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The US Luxury Home Market

Shorefront homes retain their value   by joan tapper



The US Luxury Home Market - Despite recent dips in real es­tate prices, waterfront homes and residential communities, such as the new Pitz-Carlton Kapalua development, have held their value.



A recent study by the National Association of Realtors in the US, for ex­ample, found falling prices and slowing home sales in more than half of the nation's largest metropolitan areas in the last quarter of 2006. However, when it comes to .specific segments of specific markets, the picture is a lot more complex.



"The years 2004 and 20(15 were catch-up and windfall years," says Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Com­pany, which is based in Sarasota , one of the areas targeted by the Realtors' group study. "Then 2006 was the beginning of a normal market, and you needed to price accordingly. It was a challenging year in Florida in general. But waterfront homes remained strong.'"



From Florida to South Carolina, from California's Central Coast to Seattle and beyond to Hawaii , Realtors who handle luxury waterfront properties—both single-family homes and condominiums—pres­ent a nuanced view of the state of real estate.



The finest properties, especially in waterfront communities, they say, have held their own. And not surprisingly, they articulate the same classic principles: Long-term luxury real estate investors who want to live in their homes will be rewarded; speculators in a market with oversupply will not fare so well.



"I have a golden three-year rule," Saun­ders says, "If someone bought three years ago, I challenge anyone to show me how they lost money."