Hurwitz James Company / Bob Hurwitz
To the consternation of real estate brokers, caterers, gardeners, tennis pros, and decorators across the U.S., the summer of 2009 was pretty much a bust. From Montauk to Malibu, the luxury real estate fire hose slowed to a trickle as prime properties that would have once sparked bidding wars went unsold and high-end rentals were shopped at steep discounts. How bad was it? Compared with 2008, luxury home values in the U.S. and Canada fell by an average 7.7 percent, according to London property broker Knight Frank.
But this year, as stocks rebounded, Wall Street bonuses returned, and the labor market shed fewer jobs, wealthy buyers are feeling better about purchasing multimillion-dollar estates. Robert Paul Properties, which specializes in luxury homes on Cape Cod and the Massachusetts South Coast, reported that the number of Cape Cod sales in the first quarter increased 58% over the same period a year earlier. The Corcoran Group reported that unit sales in the Hamptons increased 124% year-on-year in the first quarter. Vacation homes are starting to move again.
Businessweek.com contacted agents around the country to compile a list of the most expensive summer homes on the market. We looked in popular areas such as Southern California, Aspen, the Hamptons, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Maine, and the Bahamas rather than in places, such as Bel Air, that have a high percentage of year-round residents. Urban homes and undeveloped lots were not included. Of course, most people would be more than happy to use these plush homes as primary residences, but amenities such as beach access, pools, and equestrian facilities also make them ideal for weekend and holiday retreats.
Click here to see a selection of the most expensive summer homes for sale.