Excellence in Design – The Lakes Region Real Estate Residential Sales Report March 2018
Excellence in Design – The Lakes Region Real Estate Residential Sales Report March 2018 We are fortunate to live in a part of New Hampshire that has stunning natural beauty everywhere you look. Being in the Lakes Region real estate business, I know for a fact that we also have some amazing and stunningly beautiful homes both on and off the waterfront. It’s really nice when you see a home that both fits in and compliments its surroundings. That doesn’t happen just by accident. Many times it takes architects, builders, and landscapers working together to make it all happen according to plan. We are also lucky to have so many of these skilled professionals working in the Lakes Region to accomplish just that.
I was reading the latest NH Home Magazine at the dentist the other day (which was my only reason for wanting to go there.) When I opened that latest edition, it had a section devoted to awards for Excellence in Design. There are a number of different categories to spread the accolades around and it was really nice to see that companies from the Lakes Region area took some of those honors.
The 2018 Excellence in Small House Design went to Wood and Clay of Gilford, NH. The entry was a cozy 900 square foot Winnipesaukee bunk house. It features a full kitchen, a great room with a gas fireplace and reclaimed barn board cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, a master bedroom, bunk room, three quarter bath, and screened porch. The cathedral ceilings give the bunkhouse a greater sense of space and the use of reclaimed materials give the home a feeling of history and warmth.
The 2018 Excellence in Outdoor Design went to another Gilford company, Belknap Landscaping for the Newfound Lake Retreat project. They designed and constructed a multilevel hand shaped granite patio complemented with fieldstone masonry giving the homeowner a wonderful outside living space. The main patio features a stone fire pit and stone slab benches so you can roast marshmallows while enjoying wonderful lake views. There are granite slab steps up a knoll to another sitting area that includes a water feature as well as steps down to the lake. The patios are surrounded by lush plantings, creating a serene space to relax.
The 2018 Excellence in Interior Design was for the Little Green project done by K.A. Clauson Fine Woodworking from Ossipee. This project was a renovation of a 1900’s fishing cabin on Lake Winnipesaukee that tripled its size and appeal at the same time. This is the quintessential lake cabin that you envision in your dreams with exposed studs and beams, custom cabinetry, antique fixtures, and the requisite stone fireplace. I have to put a big plug in for another artisan, my nephew Chad Sanborn of Stone Age Design in Gilmanton, who built the amazing fireplace. Also, kudos to Christopher P. Williams Architecture of Meredith for the design work on the project. The architect’s goal was to make the home energy efficient and retain the character and feel of the original cottage. I think that was “mission accomplished.”
You can check out all these projects and more on-line at nhhomemagazine.com
There were 89 residential single family home sales in the Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price came in at $389,713 and the median price point was $274,700. For the first quarter of this year there have been 211 single family home sales at an average of $330,609 compared to 236 sales at an average of $333,127 for the first quarter of 2017. The average time on market for the first quarter in 2017 was 132 days and this year it is 104 days, so things are definitely selling quicker!
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system
The Winni Waterfront Report – March 2018
There were nine waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee in March of 2018 at an average price of $1,282,666 and a median price point of $1.2 million. That brings the total for the first three months to eleven sales at an average of $1,171,272 compared to fifteen sales at an average of $1,545,173 for the first quarter of 2017.
The entry level sale for March is at 10 Gard Road in Meredith. This property consists of a 1940’s vintage, 724 square foot rustic cottage with two bedrooms on a .66 acre lot with 100’ of sandy shore front with a dock and westerly views. The cottage is likely a tear down although it is in decent shape and could be enjoyed as is. The sale included an approved three bedroom state approved septic system plan. This property was listed at $715,000 and sold for $650,000 in just seven days so someone saw the value!
The median price representative for the month is in Winter Harbor in Wolfeboro at 18 Partridge Drive. This is a bright and open contemporary style home built in 1988 with 3,388 square feet of finished space. The home has a large kitchen with Center Island and breakfast bar that opens into a living room with cathedral ceilings and gas fireplace. There is also an adjacent formal dining area. There is a first floor master suite and two more bedrooms on the upper level along with a family room and office. The house sits on a 1.19 acre lot and has 237’ of frontage with a waterside deck, covered dock, and a sandy beach. This home was listed last August at $1.5 million and sold for $1.2 million after 171 days on the market.
The highest sale in March was at 131 Buzzell Cove Rd in Moultonborough and it was a nice one. This is a 7,575 square foot, five bedroom, six and a half bath, Adirondack home built in 1999. The one owner home features a custom chef’s kitchen featuring high end appliances with adjacent sitting area, a great room with a fabulous field stone fireplace, and a lower level library with fireplace. The master bedroom suite features its own screened porch and the other three bedrooms on the second level are all en-suites. There are additional sleeping areas in the walk out level and there is a guest suite with kitchenette over the 1,000 square foot carriage house. There are four screened porches that overlook the Squam-Lake-like setting with 200’ of frontage and a deep water U-shaped dock. The home was meticulously maintained and loved by its owner and it showed extremely well. The property was initially listed in June it 2015 at $2,895,000, was subsequently relisted at $2,749,000, $2,649,000, and $2,500,000 finally finding a buyer at $2.15 million after 1,635 days on the market.
There were three sales on Winnisquam in March bringing the total for the year to six which is three more than we had in the first quarter of 2017. A 2,390 square foot four bedroom, two bath ranch built in 1960 on a quarter acre lot with 82’ of frontage on the back canal at 16 Linda Drive in Belmont sold for the asking price of $399,900 in just under two weeks. The second sale was a turn of the last century, five room, two bedroom cottage on a .83 acre lot with 126’ of westerly facing frontage located at 16 Leighton Ave North in Laconia. It has some obvious updates over the years and also has a detached Craftsman style two bay garage with a 24 x 24 workshop. This home was offered at $599,000 and sold for $617,500 after six days on the market.
The highest sale for the month was at 10 Lakeside Drive in Belmont. This contemporary home was built in 2005 and has 3,684 square feet of space with five bedrooms, and four full baths. The main level is an open concept layout with an eat-in kitchen featuring stainless appliances, granite counter tops and hardwood floors that extend into a separate dining area. The living room has a gas fireplace and wood ceiling with exposed beams that run throughout the first floor. There’s also a bedroom, full bath, laundry and office on the main level. Upstairs there is a large master suite with a great lake view plus two more bedrooms and a full bath. On the lower level walkout there is the requisite family/game room. There are attached and detached two car garages for all the toys. The house sits on a .46 acre lot with 60 feet of frontage and has a sandy beach and 44’ dock. This property was listed at $925,000 and sold for $880,000 in 44 days.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
A Porch Inventory Crisis
As of April Fool’s Day there were 569 single family residential listings offered in Belknap County and the three “boros” of Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro, and Moultonborough. That’s not a lot of property as it represents only about a four month supply of homes. The average asking price was $678,163 and the median price point was $349,000. There were only 27 homes listed below the $100,000 mark and 87 homes available between $100,000 and $200,000. If you happen to have deeper pockets there is a lot more inventory over $400,000 with 228 offerings over that price point.
Speaking of April Fool’s Day, the Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 met on the first day of April despite it being Easter Sunday. We had been planning to meet on this day months in advance. Other than hunting for Easter eggs, eating marshmallow bunnies, and devouring another holiday meal there is not a lot to do…no football, no NASCAR race, and we certainly did not want to do yard work quite yet. Unfortunately, we all failed to mention this proposed meeting to our spouses. That was the fool part.
This obviously created a little friction on the home front as there was strenuous objection to having a meeting on this holy day from our spouses. Even worse, they were all dead set against having the meeting on their respective porches. This created a little problem called a “lack of available porch sitting inventory!” This is very similar to the lack of inventory in the residential market. The only difference was the porch wasn’t likely to be taken by someone else before we got there…we just couldn’t find one.
After exhausting all sorts of promises and bribes to use one of our own porches we decided, like any good organization (or real estate agency) to go out and find a new suitable porch for the April Fool’s Day meeting. That meant calling around to a lot people we already knew (our sphere of influence) who had a nice porches and who might be willing to join the Porch Sitters and let us convene at their property. Luckily, Travis D. Coletrain, porch sitter extraordinaire, was able to find a new porch at Bubba Gunther’s house in Gilford.
With the crisis averted, Rollie Rollins, Dirk Davenport, Robert House, Little Stevie Prestone, Travis, and myself landed at Bubba’s and found him on the porch with his putter trying to putt hardboiled Easter eggs into red solo cups at opposite ends of the porch. Bubba fancies himself after PGA pro Bubba Watson only he’s right handed, older, and not as good looking.
Travis was wound right up about the lack of available porches but he was also stressed out about the difficulties he has been having finding his buyers a house! “It seems like everything is going under agreement by the time we get there to see it or there are multiple offers!” he said.
“That true,” Rollie said, “and buyers can’t fool around making low offers or having a lot of contingencies, either. Those offers aren’t going to fly on lower-priced properties, that’s for sure, especially if they are nice!”
“If you take a look at Laconia right now there are about twenty three homes on the market under $200,000 compared to forty three last April 1st. Belmont has only eight on the market compared to twenty three last April and Gilford has only four on the market compared to eleven last April but you know, there never is many in that price range in Gilford!” I said.
Bubba came back from the kitchen with a tray full of Porch Crawler beverages and nearly turned an ankle when he stepped on an egg. Recovering nicely, he piped in, “When inventory levels get this low anyone looking for a new home needs to have an agent working for and advising them, sending them new listings as soon as they come on, and getting right out there to see them as quick as they can!”
“Yup, the average days on market were just 133 in February compared to 190 days in February 2016 and 157 days in February 2017. Of course that is an average of all price ranges and the homes in the higher price brackets are selling slower…but even the nicer listings in the higher levels are going quicker now!” I said.
Little Stevie looks at Bubba and asks, “What’s your handicap?” to which Bubba responds, “The eggs aren’t round.”
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
The South Down – Long Bay Report February 2018
Another Golf Village unit at 20 Golf View Unit A sold in just eleven days at the asking price of $121,000. It has 1,376 square feet of space, three bedrooms, two full baths, and a one car garage. Other than that, there’s not much to tell as there was no info or pictures in the MLS. The property is assessed at $193,500. I am assuming it was a fairly nice unit given the quick sale…
A Gables unit at 79 Gables Drive also sold but it took a bit longer at 260 days. This unit has 2,497 square feet due to a fully finished walk out basement that has a great family room. There are three bedrooms including the first floor master bedroom suite, two and a half baths, a living room with cathedral ceilings and wood burning fireplace, an enclosed porch, and loft area. The property was listed at $355,000, sold for $349,000 and is assessed at $298,800.
The third condo that sold was over in Daw Village at 287 A Davidson Drive. This 1,412 square foot, two bedroom, two bath open concept home was in move in condition. It has an updated kitchen with granite counter tops and tile floors, a living room with wood burning fireplace, a den, and two bedrooms upstairs. There is a nice deck with the great views of the lake that Daw is known for. This home was listed at $389,000, was reduced to $369,000, and sold for $360,000 after 239 days on the market. It is currently assessed at $339,600.
The Long Bay sale was at 7 Rose Point. This home was built in 1989 and has 2,110 square feet of space with four bedrooms including the spacious master suite, three full baths, and a wonderful open concept living area. There have been many updates including cherry kitchen cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops. The home has soaring cathedral ceilings, beautiful hardwood floors, a field stone wood burning fireplace, and large windows to bring in the amazing views! Pretty spectacular! The home was listed at $529,900 and sold for $525,000 in 29 days. It is assessed at $324,300.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system
A Special Tiny House
There is one special little house that is not listed in the MLS yet that I’d like to bring your attention to! This home, which is currently under construction, will have a comfy open concept living area of 192 square feet, a combo kitchen/living/dining area, one ¾ bath, and a sumptuous loft sleeping area. It will have beautiful white oak flooring, tongue and groove one by six walls, and custom-built cabinets that will be sure to WOW the most discerning buyer!
This home is being constructed as part of the Lakes Region Builders and Remodeler Association’s workforce initiative at the Huot Technical Center in Laconia. Students from Matt Towle’s building construction and Mike Schofield ‘s plumbing, heating, and HVAC classes along with members of the LRBRA are constructing this cozy little abode and it is now nearing a Spring completion.
Under the watchful eyes of Matt and Mike, around forty students are learning invaluable and practical skills that hopefully will encourage them to choose a career path in the residential construction industry. This program is a fantastic way for students to get practical hands-on training in an industry that is in dire need of skilled employees. (What that means kids, is that you can make a lot of money in the trades…you don’t have to be a dentist anymore!)
The interior space will always be bright and sunny due to the generous placement of windows and LED lighting. Energy efficiency is built in with the use of hi tech spray foam insulation, an on demand hot water, and a Rinnai mini-split ac/heating system. In the entertainment department, the home will go big and will be wired for two TV’s and smart phone technology. Yup, this home is constructed out of the finest building material with special attention paid to the smallest of details by the area’s finest future craftsmen. It should be noted that the Rinnai Corporation and a host of other suppliers have donated materials to this worthy project
The house sits on a 24’ x 8’ trailer so it can be placed anywhere you would like. Talk about location, location, location. You get to pick your location with this home… so it is technically an RV. How great is that?
From time to time Matt will have an “All Day Build” and members of the Lakes Region Builders Association will come in and work with the students. The students and builders get to know each other through the process and a number of the graduates from The Huot Technical Center have already found employment with member firms of the LRBRA.
The Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association wants to see the program continue with similar projects and is hopeful of finding a buyer that recognizes the value of this program. Proceeds from the sale are used to sustain the program and will encourage even more students to choose a career in the trades.
Even if some students don’t pursue careers in the trades, Matt feels that as future homeowners he has given them invaluable knowledge about how homes are constructed and maintained. That’s pretty great, too!
The asking price for this home is $54,995 which is below its appraised value. While the cost per square foot may be a bit higher than some other Lakes Region Homes that are available, the value of this home is not just measured in price per square foot…it can be measured by the number of quality tradesmen the program puts out!
There were 51 residential single-family sales in February in the fourteen communities covered by the Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report. The average sales price came in at $273,856 and the median price point stood at $216,000. Last February there were 53 sales at an average of $347,517 and a median of $199,900.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system
The Winni Waterfront Report – February 2018
I checked three times. Checked again. Maybe I am doing something wrong? There was only ONE sale on Lake Winnipesaukee in February 2018! Two months in a row we had one sale! If we continue this trend we could end up with only twelve sales this year compared to 170 last year! Ahhh, we had sixteen pending waterfronts last month and now there are 21. Looks like everyone is taking their sweet time getting these properties to the closing table. There were 15 waterfront homes sold in the first quarter of 2017 so maybe if these pending sales work through the system the numbers won’t looks so bad!
The lone sale on Winnipesaukee was at 4 Elm Street in Wolfeboro. Well, not really on the big part of the lake; it was on the Back Bay, but it gets you out there from a three-quarter acre lot with 150’ of frontage and a dock. This 1875 vintage, colonial style home has 3,754 square feet of living space, nine bedrooms, and three and a half baths. The home has a bright open concept first level with kitchen, dining, living room, and a great three season porch overlooking the back yard and lake. The second level, which was actually a separate apartment, comes with its own kitchen, dining and living room area and can be accessed by a separate entrance. The home sports hardwood floors, stainless appliances, lots of built-ins, a couple of fireplaces, a tin ceiling, upper level deck, chair rails and other vintage touches. Outside there is a great deck area, large lawn down to the lake, and a two-car detached garage. This property was listed at $595,000, was reduced to $510,000 and sold for $499,000 after 183 days on the market. Looks like a great way to get on the big lake if you have a smaller boat to get under the bridge!
Over on Winnisquam there were two sales. The first was at 58 Weed Road in Meredith. This 1,152 square-foot, five room, two-bedroom, one bath ranch on post and piers built in 1935 is a bit of a mystery. There was absolutely no description about in in the MLS. But, looking at the pictures the mystery is solved… it is likely a tear down and the value here was in the .95-acre lot with 200 feet of frontage. The property was listed for $595,000 and sold for $550,000 in 49 days. I’d expect to see some construction there this summer…
A “perfect Lake Winnisquam home” at 334 Black Brook Road in Sanbornton with 1,651 square feet of space, three bedrooms and two full baths also found a new owner. This beautiful home was built in 2013 and has a bright open concept layout with a great kitchen with granite, center island, farmers sink, stainless appliances and pine floors that extend into the great room with a wood cathedral ceiling, field-stone fireplace, and built-ins. Both rooms afford great views of the lake. The 2nd floor master suite has wonderful lake views, a wood cathedral ceiling, and pine floors that extend throughout the second floor. The oversize waterside deck is perfect for entertaining… call me, I’ll be there! The .48-acre lot is nicely landscaped with 64’ feet of shoreline with a beach and 40’ seasonal dock. This is what Winnisquam is all about. The home was listed at $724,900 and sold above asking price at $750,000 in just seven days. Doesn’t that tell you how nice it really was!?
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS System…
Good genes and good bones
As of March 1st, there were 532 single family homes for sale in the MLS in the fourteen Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price stood at $686,620 and the median price point was $349,000. This represents about a four month inventory of homes on the market.
This week’s meeting of the Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 took place on the porch of Norm and Carol Linklettre in Belmont. I had sold Norm and Carol their house around ten years ago. I hadn’t seen them around town for a while so I had stopped in to see if they were OK. As a daily reader of the Laconia Sun, the old coot reminded me that he also had a porch. Hence, taking the not so subtle hint, Dirk Davenport, Little Stevie Prestone, Travis D. Coletrain, and Rollie Rollins arrived at his porch approximately on time for our meeting.
Norm and Carol gave us a quick tour of their home, which was a great find at the time that they bought it. It is a beautiful 2,700 square foot three bedroom, two and a half bath ranch with a finished walk out basement built in 2002. The place was pretty darn perfect when they bought and they have kept it immaculate. I wish I had a dozen of these homes to sell today as they would be gone quickly!
We sat out on their porch as it was one of those warm days and the sun was shining. Dirk asked Norm if he was related to Art Linkletter? Norm replied, “No, his name is spelled with an ‘er’ at the end and not ‘re’ like mine.” That was all it took to get Norm going. I knew he could talk a dog off a meat truck and he started telling stories about growing up on the west side of Manchester, all the cars he has had, the neighbors, their house, and their cats. Art Linkletter coined the phrase “Kids Say the Darndest Things” and I guess that applies to Norm, too.
Norm said he had recently been in the hospital for a few days but was doing fine now. I thought to myself, “I’m not so sure about the nurses.” Carol said she had cataract surgery so now she could see really well. Travis jumped in astutely saying, “Someone surely needs to keep an eye on Norm.” She said, “Can you believe Norm is 84 years old?” Everyone was amazed as he sure didn’t look that old. Rollie chuckled, “Norm, you’re a prime example of someone ‘aging in place.’” That got a one eyed stare from Norm. I added, “Well, I wish I had Norm’s genes. Look at him; he doesn’t look like he is even sixty. He might be ‘aging in place’ but he’s doing it pretty darned slowly!”
“Good genes in a person are like good bones in a house,” said Little Stevie. “You should always buy a house with good bones, like this one.” I jokingly said to Norm, “This house is still amazing, must be you haven’t had to fix anything and screw it up. You wanna sell it?” Norm said, “No… but I had to put a new leach field in just before we went on vacation a few years ago. They actually did it while we were gone so that worked out really well.”
Dirk observed, “You know, houses ‘age in place,’ too. Everyone has to fix something sometime and you gotta save some money up for repairs. Things just wear out. It’s part of the aging process.”
“You can keep a house looking young. It is all about maintaining your property. You have to keep up with the small repairs that are needed as they occur. Put a fresh coat of paint on now and then and keep up with the decorating trends. That will keep your property from aging too much and will get you a lot more money when you go to sell it!” professed Dirk.
“Now, if we can just figure out what is keeping Norm looking so good we could make some money!” I replied, “Carol, we need to talk!”
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
A Soul All Their Own – The Lakes Region Real Estate Report
To give a more complete picture of the towns around the big Lake, I have added Tuftonboro and Wolfeboro to the residential report starting this month. There were 71 single family homes sold in January in the fourteen Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price came in at $308,649 and the median price point was $220,000. Last January we had 80 sales in these towns at an average price of $284,135.
I was reading this month’s Yankee Magazine and there is an article by Mel Allen about a cottage for sale on Walker Pond in Sedgwick Maine. It is one of those quintessential old shingle style lake cottages that was built back in the early 1900’s and is perched on a couple of boulders right at the water’s edge…you know the kind…the kind you can’t build anymore. You might find the same cottage here in the Lakes Region if you’re lucky. They do still exist. This one is for sale for a mere $1.2 million but it does have 40 plus acres of land, 350 feet of frontage, and a year round carriage house with an apartment above.
But, what struck me about the article was the opening sentence; “While most of us live in a house, a few of us—the luckiest ones—know that sometimes a house can live inside of us as well.” I thought that was an amazing line and I wished that I had written it as it is so very true.
You can tell from the article and the pictures that this is a special home and that it has woven its way deeply into the lives of the owners, their family, and their friends. The cottage is more than a house, it is a place where memories were made that last a lifetime. It is a home that gives back to the owners who have lovingly taken care of it. You get back some of what you give. It will be a bittersweet day for the owners when it sells…and it definitely will.
In the real estate world, these are the homes that we love to sell. They truly are much more than just concrete, wood, plaster, sheet rock, or fancy hardwood flooring. They are more than just a place to live. They have something that touches you when you walk in the door and it is something that can be there regardless of the price point. These types of homes come in all different price ranges, sizes, and styles but all have that hard to quantify feeling that is unmistakably there…a soul all their own.
If you have one of these special homes, let me know… I’d like to see it.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
South Down and Long Bay Sales Report – January 2018
January was another slow month as far as sales go in South Down and Long Bay with only one sale in each community.
The sale in South Down was at 25 Cardinal Drive in the Birchwood Association. This was a 1987 vintage, 1,927 square foot, four bedroom, two and a half bath unit that was touted as being in excellent condition. This light and bright home has a large galley style kitchen, living room with brick fireplace and wood stove insert, a first floor master, and a wonderful three season porch. This unit was listed at $359,000 an was on the market for 284 days before finding a buyer at $345,000. It is currently assessed at $291,900.
The lone sale in Long Bay was at 48 Long Bay Drive. This is a brand new construction that was just completed using the finest building materials. The 3,017 square foot home has a great open floor-plan with 10′ high ceilings, a chef’s kitchen with high end stainless steel appliances, an extra large great room with a gas fireplace, formal dining, office, two en-suites plus a guest room, and a three season porch. The home has a superior insulation package and all LED recessed lighting to save on energy consumption. There’s also a three car garage so there’s plenty of room for all the toys! This home was listed at $649,900 and sold for $635,000 after 247 days on the market.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
The Invert of Lake Winnipesaukee
There were just 414 single family residential homes listed for sale as of February 1 in the twelve towns (Belknap County plus Moultonborough) covered in this report. The average asking price stood at $633,214 and the median asking price was $320,000. The current inventory level represents just a 3.7 month supply of residential homes on the market… that, my friend, is pretty low!
What if we could invert the market or where we live? You know, “turn it upside down or turn it about.” I never really thought about it until this year, but I have been going to Grand Cayman since the early nineties and just recently landed here for some R&R. Obviously, I can’t help but check out the real estate market while I am here…at least a little bit. But, back to the inverse deal. Lake Winnipesaukee encompasses an area of 72 square miles of water. Grand Cayman has a land area of 76 square miles of land. Coincidence? Lake Winnipesaukee is 22 miles long and so is Grand Cayman! Another coincidence! No, things are just inverted here with land replacing water. Just like we drive on the right and down here you drive on the left.
If you invert the map of Grand Cayman…actually, turn it upside down…it looks a little like the map of Winnipesaukee with the distinct area of Alton Bay protruding to the south. Grand Cayman doesn’t have all the little coves, inlets, and jagged shoreline that Lake Winnipesaukee has. Winni has about 240 miles of shoreline because of all the ins and outs and Grand Cayman only has 99 miles on the water.
We stayed for a few days at the Seven Mile beach area that is the main tourist destination. Seven Mile Beach is probably as nice as any stretch of waterfront in the world. Seven Mile Beach and the long gone Holiday Inn that used to be located there were featured in the Tom Cruise movie, “The Firm.” Calm, blue waters and yet very few people. A paradise. When we first came here we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Club which comprised a dozen or so small pink cottages reminiscent of what you used to see in the Weirs Beach area. We toyed with buying a condo back then and at $300,000 to $400,000 it was a steal as the same units today are going for well over a million. Seven Mile Beach has lost its charm of yesteryear and there is too much glitz and glamour for us.
We took a ride one morning waiting for the clouds to move offshore down to the West End. As much as this is heaven, Grand Cayman has a Hell (literally). I thought I would check out the real estate around Hell and was sure I would either find (1) Eagles fans that had been told to go there or (2) Malcolm Butler or (3) both. Hell is really just a small geological formation of jagged pinnacles of black-covered limestone covering the area half the size of a football field. What it actually is though is a tourist trap with gift shops from which you can mail a postcard from Hell to your favorite relative or Patriot fan. To my dismay, neither Malcolm nor anyone wearing Eagle t-shirts were to be found.
Just a short distance from Hell is a newer 2,000 square foot, three bedroom home with a one bedroom, one bath rental unit out back for sale at just $171,000. Homes here are mostly block construction on a slab. No heat, none needed. This is one of the low budget areas of the island and to get something you might really want in this area you are looking at least $400,000 for something plain and simple and $600,000 plus for something a bit nicer. That’s a lot cheaper than the properties on Seven Mile Beach where the highest priced property right now was the top floor, 7,225 square foot, three bedroom, three and a half bath unit at the Ritz Carlton that is on for $16.15 million. I did find one decent 762 square foot, one bedroom unit on the beach in the mid five’s but you are likely to spend a lot more.
We soon headed out to stay in the West End which was our true destination. It is quiet here, so quiet in fact, that we drove back to our condo from a restaurant on the North Side early the other evening a distance of some five miles and never met one car going the other way.
We went to an open house on Sunday just down the street at the “Purple Palm” that has being hosted by Patty Nugent of Cayman Island Sotheby’s. You couldn’t miss the house. It was truly purple. Patty greeted us at the door and was excited to have someone come and see her. I asked if she did a lot of open houses and she quickly said, “No, not out here.” She had promised the owners, who are friends of hers, that she would try one but on this end of the island you don’t get many lookers.
The 1,656 square foot, two bedroom, two and a half bath house was built in 2,000 on a small lot with 60’ of waterfront. It was clean and neat but it definitely was not a high end build. A slider lead out to a small deck with a level beach leading down to relatively calm waters for the east end. That was what was determining the $875,000 asking price. $875,000 doesn’t buy you much on Winnipesaukee or Grand Cayman, but you can sit in the sun here twelve months a year. I guess that’s another pretty tempting inversion…
Data compiled from the NEREN MLS System.