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Ryan

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I'm a luxury marketing and branding consultant hailing from beautiful Victoria BC, Canada. I've be...Read More

Website: www.luxurybranded.com

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Lifestyle
Luxury Homes at the Top of the World
By: Ryan   |    February 28, 2013   |   4 Comments (3) (0)

When it comes to luxury living, few things go together as well as gorgeous homes and world class ski resorts. As far as those criteria go, there are a few mountain towns that have established truly elite reputations for themselves: Aspen, Whistler, Park City, and Stowe. I recently reached out to the most prominent realtors in each of these towns to ask them 5 questions about how their local markets are faring, and what luxury buyers can expect over the coming years. Here's what they had to say:

1. How is the luxury mountain real estate market faring in these complicated economic times?

"Park City and Deer Valley's luxury market has faired well throughout much of the economic downturn. Some areas were hit hard but for the most part, the ski real estate values held their value better than others. As we've hit the bottom, there are still a number of great deals on the market for luxury homes that are starting to get snatched up quickly. Since the first of the year we've seen a large increase in pended and closed sales on a variety of properties over 1M."
Ben Fisher, The Fisher Group/Summit Sotheby's International Realty (Park City, Utah)

"Sales volume is down slightly from 2011 but the median sale price for chalets in Whistler have increased 14% in the last year and 18% since 2009! Whistler will always be among the best places to live on Earth! This is illustrated by the many awards Whistler Village and Whistler Blackcomb Mountains won in 2012, like being named No. 1 Ski Resort in North America by Ski Magazine."
Matthew Callaghan, Sutton Group West Coast Realty (Whistler, British Columbia)

"Aspen has always been the last mountain resort to be negatively affected by economic events and is usually the first to recover. The luxury end of the Aspen real estate market has stabilized and is making slow, incremental improvement."
Gary Feldman, Joshua & Co./Christie's Great Estates (Aspen, Colorado)

2. Have you seen an increase in international buyers in recent years, and if so, why do you think that is?

"Not particularly. Stowe has always had international appeal and buyers, but there hasn't been a large increase in these buyers. We've seen more of an increase in buyers from the Boston area than any other surrounding market."
McKee Macdonald, Smith Macdonald Real Estate Group/Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate (Stowe, Vermont)

"Historically, Aspen has welcomed buyers from around the globe. They buy in Aspen because they understand the dynamics of real estate in a market where the supply has been limited by local regulations and is sought after by the world's wealthiest people. Two weeks ago, I represented an international buyer with the purchase of a $15,000,000 home purchase."
Gary Feldman, Joshua & Co./Christie's Great Estates (Aspen, Colorado)

3. What kind of features and amenities does a luxury client typically look for in a mountain home these days?

"Luxury buyers in Whistler are looking for high end homes that capture the natural beauty of the Whistler Valley and local mountains but also a home that reflects its environment with authentically West Coast construction, materials and design. Whistler is home to some of Canada's best builders and designers, and this is reflected when looking at luxury homes in Stonebridge, Kadenwood, Sunridge Plateau, Horstman Lane and Blueberry Hill just to name a few."
Matthew Callaghan, Sutton Group West Coast Realty (Whistler, British Columbia)

"Ski access is a huge part of our marketplace and a must for many buyers. Dual master suites, large ski room, mountain views, heated driveways, and many more features are always a must in the luxury price range."
Ben Fisher, The Fisher Group/Summit Sotheby's International Realty (Park City, Utah)

"They are looking for high-end finishes, but up here that means hand crafted woodwork done by local tradesmen. They want open layouts with luxury kitchens and baths. View is a major driving factor, as well as having some land surrounding the house. Access to skiing is also important and one can be at Stowe Mt. Resort within 10 minutess from anywhere in Stowe."
McKee Macdonald, Smith Macdonald Real Estate Group/Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate (Stowe, Vermont)

4. Which trends in architecture and home design are becoming more popular in recent years?

"We're seeing a lot of the luxury builders incorporating modern West Coast designs that are also environmentally friendly and showcase sustainable building practices by reducing waste in construction and are often equipped with state of the art geothermal heating and cooling systems. This is showcased in a recent Georgie Award® and Gold standard for Green Design construction on recent projects by Schreyer Construction in the Spring Creek neighbourhood of Whistler. The new $55 million dollar public library was the first LEED® Gold certified library in Canada and won the Lieutenant Governor of BC Awards for Architecture in 2009. Luxury meets sustainability in a harmonious way in Whistler that you just have to see for yourself!"
Matthew Callaghan, Sutton Group West Coast Realty (Whistler, British Columbia)

"Open layouts with good flow from the kitchen to the living rooms. Windows that allow for a lot of natural sunlight and views to be a part of the home from within. Master suites transitioning to the main level of the home is also something that has become more popular."
McKee Macdonald, Smith Macdonald Real Estate Group/Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate (Stowe, Vermont)

5. Where do you see things going in your market over the next 5 years?

"I see Aspen rebounding as it has since the 1970's. Aspen real estate is a finite commodity being chased by the world's wealthiest people. People will look back to the period from 2009-2012 as the good old days. Prices will continue to rise."
Gary Feldman, Joshua & Co./Christie's Great Estates (Aspen, Colorado)

"The Park City market is poised for a solid rebound from the bottom of the market we saw at the end of 2009. We've seen a much healthier increase in pricing over the last 3 years at a slow upward rate and expect to see that movement continue over the coming year. With pricing where it is now, those luxury buyers can find themselves at a great advantage by purchasing real estate in today's economy."
Ben Fisher, The Fisher Group/Summit Sotheby's International Realty (Park City, Utah)

The Fisher Group
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4 Comments on this Article

Sean commented on March 6, 2013

Great article. I would agree with Ben as we also work in Park City selling high-end real estate. We just sold an $8 million home in the popular Old Town area, biggest sale in that community ever! We are seeing renewed interest at all level for real estate in Park City from homes to condos. Ski-in, ski-out is a big focus right now!

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LUXURY commented on March 5, 2013

This is great article about luxury real estate for the discerning clients

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Simon commented on March 4, 2013

Great post Ryan, nice to see some insight into this luxury real estate niche.

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Ryan commented on March 4, 2013

Thanks to all the people who took part!

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