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Are the Ultra-Rich Ultra-Interested in Buying Homes in the DC Area?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Are the Ultra-Rich Ultra-Interested in Buying Homes in the DC Area?: Figure 2
The just-sold Merrywood estate. Click to enlarge.

Recent activity in the stratosphere of the DC area housing market has made the $35 million sale of the aptly-named Winds Falls estate last summer seem like foreshadowing.

Listing and sales activity in the highest price tier of the housing market has resulted in new price standards being set on a weekly basis. Between last month's record-setting sale of the Merrywood estate, the high-priced former Cafritz mansion finding a buyer, the Ishpiming estate on Chevy Chase Circle hitting the market and the record-setting listing of AOL co-founder James Kimsey's estate in northern Virginia, homes are being listed and sold for prices that the area has never seen.

"We have been very aware for a number of years that Washington real estate is a tremendous value compared to other global capitals, and I think that's what we're starting to see now: that the global investor, the global buyer, is starting to look at Washington as a real opportunity," Mark Lowham, CEO of TTR Sotheby's International Realty, told UrbanTurf.

Are the Ultra-Rich Ultra-Interested in Buying Homes in the DC Area?: Figure 1
The former Ourisman mansion.

"Properties in the area are a fraction of what comparable properties in other global capitals like London or Hong Kong or Dubai are priced at, and you have the added benefit of proximity to the geopolitical power base in Washington," Lowham continued. The idea that global investors are showing increased interest in the area can be seen with the sale of Merrywood to Saudi Arabia and last year's sale of the Ourisman mansion to the kingdom of Morocco.

In addition to the momentum that is coming from the attention of foreign buyers, the local market also seems to be benefiting from the less-tangible force of timing.

Are the Ultra-Rich Ultra-Interested in Buying Homes in the DC Area?: Figure 3
The ballroom at Ishpiming. Click to enlarge.

Lowham, who represented a couple of the aforementioned listings, noted that one was an estate sale and another was a matter of downsizing. Ted Duncan, listing agent for the Ishpiming estate, shared with UrbanTurf that downsizing also played a part in that home hitting the market.

The uptick in activity at the highest part of the market, despite new price records being set, could have a trickle-down effect for the secondary tier of the local luxury market.

"We used to think somewhere in the $20 [millions] was the ceiling for the Washington market; clearly, that's not the case now," Lowham shared, noting the over-$60 million price tag attached to the Kimsey estate.

"That higher ceiling will influence pricing in other ultra-luxury properties; not necessarily just those along the Potomac riverfront," Lowham continued. These effects could be felt in the upper-priced market over the next few years.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/are-the-ultra-rich-just-ultra-interested-in-buying-in-the-dc-area/14144

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