89 Watercolor BoulevardThis week is spring break for a lot of peeps, and we know that a hefty slice of Dallasites and North Texans have invaded the Beaches of Walton County, Florida, those picture-perfect white sands along Highway 30-A in the panhandle of northwest Florida.

And after October, we might just re-populate the place.

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Phillip Day may just have the most enviable job in the world right now. While most of North America is freezing – buckets of snow in the northeast, 23 degrees tonight in Dallas brrrrr – Phillip is in charge of the sales and marketing for the best second home property in the Carribean, BahaMar, in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Better yet, BahaMar’s Vice President of Residential Sales is a Texan. Raised in Dallas and educated down the road at Baylor, Phillip is one of us! Here’s a little bit about BahaMar: The $3.6 billion, yes, with a “B”, project is set on 1,000 acres of prime beachfront paradise and will soon become one of the world’s largest, most luxurious resorts with everything jet-setting second home owners who love water, sun and fun could desire, and then more. That sun part is really sounding good right about now.

The total square footage of the development is expected to hit 3.3 million, with every square inch devoted to luxury. Baha Mar’s Grand Opening is set for December, 2014. There will be four hotels including a luxury Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, Mondrian and the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. All of the hotels will surround a 100,000 square foot casino that promises to combine the best of Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. Jack Nicklaus himself is directing construction of a brand new 18-hole Nicklaus Signature golf course. Baha Mar includes a world-class convention center, a 2,000 seat concert hall, world-class spas, 40+ luxury retail stores, 30+ restaurants, bars and nightclubs and all set on one of the world’s most spectacular beaches.

DSC_0034-3Baha Mar is selling 274 fully furnished tastefully designed private residences. There will be one to three bedroom condominiums along with a handful of four bedroom beach villas all overlooking miles and miles of sparkling clear, aqua blue ocean.

Baha Mar even allows residence owners to participate in the hotel brand’s rental programs – a great way to pay for maintenance costs! Perhaps the best news yet: the lift will be so convenient, you will practically land at the resort.

Seriously, Baha Mar has already invested $250 million in building new tree-lined boulevards that will connect the resort to Nassau’s sparkling new Lynden Pindling International Airport with only a 10 minute ride. Lynden Pindling is the largest airport in The Bahamas, and was recently enlarged even more. If you fly private, you can depart the mainland and be on the beach by ten. Fly commercial, you can early-bird it from DFW via Miami in the morning, and be on the beach by afternoon. Thawing out from the cold at my computer, toes numb, I called Phillip to find out how things are progressing at Baha Mar:

CD: So yes, Phillip, we are freezing our arses off in Texas. The pre-holiday ice storm blew out our spa. We had a few days of paradise then this. It’s 37 outside right now. What is your temperature in Nassau?

Phillip: As a Dallas native, I remember how incredibly cold it gets during Texas winter blasts! I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that the temperature here in Nassau is in the high 70s. Every day is a beach day!

 

CD: What’s the water temp?

Phillip: I don’t know the exact water temperature today but I can tell you that I’m looking out the window of my office at Cable Beach and there are lots of smiling people swimming in the blue ocean!

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CD: I hate you. Was it crowded over the holidays (trying to think negative thoughts)?

Phillip: Baha Mar won’t open until December 2014 so we don’t have guests yet. However, I can tell you that the Baha Mar teams from Rosewood, Grand Hyatt, Mondrian and the Baha Mar Casino Hotel are already hard at work as they prepare for next holiday season. It’s going to be an incredible five star Grand Opening experience in one of the most glorious settings in the world!

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CD: Any movie star sightings? Some of our friends were splashing with Reese Witherspoon.

Phillip: We had a few. I saw Richard Gere and started to tell him about you but I’m sure it would have made Walter jealous.

CD: What happens in BahaMar stays in BahaMar. How’s my boyfriend, Sean Connery?

Phillip: Playing golf every day at Lyford Cay. Don’t get too excited, Candy. He plays golf with his wife.

CD: So I take it that with the purchase of a home at BahaMar, I could be escaping this frozen hell-hole as long as Jet Blue doesn’t cancel my flight out there, or Southwest doesn’t land in Cincinnati by mistake?

Phillip: Absolutely! The trip from Dallas is so easy. My favorite is the direct flight American offers from DFW to Nassau.

CD: How much to get me in the door – a pied a terre, a studio, a room with an electric kettle – anywhere to get my beauty sleep in-between sundown and dawn?

Phillip: Our prices start at just over $1,000,000 for a fully furnished one bedroom residence. But you have two children who will want to come with you and Walter so you should look at the larger residences. We have two and three bedroom residences along with a handful of stunning four bedroom villas. As I’m sure you remember from your visit here earlier in the year, all of our residences come equipped with phenomenal ocean views and an easy path to the white beaches.

CD: Oh I remember. Sales going well?

Phillip: We are very, very pleased with our sales thus far. In fact, we just sold a gorgeous Mondrian residence about an hour ago to a wonderful Montreal-based family!

CD: Where are most of the buyers coming from?

Phillip: Baha Mar owners will truly represent the world. We have many purchasers from, of course, the United States and Canada. But we also have buyers from as far away as China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, France, Italy, Venezuela and Brazil.

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CD: And the opening is in less than a year…

Phillip: Grand Opening will be in December of this year and, because it is a single-phase development, all of the amenities will be unveiled together. It’s so much fun to see everything take shape. You see the beautiful architecture becoming a reality, the grass of the Nicklaus Signature golf course growing in, the Bellagio-style show fountains being built, etc… and it just takes your breath away. The level of luxury that Baha Mar will provide will truly be something the Caribbean has never seen before. But maybe the best thing to see is the incredible team of professionals Baha Mar has assembled. I’ve never seen such passion for a single goal – to provide the ultimate resort experience to our owners and guests. Baha Mar is going to blow people away!

Drakes Island, Maine

Sunset in Drakes Island, Maine

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Master bedroom gardens at Alva Court, home of T. Boone Pickens, Dallas

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Laguna Beach, California

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BahaMar, Nassau, The Bahamas

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Long Cove, Mabank, Texas

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Light Farms, Celina, Texas

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Boot Ranch, Fredericksburg, Texas

Cinnamon Shore, Mustang Island, TX

Cinnamon Shore, Port Aransas, Texas

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Alys Beach, Florida

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Museum Tower, Dallas

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3911 Beverly Drive, Dallas

9839 Rockbrook

9839 Rockbrook, Dallas

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9800 Rockbrook, Dallas

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9784 Audubon, Dallas

CD Holiday card 2013
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La Fortuna front  (2)You have heard me bragging on 3RD Home on these pages before.

3RD Home (see ad to right) is a web site for second home owners that expands second home ownership by creating a home swap of vetted vacation home owners and properties. It’s like belonging to your very own Exclusive Resorts, only more exclusive. You must already be a second home owner — condo, home, ranch — and then you can exchange your home to stay at a THIRD home for — are you ready? $495 a week. That is not a typo. It costs you $495 to join 3RD HOME, and then $495 per week per stay at a home that matches the value, categorized as keys. I might add this must be full home ownership on your part, no family timeshares like our beach house. All the homes and owners are scrutinized so you know you are not just getting a five star location, you are putting nice people just like yourself in your property.

The genius behind this Nashville, TN -based company (The Southwestern Company is a partner) is Wade Shealy, a veteran second home Realtor who earned his stripes selling vacation homes in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

“I sold out my last development in 2006 – Hampton Island off the coast of Georgia,” says Wade. “Uber hot when Ben Affleck bought a home on Hampton Island.”

What did he see coming down the pike? People needing second homes like they need a colonoscopy.

“I was sitting, waiting for it to turn around, and I waited. And waited, ” says Wade. “So I started looking at options for owners to get more value from those homes.”

Truthfully, the second home market is doing better, but not as well as the primary market. According to the latest NAR research,

  • The median vacation home purchase price was higher in 2012 than in 2011–$150,000.
  • The share of vacation buyers who did not use a mortgage rose slightly to 46 percent from 42 percent in 2011.
  • Since there were fewer distressed properties on the market in 2012, there were fewer that could be purchased. The share of vacation buyers who purchased a vacation property dropped to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2011.
  • However, the share does remain high—20 percent of vacation buyers purchased a home in foreclosure, while 15 percent purchased a short sale.
  • Vacation buyers expect to own their vacation home for 10 years.

More second homeowners are leasing vacation homes for cash flow, and a Realtor I spoke with in Phoenix recently, Walt Danley, told me pre-retirees are buying homes in Phoenix and Scottsdale, for example, at devalued pricing, leasing them and holding them for retirement in 5 to 7 years. Of course, many of them are snowbirds and I hope they can unload those primary homes.

But when you have a second home, when you are dishing out $7000 a month in mortgage, insurance and other second home housing costs, the last thing you want to hear is “let’s go skiing this year” when you own a home at the beach.

But with 3RD HOME, you can trade the beach house for a ski chalet for $495. per week. It’s a way to stretch the vaca home to more than one location without breaking the bank or — horrors — buying another vacation home.

In fact, 3RD Home is more than a home exchange, it’s an estate exchange.

“Its proprietary key system puts you in control,” says Steve Zacks at 3RD Home. “You earn credits, called Keys, each time you make a week in your second home available for other members use.”

With those Keys in hand, which serve as the currency in the 3RD HOME system, you then can immediately reserve any available property and week 24/7 online.  There is no direct or simultaneous exchange required with another member.

What makes 3RD HOME truly unique and superior is the quality of the homes made available for your use.  There are more than 1550 homes spanning the globe with an average value of $2.25 Million and many well above $5 to 10 million.  An example is this gem located in Argentina named La Fortuna.  A complete description of this luxurious estate can be found on the 3RD HOME website. And yes, it’s ready for a swap!

SecondShelters.com readers with second homes are urged to explore the site, and take advantage of the special membership offer by clicking the ad on our home page or this link.

Like we say, “you can never have too many homes” and 3RD HOME gives you access to even more.LA Fortuna Garden (2) La Fortuna Trees (2)

Long Cove Regatta Athens Texas(19)Don McNarama does real estate developments, and he does them right. He is the investor responsible for Dallas’ well-known CityPlace, which includes the West Village urban developments. West Village has become a virtual synonym for successful urban commercial real estate development. If I had a dime for every time a developer said to me, “we are building a West Village-type community…” I’d be, well, McNamara’s neighbor.

Actually, we were Don McNamara’s neighbor once, for about six months. We were living in a rent house on Brookview in Preston Hollow while we built our home. Please note: nice North Dallas ranch rent house, not a Mark Kreditor special. The McNamara’s had boys at St. Marks School of Texas, four houses away. They purchased two lots abutting the school and built a home so their kids could be closer and bring home friends.

In the 16 short months we lived on Brookview, our son was a freshman at St. Marks, and I learned how wonderful it was to live so close to school. St. Marks became our “town square”. Even better, I hung up my car-pool keys for good. We walked to school, too, for meetings, meets and games. When I took cookies to the football team after practice, they were warm from my oven. And I loved it when the kids all came over to our house, even though it was “the rental house” — most of my household was in storage in one of the bedrooms — so it was like we were camping. The kids sat anywhere.

That’s what the McNamaras must have wanted when they built a huge family home on two Preston Hollow lots next to St. Marks: proximity, kids and family fun at the house 24/7.

Don McNamara has also owned a private family vacation compound on Cedar Creek Lake for almost 20 years. A mammoth lake home hidden behind groves of trees on the Cedar Creek shore, there’s enough room to sleep the entire football team. Talk about toys, the “McNarosa” as they call the compound has it all: water skis, sail boats, cruisers, yachts, fishing gear, an elegant antique French water taxi, even a private golf course. Sailing into the McNamera Cove, you would think you are at the Long Island Yacht Club.

Long Cove McNamara lawn(16) Just so happens Long Cove is right next door. It’s really a combination of all the things that Long Cove (17).jpgMcNamara dockDon’s family and friends have loved and enjoyed at their second home over the years. Way more than a pool, a dock and a lake, Long Cove is McNamara’s dream vacation home playland: there’s a comfortable lakefront swim club with fitness center, an outdoor kitchen, huge pool complete with a waterslide for both adults and kids, a splash and play area, and a dedicated kids pool. There is more of a sand beach than you get these days in Miami Beach. The waterfront amenities include floating community docks, beach & sand volleyball courts, sailboats and paddleboards. All of this is include in the yearly HOA’s (from $4400 to $6300 a year), grab and go. Someone can even teach you paddleboarding. A restaurant and dry storage marina are in blueprint stage, maybe even framed by now. There is even a restored historic water taxi for sunset cruises on the lake.

In a way, it’s like building that house right next to St. Marks, so the kids could be close by, and the adults can kind of be kids.

Best of all, Long Cove is a sophisticated, well-planned and executed, thoroughly researched lake home community that is just over an hour from downtown Dallas.

Long Cove water view of LC Long Cove lake viewWhen it comes to vacation homes, I’m spoiled. I have seen the best. So when we first visited Gun Barrel City to see Cedar Creek Lake years ago, I was a bit disappointed. The name sounded so quaint and charming, but Gun Barrel City development was not on a par with coastal Maine towns like Kennebunkport, The Hamptons, Seaside, Watercolor, Alys Beach, or inland communities like Calistoga Ranch, Boot Ranch, or Mayacama. And where are my concierge services so I can enjoy my stay, not spend it all working?

But Cedar Creek Lake is bubbling up, as sophisticated developers finally target the fourth largest lake in Texas for planned upscale second home environments on a par with the aforementioned. There is Beacon Hill, The 505 Ranch and then, further south by about 25 minutes, closer to Malakoff and Log Cabin, there is Long Cove — Don McNamara’s baby smack next door to his over-the-top vacation enclave.

“My hope is that Long Cove gives other families a one-of-a-kind chance to enjoy Cedar Creek Lake in the way that my friends and family have for years now,” says Don McNamara, developer of Long Cove and president and CEO of Hampstead Holdings, the company developing it. “This development represents a personal passion for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to introduce Long Cove to families in Dallas who are searching for that quick, convenient getaway that can be their go-to place for getting back to the basics of family life.”

Dallas area families are taking note.

“I love how Long Cove has developed houses around a community clubhouse, ” says Cynthia Smoot, a popular Park Cities Blogger, ad exec and mother. “It really gives you the feeling that you are buying into a lifestyle, and not just acquiring a lot.”

Cynthia really likes the amenities: top-notch, she says, from the fishing pond to the sand volleyball court, boat concierge service to the community workout facility. They are just the tip of the iceberg.

“They have thought of everything,” she says. “Long Cove is just over an hour outside of Dallas, yet it feels another life away. It’s the perfect retreat from busy city life.”

long cove water slideMcNamara spent years acquiring the land, then assembled a crack team of LongCove.LakeClub.7211 LongCove.Pool.7170developers to walk every inch. They researched the most successful, sustainable, walkable vacation communities in the land to find and implement what had worked. Here is where they went first: Seaside, a Robert S. Davis/Andres Duany/Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk development heralded as the New Urbanism in its prime. Like McNamara, Davis’ grandfather purchased 80 acres along the Florida Gulf panhandle shore as a family retreat, which Davis inherited in 1979. The developer and architects studied southern towns in detail to create the perfect beach community, socially as well as physically, based on a town square center from which everyone could walk everywhere. In an interview, Andres Duany told me that Seaside was “accidentally” environmental: houses were built on stilts for drainage. 

“The basic premise is you should have all your ordinary daily needs within walking distance — and a six year old could have the run of the place,” he said. “Dogs don’t need leashes — in fact the Seaside dog, Bud, lived to age 18 without ever wearing a leash.” 

Those are the basics of family life McNamara seeks at Long Cove — safety, no locked doors, parked cars, sports, and an evening spent watching fireflies away from electronics. His team also studied Watercolor, a Seaside clone developed by The St. Joe Company;  Rosemary Beach; Palmetto Bluff, and Horseshoe Bay down on Lake LBJ in Marble Falls.

“The idea was to create a small beach town community life style on a beautiful lake in north Texas,” says Josh Ellis, Sales Director of Long Cove Development, Inc. “Think The Hamptons. Nothing like this has ever been available before for Dallas/Fort Worth residents.”

Malakoff tx mapLocation is where McNamara hit the jackpot: Long Cove is just 75 miles (just over an hour) southeast of Dallas, via a pastoral drive down U.S. Highway 175, past Gun Barrel City, crossing south on 198. Here he also had the best, deepest, side of the lake. McNamara knit together 1200 acres brimming with 80-year-old Post oaks, located along six miles of untouched shoreline on the south side of Cedar Creek. Long Cove is really the last great development opportunity on the lake.

What kept this part of the lake quiet for so many years? Access and a low-lying bridge that made it difficult for boats to get under as it sat on the water line — anything bigger than a rowboat could not pass. Then the state built a four-lane arching bridge, state highway 198, which made the southeast portion of the lake much more accessible for watercraft.

The finger of the lake where Long Cove is located is itself the size of Lake Athens, and holds some of the deepest, calmest, clearest water on Cedar Creek – more coveted features of recreational lakes. Texas lakes are prone to drought, and Cedar Creek has seen the worst. But this side of the lake has the geography to keep water levels higher even during the worst five-year droughts. For one, this is the southern end, the dam is here, and water is always naturally flowing downward.  This end is closer to Athens, which enjoys a rolling natural terrain of hills that slope into the lake. The Long Cove development team used recent drought conditions to influence building plans: taking advantage of low lake levels from the wisp-dry summer of 2011, they created extended and floating docks, giving homeowners boat access even in the most extreme conditions.

The first Long Cove development phase is currently under construction, located on a half-mile of shoreline that includes 33 lakefront homes.  By car, homeowners enter a gated community, then proceed down a two-mile entry road winding through forest and meadows, passing by fishing ponds and over a 100 year old one-way iron bridge.  Cute country signage indicates a relaxing experience ahead, the reason why owners have left the big city behind. The wooded surroundings offers a sense of privacy and seclusion, which combined with the on-site concierge service, makes owning a lake home far less of a chore, which is a basic premise of the development. Long Cove Development has partnered with John Boyd & Associates, a Dallas-based Architecture and Interior Design firm to design 22 Waterside Cottages in this phase. Buyers may also purchase one of the seven Lake Front Lots or four Family Compound Lots to build a vacation home with the builder of their choice. The development puts a two year limit on how long a lot can remain vacant before building. All these custom homesites have sold, and 8 of the 10 first offered Waterside cottages homes are gone. That leaves 14 available in this phase; Dodd’s Landing, the second phase of development, has just released 16 custom homesites, and more Cottage inventory has been released on the western horseshoe.

Long Cove ext 1outside 1 Long Cove ext 2 The Waterside Cottages are turn-key lakefront homes, offered in seven different floor plans and a “low country meets Hill country” architectural style –with customized finishes and the “Seaside” look: pastel clapboard, beach house classic made of faux cedar shakes. Custom homes will be available in one of five styles: craftsman, rustic shingle, low country, ranch, Austin stone and Hill Country contemporary. Waterside cottage square footage runs from 2000 to 3600, 3 to 6 bedrooms and pricing is from $695,000 to $1,300,000. The lakefront lots feature up to 150 feet of shoreline and are sized between 1/2 acre to 1 acre, while the waterfront Family Compound properties are sized to accommodate multiple structures, with up to 470 whopping feet of shoreline and up to 2.5 acres per lot. Prices for custom homesites — dirt only — in Dodd’s Landing (phase two) will range from $335,000 to $575,000 per lot.

Ultimately, Long Cove will be comprised of multiple neighborhoods and more than 300 waterfront properties, that’s all. Future phases include a new marina, restaurant and the excavation of major extensions to the lake that will increase Long Cove’s existing shoreline from six miles to eight miles or more, which is already underway.

In addition to lake and pool activities, Long Cove will have a toy barn, a “lending library” for every piece of  on land sports equipment or water gear you could imagine for fun at the lake, modelled after life at the McNarosa. Beyond the shores of Cedar Creek, in the piney woods, regulation-sized sports fields will encourage quick football, rugby,tennis or soccer games. There are plans for a PGA quality driving range and short golf game practice area where the guys can get away to swing the clubs without feeling the pressure to play a full 18 holes of golf. There has also been discussion of bringing in horses for trail rides, perhaps even a corner where owners can raise farm-to-table vegetables to be consumed by residents or sold at a local Farmer’s Market,  a touch of Prairie Crossing in East Texas, but those are not confirmed amenities at this point.

Long Cove FP fireplace Long Cove home under construction(24)Above all, Long Cove is an upscale community where you might be wearing flip flops and shorts the whole weekend, but help will be there when you want it, if you want it. Boat valet services mean your boat is always tuned, gassed and clean. The floating docks will keep boats available no matter the lake level. Lawns can be mowed, trimmed, houses cleaned and refrigerators stocked upon your arrival.

The whole point is to relax, take it easy, and play with the kids when you get here. Even if you have to rush back to Dallas for soccer practice.

“Every consideration has been taken in the design of the Long Cove development and in the combination of amenities we offer. It’s all about putting the right ingredients in place to make for a phenomenal family experience,” said Chris Kelsey, Long Cove president. “Long Cove is unlike any other lakefront residential community in Texas, trading the traditional private golf community feel for a new idea – a luxury getaway that redefines quality family time.”

Nassau3.23.13 (46).jpgbeach privateWe probably know it deep in our gut, but luxury vacation homes built on the water cost 63% more, on average, than similar properties that are land-locked. This from a global property consultant, Knight Frank, who scrutinized the ten most popular second home destinations around the world.

And if they have to cover naked beaches with shipped-in sand, or grind down glass to make it, that cost could even go higher.Waterfront living Wall Street JournalThe most expensive waterfront properties in the world are on Italy’s Lake Como, about 30 miles north of Milan. I have been to Lake Como and know full well why. Next is Barbados followed by Phuket in Thailand and central Algarve along Portugal’s southern coast.

Then comes sand-poor Miami.

I know I don’t have to explain this to my dear readers: we covet waterfront properties, lake or sea, because they are exclusive and secluded all at the same time. Who does not love falling asleep listening to the surf? Enjoying a glass of wine over a beach-front sunset? That’s why beach front properties and developments such as The Palms and Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, BahaMar in Nassau, Camana Bay in Grand Cayman , Costa Baja in La Paz, Mexico, Honua Kai and the whole state of Hawaii, are gearing up. In fact, beach property everywhere is getting hotter, especially with foreign buyers. The National Association of Realtors reports that as many as a quarter of the buyers in South Florida are from outside the U.S., many looking for waterfront.

According to the Wall Street Journal, true waterfront homes in Lake Como are hard to come by — hence increased value.

“It’s the first question I ask people, ‘Do you want waterfront or lake views?’ Generally speaking, if you can’t see the water, people are not interested,” Mr. Fawcett says. “I’ve had people who have been looking for three, four, five years, but they’re all happy to bide their time. These people appreciate that it’s a rare commodity to get a true waterfront property.”

In the U.S., waterfront properties sell for 60% more than non-waterfront homes in Miami, according to Knight Frank. According to Audrey Ross, senior vice president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, sometimes waterfront properties can sell for more than a 100% premium, — double the price of a non-waterfront equivalent.

“The premium goes directly to how high the water is and how wide the views are. Basically, the bigger the view, the higher the price,” she says.

Families with small children may not find waterfront homes desirable, though I always found the vast beach much safer than a swimming pool when my children were babies. They can toddle on a beach, built sand castles, dabble in the  water without venturing in too much. Mine were afraid of the surf until they were old enough to be strong swimmers. .

Most investors think buying a waterfront property is like buying gold bars, but there are also expenses involved: higher insurance costs for hurricane and dredging, which municipalities usually cover but turn to taxpayers to fund. There are also tsunamis, which we experienced in a very small way last year in Hawaii when the Four Seasons Kona was evacuated. (This shot was taken right after the water receded.)

Hawaii 120.jpg Four Seasons post tsunami

Miami is great, but did you know Miami Beach is running out of sand? For many years Miami Beach replaced sand lost to hurricanes and tides by simply pumping it from the ocean floor, which is what most beach communities do. But by 2001, because of the area’s geography, that ended. There are three reef tracks running alongside Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, which make dredging difficult. The continental shelf also narrows greatly here, meaning the ocean gets too deep too quickly.

Miami Beach sandActually, Miami beaches will be out of sand by February. Officials are very concerned that this will affect tourism and those beach houses consumers have paid through the nose for.

Possible solutions include buying sand from nearby St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, who have said no, saving their sand for their own beaches. Miami could also buy sand from the Bahamas or Mexico, and ship it in at a hefty price. They are also looking at making sand out of recycled glass. Yes, at one time sand was used to make glass, so this is a simply a reversal process:

Broward County is exploring the cost of recycling glass to fill small gaps in its beaches — it is more costly than offshore sand, but it is not yet clear by how much. Broward would also have to find a nearby facility to process the glass and complete the final phase of its environmental study. Other states have used recycled glass, but mostly for small projects like golf courses.

For now, the idea remains on the table. It is creative, said Ms. Jacobs, the Broward County mayor. It could promote a market for glass, she added.

Broward is looking to finance the last part of its environmental study, and will weigh the costs. The sand has so far proved an excellent mimic of regular sand, which is used to produce glass, after all. “If we could generate our own sand,” Ms. Jacobs said, “it would be fantastic.”

Costa BajaThis is great news — I am a big fan of 3rd Home, and an even bigger fan now to hear who all is joining the vacation home party: Tucker’s Point Club in Bermuda, The Deer Valley Club and– Costa Baja in La Paz, Mexico, one of my favorite Cabo area getaways. In fact, I am hoping to get away to Costa Baja later this year for an update. Here is my full report on the opening. 3RD Home is a pioneering travel club for people who own luxury second home properties… and the best way to turn your second home into a THIRD!

NASHVILLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–3RD HOME, the pioneering reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners, continues to set the standard among luxury home exchange programs with the announcement of three new affiliates. Joining 3RD HOME’s world-class roster are Tucker’s Point Club – one of the finest resort communities in the world, set on 200 acres of rolling hillsides in Tucker’s Town, Bermuda, The Deer Valley Club, a private residence club in a beautiful true ski-in/ski-out location on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, and CostaBaja, “A Whole World in One Place” on the Sea of Cortez with extraordinary vacation homes, international Marina and Beach Club, and a Gary Player Signature Golf Course. Through the affiliate program, 3RD HOME members are granted access to five-star residence clubs and resort experiences.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for our owners to travel around the world and take advantage of 3RD HOME’s impressive portfolio of vacation properties”

“We are committed to increasing the variety of luxury travel opportunities for our members, and providing a valued service to the most prestigious residence clubs. Our partnerships with these top properties will allow us to offer 3RD HOME members an experience like no other, and increase the utility of owning at these great communities,” said 3RD HOME CEO / Founder, Wade Shealy. “We are certain that Tucker’s Point Club, The Deer Valley Club and CostaBaja will be popular destinations for our existing members. We are excited to work with these new partners and welcome their current owners to join 3RD HOME.”

“This is an exceptional opportunity for our owners to travel around the world and take advantage of 3RD HOME’s impressive portfolio of vacation properties,” said Tom Sleeter, Director of Sales & Marketing at Tucker’s Point. “It’s an ideal arrangement where everybody wins.”

Designed exclusively for luxury second homeowners, 3RD HOME provides a level of value that cannot be obtained through any other home exchange program or destination club. 3RD HOME’s partnerships with over 20 world renowned residence clubs and developments, ranging from the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City to Esperanza, an Auberge Resort in Cabo San Lucas, allow 3RD HOME members to exchange their homes for stays at full-service properties. 3RD HOME memberships are endorsed to affiliate property owners as well, which enables them to exchange unused time at their residences to access over 1,500 vacation homes and villas in the 3RD HOME portfolio.

Created to fill a need expressed by second homeowners, 3RD HOME affords members a safe and trustworthy way to “expand” the use of their second homes without the hassles of renting. By depositing weeks in their second homes into the club, members earn 3RD HOME keys, which can be used as currency to immediately reserve a stay in any other available property. To become a member of 3RD HOME or to learn more about its affiliate program, please visit www.3rdhome.com or www.3rdhome.com/affiliates.

About 3RD HOME

3RD HOME is a pioneering private club for the owners of luxury second homes. Featuring over 1,500 properties in 68 countries, with an average value of $2.25 million, and endorsements from iconic residential developments, 3RD HOME enables second homeowners to travel the world and stay in premier properties without the expense of renting. Unlike traditional home exchanges, 3RD HOME does not require a direct or simultaneous exchange with another member. By making available weeks of time in their own second home for other members’ use, members earn 3RD HOME Keys that can be used as currency to immediately reserve a stay at other 3RD HOME properties. Prospective members are pre-screened for home quality and members provide unbiased ratings and feedback on their host and guest experiences to ensure the highest quality of members and their residences. 3RD HOME facilitates a reliable and safe exchange process through a seamless internet platform, providing sophisticated travelers with unmatched experiences. To learn more, visit www.3RDHOME.com.

ABOUT TUCKER’S POINT CLUB

Tuckers Point BermudaTucker’s Point is Bermuda’s premier resort, golf club and residential community. Offerings include partial ownership Residence Clubs, as well as Whole Ownership Communities, that include villas, town homes, custom homes and lots. The centerpiece of the resort is Rosewood Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa; amenities include a full-service Spa, Fitness Centre, Dive & Watersports Centre, and The Point Restaurant. The private Tucker’s Point Club includes a championship golf course and clubhouse, lighted Har-Tru clay tennis courts, and a spectacular beach club with Bermuda’s largest private, pink-sand beach.

ABOUT THE DEER VALLEY CLUB

Deer Valley ClubThe Deer Valley Club elevates the value of ski vacation home ownership by freeing you from the hassles and high cost of sole property ownership. We believe that vacations are meant to be enjoyed, whether that means playing hard on the mountain, or relaxing deeply on the terrace. However you define the perfect vacation, we’re certain it shouldn’t include maintenance, mundane errands or schlepping ski gear. Taking care of all upkeep, transportation and even grocery shopping is our job. Your job is to enjoy your vacation!

The Deer Valley Club is the world’s original luxury private residence club; our founders pioneered an ownership concept that has become a proven and well-respected option for savvy real estate investors all across the planet. What’s more, we are the only private residence club offering direct ski-in/ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort’s renowned slopes.

 

ABOUT COSTABAJA

vistamarbeach04-low-res.jpgcosta bajaCostaBaja is the ultimate destination in La Paz. It has everything desired in an international getaway, starting with its enticing 5-star Resort & Spa, and culminating in an inspiring collection of vacation homes and real estate opportunities. CostaBaja is thoughtfully master-planned as an all-inclusive resort whose pleasures extend from the world-class Marina and Beach Club, to fine dining and shopping, to the Gary Player Signature Course at the CostaBaja Golf Club. CostaBaja has everything you could want in an international escape, so you never need to leave it. But, it offers even more because it has La Paz. With its quiet, white sand beaches, its bay after aqua bay open to discovery, and its safe and friendly community, La Paz is a secret adventure with all the conveniences and culture of an international destination.

 

Nassau3.23.13 (46).jpgbeach privateIt’s the most talked about second home resort in the western world, located on a shimmering Bahamian beach dubbed the new French Riviera.

Baha Mar is a $3.5 BILLION mega-resort under construction now in Nassau, The Bahamas. Thousands of construction crews are working around the clock, working so diligently they add one full story to the hotel towers every ten days. It is the largest resort under construction in the Western Hemisphere and has been described as Vegas with 3000 feet of beach.

Here’s how majorly buzzed this resort is: I was at a national real estate editor’s conference, talking, actually, to the developer of another major resort in the Caymans. I mentioned that I had visited Baha Mar and was very impressed. Her eyes grew wide.

“You should be,” she said. “Everyone knows about Baha Mar, everyone is watching it. Even developers think it will set total major new standards of luxury in the Caribbean resort world.”

And this came from the competition!

BahaMar_CGI_Birdseye_2Such a development is the colossal Baha Mar mega-resort. The $3.5 billion, yes, with a “B” project is set on 1,000 acres of prime beach front paradise and will soon become one of the world’s largest, most luxurious resorts with everything jet-setting second home owners who love water could desire, and then more.

And then, even more!

The total square footage of the development is expected to hit 3.3 million, with every square inch devoted to luxury. Baha Mar will open formally in December, 2014. There will be four hotels including a luxury Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, and Mondrian and the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. All of the hotels will surround a 100,000 square foot casino that promises to combine the best of Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. Jack Nicklaus himself is directing construction of a brand new 18-hole Nicklaus Signature golf course. The resort will include 40+ luxury retail stores, 30+ restaurants, bars and nightclubs all set on one of the world’s most spectacular beaches.

Baha Mar is selling 284 private residences total for everyone’s taste. There will be one bedroom condominiums to three bedroom penthouses, and four bedroom total beach villas all overlooking miles and miles of sparkling clear, aqua blue ocean.

Perhaps the best news yet: the lift will be so convenient, you will practically land at the resort. Seriously, Baha Mar has already invested in building more than $250 million new tree-lined boulevards that will connect the resort to Nassau’s sparkling new Lynden Pindling International Airport with only a 10 minute ride. Lynden Pindling is the largest airport in The Bahamas, and was recently enlarged even more. If you fly private, you can depart the mainland and be on the beach by ten. Fly commercial, you can early-bird it from DFW via Miami in the morning, and be on the beach by afternoon.

One of the most interesting facts about this ambitious development is how it is leading the Bahamas out of the worst recession since The Great Depression.

In April 2005, Lyford Cay-based property developer Sarkis Izmirlian put together the newly-formed Baha Mar Development Company and purchased three aging dowager hotels on Nassau’s Cable Beach.

Baha Mar Development worked closely with the Bahamian government and put together plans for a multi-billion play world on Cable Beach that would include private residences, hotels, a casino, retail village, convention centre, state of the art expanded and enlarged golf course, plus of course beach and pool amenities.

But, then, the perfect storm: The U.S. housing market came crashing down, with Europe to follow, like a twin domino.

March, 2009. I remember the mood well, even in “we escaped-the-recession” Texas. (Yes, the tee shirts exist.) Real estate was glum, depressing, and no one was moving unless they absolutely had to or were carried out of their homes feet first. Banks were as dry as the the Sahara.

Baha Mar, rather than folding the tent, looked east for it’s fortune, to the cash-rich Chinese government.

That’s where the magic happened.

China’s Export-Import Bank agreed to arrange $2.5 billion in construction financing and the China State Construction & Engineering Company (the largest construction company in the world) signed on to build the project. The plan called for Baha Mar to feature four luxury hotels and add 2,200 hotel rooms and condos to the country’s current inventory.

By supporting Baha Mar’s development, the Bahamian government created 4,000 more Bahamian jobs, $400 million in Bahamian construction contracts, and $8 million for training Bahamian workers. After all, white glove hotels were coming in and the staffs needed detailed training to kick service up a notch or so..

Bahamian firms got their contracts, and the China State Construction & Engineering Company got to work. The developer also covered the cost of a fancy new electrical substation, built a central sewerage system, and even a reverse osmosis plant for potable water. Massive on-site generators guaranteed to keep the resort juiced up even after a storm for several weeks. Then the developer did even more economic hand-stands: when work on the $75 million road to the airport, named “JFK” by Bahamians, was stalled and slowed, Chinese workers pitched in and helped to finish it. Despite the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War of yesteryear, this part of the Caribbean likes Americans enough to name a major street after an American president.

Why do you want this second home resort development on your radar?

Baha_Mar_CGI_1_LR[1] BML_ConstructionAerial_DSC_0018_LR[1]If you are considering a second home for purchase in a beautiful beach environment, this is it, baby. Buy now or keep Baha Mar on your radar. 284 residences are available for sale, starting at about $1.2 million, each with a killer water view. Baha Mar has the magic of great climate, sunshine and surf which means if you buy here, you will enjoy the water every day and every day will be like, well, vacation!

“The views are endless,” says Tom Dunlap, president of Baha Mar Development. Dunlap cut his teeth at Walt Disney Co. as vice president of Imagineering, then built a few billion dollar plus resorts in California and Costa Rica. Now he’s the man in charge of constructing every molecule of the resort from 9,000 sheets of drawings!

It is in the design of Baha Mar where you most see the fingerprints of world-class developer Sarkis Izmirlian. Izmirlian’s charge to the teams of architects and designers was to create a place that provided all of the luxuries anyone could imagine in a five-star resort, but preserve the authentic look and feel of the Bahamas. Like the waterfalls and brightly colored stucco buildings that pop out and make you feel brighter just from the ocular jolt. Bahaman art will be proudly displayed and promoted.

“Fads and trends will come and go,” says Izmirlian, “but when you are true to your surroundings, that will never go away.”

When you see the design of Baha Mar, the entire development looks and feels like the Bahamas. When you get a look at the uncompromising luxury of the finishes in the residences, your reaction is that someone really was very careful, thoughtful, almost obsessive about how they planned Baha Mar, as if they were matching the perfect weather.

“It’s absolutely beautiful (in Nassau) every day, ” Dunlap told The Bahamas Investor. “When you build these great resorts, it’s kind of like building a stage set. We are in a location where the people have been in the hospitality business for a long time, and understand the importance of our guests having a wonderful time.”

Baha Mar is becoming the poster child of a development that is doing everything RIGHT: the sophistication and solidarity of the developer, the construction genius of Tom Dunlap, a $3.6 billion USD infusion from China, and top brand names of the major hospitality players committed: Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and Mondrian.

BahaMar_Construction_NightDunlap says Bahamas buyers tend be 80% American, and 10% each Canadians and Europeans. Baha Mar, just this month, began marketing in the United States so you will likely begin seeing and hearing much more about the resort. Baha Mar is also attracting an international jet-setting crowd with purchasers from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Because of the generally low cost of living in the Bahamas and the virtual absence of property or income taxes, the Bahamas has become one of the world’s top retirement meccas as well as a jet-setter playground.

While some second home purchasers are interested in a resort like Baha Mar because of the rental income a popular resort property can provide, most are looking for a place to create family memories in one of the world’s most beautiful water and natural marine life havens. They want expansive beach front, plus clean, sparkling warm waters, perfect weather and activities 24/7 the moment they arrive. That could be swim, snorkel, scuba, sun and jet ski, or it could be boat rides to explore private islands, lolling on a yacht, golf on signature courses, tennis, fitness, spa, arts and theater.

And always, of course, shopping for the glamorous nights at the casino.

“The affluent buyer is no longer focused on zip codes,” says Laurie Moore-Moore, a Dallas-based real estate consultant at The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “The uber wealthy have become a tribe unto themselves where they find each other through common activities. They want stories and experiences, not just products.”

“This is a group that has become less local, far more global,” she says. “They find themselves through Wimbledon, The World Cup, Monte Carlo, Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach, sailing and great beaches.”

“We have new infrastructure, increased airlift and transportation,” says Tom Dunlap. “With the level of public infrastructure and private investment, I believe Baha Mar and The Bahamas are perched to hit a home run when we open in 2014.”

Home run? After my recent visit to the Baha Mar construction site and teases of the housing to come, I’d say it’s out of the ballpark!BML_ConstructionAerial_DSC_0027_LR[1]