Jul 11, 2014
New in Naples

(NORTH NAPLES, FL) It’s getting more difficult to find decent-sized, developable tracts of land around the desirable Naples area. So it was a coup of sorts when Toll Brothers picked up nearly 22 acres in the high development corridor just of I-75 back in April. Toll Brothers already has construction equipment on-site and building will be in full swing next week on Palazzo at Naples, an 85-home luxury gated community. Single-family homes are slated to go on sale by the first of the next year, Ken Thirtyacre, president of Toll Brothers' Florida West division told the News-Press. (By the way, is there a cooler name in real estate than “Thirtyacre”?) Palazzo at Naples will offer easy access to beaches, shopping, and the attractions of Naples, all in an intimately sized community.  A price range on homes is not yet available.

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Jul 10, 2014
Red Hot

(BOERNE, TX) Texas is sizzling this summer. And we’re not just talking about the temperature.  Cordillera Ranch, which enjoys a cooler Hill Country setting, reports a red-hot start to the year in real estate sales. In the first six months of 2014, the private golf community has already surpassed homesite sales for all of last year. Two new, and as yet uncompleted neighborhoods, have fueled the surge in real estate sales. Homesites in Bear's Ridge are 40% sold despite the fact that streets won't be paved until later this month, while homesites in the Golf Frontage Estates are 43% sold even though they are still in the platting process. The demand for these new sections has been reminiscent of releases we had prior to the recent real estate downturn," says Charlie Hill, Vice President of Development at Cordillera Ranch. Folks aren’t just buying, they’re building, too. Forty-nine custom homes (conservatively estimated at $75 million in total worth) are currently under construction, a significant jump from last year’s numbers.

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Jul 09, 2014
Makeover Mania

(NEW YORK) The numbers just haven’t been adding up for golf clubs. Last year 157 closed and 14 opened. The trend is likely to continue. An article in yesterday’s New York Times examines what’s happening in the industry and found that troubled golf clubs, especially private ones, are ripe for the picking by investors who are buying them up and giving them makeovers. The problems for golf courses has been especially acute at private residential communities, particularly those built in the last 15 years. All those beautiful—and expensive—courses by golf’s marquee designers were supposed to be subsidized by real estate sales. When the housing market went bust, developers (and plenty of homeowners) were left holding the bag. While that was bad news for developers, it’s been the perfect scenario for investors, like ClubCorp Holdings, which now owns 109 golf and country clubs. Savvy investors, who buy in the right markets, see light at the end of the tunnel. Says ClubCorp’s chief executive, Eric Affeldt,, “We sold more memberships last year than at any time over the last 10 years.”

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Jul 08, 2014
Where Seniors Rule

(The Villages, FL) No crime, no kids, 42 golf courses, and free golf for life. Sounds like retirement Nirvana. For you and 110,000 of your closest friends over 55. In an eye-opening Bloomberg report, The Villages is revealed as the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S., in addition to being the world’s largest retirement community.  Consider this, the population of The Villages has more than quadrupled in the past decade. The article describes the mega community as a “Manhattan-sized retirement village -- with more golf carts than New York has taxis.” And while its thousands of residents seem to love the idea of free golf for life, it has been a developer’s dream beyond compare. Developer H. Gary Morse and his famiy have sold more than 50,000 new homes and generated $9.9 billion in revenue since the community opened in 1986, according to the Bloomberg story.  

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Jul 07, 2014
A New Twist on Luxury Housing

(Bracebridge Heath, UK) They say a man’s home is his castle, but how about his asylum? With The Open Championship just nine days away, comes word from across the pond that a former lunatic asylum is being redeveloped into luxury housing. The 18-acre St. John’s Hospital, built in 1852 and originally known as Lindsey & Holland Counties & Lincoln & District Lunatic Asylum, has been vacant for over 24 years. Ten luxury apartments and seven new four-bedroom houses are on schedule to be completed this August as part of the first phase of the development. When the project is finished, there will be 183 luxury homes and apartments, some in the former buildings of the asylum. A local news website, The Lincolnite, reports, “The site has a fantastic location – close to central Lincoln and access to major road links around the county and beyond and will offer a simply stunning setting for home owners that is unlike anywhere else in the county.” Indeed.

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