Oct 21, 2016
London’s Calling

(LONDON) Perhaps the terrific exchange rate has you thinking seriously about finally taking that golf trip to the U.K. Might want to consider more than visit says Mansion Global. The historic fall of the British pound is creating deals for London’s luxury homes “Wealthy foreign buyers, especially those with currencies pegged to the dollar, have seen their budgets stretch further for luxury homes in London,” according to the luxury real estate website. It’s been 31 years since the dollar has fared as well against the pound. Coupled with already reduced prices, that is creating buying opportunities in London’s toniest neighborhoods approaching 30% of pre-Brexit prices. Still, there is that pesky stamp duty to deal with if your new home in the U.K. costs you more than £1.5 million. In that case, you’ll be hit with a 15% tax. But at this exchange rate, and at the current prices, it’s a hit that won’t hurt as much.

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Oct 19, 2016
Buyer Beware

(SCARSDALE, NY) Raise your hand if you’ve never sent a golf ball careening out of bounds into the yard of a course-side home. Most golf course homeowners, while not welcoming stray balls, see the errant shots as coming with the territory. Leon and Gail Behar, whose $3.7 million home runs parallel to the second hole of the Quaker Ridge Golf Club, were not so inclined. They filed suit against the club in 2010, asking for $3.3 million in punitive damages for being “bombarded by golf balls.”  Six years later, the lawsuit finally came to trial in Westchester (New York) Supreme Court and a decision was handed down. But not before the Behars and the club tried to remedy the issue.  According to The Journal News, the Behars spent about $150,000 to plant 45-foot trees on their property and the club spent nearly $1 million on modifications to the hole. All to no avail. When the judge handed down his decision earlier this month, he awarded the Behars a mere $7,323.75, saying, “It should not be unexpected that any house abutting a golf course…would from time to time, receive three, four, five, or more balls on a given particular day of poor swings.” An appeal is expected.

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Oct 17, 2016
In the Swim

(MOSELEY, VA) Next summer’s going to be a blast at Magnolia Green. The premier multi-generational, active-lifestyle residential community, home to the Magnolia Green Golf Club (a Nicklaus Design in association with Tom Clark that was named one of Golf Digests “Best New Courses” last year), has broken ground on its new $5.6 million aquatic center. The 10-acre center will feature an eight-lane,  Junior Olympic sized competition pool, a splash pool with slides and water cannons, an activity pool with a water tower slide, volleyball net, and basketball hoops and a lounge pool. The aquatic center will also include a custom-designed children’s playground. They have also broken ground on a two-story, 15,000-sq. ft. clubhouse with front and rear porches, a full-service bar, and an outdoor dining area with views overlooking the golf course. Both the aquatic center and clubhouse are scheduled to be completed next summer. The community’s owner, iStar, has invested nearly $150 million in the community.

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Oct 14, 2016
The White House Can Be Bought

(MCLEAN, VA) Whomever doesn’t make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the upcoming election, has options. The Washington Post reports that there are two replica White Houses on the market just outside the nation’s capital. (For those who don’t need to live near the seat of power, there are other replica White Houses for sale in Atlanta and Dallas.) One of the D.C.-area replicas for sale—complete with curved portico and towering columns —is going for $2.69 million, while the other comes with a heftier price tag (listed at $7 million a few years ago) and will go to the highest bidder later this month. What’s the appeal of living in a White House-like residence? Jack Nasar, a retired Ohio State University architecture professor, told The Washington Post that White House look-alikes are deep in symbolism and denote power and authority. “It communicates that this is the home of a high-status person, a leader,” said Nasar.

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Oct 12, 2016
A Season to Suit Every Home

(LONDON) Across the pond, wealthy young buyers are buying into the concept that two homes are better than one. The Telegraph reports that “the idea of buying in pairs to see you through the seasons – popular matches include Mykonos for summer, Gstaad for winter, or Sardinia for your beach-babe months and Chamonix for when you morph into a ski bunny – is becoming increasingly common.” Here in the U.S., having two, three, or more homes to span the seasons is nothing new. But Europeans have other aspects, besides lifestyle, that come into play. Like spreading their investment risk across countries and currencies. There are Euros and Swiss Francs to consider, favorable and unfavorable taxes, and, of course, the advantages that come with Spain’s “golden visa” that allows easy, visa-free travel between countries. For global real estate firm Knight Frank’s wealthy clients, the triple play is a Cote d’Azur villa for summer, an Alpine chalet, and a house in the Caribbean, and perhaps even an investment apartment in New York,” says Knight Frank partner Edward de Mallet Morgan.

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