Undiscovered Travel Destinations

Undiscovered Travel Destinations

A sunny getaway can help lift spirts and reveal the history and wonder of a new space far away from home. Take a look at some of our favorite warm weather destinations and start planning your next trip.


This tiny island located about 120 miles southwest of Barbados is quickly becoming a popular travel destination among the world’s elite. Canouan is a secluded island, with no direct flights from the U.S., so many visitors must fly to an airport in St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia or Barbados and then take a short flight by private jet or propeller plane to get to there. The Mandarin Oriental Canouan, which recently took over the old Pink Sands Club, is the premier hotel on the island and has five restaurants and bars, a freestanding spa and a golf course among other amenities.

Lord Howe Island, Australia

Guests looking for both privacy and beauty can look no further than Lorde Howe Island. No need to worry about overcrowding here; only about 400 visitors are allowed on the island at one time to experience the natural features which include the famous twin peaks, subtropical forests and clear waters. The island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage property in 1982 due to its beauty and biodiversity. Visitors take advantage of many local attractions including feeding wild fish by hand at Neds Beach and hiking Mount Gower.

Faroe Islands, Denmark

With dramatic landscapes and stunning waterfront views, The Faroe Islands are a must see for any traveler. Located between Iceland and Scotland, lies this breathtaking string of islands that were once considered Danish Viking territory and today occupy about 50,000 residents. Luxe features are being added to the islands everyday including Michelin-star restaurants and trendy shops for tourists. Koks Restaurant won its first Michelin star in 2017 and has a staff of ten chefs (each from a different country). Reservations are recommended for this exclusive restaurant; it is only open from April to September and only serves 24 customers a night.


Cover Photo by Nextvoyage from Pexels

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Jeff Bezos Buys Fifth Avenue Condo Spread for Around $80 Million

Jeff Bezos Buys Fifth Avenue Condo Spread for Around $80 Million

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has bought three adjacent apartments in 212 Fifth Avenue, which is located in downtown New York near Madison Square Park. Illustration: VisualHouse


The Amazon CEO is finalizing the purchase of three units at 212 Fifth Avenue near Madison Square Park


Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is set to finalize the purchase of three New York apartments Tuesday in a deal valued at around $80 million, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Mr. Bezos is buying a penthouse and two units directly beneath it at 212 Fifth Avenue, located near Madison Square Park, these people said. The main penthouse alone spans three floors, with a private elevator and large terraces, according to StreetEasy. If turned into a single-family home the three units would total more than 17,000 square feet, with 12 bedrooms.

The penthouse, which was asking $73.8 million at one point in 2017, was most recently on the market for $58 million, though the exact sales price wasn’t clear as the deal hasn’t yet been recorded publicly. The other two units sold for a collective $28.45 million, public records show.

The deal is the priciest ever closed in New York south of 42nd Street, said appraiser Jonathan Miller. It’s also the second largest deal closed this year in New York, second only to hedge funder Ken Griffin’s nearly $240 million deal for a penthouse at 220 Central Park South, Mr. Miller said.

The deal comes almost four months after Mr. Bezos’s company ditched plans for a corporate headquarters in the Long Island City area of New York, and amid his divorce from longtime wife MacKenzie Bezos. Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index pegs his net worth at $106 billion. A spokesman for Mr. Bezos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The deal comes almost four months after Mr. Bezos’s company ditched plans for a corporate headquarters in the Long Island City area of New York, and follows his divorce from longtime wife MacKenzie Bezos.

Mr. Bezos has been on the hunt for a New York home for months, and eyed the penthouse at the XI, a new two-tower condo project in West Chelsea, according to people familiar with his search. The executive had parties involved with the search sign nondisclosure agreements, those people said.

The Fifth Avenue building dates back to 1912. Originally used for manufacturing, it was converted into nearly 50 condos in 2015 and was developed by a partnership that includes Madison Equities, Building and Land Technology and Thor Equities. Though the building is undoubtedly luxurious, it is not known for its flashiness: Amenities include a fitness center and a game room. StreetEasy shows that all the original sponsor units are in contract or sold.

Mr. Bezos also has homes in Beverly Hills, Calif., Washington, D.C., West Texas and Medina, Wash., The Wall Street Journal reported in January. In New York, he and his ex-wife lived at the Century at 25 Central Park West. In 1999 they paid $7.65 million for three units at that art deco building owned by then-Sony Music Chief Executive Tommy Mottola. Then in 2012 Mr. Bezos paid $5.3 million for an adjacent 1,725-square-foot unit.

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Existing-home sales rebounded in May

Existing-home sales rebounded in May

WASHINGTON (June 21, 2019) – Existing-home sales rebounded in May, recording an increase in sales for the first time in two months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major U.S. regions saw a growth in sales, with the Northeast experiencing the biggest surge last month.

Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 2.5% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million in May. Total sales, however, are down 1.1% from a year ago (5.40 million in May 2018).

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the 2.5% jump shows that consumers are eager to take advantage of the favorable conditions. “The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in May was $277,700, up 4.8% from May 2018 ($265,100). May’s price increase marks the 87th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of May increased to 1.92 million, up from 1.83 million existing homes available for sale in April and a 2.7% increase from 1.87 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, up from both the 4.2 month supply in April and from 4.2 months in May 2018.

Though inventory is up, the months’ supply numbers remain near historic lows, which has a direct effect on price, according to Yun. “Solid demand along with inadequate inventory of affordable homes have pushed the median home price to a new record high,” he said.

Properties remained on the market for an average of 26 days in May, up from 24 days in April and equal to the 26 days in May of 2018. Fifty-three percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.

Given that housing and properties have been selling so quickly, Yun continues his call for new construction. “More new homes need to be built,” he said. “Otherwise, we risk worsening the housing shortage, and an increasingly number of middle-class families will be unable to achieve homeownership.”

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listing views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in May were Rochester, N.Y.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind.; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; and Midland, Texas.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 4.07% in May, down from 4.14% in April. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

“The month of May ushered in the home sales upswing that we had been expecting,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. “Sales are strengthening in all regions while we see price appreciation for recent buyers.”

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in May, unchanged from the 32% the month prior and up from the 31% recorded in May 2018. NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 20184 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in May, down from April and a year ago (20% and 21%, respectively). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13% of homes in May, down from 16% in April and from 14% a year ago.

Distressed sales5 — foreclosures and short sales — represented 2% of sales in May, down from 3% in April and from 3% in May 2018. Less than 1% of May 2019 sales were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in May, up from 4.63 million in April and down 0.8% from 4.79 million a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $280,200 in April, up 4.6% from May 2018.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in May, up 1.7% from the prior month and down 3.3% from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $257,100 in May, which is up 5.4% from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

May existing-home sale numbers in the Northeast increased 4.7% to an annual rate of 670,000, about equal to a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $304,100, up 6.6% from May 2018.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 3.4% to an annual rate of 1.22 million, which is 3.9% below May 2018 levels. The median price in the Midwest was $220,500, an increase of 5.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South grew 1.8% to an annual rate of 2.32 million in May, up 1.3% from a year ago. The median price in the South was $241,400, up 3.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West grew 1.8% to an annual rate of 1.13 million in May, 3.4% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $409,100, up 4.1% from May 2018.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40% of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for May is scheduled for release on June 27, and Existing-Home Sales for June will be released July 23; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Architectural Concepts, Styles, and Movements

Architectural Concepts, Styles, and Movements


Dating from the 17th century, Colonial architecture is defined by symmetry, practicality, and a connection to local climate and readily available building materials. While we often think of the United States and Canada as British colonies, there were also Spanish, French, and Dutch colonial powers in charge in various parts of the country, so Colonial architecture will differ depending on the region.

Colonial architecture generally features a steep, gabled roof and an interior layout that is one room deep and opens from a central entrance. Depending on the climate, Colonial homes may feature a single, central fireplace or a fireplace at either end of the home. Homes feature small, multi-paned windows symmetrically arranged on either side of the entrance.

Classical/Greek Revival

Inspired by the temples and public buildings of ancient Greece, Greek Revival was a movement in Europe and North America dating from the nineteenth century and featuring an even number of grand columns with an entablature above. The style became popular because of the early American connection between their own democracy and their democratic roots in ancient Greece.

Greek Revival homes are generally painted white in order to mimic the white marble of the originals. While the style is common in public buildings in many areas along the east coast, many of the Greek Revival-style residences that survive are located in the southeastern United States.


Dating from the late 19th and early 20th century, Victorian architecture remains a beloved and popular style in many areas. With ornate trim, asymmetrical design elements, and, in some markets, unusually bright or pastel paint colors, Victorian design is considered a fun and often-quirky style. The elaborate detail and often-expensive custom finishes reflect the Gilded Age wealth of the era.

Part of the charm of many Victorian homes is their layout, consisting of a variety of nooks and crannies, small rooms, side porches, turrets, and other interesting elements. However, for contemporary buyers used to open-concept floorplans, these can be seen as drawbacks. In addition, much of the hand-hewn custom woodwork in elaborate moldings trims, and mantels are costly to duplicate when making repairs or refurbishments. It is important to properly understand and appreciate these elements and their value when advising clients and determining value.



Unique and romantic, Tudor architecture in North America originated in the mid-19th century and is easily identified by its dark wood beams set against a white backdrop as well as brick or stonework foundations, chimneys, and other architectural elements. Tudors can range from small, cottage-style homes to expansive and elaborate mansions. Windows are another distinctive feature of this style, usually small, multi-paned, and either rectangular or diamond-shaped.

Because Tudor homes are expensive to build and maintain, they fell out of favor in new construction after the affordable housing boom of the post World War II era, but they have never gone out of style. You’ll still find a Tudor dream home at the top of many buyer wishlists, and homeowners lucky enough to own their own will no doubt expect top dollar when it’s time to sell.


The Craftsman-style home is rooted in the early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement. With low-pitched gable roofs, generous porches with squat, square columns, and prominent structural elements, the style was traditionally used for bungalows. Now, however, sprawling, newly built mansions in the Craftsman style can be found in luxury neighborhoods all over the country.

Craftsman homes have a number of unique decorative elements including square light fixtures in decorative metals like copper and bronze, double-hung windows with multiple panes in the top and a single pane in the lower half, and built-in cabinetry and other practical elements. In order to ensure long-term value, any improvements or renovations should be in keeping with the Craftsman aesthetic.


Rambling 20th-century ranch-style homes are a fixture of neighborhoods all over the United States and Canada. Beginning on the west coast, the style became popular in an era when large lots and suburban sprawl ruled the architectural world. They come in a variety of configurations including L- and U-shapes which often are arranged around a central recreational space like a pool or terrace. In addition, open-concept floorplans are uniquely suited to the ranch-style home.

While some people love a second story, many others will be drawn to the style and simplicity of a ranch design. For older couples, the style offers the opportunity to stay put after retirement without worry about accessibility as they age. For families with young children, the lack of stairs can mean an easier and more worry-free lifestyle, and the location of many ranch-style homes in suburban neighborhoods is often desirable.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern is currently one of the most distinctive and highly sought-after styles of home. Because they were generally produced from 1930-1960, these homes are somewhat rare, and therefore more highly valued. Combining structural elements of the ranch-style suburban home of the post-War era with artistic and design flourishes impacted by the Modernist aesthetic, these homes are truly works of art.

Mid-century modern homes have a clean, minimalist aesthetic and often feature a neutral background with pops of color on doors, light fixtures, artwork, or furnishings. They are often low-slung and built to be part of the landscape, with an emphasis on the connection between indoor and outdoor living spaces. The aesthetic also requires similarly minimalist furnishings, especially those specific to the time period, so keep this in mind when staging and showing these homes for maximum impact.


Introducing new materials and a new profile, contemporary architectural styles draw on the minimalist influences of the modern aesthetic using metal and glass to make the home feel connected to the outside world. Current contemporary homes often have an emphasis on green, sustainable design, building, and operations.

Contemporary design is often seen as cold, especially with the emphasis on hard building elements. However, the most current contemporary designers favor the use of natural stone, wood, textiles, and greenery to warm up the look and to seamlessly integrate indoors and out.

Remember, while the architectural styles listed above are fairly common throughout the United States and Canada, some coastal, historically significant, and geographically isolated areas may have their own unique architectural styles and features. It’s worth familiarizing yourself with common styles in your area so that you can be as informed as possible when working with clients.

Excerpt from:  www.luxuryhomemarketing.com  June 2019

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HOME Survey: More Say Now Is a Good Time to Sell a Home

HOME Survey: More Say Now Is a Good Time to Sell a Home

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2019) – The latest consumer findings from a National Association of Realtors® survey reveal that many more Americans believe that now is a good time to sell a home.

The second quarter of 2019 saw a jump in optimism in selling, as 46% strongly held that belief, up from 37% in the first quarter.

NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun notes that home prices have increased only moderately and says that is a contributing factor as to why the overwhelming majority feel that now is a good time to sell. “With home price appreciation slowing, home sellers understand that the days of large price gains from holding an extra year are over.”

An increased number of Americans also think that now is a good time to buy a home, and of those respondents, 38% answered that they strongly believe that notion, and 27% said they moderately believe the present is a good time to buy. Thirty-five percent disagreed, stating that now is not a good time to make a home purchase, which is unchanged from 2019’s first quarter.

NAR’s second quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey1 also took a look at consumer attitudes regarding the nation’s economy. Fifty-five percent of those polled said that the economy is improving; that is up from 53% in the previous quarter. Second quarter optimism was greatest among those who earn $100,000 or more and those who reside in rural areas. Fifty-three percent of Gen Xers said they believe the economy is improving, which is also up from 50% last quarter.

Yun said Gen Xers might have more financial pressures compared to other age groups. “Many in the Generation X population find themselves needing to purchase multi-generational homes. Also, they may be feeling financial stress from caring for aging parents and children of all ages. Nonetheless, they have an optimistic outlook about the future,” he said.

To that point, 63% of those polled said they believe home prices have increased within their communities in the last 12 months, a slight jump from the first quarter’s 61%.

Respondents were also asked to share their thoughts on future home prices in their neighborhoods. Forty-three percent said they believe prices will remain the same in their communities over the next six months, a figure which is consistent with the previous quarter. Forty-nine percent said they expect to see a price increase in their communities over the coming six months.

Among those surveyed who do not currently own a home, 27% said they believe it would be very difficult to qualify for a mortgage due to their financial state; 30% said it would be somewhat difficult to qualify.

Yun said that mortgage affordability was promising over the second quarter, and he predicts this trend will continue. “Lower mortgage rates, along with job and wage growth, will lead to an increase in sales and thereby contribute positively to economic growth in the upcoming quarters.”

About NAR’s HOME Survey

From April through June, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via a random-digit-dial, including a mix of cell phones and landlines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report representing a total of 2,708 household responses.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate. HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace.

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