Jul 29, 2014
Sweet Acquisition

(SANFORD, NC)  You might not be familiar with the parent company, but you certainly know much of their portfolio of high-end golf clubs. Escalante Golf describes itself as a “boutique owner and operator” of luxury golf properties, including Black Hawk Country Club, Shadow Hawk Golf Club, Golf Club of Houston, Black Diamond Ranch, Sonoma Golf Club and The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company has quietly assembled an impressive collection of exclusive clubs in key markets that have hosted a number of prestigious amateur and professional golf tournaments, including the U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship, the Charles Schwab Cup, the WGC Match Play Championship and the Shell Houston Open. Add the highly acclaimed Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, North Carolina, to their list. Carolina Trace is the centerpiece of the 1,600-home Carolina Trace Community and features two layouts designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the Lake Course and the Creek Course. Escalante Golf is planning significant improvements for the club including a major facelift for the Lake Course, which will begin next spring. 


Jul 28, 2014

(RANCHO MIRAGE, CA) Is he or isn’t he? Depending on your source, the Obamas either did or did not put an offer on a house in Rancho Mirage during a golf vacation there last month. The Los Angeles Times thinks it’s possible; TMZ thinks it’s not. The Washington Post says that “not even Obama wouldn’t ruin a great weekend with house-hunting.” What we do know is that the President likes to golf, he has visited the area a number of times, that he played a round of golf at Larry Ellison’s private course there back in February, and that the First Lady had a lot of free time on her hands. Oh, yes, and that an unnamed buyer did put a $4.25 million estate under contract there the weekend of the President and First Lady’s visit. Who wouldn’t love a home in Rancho Mirage? Infamous First Golfer, President Ford, retired there. Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby all once called the private, gated community home. The White House has categorically denied the Obamas have purchased a home in Rancho Mirage. Well, that should settle all the rumors.

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Jul 25, 2014
Own Your Own Town

(ALADDIN, WY) Why just buy a home when for the price of a luxury model you can own the whole town? The 30-acre hamlet of Aladdin, Wyoming, comes with a 126-year-old general store and post office and a bar. Listing price? $1.5 million. Managing the town shouldn’t require much heavy lifting. There are only 15 full-time residents, according to CNN Money. And, yes, your home is included. The town’s current owner, Judy Brengle, is throwing in her family's four-bedroom home as part of the deal. There are a few drawbacks. No indoor plumbing or sewage system. But wait! For your money you’ll also get an outhouse! Alas, there’s no indication of golf course in town and not really enough land to support one. But the Elkhorn Ridge Golf Club is just over a half hour away.


Jul 23, 2014
Sunny Outlook

(MIAMI, FL) The single-home market is looking rosy. More closed sales, higher median prices, increased new listings and a rise in inventory in June. Sales of single-family homes were 23,181 last month, up 14.6 percent over June of last year, reports World Property Channel. Not only that, it was the 31st consecutive month that median sales prices rose year-over-year for both single-family homes and townhome-condo properties. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $185,000 last month, up 5.2 percent from the previous year. It’s always good to put these numbers in perspective though. Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo does just that, saying, June was a very strong month for both the single-family and the townhouse and condo markets in Florida, and we are very encouraged by the data. But a look at one month alone does not ever truly describe the market. So when the strong June report is balanced by a somewhat weaker May, the picture of a market settling-in emerges. We are generally seeing slower increases in both sales and prices, and a rising level of inventories. All of this points to a continued steady, manageable growth in the Florida housing market."

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Jul 21, 2014
Slow Rise

(SEATTLE, WA) When will I break even on my home? That’s the burning question for those who bought at the peak of the real estate market, back in 2006 0r 2007. Not quite yet, says Zillow. Three years into the housing recovery, home values are still 11.3 percent below their peak and data indicates that it won’t be until sometime in 2017 that most markets will have recovered all the value they lost when the real estate bubble burst. There is a silver lining…for buyers. “Because home values remain so far below their peak levels in so many areas, it is still possible for buyers to find bargains. This will be critical to maintaining home affordability over the coming years, especially as mortgage interest rates rise,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. 

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