Monday, March 5, 2007

Inside India's Luxury Housing Boom

India’s real estate market is operating at a frenzied pace as developers strive to accommodate the country’s burgeoning middle and upper classes looking to upgrade in lifestyle.

But just because there is demand doesn’t mean there is supply--or enough supply, anyway. So while developers can’t seem to snap up land fast enough, the country, which was essentially closed to outside investment until only recently, has much catching up to do.

In the meantime, luxe complexes--which often feature standalone villas or high-rise apartments--continue to pop up in and around India’s wealthiest cities, like Mumbai and Delhi. With one more impressive than the next, these developments boast amenities, from the once unavailable--air conditioning, parking and security--to the once unimaginable--Jacuzzis, pools and spacious yards.

In Pictures: India’s High-End Homes

Manoj Benjamin, chairman of Royal Indian Raj International Corp. (RIRIC), says the population is suddenly more attuned to what is available, and thus desirable, thanks to its travels abroad and on the Internet. “They see the walk-in closets, the fancy kitchens, the pools and the big yards and they say, 'Why can’t I have this?' ”

Well, now they can, for a price. Locations throughout Mumbai, for instance, where demands for high-end options far exceed supply, have witnessed significant appreciation in property prices ranging from 80% to 120% over the last 12 to 15 months, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

“At the high end, large apartments used to be about 3,000 square feet. Today, that space will be 5,000 to 7,000-square feet in the city,” adds Cushman's executive director Sanjay Dutt. In addition to space, the newer complexes offer ample parking spaces, swimming pools, gardens and health clubs.

Even grander in scope--and likely price--are the full-scale city communities, much like those in Dubai, which are being developed around the nation. Among the pioneers in this arena is RIRIC, the Vancouver-based global real estate investment firm, which has plans to launch multiple planned city sites around India in the next few years.

Among their offerings is Royal Garden Villas and Resort, a five-star community in Bangalore. In addition to plush homes--both high-rise apartments and villas--the resort community will offer shops, a winery and a luxury hotel. Also included will be tennis, fitness and equestrian facilities, as well as a Jack Nicklaus signature 18-hole championship golf course.

According to Benjamin, the villas have already commanded a sizeable waitlist. He says the company expects to sell 10,000 to 15,000 units in the next 12 months, followed by 30,000 to 50,000 in 2008 and 2009, and 100,000 in 2010.

So what’s driving India’s surge in demand at the high end?

Among the explanations is significant income growth. That change has much to do with an influx of multinational companies, such as General Electric (nyse: GE - news - people ), which has come in to exploit the highly educated and vast worker pool. This, coupled with continued population growth, has resulted in increased demand, particularly at the high end.

Benjamin adds to this list deregulation, which has attracted more investors as well as capital. Until recently, mortgage financing was neither accessible nor affordable to most and tight regulations prevented direct foreign investment in the real estate market. Now, the availability of cheap financing has enabled aspiring homeowners to afford a higher-caliber product.

What’s more, the increasingly wealthy nation has seen a cultural shift in terms of image and lifestyle. Thanks to a surge of returning expatriates, who have grown accustomed to showy standards elsewhere, it is suddenly okay--if not encouraged--to flaunt one’s wealth in India.

So bring on the bulldozers--not to mention the pools and parking spaces.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

California Continues "Gold Rush" of Luxury Home Sales

In California, the Coldwell Banker organization reported more than six times more sales volume of luxury homes than any other state, at almost $31 billion, representing 55 percent of all Coldwell Banker luxury sales.

The top eight cities with the highest total Coldwell Banker luxury home sales volume were all in California, with Los Angeles boasting the highest luxury sales volume in the United States.

A $39.3 million home sale in Beverly Hills, Calif., was the largest closed transaction side by a U.S. Coldwell Banker sales associate in 2005.

California featured 13 home sales priced between $20 million and $25 million in 2005.

Around the Country

Florida ranked second in the nation with $5 billion in Coldwell Banker luxury home sales volume.

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Arizona and New York joined California and Florida as states reporting more than $1 billion in Coldwell Banker luxury home sales volume.

Arizona featured two cities in the top 10 in luxury home sales volume: Paradise Valley ranked ninth with more than $637 million in sales volume, while Scottsdale ranked 10th, reporting over $593 million in sales volume.

Hot Markets

In 2005, Kansas (309 percent), Idaho (189 percent) and Arizona (177 percent) reported the highest percent increases in luxury home sales volume.

The top five cities reporting the largest increases in luxury home sales volume in 2005 over 2004 are:

Paradise Valley, Ariz., increased 251 percent and jumped 43 places in the ranking.

Scottsdale, Ariz., increased 205 percent, rising 37 places from the 2004 standings.

Glencoe, Ill., climbed 90 percent and is ranked 44th in total luxury home sales volume. Glencoe rose 28 places in the 2005 Coldwell Banker luxury market report.

Naples, Fla., increased 82 percent and now is ranked 27th in total sales volume. Naples climbed 17 places from 2004.

Phoenix rose 79 percent and is now ranked 69th in total sales volume. Phoenix soared 44 places in the ranking.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Las Vegas High Rise Condos - The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino Plans to Release its Remaining Units!

Phil Gutman, Director of Sales for the Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino, a hotel-condominium project to be built on the Las Vegas strip next to the Bellagio, announced this evening that he will be releasing the remaining units in Cosmo's main tower for sale on Wednesday, July 13th. The Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino has been the shining star in the skyward development of the Las Vegas Strip.

With projects such as Aqua Blue, and the Majestic/Conrad closing their sales offices & announcing cancellation or re-tooling of their projects because of rising construction costs and sluggish sales, the Cosmpolitan has maintained an on-going consumer demand that has been ever-increasing. Instrumental in this project's success, and the driving force behind the sales effort is Phil Gutman, bringing to Las Vegas his extensive high rise experience from the Miami market.

Phil has worked closely with developer Bruce Eichner over the last few years and has helped direct the launches & successful sell-outs of some of the finest High Rise projects the Miami skyline has to offer. This "been there -done it" experience was the driving factor in Bruce Eichner's wise decision to select & relocate Phil to Las Vegas to direct the sales effort of this expansive Las Vegas High Rise project.

Eichner's team and choice of Gutman as his sales director has translated into the Cosmopolitan's incredible 90% plus conversion rate from reservation to contract in a record-breaking 3 month time frame. Phil uses his unique blend of polished managerial skills, combined with a loyal clientel/investor base who follow him from project to project with his sophisticated computer technological skills which resulted in an amazingly quick, efficient, sell-out.

Phil Gutman & David Ezra, broker/owner of Ezra International Realty, who as a team, chose to implement HIMS, a High Rise Inventory Management system with which to release Cosmo units. Their proprietary alegorithm scheme, by which they divided the building into blocks of units, released the building in a balanced manner. This ensures that there is always an attractive prime selection of units for buyers to choose from during all phases of the sales process. In some high rise projects that are unsuccessful, the building's prime units are cherry picked by the early buyers at lower prices, thus leaving the less desireable units unsold. This creates a stagnant group of units that the developer has to cut prices in order to sell. This end of the building close-out strategy not only reduces the profit margin for the developer, but destroys the building's pricing integrity.

The Cosmopolitan is cognizant of the investor/buyer mindset and has employed this unique HIMS pricing model and unit release strategy to maintain a strong continual buyer demand while maximizing developer and investor/buyer profits.

Phil announced this evening that the remaining units he will be releasing Wednesday, are studios of about 600 sq. ft., some north facing the Bellagio fountains, and some south facing the future MGM Project City Center and the Mandalay Bay/Monte Carlo Hotels. These units will be priced at $650k to $700k+.

Buyers will be required to go straight to contract with a 10% deposit and an additional 10% will be due in April 2006. The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2008.

On the morning of July 12th, Trump International Hotel & Tower will have its groundbreaking ceremony on site. Mr Trump has taken reservations for all 1280+ units.

On July 12th, the same day as the Trump Tower groundbreaking, Ivana Trump,in an effort to out-trump TRUMP, will begin the pre-launch of the Ivana Supertower. Ivana Supertower is zoned as a residential condominium but will be marketed as a managed resort rental condominium for short term rentals - daily, weekly, & monthly. This tower will be built to hotel specifications and be run as a 5 star resort. This is a unique concept and a first for Las Vegas.

Ivana will be an 80 level supertower located on the Las Vegas Strip on the northeast corner of Sahara & Las Vegas Boulevard offering fully furnished & appointed units and boasting incredible views. Reservations for Ivana are scheduled to begin shortly.

Phil Gutman said tonight that he is gearing up for the launch of Tower EIGHT, the thin front tower at the Cosmopolitan. This tower has "unprecedented pent-up consumer interest and demand". He will be releasing Tower EIGHT for sale at the end of the summer. The Cosmopolitan Tower EIGHT will consist of corner 1 bedroom suites of 1117 sq. ft. with 400 sq. ft. of wrap around balconies and HUDSON type studios. "Tower Eight is expected to have an incredibly rapid sell-out in record-breaking time," said Gutman. There will also be a select few larger residence-type units atop Tower EIGHT that are presently being designed. These units promise to offer amazing breathtaking Las Vegas Strip views and will range in size from about 2000 sq. ft. and up.

For more information contact:

June & Lauren Stark

Las Vegas High Rise Specialists

702 375-5220

$180 Million Dollar South Florida Waterfront Development Named One of Southeast’s Top Projects

Miami's BCArchitects announced today that the landmark $180 million dollar waterfront marina, restaurant and 351 unit twin-tower luxury residential and waterfront development, Marina Grande at Inlet Harbor, in Riviera Beach, FL has been named as One of the Southeast’s Top Projects by Southeast Construction, the magazine that reports such data for the industry. Only Twenty-Five (25) projects made the list.

Realtor Uses Body to Promote Real Estate in Florida

Maria Gomez, realtor for Keller Williams in Miami, Florida, is taking property advertising to a new fashion realm--body advertising. Gomez decided to take a unique approach to promoting her real estate listings in the booming Florida real estate market, as the only Realtor that wears her property listings when she goes out in public. Gomez creates t-shirts with an image of the listed property, with pricing and detailed information, and her contact information, then wears it all around town. She uses this form of advertising to promote and sell her listed properties. Gomez is like a walking businesscard

Rising Arizona Home Market Sparks Interest in Rent to Own and Lease Option Home Purchase Programs

Rising prices of Arizona homes have created a favorable atmosphere for the Rent to own home seller. Rent to own homes have long been thought of as a workaround for those with credit issues, low down payment funds, or self employed. All of these variables make it hard for the rent to own buyer to acquire conventional funding. This is the basis of the standard rent to own market, and what has created the industry.The game in rent to own has changed for some investors, and more so for homebuyers looking at this option. With a handful of markets growing in value at extreme rates, rent to own has changed in complexion, let me show you how.When you rent to own or lease purchase a home, you come in with a 2-4K Option fee, and you lock in an equity split for the home. You pay like a tenant for a period of 1 or 2 years, and the rent has a percentage levied against the balance. This retained money, option fee and equity split will only go towards purchase if you exercise your option.Arizona is in a phase of particular growth, and this new advantage has spawned a lot of opportunity for rent to own buyers. If you are able to find an honest good deal, then you will likely have a great deal on your hands once two years passes.The advice we give to make sure this advantage leans in your favor is to research the area and know its future development. The addition of nearby malls, theaters, parks, or quality housing can be the key to a nice price when it comes time to buy.Arizona is just one place that rent to own works for buyers, look into it in your city if the market is strong, and use it to lock in a price now and build equity today.Great site showing Arizona homes for sale and Lease Option information-http://www.cresaz.comTo have a lease option specialist contact you today, click here-

Join the Bulgarian Property Boom With Confidence

An Irish property investor in Sydney, Australia has created an investment kit that provides potential buyers with all of the relevant facts, figures and information to confidently buy Bulgarian property, which grew an average of 30% in 2004. "Bulgarian Property - The Overseas Buyers' Kit" contains a complete guide to the tax and ownership laws, calculators and various information-gathering templates.During a trip to Europe at the beginning of 2005 Tim Wright, creator of the kit, found that the Bulgarian property market was a hot topic although some people showed great reluctance to invest in an unknown market place. The package was designed to answer potential investors' questions and to provide the tools and peace of mind to invest in the Bulgarian market. The calculators can be used to determine potential returns once all the relevant initial and annual costs, such as State and Municipal taxes, have been deducted. "Bulgarian Property - The Overseas Buyers' Kit" is the one-stop-shop for foreign investors who want to buy in a high-growth market and understand all of the legalities and costs upfront.The high growth in the market is expected to continue long after Bulgaria's anticipated membership to the European Union is granted in 2007. Entry into The Bulgarian Property market is extremely low when compared with neighbouring European countries. Some websites offer properties for as little as 4,500 Euro. But Bulgaria is now experiencing an influx of investment especially into the areas of infrastructure and tourism and property prices are rising accordingly.With a low cost of living, fantastic snowfields and the Black Sea along the Eastern border, Bulgaria is quickly becoming the sun and ski holiday destination of choice for many Europeans. New developments are springing up especially in the coastal towns of Varna and Burgas, along with the ski towns of Borovetz, Bansko and Pamporovo. Many multinationals have also set-up offices in the capital Sofia.The Kit was created to answer the most common questions on the minds of investors concerning risk, best locations and investment rental returns. The package can be utilised by those looking to buy either a rental property or a holiday home.The templates enable to buyer to quickly gather and organise their research on multiple towns, properties with the potential rents, expenses and ultimately the rental returns, so as to leave no stone unturned when investing in a foreign property market. The Kit also contains a checklist to guide the investor through the entire purchase process, even down to finding the correct insurance and a property manager if needed."Bulgarian Property - The Overseas Buyers' Kit" can assist anyone considering investing in the market and taking advantage of the current rise in property prices.