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Returning to his former home of Hawaii as President-elect, Barack Obama and his family are enjoying a 13-day vacation.
Obama is secluded at a compound of oceanfront estates, guarded by seven-foot walls made of stone and lava rock and situated along a quiet sliver of snow-white-sandy beach.
The Kailua Estate seems is ideal for a Presidential retreat, sitting neatly on a peninsula, with only a single narrow road leading to it, thus offering plenty of privacy.
Behind the walls, the Obamas can enjoy picturesque beach and ocean views from the master bedroom, heavy granite in the kitchen and detailed woodwork throughout. There are Tiki torches dotting the manicured gardens, and the interior features stone imported from Peru, Jerusalem and Italy.
The entire Kailua neighborhood once was the private estate of Samuel Castle, a sugar magnate whose Castle & Cooke company was one of the Big Five firms that dominated Hawaiian politics for decades. The Obamas’ current retreat is situated close to land that was once Castle’s horse pasture and skeet ranch.
A $80 million AUD luxury development in Point Piper, Sydney, has been handed over to the banks after two of the companies for which property tycoon Michael Bezzina was associated, Caprice Pty Ltd and Pyoanee Pty Ltd, were place in receivership.
Located in Point Piper, Mr Bezzine was expecting to achieve $14 million AUD for the penthouse-style apartments, however, three of the apartments have allegedly exchanged for $10 million AUD each.
The development comprises waterfront apartments, each occupying an entire floor with balconies looking out to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. They have four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a guestroom, as well as a jetty.
In September, one of Michael Bezzina’s company’s that developed the $100 million AUD Jade complex in Surfers Paradise, was put into liquidation. The company reportedly paid $17 million for the site six years ago, of which six out of the nine apartments have sold, one of which sold for almost $20 million, while the penthouse at the complex remains on the market for $22 million.
It is worth noting that the quality of Bezzina’s developments is outstanding, and his financial troubles should not be allowed to cloud the stunning properties that he has been involved in creating.
FYI: Read related articles on Sydney Property; or Luxury Homes; or Sydney Harbour
Setting a benchmark in state of the art living ‘Samara’ is without doubt one of the finest acreage properties in Queensland.
Strategically positioned amidst a previous wildlife sanctuary, ‘Samara’ is constructed seamlessly around two lakes and canter levered amidst a stunning rainforest back drop. This property is the epitome of designer living, offering only the finest in schedule of finish.
A fingerprint controls the gated entrance, and access to the estate. The circular driveway leads to a bold, resort style, port-cochere and a stunning entry with cascading ponds. Designed to embrace the Queensland lifestyle, this signature property highlights what true contemporary living is meant to be. From the commercial glass pane entrance, the property is washed with natural stone tiles, and natural lighting from the soaring ceilings and bi-fold doors.
The heart of the home is styled for entertaining with an open fire and a 50″ plasma screen, complete with 5.1 surround sound furbished by undetectable speakers. The mood of ‘Samara’ is defined by its unique use of lighting, all centrally controlled by the automation system. As you move through the house of an evening, 22 individual sensors monitor and predict movements and prepare the spaces around you, with soft lighting.
More information: Visit our website for more images and details.
It’s big it’s hard…and this is serious work! “The Lancaster”, a luxury residential project besides Hyde Park in London is being gutted by the developer – all of the interior of a 125-meter long Grade II listed building – whilst seeking to preserve the building’s ornate façade.
Dating back to the mid-19th Century, the façade is now propped up by 500 tons of steel, hiding the masses of rubble now left behind.
Façade retention is unsurprisingly a somewhat delicate engineering operation. The external walls needed to be carefully secured prior to the interior demolition and sensors are continually monitoring the structures stability.
It’s the sheer scale of the project that makes this so daunting. Indeed, to allow for underground parking, crews dug beneath the existing structure to excavate 700 pillars to support a new concrete floor.
The Lancasters, scheduled for completion in 2010, will include 77 apartments, all of which will also offer views of Hyde Park, thanks to the 315 windows preserved from the original building. In addition to the apartments, there will also be two 10,000-square foot homes with private pools and wine cellars.
The English born star, winner of two Academy awards and known for her style, extravagance and husbands, is the owner and resident of these stunning American mansions:
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA
The 7,172 sq ft home has six bedrooms and bathrooms, multi-car garaging, stunning gardens and swimming pool.
Miami Beach, FLORIDA
Situated right on the waterfront on the suitably named Star Island Drive, the residence, complete with lush gardens, tennis court, pool and private jetty, is 9,364 sq ft and has seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Fit for a Queen of the Silver Screen.
(images courtesy of Microsoft Earth)
The world’s most expensive location for prime real estate behind Monaco, Central London has seen luxury home values fall for an eighth month. Such locales include Mayfair, St John’s Wood, Regent’s Park, Kensington, Notting Hill, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Belgravia and the South Bank neighborhoods of London.
As recently reported by Bloomberg, in November the approximate average value of a house or apartment in the city’s nine most expensive neighborhoods fell 3.6 percent from October, according to an index compiled by Knight Frank. This represents the second largest drop since the index started in 1976. Furthermore, the figures show that property values declined 14 percent since the previous year.
Why is this? Quite simply, vendors are not holding out for emotional prices and are accepting that price reductions have to occur for a sale to be achieved.
Prime Central London real estate has taken longer to register declines seen elsewhere in London because of a standoff between sellers and buyers over price. That ended in September, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. caused demand to collapse from those employed in financial services, traditionally the mainstay of demand for expensive homes.
Unsurprisingly, the worst banking crisis seen since the First World War has translated into job cuts and reduced bonuses, and in London it’s likely to get worse before it gets better, with as many as 62,000 finance-related jobs forecast to be lost in London by the end of next year.
Interestingly, the properties least affected by the fall in values are those worth more than five million pounds. With the pound sliding it becomes more attractive to wealthy overseas buyers (yes, they still exist) and given the uniqueness of many of the properties in this category, and how infrequently they come onto the market, they still are highly sought after.
Appreciating that for a buyer with US Dollars, a 15 percent property valuation drop equates to a 35 percent slide when exchange rates are taken into consideration, property in excess of five million pounds is great buying.
Prices for real estate on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island have fallen significantly over the few quarters, with some dropping by as much as 40 percent. For instance, a four bedroom villa on the Palm is now on the market for AED10 million Dirhams, or approximately $2.6 million USD. This is down from AED15 million Dirhams or approximately $4 million USD in September.
The Palm Jumeirah is the largest man-made island in the world and is the first of three such projects being undertaken in the waters off Dubai. The developer of these islands has noted a general slowdown in the rate of property sales on all three islands proving that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold!
“Bailout” has been named as the “Word of the Year”, being the word that has been searched the most in online dictionaries and has become suddenly infused into daily language. “Turmoil” was up there too!
Things may be worse than they were perhaps a year ago, but please take a moment to think of all the good things. During this Thanksgiving holiday – an American institution that surely everyone throughout the world should recognise – be thankful for what you’ve had, what you are, and what you can be.
One of the phrases Marquette Turner has coined is “Luxury is…” – this week we share with you some comments people have shared with us.
Please enjoy the stories in our blog, or you can go straight to the e-magazine. We thank you!
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Whatever level of real estate, at whatever price, there are still numerous stories of people that, whilst not necessarily “doing it tough” are still struggling to find success in the current real estate market.
The world’s greatest ever tennis player, Pete Sampras (based on Grand Slam titles I must add, before I get heaps of corrections!), recently sold his 10,000 square foot mansion in Beverly Hills, California for $2 million USD less than the $25 million USD he was looking for when he put it on the market in January 2008, having paid $8.3 million USD for the six bedroom property in December 2001.
For those interested, the property has six bedrooms, 12 bathrooms as well as its own guest house, gym, tennis court, and theater.
Even during these tough times, there are more millionaire households in the world than at any other time, with the growth highest in China and Europe.
The total number of millionaire households in the world (ie. those with assets of $US1 million or more) now stands at 9.6 million.
This represents only 0.7% of all households, owning $US33.2 trillion. This is a staggering one third of the world’s entire wealth which just goes to show the inequality of wealth.
Here’s the Top 10 of millionaire households, and I’ve also included the countries’ ranking for households with in excess of $US100 million (with Australia added on, given our Australian roots).
No. 1: USA
Total millionaire households: 4,585,000
Total population: 301,139,947
Total $100 million+ households: 2,300 (rank: 1)
Bill & Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet
No. 2: Japan
Total millionaire households: 830,000
Total population: 127,433,494
Total $100 million+ households: 1,300 (rank: 2)
Softbank President Masayoshi Son with Actress Ava Ueto
No. 3: Britain
Total millionaire households: 610,000
Total population: 60,776,238
Total $100 million+ households: 810 (rank: 3)
Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson
No. 4: Germany
Total millionaire households: 350,000
Total population: 82,400,996
Total $100 million+ households: 620
No. 5: China
Total millionaire households: 310,000
Total population: 1,321,851,888
Total $100 million+ households: 180 (rank: 13)
No. 6: Italy
Total millionaire households: 270,000
Total population: 58,147,733
Total $100 million+ households: 530 (rank: 5)
No. 7: France
Total millionaire households: 265,000
Total population: 63,713,926
Total $100 million+ households: 260 (rank: 9)
No. 8: Taiwan
Total millionaire households: 220,000
Total population: 22,858,872
Total $100 million+ households: unknown
No. 9: Switzerland
Total millionaire households: 205,000
Total population: 7,554,661
Total $100 million+ households: 300 (rank:8)
No. 10: Brazil
Total millionaire households: 190,000
Total population: 190,010,647
Total $100 million+ households: 210 (rank: 10)
No. 13: Australia
Total millionaire households: 135,000
Total population: 20,434,176
Total $100 million+ households: 150 (rank: 14)
PBL Chairman, James Packer
More information: Figures taken from a study by Boston Consulting Group
In a world that can be brutal, harsh and tough going it is worth taking time to consider what we have enjoyed and what it means to us.
I thought it was an important time to consider what “Luxury” means to us all. It’s a chance to reflect over Thanksgiving and put into words what we can too often take for granted. The “Luxury is” is an amazing combination of two words – it is amazing because it causes us all to feel something, to imagine.
So what is Luxury to you? In 50 words or less write what “Luxury is” to you. We will publish as many responses as possible. Happy Thanksgiving!
Michael Marquette: Luxury is more than I can touch, it’s intangible. Luxury is an emotion, felt when I dare to dream of something that I value, that I have desired. It drives me forward, forces me to act, allows me to feel special, successful, spoiled, lucky – fortunate in every way.
Christine Watson: Luxury is the feeling of soft silk on your skin, wearing diamonds and pearls, rose petals scattered everywhere, being pampered and spoiled. Luxury is first class air travel, a personal valet, and Jimmy Choo shoes. Luxury is not having the need for anything, only the want.
Simon Turner: The ability to say sorry. The capacity to say I’m wrong. Knowledge: the desire to increase it and the timeliness of drawing upon it. Peace & Quiet. Happiness, Healthiness and Hope. Intangible.
Alex Lee: Luxury is excellence achieved.
Amy Cooper: Luxury to me involves good friends, wine and seafood in an ambient waterfront location! It also involves hot men, but let’s not go there!
Jayke Menese: Luxury is a home in Montreaux with a view of Lake Geneva. Can’t get better than that. The best setting and views in the world…”
Kevin Hussein Nguyen: Luxury is getting a full night’s rest, uninterrupted by nothing but sweet dreams.”
Thank you to everyone for sharing!
Without fear nor contest, the following listings of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes have received a price reduction in the past week, with the explicit consent of the owner.
I read an article today on the Domain blog in Australia (owned by Fairfax Media) and I cannot believe the total rubbish it conveyed to people. I am so disappointed that I feel forced to discuss it. We can all recognize that someone has done well for themselves – we can praise and applaud that – well done John McGrath – to a point. We can also recognize when they have said something that is too hard to comprehend. So much as to make it simply unbelievable and it has to be discussed.
In a world that is missing realism at times and where the base expectations of the population are set according to media, lies – half-truths at best it is important to point out what is totally ridiculous. Not only do people feel inadequate but they lose sight of reality, feel unsuccessful and like in this case downright ill-informed.
John McGrath, founder of McGrath Estate Agents, stated in a recent blog that property in Australia fell into one of three bands. The Lower End (below $750,000), the mid range ($750,000-$3 million) and the upper end ($3 million to $30 million).
The pure facts are these. Anyone kidding themselves to think that $3m is mid-priced is either lying or living in a fantasy land. The facts are simple – 3.65% of all residential property in Australia in 2007 sold at or above $1million. In other words 96.35% of residential property sold was sold at or less than $1 million. $3 million is NOT mid priced – not in Sydney, not in Regional Australia – not anywhere in Australia. The information is so poor that it needs to be quickly corrected.
I’m not questioning that John McGrath has done well for himself over the years – but that simply does not excuse information that is blatantly incorrect. Since John McGrath has become a franchise agency, seeking to compete with the likes of LJ Hooker and Ray White, it is laughable that he should set such benchmarks given that the majority of the properties for sale through his franchise offices in New South Wales are of “the lower end”. I’m sure this isn’t the message his agents are conveying to their clients.
Why point this out? Simply people are given so much information that cannot be backed up by evidence and those that are unaware of the reality can at times feel inadequate. What do you need to do to be successful? What have you done wrong? How can you possibly achieve that? The reality is very different to the perception.
I am disappointed that John McGrath would publicly say something that is simply wrong – he is smarter than that and it concerns me that many people will read his material and question themselves thinking he is telling the truth – Shame on you John McGrath.
When is enough really enough? Is fame really enough to say that open season is declared? How much is truly enough? The fun of being a celebrity is knowing when to act, when to cease and when to move to a different place. At times this would not be fun and the intrusion that is the press would border on too much. Many of us feel that the money super-celebrities earn is compensation enough for their constant life intrusion however many others would argue that the intrusion is justified by the enormous sums of money received by Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2, Nicole Kidman or Tom Cruise.
When I was recently in the UK I was stunned by the headlines which exposed Madonna’s divorce and sensationalized her life to the point where she was portrayed as a non-sexual woman, obsessed by her look, willing to splash around hundreds of pounds in her daily onslaught to look better and better and chase the effects of the best moisturiser known to man – is this her search for the ultimate – her search for the fountain of youth?
I think not. I think the sensational headings about Madge and the outrageous antics are both private and crass and over the top for someone who has provided so much joy and entertainment for millions of people around the world. Madonna is a wonderful entertainer, in fact she is one of the finest entertainers in the world, one of the finest ever to have lived.
When is too much press intrusion and scandal too much? So long as people buy newspapers and other media which give rise to scandal there will be those willing and able to offer it. I strongly suggest ignoring such rubbish and enjoy the wonderful escapist-feeling that celebrities like Madonna are able to make us feel. Marquette Turner Luxury Homes will one day look after Madonna’s real estate interests. Michael Marquette
FYI: See related articles on Madonna; Luxury Homes; and Homes of the Rich & Famous
By giving up her New York Senate seat where she has carved out a respected position, she will become the face of US diplomacy overseas and the third female secretary of state, after Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.
The prospect of Senator Clinton as secretary of state has been welcomed across the political spectrum, even if there remains some concern over the uniting of two bold and former rivals.
So, from a property perspective, the Clinton’s 6,478 sq ft property on Whitehaven Street in North-West Washington DC will become very useful (below).
The Clinton’s also live in a 5,232 sq ft residence, with five bedroom’s and 4 bathrooms in Chappaqua, New York.
(images from Microsoft Virtual Earth)
This week we present stories such as Luxury Home Sales in Sydney: The Truth and Fiction; The Beckham Effect, where we look at David Beckham’s very first home and what it’s on the market for as well as his current home in California with Posh Spice-wife, Victoria; we also look at the cost of parking your car in some of the most expensive cities in the world; you can customize your bathtub for a pretty penny; and our WISE GUY shows why the Australian dollar suddenly has run out of friends.
And lots, lots more.
To read the latest e-magazine: CLICK HERE
“Be a fountain, not a drain.”
Part 1 of a 2 part Investigation
No matter where you go in property obsessed Sydney you will hear real estate agents, friends, family, neighbours and people from all works of life giving their take on how Sydney is faring in the Luxury Real Estate arena. I hear many people say that the Luxury market has remained largely unaffected. Is this the truth or are people blinded or generally ill informed?
It’s important to look at the volume of sales in Sydney’s most expensive harbour and beach front suburbs and for the purposes of my investigation I have used 2007 sales and 2008 sales to date (we are almost finished yet another year).
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes considers any property above $1 million to be in the Luxury category as only 3.65% of all residential property sold in Australia in 2007 achieved a price equal to or greater than $1 million. In other words over 96% of residential property in Australia was sold for less than $1 million in 2007 – it really highlights just how special and rare luxury homes are.
When looking at the very top end – (we call this our “Private Brokerage” end of the Luxury market) we have chosen $5 million as our benchmark figure. Any property sold at or above this price is part of our “Private Brokerage” results and represent the very finest homes sold in Sydney’s harbour front and beachside suburbs.
So to the truth – are Luxury sales in Sydney remaining largely unaffected by the economic upheaval that we are currently experiencing? Without going into a price debate I have chosen volume as our indicator as “Private Brokerage” homes are unique and are very difficult to compare simply by looking at sale price from year to year. They are very emotional purchases and appeal to a very limited and privileged few. So let’s let the figures speak for themselves:
In 2007 in the Local Government areas of Sydney, Manly, Mosman, North Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra there were 379 sales of residential properties which qualified to be part of the Marquette Turner Luxury Homes’ “Private Brokerage” Results. In 2008 to date when looking at the same areas there have only been 202 sales which would make the grade – so have Luxury Property Sales been affected?
The simple answer is yes, they most certainly have – volumes are down by close to 50% for a myriad of reasons which we will explore in Part 2 of this fascinating look into super Luxury residential Sydney.
Click on the link for PART 2
It seems that no matter who you are, the credit crunch is snapping at your heals. And, as we seem to be hearing more and more each day, people from all walks of life are losing the battle.
Michael Jackson, he of the world’s biggest selling album of all time, “Thriller” (and on its 25th anniversary of being released) and (once upon a time) the undisputed King of Pop, has been forced to sell his ownership of his Neverland ranch near Santa Barbara in California.
Earlier this week, Jackson, 50, filed legal papers making the Sycamore Valley Ranch Company the new owner. Jackson, whose huge catalogue of hit records includes Billie Jean, Thriller and Man in the Mirror, has not lived at Neverland since he was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005.
The property was bought in 1988 for $28 million and is situated on 2,900 acres, with a 14,000 sq. ft. main house
Jackson initially sought to turn into a fantasy land, and is ironically named after an island in the story Peter Pan, where children never grow up. He built a zoo and fairground on the 2,800 acre (1,100 hectare) property but it was closed in 2006 after Jackson failed to pay his staff or maintain proper insurance. It is not clear what will now happen to the property.
SEATTLE – Luxury Real Estate’s Board of Regents announced today its continued expansion in Australia with Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, which will be the exclusive representative of the New South Wales, Australia territory.
LuxuryRealEstate.com is the most-viewed luxury real estate Web site in the world, featuring more than 66,000 high-end properties in 106 countries.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes specializes in the sale of luxury properties in New South Wales, with a particular focus on the cities of Sydney and Newcastle. Established by Michael Marquette and Simon Turner, the Agency is at the forefront of luxury real estate in Australia.
“Marquette Turner Luxury Homes has quickly become an important part of our international network, and I’m pleased to offer them this place on our Board of Regents,” said John Brian Losh, CEO and publisher of LuxuryRealEstate.com, and CEO, chairman and broker of Ewing & Clark, Inc., Seattle’s oldest real-estate brokerage.
The focus of Marquette Turner Luxury homes is on satisfying the long-term needs of their luxury clients. The firm is highly selective in choosing which clients to work with and offer an extremely personalized boutique approach.
Michael Marquette, co-President of Marquette Turner said: “Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate has no peer when it comes to showcasing luxury property from around the world. Having been chosen to represent Australia’s premier city, Sydney, on the Board of Regents, we are truly at the pinnacle of worldwide luxury real estate. We look forward to pioneering and partnering with the finest Luxury real estate organization and it’s members throughout the world.”
The Board of Regents is a prestigious affiliation of luxury brokers, which forms the governing body of the global Luxury Real Estate network. It is comprised of 84 brokerage firms representing more than 600 offices and 1,900 luxury real estate professionals from around the world. Each Board of Regents member is selected because of his or her qualifications and commitment to the Luxury Real Estate brand.
About the Luxury Real Estate Board of Regents
The Board of Regents is an exclusive network of the world’s most elite luxury real estate brokers, comprised of the most legendary names in the industry selected by Luxury Real Estate CEO John Brian Losh. The Board of Regents is the governing body of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, the worldwide network of luxury real estate brokerage firms. Members of the Board of Regents are marketing experts, providing innovation and unparalleled service to their clients. For more information, visit www.LuxuryRealEstate.com or www.Regents.com.
A kitchen to dream of, bathrooms that everyone could relax in, abundant storage facilities, four bedrooms, study, plunge pool, formal and informal living areas – what more could you ask for? Walk into this contemporary designed home and you will step into a different world. Space, light, and modern facilities galore.
The kitchen is expansive, giving a fantastic working space for the chef and entertainer. Features include all SMEG appliances – Dishwasher, Stove, Oven and Coffee Maker plus a “Butler’s Kitchen”. This is pure luxury for any entertainer. The Butler’s Kitchen includes full sink facilities, microwave area, preparation area and is adjacent to the large kitchen. You can prepare meals, create a mess, and write messages on the floor to ceiling chalk board.
The formal living area, including living and dining spaces overlook the pool and water features. Furthermore, a Balinese Hut provides tranquility to all who seek to relax in this spacious area. This beautiful setting is aided by the timber floors, enormous glass features and space and simplicity in design.
More information: Learn more about this property by clicking on any of the images above or HERE