Oct 24, 2016
Desperate Measures

(SHANGHAI) This is one reason for divorce we haven’t heard before. Property prices have risen so fast in some Chinese cities that authorities have introduced an unusual curb to try and fight the market bubble—limiting purchases of multiple dwellings, reports Bloomberg News. That curb, has in turn, caused buyers to take some unusual steps to get around the restriction. “Fake divorce” has been one such tactic. The divorce is real, but the couple stays together for the sake of getting rich. As one couple said, “Why would we worry about divorce? We’ve been married for so long [but] If we don’t buy this apartment, we’ll miss the chance to get rich.” Oh, the things we’ll do for love…and a hot property market that saw the average price of new homes rise 30% in Shanghai the first three quarters of 2016. Alas, the government appears ready to tighten the divorce loophole.

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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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