Aug 26, 2014
Record Virtual Sale

(TRUCKEE, CA) Cash buyers have been all the rage this year. Now comes news that virtual currency, bitcoin, was used to purchase a $1.6 million homesite at the luxury real estate community, Martis Camp. We won’t pretend that we understand all the intricacies of how bitcoin works, but this wasn’t the first time the digital currency has been used to buy real estate. It is, however, the largest recorded real estate transaction (by more than $1 million) involving bitcoin. The newfangled means of buying luxury real estate didn’t seem to phase Martis Camp. Sales Director, Brian Hull, told the Wall Street Journal, “The transaction itself was simple. An invoice was sent and the buyer’s bitcoin was easily transferred into U.S. Dollars to complete the sale. We now welcome the opportunity to work with buyers and their bitcoin through the Bitpay service.” With real estate sales of over $175 million in the first half of 2014, Martis Camp seems to be doing quite well with more traditional means of payment, too.

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Aug 25, 2014
Good News

WASHINGTON, DC) It’s been a tough year to handicap the housing market. But all the markers seemed to come together in July to finally say with confidence that things are looking up. July saw the fourth straight monthly increase in sales of existing homes, home construction starts rose 15.7 percent, building permits strengthened, and homebuilders indicated they are confident about future sales. Add to those positive indicators a rise in the number of homes for sales, a drop in the number of homes sold in foreclosure, and a slight dip in prices to improve   affordability. And by the way, did you notice 30-year mortgages fell to 4.1 percent last week, the lowest level this year? But perhaps the best news of all came from Zillow last week. Their research shows that homebuyers are spending just 15.3 percent of their incomes on their mortgage, compared to 22.1 percent back in 2006.

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Aug 22, 2014
Vacation Home Deals

(BOSTON, MA) Sales of vacation homes are on the upswing as baby boomers near retirement. They were up 30% last year, according to the National Association of Realtors, and are expected to continue surging as 2014 wraps up. But if you want the best price, it pays to know when to buy. While the best times of year to buy vary by region, in New England the fall is a great time to shop, especially on Cape Cod. Sellers have already either enjoyed their summer on the Cape or collected big rents from vacationers. Rather than pay for the upkeep during the quiet winter months, they are often willing to drop the price. A Martha Vineyard’s realtor told he recently brokered a deal in which the seller dropped the price from $900,000 to $699,000. For sellers, spring in New England is key to getting a higher price as all the would-be vacation home owners are anxious to close so they can enjoy summer in their new home. 

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Aug 21, 2014
Caddie Camp

(SIASCONSET, MA) Kudos to the Sankaty Head Golf Club on Nantucket. At what is thought to be the last private-club caddie camp in the country, if not the world, they have been instructing teen boys in the art of caddying since 1930.  As profiled in The Boston Globe, the Sankaty Head Caddie Camp has 54 campers in attendance this summer being instructed in “how to judge a putt, carry a golf bag, locate an errant tee shot, rake a bunker, and impress club members with their smarts and maturity.” Camp foundation trustee Richard Drucker says, “We’re the last of a kind and, we hope, also the first of a kind.” That would be great news for private clubs, the golf industry, and future caddies. The kids at Sankaty will earn $3,000- $15,000 apiece in caddie fees and tips, working six days a week. And get the education of a lifetime.

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Aug 20, 2014
Abstinence Averted

(LONDON, KY) It was a good day for the cart girls, maybe not so much for the manufacturer of those covert golf club-shaped drink dispensers. You’ll now be able to buy alcohol at Crooked Creek Club. Club & Resort Business reports that, in a special election, the emotional issue passed by the narrowest of margins, 157 to 156. While that leaves nearly half the folks unhappy, at least one non-imbibing homeowner was glad to see the measure passed. “I live at Crooked Creek, on the golf course, and for a lot of golf courses around here, business is struggling,” resident Bill Moore told WYMT. “I’m not a drinker but I just really think it would be advantageous to the community especially those of us that are home owners on Crooked Creek.” We’ll see how he feels after that first wave of “buddy trip” bookings comes barreling through the course.

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