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Mansion Global | Strong Dollar Deals: Where to Find International Property Bargains


The U.S. dollar has been soaring against a number of currencies, but what does this mean if you’re looking to invest in property overseas?

Data compiled on behalf of Mansion Global by the real-estate consultancy Knight Frank shows a sharp increase in the purchasing power of American real-estate investors over the past two years and highlights several markets where bargains abound for those buying with dollars.

Taimur Khan, senior research analyst at Knight Frank, said: “The strength of the dollar presents a number of opportunities for U.S. buyers looking to purchase abroad. Based on a selection of key countries, a U.S. buyer purchasing the equivalent of a $5 million property in local currency would have significantly more purchasing power in January 2016 compared to two years’ earlier—with Brazil and Turkey proving some of the most favorable locations.”


Brazil’s economy is mired in recession, with the government facing a sweeping corruption probe. While this may not spell good news for Brazilians, it certainly presents opportunities for American property investors, whose purchasing power has risen by 68% over the past two years as the real depreciated against the dollar, according to Knight Frank.

Frederico Judice Araujo, director of Judice & Araujo Imóveis, a Rio de Janeiro-based affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, said: “Due to the Brazilian crisis, prices of real estate in Brazil are going down and there are some very interesting deals. It’s a good time for foreigners to buy.”

According to Araujo, it’s not difficult for Americans to purchase property in Brazil once they have a “Cadastro de Pessoas Fisicas,” or Individual Taxpayer Registry, which is similar to a social security number and takes only a few days to process.


Bossa Nova Sotheby’s International Realty

PRICE: $4.4 million
LOCATION: Baía Formosa

Located in Armação dos Búzios, a resort set on an ocean peninsula east of Rio de Janeiro and surrounded by beautiful beaches, this 22-bedroom, 23-bathroom property spans more than 12,000 square feet and boasts a tennis court as well as guest quarters.

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Changes to the law have made it easier in recent years for foreigners to snap up properties in Turkey. This led to a near-doubling in the number of foreign buyers between August 2014 and August 2015.

In particular, the Bodrum peninsula—whose marinas, beach resorts and fishing villages have made it a summer playground to rival the south of France and Ibiza—has seen a surge of interest from international buyers, while Istanbul is popular with investors.

Even those who invested a year ago should have seen some returns. Turkey topped Knight Frank’s global house price index in the third quarter of last year, with year-on-year growth of almost 20%. In addition, Americans have seen their purchasing power increase by 36% over the past two years due to the Turkish lira’s slump vs the dollar.

Cameron Deggin, managing director of Property Turkey, said: “American investors are gradually waking up to the potential of Turkey. We are seeing fairly strong repeat purchases from our investor clients, who have already worked the market and achieved strong returns. We currently have several American clients who have been investing regularly since 2009.”


Cluttons LLP

PRICE: $6.5 million

This 3-bedroom fully serviced private freehold villa at the Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum has access to Mandarin Oriental’s amenities including three secluded beaches, a spa, and six restaurants and bars.

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With exchange rates heavily weighted in their favor, foreign investors are showing increasing interest in South Africa’s property market during the country’s current economic downturn, attracted by winter sun and reasonably priced homes.

In particular, an American considering a $5 million home in South Africa would have seen a 48% rise in purchasing power between the beginning of 2014 and last month.

Ronald Ennik, founder of Ennik Estates, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, said: “There is no question that South African homes are irresistibly well-priced right now from a foreign investment perspective.”

According to Ennik, investors are mainly interested in cosmopolitan Capetown, on South Africa’s southwest coast, and Sandton, an affluent “live-work-play” precinct of Johannesburg, the country’s financial and commercial capital.


Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

PRICE: $35 million
LOCATION: Capetown

Described as Africa’s most opulent home, this 33,000-square-feet property boasts reception rooms that accommodate up to 500 guests, a 14-car garage and a gymnasium and spa complete with massage room, squash court and sauna.

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To visit Telluride Luxury Properties click here

Celebrating Cinema | From the Screen to the Streets

With the Sundance Film Festival coming to a close last month and the 2016 Oscars this coming weekend, the movies that are critically resonating most this year portray an undeniable realism. From Best Picture frontrunners Spotlight and The Revenant, to Sundance favorite The Birth of a Nation, it would indicate that true stories are where filmmakers are putting their focus.

Yet the 2015 (and early 2016) Cineplex had its share of colossal moments of grandeur and escapism for the masses. Jurassic World broke the opening weekend box office record in June, followed swiftly by Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattering that record again the week before Christmas. Despite Star Wars using every modern digital technique to bring the story to life, the filmmakers made a conscious (and heavily promoted) decision to ground the movie in realism by using 35 mm film instead of digital, using on-set animatronic creatures and costumes, and, just as imperatively, shooting on location to bring the many worlds of the galaxy far, far away back to audiences just like George Lucas first did in 1977.

One of the most exciting and exclusive ways for film fans to re-experience their favorite films are to visit those amazing locations themselves.

To Catch a Castle


Price Upon Request | Cannes, France | Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty

The opportunity to actually own a piece of cinematic history comes rarely.  Even rarer are those items and locations touched by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. Yet, nestled prominently on the French Riviera, the grand La Croix des Gardes in which the classicTo Catch a Thief starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant was set is now for sale.

Do as the Romans Do


3.900.000 € EUR | Rome, Italy | Italy Sotheby’s International Realty

Released just two years prior to the aforementioned Hitchcock classic is the quintessential romantic comedy Roman Holiday. Starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, two actors who define the phrase Movie Star, Roman Holiday has become one of the finest examples of Hollywood’s golden age. Set throughout the romantic and historic local of Rome, Italy, the film employs classing framing techniques by combining staged interior sets, rear projection to simulate Rome’s street, and on-location photography, all with a delightful and enjoyable tone.

Where the Magic is Made


Price Upon Request | Beverly Hills, California | Sotheby’s International Realty – Sunset Strip Brokerage

If discussing classic Hollywood productions, the romanticism of European locales always come second to the capital of motion picture production – Los Angeles, California. The headquarters of every major (and most minor) production studios, the clear skies, modern culture and luxury living of LA have been the backdrops of hundreds of films. Of note is the 1997 film LA, Confidential. Winner of two Academy Awards and nominee for an additional seven, the Kevin Spacey and Kim Basinger-starring crime drama makes impeccable use of the City of Angles in service of throwback noir tropes with modern filmmaking style.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

For children of the 80s and 90s, there is no more influential filmmaker than the late John Hughes. And when discussing the works of the writer and director of classics such as The Breakfast ClubSixteen Candles, and Uncle Buck, it should incontrovertibly include his portrayal of the city of Chicago, Illinois. Often set among its suburbs, John Hughes’ loving portrayal the Windy City is most notable in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a travelogue of Chicago’s exciting cultural sites.


$3,099,000 USD | Winnetka, Illinois | Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

Also of note are his writing and producing credits on films not also directed by him. The Christmas classic Home Alone, written by Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, is yet another Chicago suburb-set picture. For those also looking to live steps away from film history, this gorgeous Nantucket-style home is down the literal street from the McAllister residence. Happily, the previous owners of this home were not victims of the infamous Wet Bandits, so any concerns of water damage are entirely unfounded.

Hope is a Good Thing

The ways in which movies are now experienced has drastically changed over the last several decades. From the advent of home video in the late 70s to the ubiquity of cable and premium TV, all the way to the adoption of DVD in the early 2000s and the recent evolution of on-demand streaming networks, the theater is becomes less and less essential to the cultural impact of modern films.

A quintessential example of this is the popularity of The Shawshank Redemption.

Released in 1994 and critically acclaimed at that time (it was nominated for Best Picture alongside Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction), it was a financial failure, garnering only a smattering of viewers in theaters. Yet over the years, through its VHS release and consistent scheduling on cable TV stations, The Shawshank Redemption became an absolute classic. As evidenced by its top spot on the IMDB Top Movies list, millions of home viewers experienced the final reunion of a freed Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

St. Croix

$1,975,000 USD | St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands | United States Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

Interestingly, that final location was not actually filmed on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Instead, the filmmakers ended their story on the white, sandy shores of St. Croix. Contrasting with the greys and browns of the prior two-plus hours we spent with the characters, it’s fair to forgive the filmmakers for the slight of hand given how blue and bright the waters of the Caribbean shine.

One Location to Rule Them All

New Zealand

Price Upon Request | Queenstown, New Zealand | New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty

Thousands upon thousands of films have made their indelible mark on cinema by embracing exciting locations around the world, yet none have been able to use a single destination to bring the audience to another world entirely as The Lord of the Rings. Shot throughout the country of New Zealand over the course of half a decade, Peter Jackson and his fellow filmmakers utilized locations ranging from the frozen peaks of Centerbury, to the rolling hills of Matakana, to the lush rivers and forests of Wellington, and the soundstages located in Queenstown. So absolutely bound is New Zealand to the cinematic legacy of The Lord of the Rings that many landmarks from the films have been made permanent to support the $15 billion in annual tourism, allowing movie buffs and sightseers to go there and back again many times over.

This post was provided by guest contributor, Christian Russo, Senior Interactive Marketing Manager for Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC.

Click here to see all of the posts in our Celebrating Cinema Series

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties click here

Art & Home | Stairways From Heaven


The latest volume of Art & Home is here! This month, Iyna Bort Caruso showcases homes with captivating and architecturally significant staircases from around the world.

Staircases are among the oldest architectural elements, conceived in function and, in the most dramatic cases, elevated to an art object.


Price Upon Request | Como, Italy | Italy Sotheby’s International Realty

Their roles in literature and history are classic. Think the iconic staircase in Gone with the Wind, the red-carpeted staircase of the White House and the heart-shaped limestone staircase at Rosecliff, the great Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. Then there is the famed Tulip Stairs at the Queen’s House, the former royal villa in Greenwich, England. Its self-supporting spiral staircase reflects a brilliant harmony of mathematics and majesty.

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Price Upon Request | Lugano Carona, Switzerland | Fontana Sotheby’s International Realty

“Staircases add value,” says Diletta Giorgolo Spinola of Italy Sotheby’s International Realtywith offices in FlorenceRomeMilan and Como. “They are a status symbol. Throughout the ages, staircases have played an important role in giving a house a special style and elegance.”


$8,900,000 USD | Park City, Utah | Summit Sotheby’s International Realty

Staircases define the character of a home and set the tone for the interior design to come. In estates of distinction they can be the unexpected focal point, expressing power by their twists and turns. They long ago stopped being simply an answer to an age-old challenge, getting from point A on one level to point B on another. They are a showcase of innovation and ingenuity.

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$17,000,000 USD | Big Sky, Montana | Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty

Winding, curved, spiral, helical, flared, twin and seemingly gravity-defying are among the countless options and variations. Staircases are complex affairs. All parts need to interact structurally. Building codes ensure aesthetic considerations do not eclipse safety and functionality concerns.

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Price Upon Request | Paradise Island, Bahamas | Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty

While the evolution of technology has helped to turn staircases into architectural stars, they can function beyond visual showpieces. They can be experiential. Custom builder Ted Visnic of Visnic Homes in Rockville, Maryland, says some homeowners, for instance, ask that staircases be “tucked around a corner so you discover them, if you will.” Others request staircases be framed by a bank of windows to “wash the homeowners in natural light” as they ascend and descend the stairs, Visnic adds.

South Barrington, Illinois Property id# FEVX6M_staircase

$6,900,000 USD | South Barrington, Illinois | Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

Shape, materials and finishes dictate pricing. One of Visnic’s current residential projects is an estate in which the staircase cost upwards of $120,000–not bad for a scene-stealing work of art.

Explore the latest edition of Art & Home here!

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties click here!

Telluride Foundation Report: Alternative futures for the Telluride Region




Alternative Futures for the Region of Telluride Colorado forecasts and assesses future development patterns for San Miguel County and parts of Montrose and Ouray Counties in Colorado. Nine alternatives based on different combinations of assumed population growth and public policies are spatially simulated in a 20 year projection. The alternatives are assessed and compared for their demographic, traffic, visual preference, and ecologic consequences. To read the full report click here

Just Listed! Rare Opportunity To Own An Exceptional Home With Breathtaking Views In The Town Of Telluride


113 East Gregory is perched on the sunny-side of town with exceptional views spanning from Ajax to Bear Creek to the Ski Resort, west in to the Telluride Valley…

Rare to market, this beautifully-crafted custom residence offers panoramic views over historic downtown, Telluride, Telluride Ski Resort and the spectacular Telluride Valley. Designed by award-winning One Architects, the home’s light-filled living areas and suites feature high ceilings, generous spaces, expansive windows and comfortable accommodations throughout. An open floorplan is perfect for relaxing and entertaining friends & family. Located just two blocks from the heart of Main St shops, coffee, cafes and restaurants, the home is ideally-suited to those who revel in the beauty, recreation and dynamic culture that makes Telluride so appealing. South & west facings decks and patios allow for year-round enjoyment of the breath-taking setting and rich character surrounding this home. For more pictures and property information, please click here



Even if you are not a U.S. resident, you can take out a mortgage (borrow to buy a property) in the country. Lenders in the U.S. will give loans of up to 50% of the sales price to an international client, says Beth Divney, a New York-based mortgage broker with Guaranteed Rate. Some basic requirements might apply, such as having an existing account with deposits of about $100,000 or more in a private bank with operations in the U.S. Banks also often require meeting applicants in person “to get a sense of them,” at which time they may want to find out the origin of the assets, said Divney. Be aware there may be taxes associated. In New York, the mortgage tax is generally 2.8% of the loan. This means that if you obtain a $1 million mortgage, you are subject to $28,000 in taxes.

Working with a real-estate agent is not a requirement to buy a house in the U.S., but should you decide to work with one, you don’t need to worry about commission fees. The seller pays his or her listing agent a commission of usually between 5% and 6% of the sales price at time of closing, and the agent then shares this money with the buyer’s agent if there is one. There is no set rule mandating how the commission should be split between the two agents, and the fee isn’t always divided evenly. So, when you use your own agent, you do not pay them. Your agent will contact the listing agents and show you as many properties as you’d like to see.

When buying a property in cash through an offshore company, your identity must be disclosed in certain situations. Starting March 1 and through August 27, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will require that certain U.S. title insurance firms identify the persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases in Florida’s Miami-Dade County (for homes of $1 million or more) and New York City (of $3 million and up). The measure seeks to combat money laundering in the real estate sector by mitigating the abuse of these transactions by persons attempting to hide their assets and identity.

Homeowners in the U.S. are subject to property taxes regardless of their nationality. “You need to understand the tax ramifications of buying real estate in the U.S.”, said Jeremy Stein, senior global real estate advisor with Sotheby’s International Realty. “[Foreign buyers] should not assume that they are going to avoid them.” In financed transactions, annual property taxes are usually included in monthly mortgage payments, as banks want to make sure these get paid. But buyers who purchase in cash must ensure that they pay any monthly or annual taxes. Property taxes vary from state to state, and even within states, from 2.076% in Bergen County, New Jersey to 0.251% in Hawaii County, Hawaii.

Other real estate taxes include, for example, the Mansion Tax in New York, equal to 1% of the purchasing price of a condominium, and the transfer tax, which applies to any condominium and is calculated at $4 per every $1,000 of the sales price. According to Stein, the transfer tax is the responsibility of the seller but in new condominiums, developers usually try to pass it on to the buyer. However, Stein said, the “transfer tax is very negotiable” and buyers’ agents should be able to eliminate that cost for their clients.

When purchasing a condominium or co-op apartment, buyers should keep in mind that they are responsible for more than the sales price they agree to pay. Residential buildings carry common charges and luxury ones have monthly fees worth several thousand dollars. An apartment at 432 Park Avenue on the market in Manhattan for $21 million has monthly common charges of $5,000, or $60,000 a year. In Miami, maintenance monthly fees range from 82 cents to $1.20 per square foot.

Different country, different rules: Tomas Hoffmann, president and head broker of Volare Realty in Miami has to constantly remind his international clients that things are done differently in the U.S. and to leave behind preconceived ideas of how business is conducted in the U.S. “‘But in my country…’” is a common opening line from foreign clients whom Hoffmann has to interrupt when explaining real estate taxes or common fees.

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties click here

$725 Million Waggoner Ranch Sells!

_88A2628_Santa Rosa Compound_Credit Chris Collis

An aerial view over a portion of Waggoner Ranch in Texas.

Billionaire Stan Kroenke, owner of what are now the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, has purchased a massive Texas ranch that had a $725 million price tag. The exact purchase price was not disclosed, but if it came anywhere near the asking price the ranch would become the priciest ever to sell in the U.S.

The 510,000-acre W.T. Waggoner Ranch spans nearly 800 square miles and is believed to be the largest ranch behind a single fence in the U.S., said Joel Leadbetter of Hall and Hall, who represented Kroenke in the deal. To date the most expensive ranch to sell in the U.S. was the Forbes family’s (yes, this Forbes) 172,000-acre Trinchera Ranch in Colorado, which hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon bought in 2007 for $175 million. It is unclear but likely that Kroenke’s new ranch, which is nearly three times the size of Trinchera, fetched a higher price.

While he could not say how close to the $725 million asking price it sold for, Bernard Uechtritz,advisor to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas who led the marketing of the property, said  “I think you can assume it was close enough to make both sides very happy.”

Waggoner Ranch includes 30,000 acres of farmland, several creeks, more than 1,000 productive oil wells, hundreds of horses and thousands of cattle. The ranch  received the prestigious American Quarter Horse Association Best Remuda award in 1994 for its high-quality herd of quarter horses. “It’s been in the same family of ownership for 167 years, which is basically unheard of for ranches,” Leadbetter said.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises owns the Rams, NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids, the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoths, and is the largest shareholder of the English football club Arsenal. Kroenke, worth $7.3 billion by Forbes’ latest count, announced in January that the (former) St. Louis Rams were relocating to Los Angeles.

Kroenke Ranches has properties in western and southwestern holdings in cattle, wheat, horse and natural resources. In terms of ranches in the U.S., Waggoner Ranch is smaller in acreage only than King Ranch, a Texas ranch that once stretched to 825,000 acres across multiple parcels. King Ranch has licensed its name to Ford, which adds it to the F-150 King Ranch pickup. Uechtritz said Waggoner Ranch has an even more storied legacy that Kroenke could potentially license. “This is not a plaything,” Uechtritz said. “You don’t buy a half a million acres of land if you’re just looking to kick around on the weekend.”

Uechtritz began marketing the property heavily in January 2015, and says he showed it about 50 times. Kroenke emerged the winner of six final bidders who submitted buying proposals in the fall in what was a highly competitive process, Uechtritz said.

Judge Dan Mike Bird of the 46th Judicial District Court allowed the Waggoner Ranch’s owners to proceed with the sale. Joel Leadbetter of Hall and Hall in Bozeman, Mont., and Sam Connolly, general manager of Kroenke Ranches, represented Kroenke in the deal. Bernard Uechtritz, international real estate advisor to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas, and Sam Middleton of Chas. S. Middleton & Son in Lubbock, represented the owners in finding a buyer for the Waggoner Ranch. Given the complex nature of the transaction, multiple attorneys were also involved.

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties click here

Telluride foreclosures down 93 percent from 2010


Telluride Daily Planet

When San Miguel County Treasurer Janice Stout took office in 2007, her office opened 19 foreclosures countywide. By 2010, the nationwide mortgage crisis had reached Telluride; her office opened 107 foreclosures that year.

The county has once again returned to the other side of that peak, she reported this week: In 2015, her office opened just eight foreclosures in the county. To date in 2016, she has not opened a single foreclosure case.

The drop in foreclosures means Stout’s office is bringing in less revenue, but the treasurer said that’s good news for the county.

“Fewer foreclosures is a good thing. We’re not here to make money on the backs of borrowers who can’t make their payments,” she said. “This is wonderful news.”

Stout said federal programs, including the Making Home Affordable program that requires lenders to work with borrowers on loan modifications before filing for foreclosure, have contributed to the decrease in foreclosures, but the strengthening local economy has also played a role.

Thomas Galleger, community bank president for the Telluride branch of ANB Bank, agreed.

“If people lose their jobs, nobody wants to let their house go into foreclosure, so one option is they could sell the house,” Galleger said. “In 2010, it was not even a possibility to sell their house.”

“The housing market right now is extremely strong, and that’s the primary reason you haven’t seen any foreclosures,” he added. Owners headed toward foreclosure can opt to sell the property.

“Ultimately, we haven’t had any problem loans in the past couple of years,” Galleger said. “Traditionally we haven’t had many foreclosures, but lately it’s down considerably from the last few years.”

Telluride Association of Realtors President Pat Pelisson said the local real estate market has rebounded. In 2011, he said, TAR brokers completed $247 million in transactions. In 2014 that number had risen to $461 million.

Pelisson added that the local market was slow in 2010 and 2011 because “bottom feeder buyers” were coming into the market looking for a deal, but local owners had less of a need to sell than those in other markets.

“Since all those foreclosures have gone away, there are people coming in with more realistic expectations, looking for the Telluride lifestyle rather than a good deal,” Pelisson said. “We’ve seen the number of transactions and prices coming up.”

Prior to reaching single digits in 2015, the county treasurer’s office opened 27 foreclosures in 2014.



Development is one way to secure investment grade stock in highly competitive cities.

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Market Spotlight: Chris Feurer, Jameson Sotheby’s | Chicago, Illinois

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