Living by the water is a concept that seems to have endless appeal. “It doesn’t matter whether you swim or do water sports or not,” said Danny Hertzberg, real estate agent for the Jills Zeder Group in Miami Beach, who sees uninterrupted demand for waterfront properties. “For most people, water is the ultimate amenity. It is always desirable. “
The interest in properties on the water has increased significantly in the last year. Jills Zeder Group’s sales, for example, rose from $ 500 million in 2019 to over $ 1 billion in 2019. Most of those sales were waterfront homes, according to Hertzberg. “We are already on the right track this year to beat 2020,” he said.
And in the first quarter of this year, waterfront “Amenities and Features” pageviews on the Sotheby’s International Realty website rose from 11,818 in the same period in 2020 to 56,517 – an increase of more than 378 percent.
South Florida; Los Cabos, Mexico; and Marbella, Spain are mainstays for waterfront properties, but other locations, such as these five emerging travel destinations, are also gaining increasing attention.
Antigua and Barbuda
This Caribbean island nation has more than 300 white sand beaches and four marinas, including one that housed the British fleet during the colonial days and is now a mega yacht base.
Justin White, co-owner of Anchor Antigua Realty, a subsidiary of Christie’s International Real Estate, said the island is ideal for water sports enthusiasts. “We have great opportunities for snorkeling, diving, sailing and kite surfing,” he said. “You can come here and be active all day and start your evening with a cocktail on the beach at sunset.”
Antigua has a low crime rate, which makes the security of owning a home there a benefit. Grocery stores abound selling both imported goods and local delicacies such as lobster. Although the roads on the island can be bumpy, Mr. White said they would be improved.
Home buyers will find a cross-section of properties in Antigua, from apartments to townhouses to spacious villas. Mr. White said prices for a two-bedroom townhouse started at around $ 200,000 and that mansions in upscale developments like Galley Bay Heights were well in the seven-digit range.
More recently, Barbuda, a virtually undeveloped island, has attracted attention as luxury real estate developer Discovery Land Company is building the Barbuda Ocean Club, a community that broke ground in 2019. A chic, rustic beach club with safari tents by the water has already been completed and gives interested buyers the opportunity to view and explore the property. The community, which occupies more than 700 acres, has seven miles of beach and will include 450 residences including estates, golf villas and waterfront cottages. They range from 2,000 to 7,500 square feet and have a starting price point of $ 3 million.
“Discovery’s project is the pinnacle of luxury and will take Antigua and Barbuda to a new level, but there are also plenty of affordable housing options,” said White.
While Mexico is an established location for a waterfront home, Rick Moeser, executive director of Christie’s International Real Estate, Careyes, said a private vacation complex and the surrounding Costalegre region is still largely unknown.
“Unlike the rest of the country, which is overbuilt and overcrowded, this coastline is vast and somewhat undiscovered,” he said.
On the Pacific coast, between the cities of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, the jungle meets the sea in Careyes. Mr. Moeser described the landscape as “dramatic”, with lots of cliffs surrounded by lush trees framing picturesque beaches.
Careyes was founded in 1968 by an Italian entrepreneur, Gian Franco Brignone, and has grown to more than 35,000 hectares in recent decades. It includes a polo field and a biosphere reserve with 70 animal species and more than 1,200 animal and plant species.
In the real estate space, Careyes has 65 villas, most with infinity pools, set along cliffs overlooking the Pacific. There are also 40 colorful casitas inspired by Italy’s Amalfi Coast and El Careyes Club & Residences, which comprise 60 houses with one to four bedrooms. Prices for a one-bedroom casita start at around $ 400,000, while oceanfront villas average around $ 2.5 million.
Mr Moeser said the Italian-based community was attracting home buyers from Europe even though Americans were starting to invade.
About an hour’s drive down the coast, the Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, México, due to open later this year, will include cliff mansions and beachfront properties. (The exact number will be announced.) The resort is set in a 3,000-acre private conservation area and will feature three pools, a spa, a water sports center and an 18-hole golf course.
Architecturally, buyers should expect traditional Mexican houses with stucco and natural stone. “There is a real Mexico feeling here,” says Moeser.
About 30 minutes by car west of Riga, on the Baltic Sea, the resort of Jurmala attracts with its golden sandy beaches, which are framed by dunes and rock formations. According to Michael Valdes, president of eXp Global, a division of eXP Realty in Bellingham, Washington, Russians have vacationed and bought second homes there for years, but other Europeans have joined them more recently. “You see buyers from the Czech Republic, Poland and Lithuania,” he said.
Valdes added that the beaches in Jurmala are among the most beautiful in Europe and that the strong infrastructure is supported by good medical care, restaurants and grocery stores.
Jurmala offers a variety of real estate options, from modest apartments in the city center that start at a few hundred thousand dollars to luxurious seven-figure villas on the secluded coast.
Eriks Reinicans, the director of local real estate company Jurmala Invest, said buyers could find a three- or four-bedroom apartment for around $ 500,000 in an upscale gated community with a pool about 10 minutes’ drive from the beach. “You get a lot more value for your money when you are ready to be off the water,” he said.
As winters in Latvia can be brutally cold, Jurmala is not an ideal year-round destination, but it does offer access to historic Riga attractions and walks in the forests around the sea.
The Exumas, the Bahamas
The Bahamas has long been a popular vacation and second home destination for travelers from around the world. Some foreign homebuyers even make the country their primary residence because it has no income tax. This international influx mainly went to New Providence Island, home of the capital Nassau and numerous housing developments and beach resorts.
Recently, however, shoppers have turned their attention to the Exumas in search of more privacy and a relaxed lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle. Consisting of around 365 islands, many of them privately owned, this chain promises secluded beaches with turquoise waters, an abundance of marine life, and a wide range of water sports, including fly fishing, diving, and kite surfing.
Edward de Mallet Morgan, partner at Knight Frank, a global real estate consultancy based in London, said interest in owning a home in the Exumas had increased in the wake of the pandemic. “Properties used to stay on the market for six months to a year and are now sold in a matter of weeks,” he said. “People want to be away from the crowds, and that is what the Exumas offers.”
This new group of home buyers is primarily from California, New York, the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and South America.
Homes on the islands range from affordable to extravagant.
For example, Great Exuma, the largest island and location of the county capital, George Town, has colorful single-family homes that cost a few hundred thousand dollars each. The Marina in Hoopers Bay, a gated community in the northwest of the island, offers 30 residences – a mix of townhouses and mansions – that range from $ 350,000 to more than $ 3 million.
Private islands cost between $ 5 million and $ 100 million, Morgan said. For example, Little Pipe Cay, a 38-acre, multi-home, private island, is currently on the market for $ 85 million.
Despite that generosity, the Exumas are unpretentious and welcoming, said Brent Hurt, the managing partner of the marina in Hoopers Bay. “This is a place where the very wealthy and everyday locals in shorts and flip flops meet,” he said.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Located in northwest Idaho, about a 30-minute drive from Spokane, Washington, Coeur d’Alene is known for its lake and national forest.
Recently, the city has become attractive to buyers looking for vacation homes in rural areas where the waterfront is the focus, said Tammy Fahmi, vice president of global operations and international service at Sotheby’s International Realty. Many are from California, Washington State, and Oregon, but Canadians also find their way there.
“Coeur d’Alene is a year-round destination,” said Ms. Fahmi. “People love fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking in the summer, while there is snowmobiling, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing and downhill skiing in the winter.”
But outside of town there are more than 50 lakes within a two-hour drive, said Mike McNamara, a real estate agent at Windermere / Coeur d’Alene Realty and Windermere Hayden. This includes Lake Pend Oreille, the largest in Idaho. “The area is an outdoor paradise every month and life revolves around the lakes,” he added.
Prospective buyers can expect single-family homes in Coeur d’Alene, with few apartments and townhouses, although some are currently under construction. House prices average around $ 477,000. “For that amount, you can get a 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, new home, but there are definitely more upscale options,” said McNamara.