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Real Estate Showcase - Second Homes


A planned performing arts center near the site of Woodstock ’69 in Bethel, New York is boosting area second-home buying. The long-awaited groundbreaking for the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts this past July provided an added stimulant to already ballooning sales.

“A lot of folks call in and specifically ask about the performing arts center,” says Steve Dubrovsky, a developer of The Chapin Estate, a custom home community. Chapin’s corporate office is located in the former barn of Max Yasgur, the farmer who famously hosted Woodstock on his land.

The cost of the average home built three years ago (when Chapin opened) was $1 million including the land. Today, several $4- and $5-million homes are under construction. In the last three years, prices for land alone have also jumped, in some cases from under $300,000 to more than $800,000.

“The Chapin Estate so far surpasses what people imagine before coming here—they are genuinely surprised at the unspoiled aspect of the land,” says Dubrovsky.


David James bought his first home this year - and it is not within commuting distance of his Wall Street job. Instead, it is a 4BR, West Indian-style ranch house with a tin roof and lake views in the resort community of Sandestin, in the Florida Panhandle.

“Prices in New York were so expensive,” he says. “I’m doing it backwards - I didn’t buy a home, but I bought a vacation home.”

Long a regional destination, Sandestin is drawing more New York buyers than ever before, reports Kerri Billman, a representative of the brokerage company Playground Destination Properties Inc. She says that 58 percent of New York buyers are condominium purchasers and 42 percent are single-family home purchasers.

Prices start at $239,000 for a studio condominium and go up to $5.498 million for a 10,000SF home. “You have four golf courses, the beach, bay and marina,” Billman points out. According to the Multiple Listing Service, average prices have soared by 93.4 percent in the past two years.


New Yorkers are going north of the border in search of all-season second homes.

“We had about double the inquiries from New Yorkers after the election,” said Michel Beaulieu, one of the developers of Coté Nord, a lakeside log-cabin community just three miles from the Mont Tremblant ski area in Quebec, Canada. Three of the first six buyers at Coté Nord were New Yorkers.

The Blue State blues are not the only thing driving buyers over the border. Relatively low prices and the weak Canadian dollar result in surprisingly affordable resort homes for people accustomed to million-dollar studio apartments.

Depending on the exchange rate of the moment, prices at Coté Nord (in greenbacks) start at about $318,000 for a secluded 1,875SF, 4BR, 2bth log-cabin chalet. They go as high as $450,000 for a 2,250SF, 4BR, 4.5bth home. All have stone fireplaces, decks and at least an acre of land.

    "Manhattan is a very popular second-home market for empty-nesters,” says Daren W. Hornig, president and CEO of Dwelling Quest. “Second-home buyers have gone from nowhere to about five percent of our volume in the last two years. More than half are purchasing in new condominium developments.”