Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

When $1.8 Million Is Affordable Housing

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

When $1.8 Million Is Affordable Housing

Article excerpt

The typical luxury buyer is paying $1.8 million for a home in Sarasota this spring.

In the eyes of Rick Moeser of Christie's Great Estates, that's affordable housing.

"Sarasota rises to the top as a great value," said Moeser at a luncheon for a group of luxury real estate agents Wednesday.

Moeser, senior vice president of Christie's International Real Estate, was speaking at a 6,000- square-foot Oyster Bay house, listed at $6.2 million by Kim Ogilvie and Linda Dickinson of Michael Saunders & Co.

He said Christie's, like the upper-end market across the world, is flourishing.

"In 2014, Christie's and its affiliates did $113 billion in real estate sales," said Moeser, noting that the leader in its network was Washington, D.C., brokerage Long & Foster, at $28 billion. "Wes Foster is still working every day in his mid- to late 80s."

Christie's-affiliated brokerages notched seven sales of $50 million or more in 2014, topped by a $120 million sale in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was a record year for $100 million sales. Most of the others were in Los Angeles and New York City, Moser said.

"To get that premium co-op, condo or townhouse in New York City," he said, "you have to pay in excess of $30 million, even for a property that needs to be updated."

Moeser pointed to a London condominium that sold for just under $200 million, or $22,000 per square foot.

A Christie's brokerage has a $195 million listing in Manalapan, south of West Palm Beach.

"It is the most expensive home in America," Moeser said. "It has three tunnels under A1A -- two are for staff, and one is a living room that passes under the road. There are 16 acres with 1,200 feet of oceanfront ... on a golf course."

The property is being considered for purchase by one buyer from China, one from Brazil and several Americans, he said.

"Only a certain number of people are looking at properties like that," Moeser said. …

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