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Local Realtors predict uptick in high-end sales

By: Christine Davis
Published: 1/20/2011Source: Palm 2 Jupiter

Luxury real estate professionals are celebrating 2011, by ushering in the New Year with fireworks (Look at these estates!) Followed by sizzle (and these price tags!).


“We think the luxury market will reignite this season,” said CEO and president of the Corcoran Group, Pamela Liebman, and she attributes that to pent-up demand, revived confidence and a belief that prices have bottomed out. “New buyers, who’ve been on the sidelines for the past couple of years are entering the market and they are seizing upon good opportunities.”


She saw a significant uptick in 2010 over 2009 in both price and volume. “Properties with views of the water will continue to outperform and will be the first to benefit from the increased demand,” she said.


To illustrate, according to Martin County Tax Assessors, the number of homes sold on Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound, did increase year over year, with 22 homes sold in 2010, as compared to 17 homes sold in 2009. Prices, ranging up to $8 million, appeared consistent.


However, a home at 25 N. Beach was taken back by the bank, showing that even the top strata of properties are not immune to the burst of the real estate bubble.


A Corcoran Group agent, Suzanne Frisbie, has listed one of the most expensive houses in the country. Priced at $65 million, Tranquility, owned by golfer Greg Norman, is at 382 South Beach Road on Jupiter Island. The eight-acre parcel has 370 feet of lake front and 172 feet of direct ocean frontage. The property is comprised of seven buildings, including a main house, grilling pavilion, two guest houses, office and gym, along with a 17-car garage. All together, there are nine bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and five half-baths. Other amenities include 140-foot deep-water dock with lifts, a tennis court, media room, game room, wine room and kennel.


According to Frisbie: “Golf lovers will appreciate the potential on the sprawling west lawn for reestablishing the 5,500-square-foot putting green, with one bunker and one tee set up for 80 yard-yard pitch shots.”


Total square footage is hard to say, Frisbie said, because there have been a number of restorations and expansions to the home’s core, originally built in 1902. According to the MLS, there are 17,825 total square feet and 15,826-square-feet under air conditioning.


The property is valued by the Martin County Property Appraiser at $20,761,840. Norman bought the property in 1991 for $4.9 million.


Next up is a home at 254 SE Beach Road on Jupiter Island, which was listed for $19 million on August 10, 2010. It is offered for sale by Allan Meyerson, of Admirals Cove Realty Co Inc.


“This is basically a land deal,” Meyerson said. “The existing house is the former caretaker’s home, but it’s 6.2 acres and has 320 feet on the Intracoastal Waterway.

It’s Jupiter Island, and they are not creating more land, or more waterfront on the Intracoastal. There are very few parcels available.”


This Jupiter Island property is owned by an Admiral’s Cove resident, said Meyerson who specializes in Admiral’s Cove real estate sales, which have “definitely improved,” he said. “It just feels very exciting. Our December was terrific compared to the previous five years, and traffic is strong, as far as prospects. In large measure, this has got to go to the sellers, who recognize that it’s 2011, not 2007.”


The third most expensive home on the list is 416 South Beach Road, Jupiter Island. It is listed for $17.8 million by Adrian Reed, a realtor with Fenton Lang Bruner & Associates. This ocean-to-river 6,540-total-square-foot home has six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms and was built in 1959.


An Admiral’s Cove estate at 370 Eagle Drive is next on the list. Corcoran Group Realtor Lynn Feuerman represents the sellers. This home has 17,761 total square feet, eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms and four half-baths. Other features include two winding staircases, tiered-seating theater room and performance stage, exercise room, covered terraces and third-floor sundeck.


Meyerson knows some details concerning the Eagle Drive residence. “That was originally Celine Dion’s house and then it was sold to Richard Santulli, the founder of NetJets, a company he sold to Warren Buffet.”


Finally, the home at 148 Bears Club was just listed January 10 for $11.95 million by Mark Griffin of The Bear’s Club Sotheby’s International Realty. This 13,000-square-feet-under-air custom estate home on the 14th hole offers nine bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, two halfbaths, a library, theater, game room, gym and expansive resort style pool.


“I see a real stabilization of our markets,” said Griffin. “I’m extremely optimistic about 2011, based primarily on the activity we’ve seen in the fourth quarter of 2010.”


Previously cautious prospective homebuyers are acquiring luxury properties, he said. “They think they are getting great values. We’ve had great activity in all over and incredible sales in the last 60 days in The Bears Club, for example, selling golf villas, two furnished models and home sites. It’s been quite a run.


“The most refreshing change, we’ve seen luxury custom home building reemerge, with people buying a lot and building a home, which was basically lackluster over the past 24 months.


Year over year, he’s seen a 50 percent increase in the number of sales, maybe a decline in the asking price, but not a decline in the selling price, he said.


The next 11 homes, ranging in prices from $5 million to $10 million, are listed by Waterfront Property Realtors.


“Sales have significantly picked up since the elections in November,” said Rob Thomson. “Values have increased, too.”


He notes that prices are attractive, but sellers are not giving their homes away. “There’s pent-up demand and I’m hearing people say that we’ve reached the bottom. Typically we don’t see as many contracts as we are seeing right now until March.


“We sold two lots in The Bear’s Club in the last two weeks and the new owners are building $6-to-8-million homes. A home on Loxahatchee River Road, listed for $4 million, sold for $3.85 million in one week. I think we are going to see a pretty good year this year. People are tired of waiting for what they want.”