We all have memories of painful December moments in freezing cold temperatures. My favorite and personal such painful story (funny, actually, in hindsight) took place in Boston a few years back….
That icy-windy morning, I took the shuttle-boat from the South Shore to the Financial District to get to a meeting. I was dressed for an artic exploration. My phone rang. I was expecting a call, a big one, concerning an urgent matter. I was ready. Sort of. Just one problem: before I could find my way to the cell through 5 or 6 layers of clothing, the caller quit on me.
The phone rang again. By then, I had the phone right there in my hand, but, for the life of me I could not activate the call with my mega thick ski gloves.
Third (and final) ring: I am absolutely ready for it this time. I manage to slide my Yucon trapper fur hat sideways to uncover a fraction of my ear and I open my mouth to say hello, but not a sound comes out; my lips don’t move. Frozen. I lose the call…
So you know where I went this year to celebrate a few days off mid-December with my wife? Scottsdale, Arizona, the “West’s Most Western Town”. Life is too short. I like it hot.
Of course, I could not just relax and absorb the sun by the pool, I had to look at real estate. Part of my DNA. Lucky me, I got a terrific guide to take me on a grand tour of some of the most prestigious high-end listings in town. Cheryl Wamsley (that’s her name) is a Realtor at “Arizona Best”, a partner member of our Luxury Portfolio International network. Write her name down if you are shopping for a home in the Phoenix area.
We saw a good collection of exceptional properties in the exclusive sections of Scottsdale (Pinnacle Peak, Silverleaf, Arcadia) and Paradise Valley. If you are looking for a green lawn and citrus trees, Arcadia and Paradise Valley is where you want to go; if you are a desert lover and you can’t imagine living in Arizona without a mega cactus + a few agave in the back yard and a view of a mountain peak, the first two will make your day.
There is Plenty (notice the capital P?) of listed properties to choose from in and around Scottsdale, and prices are all over the map. You can find a nice townhouse or Patio home in a $300k to $800k price range, and you can spend up to $30M if you fancy better things in life. The price per square foot varies from roughly $200 at the lower-end to a maximum of $1000 at the top end.
The area is not suffering from a listing shortage. And the inventory keeps on growing. In the $3M+ range (true beginning of the luxury market here), it may take 2 years (based on the recent rate of sales) to find a buyer in Scottsdale, and around 3 in Paradise Valley. Over $5M, three hands are enough to count the transactions in a 12 month period. Over $10M, one hand should do, give or take a couple of fingers.
As far as I can tell, the local high-end market is suffering from 2 present supply & demand challenges. One is that at the $3M –and even $2M- level, there is only a small organic “move-up market”. Most of the buyers come from another state. Quite a few look for a nice “lock & leave” vacation pad in a gated community to warm up during the winter months. At the top of the market ($10M+), the challenge is of course far greater. In that price range, many of the would-be “typical” buyers are foreigners these days and Scottsdale is not (yet) an international destination. Besides, traditional marketing is not reaching them.
Among the properties Cheryl showed me, two trophy homes got my adrenaline flowing. My top pick is a $7,995,000 new “French Manor” in Arcadia, near magical Camelback. Usually, when I read something like “French chateau” on a brochure, I am “beaucoup” skeptical. Well, let me tell you, this “manor” is amazing. The real thing. Very rarely do I see a property where every square foot is so perfect and every detail so exquisite. Grandeur, quality & charm in the same package. Worth the trip, to be sure. Bring your checkbook.
The other property, also listed through Berkshire & Hathaway, is in beautiful Paradise Valley and priced at $25 million. What do you get for $25M? More than 25,000 square feet, consisting of 7 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a detached 2 bedroom guesthouse, a free-standing 1,800 sqft fitness facility….. on a 5 acre lot stretching at the foot of Mummy Mountain. Impressive but challenging. It’s bigger than big and the variety of styles and colors, from one room to the next, will only appeal to a one-of-a-kind buyer. Hefty task. One huge plus though: the grounds are simply magnificent. Go judge for yourself.
Wishing you, and those dear to you, a merry and warm Christmas, whether under the sun, or on the snow, or anywhere in between!