Philadelphia, home to so many firsts in U.S. history, has come into its own as a first-class, high-energy metropolitan area for those seeking affordable living, top-notch cultural activities and easy access in and out of the metro area. A vibrant city of picturesque streetscapes and distinct neighborhoods balances tradition with an influx of new architecture and fresh ideas about the future.
With reputations such as the “best-mannered city” in the U.S. and “America’s most friendly city,” Charleston is annually ranked among the nation’s most visited cities. Located on the Atlantic coastline, Charleston is the second largest city in South Carolina, brimming with rich history, tradition and Southern charm. Charleston has become a major tourist destination due to its prominent art, music, food and fashion scenes, since its establishment over 300 years ago.
“Cape Town, like many urban centres in South Africa, is beginning to recover. Interest rates in South Africa are temptingly low and there is significant pent up demand in Cape Town as a result of limited development in recent years and the banks reticence to lend during the period of financial instability. There has been a notable decrease in foreign buyers, particularly those from Europe, active in the market. This exodus has however been seen as an opportunity by local investors who appear buoyed by not having to compete with international currency for properties, said Brendan Miller, principle of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty on the Atlantic Seaboard.”
“A significant number of sales in the mid to upper end of the market are being attributed to what’s become known as ‘semi-gration,’ South Africans relocating to Cape Town from other cities in the country because of the its inherent ‘holiday lifestyle’ appeal. Owing to its premier sea front location and the fact that supply is constrained, Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard has proven to be recession proof in much the same way that prime properties in London and New York are, and we have seen an increase in both demand and sale prices achieved, bucking the trend in the rest of the market,” said Miller.
Due to recent concerns about a property market bubble, in October 2012 the Hong Kong government came out with new policies to curb property prices. “With the new policies, both local and overseas investors are now more hesitant to buy at the moment and therefore sales transaction volumes have reduced significantly,” said Samson Law, managing director of Hong Kong Sotheby’s International Realty. “But in this island economy, supply and demand continues to set the tone for the market in Hong Kong. There should be no reason for the market to correct drastically given the limited supply and low interest rates environment.”
In recent months, Hong Kong Sotheby’s International Realty has successfully recorded four notable sales including apartment, condo and detached houses, one of which transacted at more than $17 million (USD) and another for more than $9 million. “With our aim and focus to become the leading marketer representing the most exceptional properties in Hong Kong, we are very optimistic in the growth of the company for 2013,” said Law.
“While it is impossible to predict the future, three strong quarters of growth in the Jackson Hole real estate market are certainly strong indicators of a recovery. Particularly interesting is the fact that this is happening across the board in all sectors and virtually all areas of the market. You cannot ignore the fact that this is also happening while the average price of real estate is increasing. This would strongly indicate that the trend of sales being fueled by ever decreasing prices is also over.” Ed Liebzeit, president and chief operating officer Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty
The luxury-home market in metro Denver is making a comeback, with sales already exceeding 2011 totals. Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty sold 109 homes in the milliondollar-plus category last year, and have already exceeded that number by the third quarter of 2012.
“Tighter inventory and increased buyer demand continues to propel the market in a positive direction,” said James Simpson, managing broker of Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty. According to the Genesis Group ‘Mid-Year 2012 Metro Denver Housing Overview,’ the metropolitan Denver area is positioned to improve as the national economy begins a stronger recovery. ”We forecast 5,500 new production home sales for 2012, approximately a 33 percent increase from the low levels of 2009-2011,” says Simpson.
“Contributing factors include improvements in job growth, an upswing in consumer confidence in the Rocky Mountain region and a significant increase in home values up 4 percent from last year, marking the first measurable increase in five years,” said Scott Webber, the president, Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty.
“In the second quarter, I saw a renewal of confidence in homebuyers, and that came from the lower interest rates. I haven’t seen that kind of confidence in a long time,” said Robbie Briggs, president and chief executive officer, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas.
The Los Cabos market continues to rebound with demand increasing for both condos and single-family homes, according to Julie Kershner of Los Cabos Sotheby’s International Realty. The number of condos sold year-to-date is up 55 percent over the same period last year, with volume up 38 percent. Single-family home sales are up 51 percent year-to-date. “While the overall average sale price is down 35 percent year-to-date, to $493,000, the large drop off mainly reflects re-pricing of high-end single-family homes,” Kershner said.
“It is really a tale of two markets,” Kershner continues. Condo prices in the Cabo San Lucas Corridor-Inland area, for example, are up 70 percent year-to-date on relatively strong volume. With less demand for high-end single-family homes, however, the average sale price in San Jose Del Cabo Corridor-Oceanside declined over 30 percent to $2.5 million. “With prices re-setting, inventory levels falling and the Mexican elections behind us, Los Cabos should continue to gather steam,” she added. “The global exposure Los Cabos received from the G20 meetings will no doubt help. One risk remains a lack of attractive financing for foreigners, which will likely result in an uptick of seller financed transactions.”