Palm Beach, Florida isn’t the only sunny bolthole with Trophy Homes and bold names — here are five alternatives — Mansion Global | NutSocia

Palm Beach’s allure of warm winters, no state income taxes and, more importantly, the opportunity to mingle with the who’s who of US business titans are reliable draws for wealthy folk looking for a sunny beach getaway that they can call home.

The picturesque Florida town is located on a barrier island and has a year-round population of almost 10,000. With an average home price of over $8 million combined with a cost of living about twice the Florida average, finding the right real estate opportunity, or any type of real estate opportunity, can be difficult.

While Palm Beach is home to dozens of billionaires and even more celebs, there are a handful of other sunny spots that offer their own distinctive charm and lifestyle perks, often with less flashy price tags.

Paradise Valley, Arizona

Few places are booming more than Arizona’s Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix and its sharpest suburb, Paradise Valley – a speck between the Camelback and Mummy Mountains.

“While the sunny, warm weather and taxes are generally attractive to homebuyers, the luxury housing market has skyrocketed since the pandemic,” said Wendy Walker, Scottsdale chief executive of The Agency.

Surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides, “PV” – as many locals call it – offers an abundance of properties with exceptional views, some enjoying an elevated hillside position while others look out from the valley floor.

“While Paradise Valley was viewed primarily as a second home market for those residing in densely populated areas such as San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and LA, it is now being viewed as a genuine primary residence option,” Ms. Walker said.

A dwindling stock of single-family homes has led to a rise in multi-family homes as well as a growing number of luxury resorts offering five-star experiences, led by the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley, which is the centerpiece of a $2 billion, 122-acre property , luxury development planned from a master plan.

“We’re landlocked — acre lots and derelict houses are trading at $2 million to $3 million. We recently broke the local record and sold an acre of land with plans and permits for $3.5 million,” said Agent Frank Aazami of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty.

The number of high-end homes under construction, due for delivery within the next 18 to 36 months, will expand buyers’ choices. “Primac homes still generate multiple offers and actually sell above demand,” he says.

According to Walt Danley, Founder and President of Walt Danley Christie’s International Real Estate, the final average price per square foot for Paradise Valley in 2022 looks like it will be in the $660 range, with an average home price of around 2, $8 million.

Like Palm Beach, it has attracted a slew of famous residents over the years, including Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, rocker Alice Cooper, Mike Tyson, and actress Emma Stone.

“Paradise Valley is a destination because of its incredible climate, award-winning golf courses, lower property taxes, booming job market and easy access to amenities, restaurants and shopping,” said Mr. Danley.

By the end of 2020, Mr. Danley said, 64,000 Californians had migrated to Arizona to maintain their lifestyle with a preferred cost of living and lower taxes.

“The pace of migration from California to the Phoenix area continued to increase throughout 2021 and remains strong today,” Danley said. “Paradise Valley has historically served as a winter vacation spot for the country’s wealthiest families, but in recent years it has become their primary residence.”

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Long a popular destination among Californians looking for a nearby getaway, Cabo San Lucas is now attracting apartment seekers from around the world.

“Cabo has become the best winter getaway for the west coast due to a combination of factors. We have one of the best climates in the world for those looking for property in a warm, sunny location,” said Bernardo Mucino Koenig, Managing Partner at The Agency Los Cabos. Key selling points include the stunning beaches, Mexican flair and unique geographic identity on the southern tip of Baja.

“Even though we are a peninsula economically and socially, we are an island. This offers the benefit of isolating Baja from many of the nation’s problems and disadvantages,” said Mr. Mucino Koenig. “Culturally, it offers a fusion between ancient Mexico and modern-day California, a flavor well understood by US travelers.”

Cabo San Lucas is regularly cited as Mexico’s strongest real estate market. According to a study by CBRE, growth and demand in the market have been “unprecedented” in recent years. The general consensus is that more than three-quarters of home buyers are American, with California supplying roughly half of these buyers, followed by Texas.

“Los Cabos has always been a popular vacation destination, dating back to the Golden Age of Hollywood when celebrities like John Wayne and Lucille Ball flew here for weekend getaways and sport fishing trips,” said Ian Gengos, owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Baja property. “Over the years it has grown into a global hotspot for all types of visitors.

Palm Springs, California

Nestled in Southern California’s scenic Coachella Valley, the area’s premier address, Palm Springs, enjoys a white-hot real estate market with bidding wars and outrageous prices more associated with Los Angeles’ hippest enclaves.

“Gated community homes in or near country clubs in Palm Springs are a top priority,” said Jeff Kohl, director of architectural properties, Desert Communities, at The Agency, adding that the people of golf courses and pickleball courts be attracted. “Mid-century and new classic modern architecture to move in is also in high demand, as evidenced by the prestigious Desert Palisades gated community in Palm Springs.”

Long considered a relaxing getaway for stressed-out Angelenos, sun-soaked Palm Springs, where unlimited pool time and modern architecture mix with mountain views, active activities, and an endless cultural calendar, manages to feel like a resort-oriented escape while doubling down in size as a tight-knit community.

Neighbors – including the Hollywood elite and many former US presidents – gather for golf and tennis, while more than 100 hiking trails meander through native canyons and snow-capped peaks. City dwellers will be fed up with Palm Springs’ acclaimed art, dining, shopping and spa offerings.

The cutthroat housing market shows no signs of easing; Things were heating up long before the Covid-19 pandemic gave countless people a reason to flee their densely populated cities in search of safer, more sprawling places like Palm Springs. The increased interest has exhausted the supply of homes for sale, driving up prices and creating a fiercely competitive environment where buyers are trading for cash, forgoing standard home inspections and appraisals, and even paying sellers closing costs to secure the deal before a purchase to confirm higher offer comes.

British Virgin Islands

While the Caribbean is awash with luxury winter resorts, the British Virgin Islands has become a favorite of the international jet set, many of whom are drawn to BVI’s lack of income, wealth, corporation and capital gains taxes. There are virtually no taxes other than payroll taxes, real estate stamp duty and import duties, making it a preferred place to set up a business for those looking to run an active business. It also helps that the British Overseas Territory of more than 50 islands is known for its beautiful beaches and world-class yachting spots.

“BVI enjoys a mild, tropical climate year round and is the perfect playground for yachtsmen and water sports enthusiasts alike,” said Sylvia Moses, representative of Smiths Gore BVI Limited.

“The British Virgin Islands real estate market offers a wide range of residential properties, ranging from spectacular beachfront villas, a home with its own dock, or that distinctive property with all the modern conveniences,” she added.

Major hubs of the British Virgin Islands include Tortola, whose thriving financial center attracts active businesspeople, and Virgin Gorda, known for idyllic sailing and fishing.

The sparsely populated area (population 30,000) is famous for its exclusive luxury resorts, most notably Richard Branson’s Necker Island, and has one of the region’s most prosperous economies, fueled by myriad investors and offshore companies who take advantage of the low-tax status.

Expats wishing to buy property in the BVI must apply for a Non-Belonger Land Holding License and buyers pay a 10% deposit which is held in escrow until the transaction is completed. For those who buy vacant lots, the government requires owners to build within three to five years with a minimum spend of $250,000.

Buyers pay stamp duty between 4% and 12% and legal fees. Sellers pay the brokerage commission of 6%-8%.

Maui, Hawaii

The Valley Isle is a must-do destination for its stunning natural beauty, pristine climate and variety of active activities year-round. Grafts are drawn from across North America, lured by the opportunity to enjoy world-class golfing, swimming, hiking and surfing year-round.

“In terms of location, Maui is a short five-hour flight from the US West Coast, making it relatively easy to get to and inexpensive compared to other tropical destinations,” said Tyler Coons of Welcome Hawaii Properties. “However, because we are an island in the middle of the Pacific, we enjoy an exclusivity that is rarely found to this day. Unlike Palm Springs or Malibu, you can’t drive to Maui for the day or weekend. This keeps the island magical and remote in feel.”

Mr. Coons cited wintry delights as regular temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the annual migration of humpback whales who spend their winters in the warm waters around Maui. The attraction has drawn a host of celebrities and business people to Maui, including
Oprah, Pat Benatar, and Craig T Nelson.

“Of course we have our share of billionaires on Maui,” said Mr. Coons. “However, the housing stock here includes everything from studio vacation rentals to opulent, one-of-a-kind luxury estates.”


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