Real Estate Industry Update

An e-report on real estate and lifestyle presented by Scott Franklund

News and Views on Real Estate
Record low mortgage interest rates improved pending home sales for the third consecutive month, with some benefit now from the first-time buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in April, rose 6.7 percent to 90.3 from a reading of 84.6 in March, and is 3.2 percent above April 2008 when it was 87.5. -- “Pending Home Sales Up for Three Months in a Row,” The National Association of Realtors, June 2

“…Italy’s second home market is holding steady, a new report says. Sales volumes of second homes have decreased by 10 percent and supply has increased by 4.2 percent, but prices have seen little change in the last year, according the study of 20 resort markets by the Federazione Italiana Agenti Immobiliari Professionali, Italy’s estate agent association. Resort cities in Veneto, Sicily, Sardinia and Tuscany have actually seen increases…”-- “Prices in Italy Stable, Study Says,” by Kevin Brass, The New York Times, May 20

What is Luxury?
A new study published by the Luxury Institute documents the current “State of the Luxury Industry.” A sample of more than 500 high net-worth consumers found that superior quality (82%), superior craftsmanship (78%) and superior customer service (60%) are the top three requirements of a luxury brand. -- From The Luxury Institute, http://www.luxuryinstitute.com/

An Investment in Luxury
“Extravagant luxury items are being marketed as investments rather than splurges. Smythson of Bond Street produces a handbag made from goatskin, lined in silk which sells for $1,660. The company advertisement calls it ‘this season’s investment accessory of choice.’” -- From Prestige New York Wealth Update, May 13

Featured Home...
Marque Estate of Cherry Creek
478 Saint Paul Denver, CO

Impeccable style and sleek sophistication unite in this superb contemporary home sited on a spacious corner lot amidst Denver's prestigious Cherry Creek district. Located at Fifth Avenue and Saint Paul Street, this exquisite property known as "The Marquis Estate of Cherry Creek" is a stone's thrown from Cherry Creek's celebrated upscale shopping, galleries and gourmet restaurants. The home fits its exclusive address as it seamlessly merges clean, linear architecture with floor-to-ceiling glass, exotic woods, stainless steel and natural stone to create a masterpiece of habitable modern art.

Drawing upon the principles of Mid-Century Modernism, this one-of-kind residence exemplifies flawless functionality and awe-inspiring contemporary style. To view additional photos and information, please visit LegendaryHomeCollection.com.


The State of Luxury

Aspen. Boulder. Denver. Telluride. Vail. No matter where you go in Colorado, buyers seeking an outstanding quality of life and a high standard of living can find it in many of the state's big or small cities. In this beautiful state, the Legendary Group is engaging buyers from around the world who desire a piece of Rocky Mountain luxury.

Beauty and Quality of Life

More than 300 days of sunshine make Colorado a mecca for sports and outdoor enthusiasts, from skiers who crave winter's fresh powder to hikers who navigate the Rocky Mountain back country each summer. For those into team sports, there are five major-league teams that call Colorado home.

Colorado also has a top symphony, an opera house, historical and other museums, upscale shopping districts, and many pockets of luxurious urban and mountain housing where residents can indulge in a laid-back lifestyle with a scenic backdrop.

Education, too, is a priority for Coloradoans. Hundreds of public and private educational options, including free charter schools, give residents the ability to pick and choose their ideal learning environment. Boulder, Colo., in fact, was named in 2008"America's Smartest City" by Forbes, much in part because of the city's commitment to diverse educational opportunities.

Sustainable Value

It's a simple, livable, bountiful life in Colorado, and the secret is getting out. In April, Forbes named Denver one of its Most-Livable Cities in America. The capital city also was listed alongside three other Colorado cities (Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs) on Forbes'20 Best Places for Business and Careers list.

The recession has hit housing hard in every area of the country. A recent Forbes report ranked the 25 largest U.S. metro areas on the basis of change in price per square foot, frequency of real-estate transactions, and how evenly distributed home-sales activity is in a metro area. Guess which metro area topped the list? Denver.

Overall, the state is poised to be among the first for economic recovery. Denver, in particular, is rated as the No. 1 American city on the edge of recovery based on: job growth, growing population, good weather, first-time buyers, no overbuilding, vital downtown, educated population, slowdown in foreclosures.

Attainable Luxury

Despite its extreme desirability, however, Colorado's luxury pricing trends have remained realistic and feasible for the average luxury buyer. In the Forbes Luxury Housing Index, which tracks America's most expensive ZIP codes based on median housing prices, Colorado has only three ZIP codes in the Top 100 list. All of those ZIP codes are in Pitkin County, home to world-class ski towns Aspen, Snowmass and Snowmass Village.

The luxury real estate market is changing rapidly. Whether you're a seller, a buyer or a real estate broker, learn how you can proactively keep pace with luxury home trends and technology in Colorado and beyond. Contact Scott Franlund at 303.440.4999 or info@LegendaryGroup.com.


Selling A Colorado Oasis … to a Coastal Buyer

For Jan Johnson, selling her 35-acre property in the foothills of Boulder, Colo., was a gut-wrenching decision. Not only had she lived in the home for 15 years, but she had painstakingly developed the acreage, artistically designed and built the home to complement its breathtaking natural views, and managed every detail of the pristine landscaping. "I felt as though I had created a piece of fine art that no one would fully appreciate as much as me," Jan says.

Still, the time was right in Jan's life to move on to other endeavors. The economy, however, wasn't so supportive. At a time when Jan needed to sell her unique property at the best price possible, local luxury homes were taking up to four years to sell. Given the distinctive nature of the property, she needed to find that one-of-a-kind buyer who would not only understand the artistic features the property offered, but would fall in love with the striking architecture and overall location as well.

When her agent suggested she market the property on a global level through LegendaryHomeAuction.com, Jan was intrigued. She couldn't imagine that a buyer outside of Colorado could be found, let alone found quickly, but she trusted the recommendation and signed up for the auction.

Within weeks, a cash buyer from Florida surfaced and the property sale was closed. "That buyer would never have seen the property if not for the auction format," Jan says. In the end, it was two simple yet infallible real estate tactics that sold the property: exposure and photos. The means to the end, however, was a pooled advertising fund that allowed Jan's property to be marketed on a national and global scale with minimal cost to her. Jan can't stop talking about the positive experience she had with LegendaryHomeAuction.com. "I find myself telling the story almost every day about the sale of my home and the experience with [Legendaryhomeaction.com]," she says.
Are you frustrated with the results of traditional real estate marketing campaigns? Sell your house via a national and global campaign like Jan did. Take the first step by contacting LegendaryHomeAuction.com at 303.440.4999 or mailto:Lauren@legendarygroup.com


A Golden Opportunity

In a turbulent economy, many individuals and households across the country are forced to take a cold, hard look at lifestyle habits and sort out luxuries from necessities. When it comes to big-ticket items like vacation homes, this prioritization step is particularly true. For some, the vacation home is among the first luxuries to take a backseat to everyday needs.

This scenario has no doubt impacted sales volume in resort markets where second-home sales comprise a bulk of the area's real estate transactions. With an over-saturation of vacation and investment homes on the market, sellers are finding it tough to sell quickly and for an optimal price. This is true even in markets that have enjoyed years of pricing trends that favored sellers.

Luxury holds its value
In Colorado's key resort areas such as Aspen, Vail and Steamboat Springs, the luxury housing market has changed rapidly since 2005. Even in a fluctuating economy, luxury homes in these markets have proven to be a viable asset.

In Aspen, for instance, the average vacation home sold for an average of $2.5 million in 2005. In 2008, that average jumped to more than $6.6 million. In Vail, buyers in 2005 could snag a resort property for less than $1 million. In 2008, the average jumped nearly 50 percent to $1.4 million. In Steamboat Springs, though, the change has been more gradual. Steamboat's average sales price in 2005 was about $600,000; in 2008, comparable properties could still be purchased for under $1 million.
An excellent time to buy … and a new way to sell
Despite the upward pricing trend in nearly all resort markets, buyers are discovering that a flood of second-home inventory means great deals on icon properties are out there.
Sellers are clamoring for buyers' attention, and the savviest of sellers are finding that marketing methods that rely on localized resources like the MLS simply aren't cutting it. Rather, many luxury sellers are finding value-driven buyers for their homes via a global platform that accelerates the luxury home marketing and sales process. With LegendaryHomeAuction.com, for example, buyers and sellers unite to buy and sell distinctive properties via live, real-time online auctions.

The online auction process — particularly the application of real-time technology — is proving to be a highly viable alternative to the traditional real estate sales process. Sellers say they are able to more quickly liquidate their second homes, which at the same time typically translates to exceptional values for price-conscious luxury buyers.

Although second home purchases did fade in 2008, the long-term demand actually looks quite favorable according to a report released in March 2009 by Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

In March of this year, the NAR reported that Yun's research indicates that large numbers of people are in their prime years for buying a second home. Currently, 39.2 million people in the United States are ages 50 to 59 — a group that dominated sales in the first part of this decade. An additional 44.8 million people are between 40 and 49, and another 40.7 million are 30 to 39.

The NAR reports:
"While economic factors can affect sales from one year to the next, the fundamental demand from these large population groups will remain," Yun said. "Given that most people become interested in buying a second home in their 40s, the bulge of population approaching middle age should drive the second-home market over the next decade."

For sellers, those demographics translate to a ready pool of buyers. The bottom line for buyers who can afford to step into the luxury home market: their stars have aligned — the timing is superb for locating a motivated seller with a one-of-a-kind resort property. And, thanks to innovative online methods that streamline and accelerate the luxury real estate transaction, you don't have to scour local MLS outlets to do it.

Whether you're a seller, a buyer or a real estate broker, learn how you can proactively keep pace with luxury home trends and technological innovations. Contact LegendaryHomeAuction.com at 303.440.4999 or Lauren@LegendaryGroup.com



Not all cities are equal. In this tough economy, some locations are thriving while others continue to fail. According to the Today Show on MSNBC.com Today’s Real Estate segment, extensive country-wide city evaluations were conducted in order to gather details regarding cities that are on the edge of recovering.

Denver, Colorado is rated number one in the nation as the place to live, as well as the state where the housing market is most likely to recover. The rating was based on eight recovery potential characteristics that include: job growth, growing population, good weather, first-time buyers, no overbuilding, vital downtown, educated populations and foreclosures that occurred earlier in the recession time frame. To learn more about the housing market, watch Today’s Real Estate by clicking here

In addition to Denver rating number one in recovery potential criteria, the state of Colorado offers diverse cities with vibrant downtowns, unbeatable park systems, and highly educated populations. And not to be forgotten is the unbeatable Colorado weather with an average of 300 days of sunshine each year.

To learn more about Colorado properties, visit Scott Franklund's Legendary Home Collection web site offering unique homes and unparalleled service or the Legendary Home Auction web site, which showcases luxury estates highlighting the beauty and distinction of each property.