambique, Africa. These world-class homes have become a fast-growing tourist destination, according to Deacon. Guests are immersed in the culture of the village while enjoying high-end amenities such as high-quality soft furnishings and a fully equipped kitchen. “For a getaway destination, you can’t get better,” he says.
The villas, ranging from $365,000 to $780,000 USD, offer a magnificent view of the Bazaruto Archipelago as well as the Indian Ocean, and the town itself bustles with local culture and character, as well as activities such as scuba diving, fishing and kite surfing. “The most interested clientele are those that can get away from the colder climates and enjoy some sea and sand for a while. Retirees spend up to 4 months here,” Deacon says.
There are opportunities for the thrill-seeker as well in South Africa, at the Molori Safari Lodge (shown), one of the region’s most luxurious game lodges. General manager Riana Lederle says the lodge offers “opportunities to see all the animals that Africa is renowned for,” including cheetahs and brown hyenas. The lodge is, after all, situated in the middle of the Madikwe Game Reserve. Prices start at approximately $2,800 (20,000 ZAR) to $6,900 (50,000 ZAR) per suite per night.
— Jessica Decina
Works of Art in Miami
A museum-quality collection of art within EPIC Residences & Hotel (shown), in downtown Miami, recently gained six new pieces by Eduardo Hoffman. The color-infused modern creations were chosen for their polished style and subject matter.
Hoffmann’s stunning works add to the impressive, permanent art collection that includes pieces by renowned local and international artists throughout one of EPIC’s Roof Upper Penthouses.
Curated by the Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts Gallery, EPIC’s art collection reflects the property’s unique surroundings with graceful simplicity, complementing the urban chic design.
The collection of nearly 100 pieces values $2 million, creating a masterpiece in luxury living for residents.
Traveling south from EPIC rests an art of its own, a seven-story residential condominium, located in Coconut Grove, set for completion in April 2010.
Residences at Vizcaya are set on two acres. Designed by architect Behar Font, the development includes 18 units with three to six bedrooms.
Surrounded by a seven-slip marina, lap pool, a private club and combined with innovative floor plans, Vizcaya offers a dynamic lifestyle for buyers. Prices range from $1.3 million to $6 million.
With its resort-style setting, residents can enjoy privacy and luxury, venturing to restaurants, galleries and world-class shopping.
— Kimberly Turner