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High-End Beachfront Home in Del Mar Sets County Sales Record at $35M

A four bedroom, five-and-half bath beachfront home in Del Mar set the county record for highest priced residence sold in the county and a state record for highest property sale.

This exemplary sale for $35 million, which closed on May 30, is just one indicator of the healthy luxury market in the county, according to several residential real estate professionals.

“I think we have a healthy luxury market in San Diego County,” said Patricia Kramer, one of the two listing agents for the historic sale.

Kramer and Patricia Lou Martin of Prudential California Realty celebrated over champagne at their Rancho Santa Fe office last week while thinking of their next listing.

“It just means we are going along to other pieces of property and, hopefully, we can represent people that have quality in mind and like the idea of this lifestyle,” said Kramer.

The property located on 120-feet of beach property at Ocean Front Avenue just north of 27th Street sold in two phases.

According to county records, Gary E. Jacobs and Jerri-Ann Jacobs purchased the first phase, three adjoining parcels for $13.15 million in early May.

The Madeleine Anne Pickens Trust paid $35 million for the second phase or fourth of the adjoining parcels, which includes a 5,700-square-foot residence.

The combined $48.15 million sales price is the highest price paid for residential property in California, according to Kramer and Martin, who represented the seller, Arthur E. Nicholas.

The estate boasts four structures in addition to the residence, and includes a greenhouse, two guest houses, health spa and gym.

In addition, the property has a tennis court, sculpture garden and patio with lap pool, 10-person Jacuzzi and fire pit.

The beachfront home and other structures were built between 1997 and 1999. The structures were designed by Solana Beach architect Ken Ronchetti of Ronchetti Design Group. All buildings have disappearing glass walls and feature the finest woods and stone.


Worth The Wait

The property was on the market for nearly two years. Martin said the process took a considerable amount of time to find the right buyer.

“We worked long and diligently to find families who would appreciate the value of a Ronchetti-designed living environment on the most beautiful coast in California,” she said.

Roberta Murphy, a broker with the Murphy Group, a Windermere Exclusive Properties real estate agency in Carlsbad, said “it is about time.”

Murphy, who maintains a real estate blog called Luxury Home Digest, was not surprised by the multimillion-dollar sale.

“What is happening in high-end luxury markets is the high keeps getting higher,” said Murphy. “I think we are going to be seeing more of this.”


Million-Dollar Trends

The Del Mar sale is the county’s fourth over $20 million and 15th over $15 million.

Previously, the County Assessor’s office showed record sales of $25 million for a home in Del Mar located on Highway 101 in July 2000 followed by a La Jolla Farms property in La Jolla for $23.5 million in September 2005 and a Las Colinas home in Ranch Santa Fe for $22 million in January 2000.

Brian Guiltinan, president of Prudential California Realty Estate Division, said this record sale in Del Mar is just the beginning of significant luxury home sales to come this year. Guiltinan, who represented the buyer of record-breaking residential home, said he anticipates seeing a solid market through year end.

“This is a wonderful sign of things to come in the luxury market in Del Mar and the San Diego County market,” Guiltinan said in reference to the record sale. “The luxury market is strong.”

He said San Diego has done a very good job of attracting some very wealthy individuals to live here.

“We have Rancho Santa Fe, we have Del Mar and La Jolla, three of the best places in the world to live when it comes to high-end homes.”

Guiltinan, one of only a handful of agents who have sold properties over $20 million, returned to luxury real estate sales in late May. Already, this experienced realtor has several listings for luxury homes.

Martin agreed with Guiltinan. She said the county is one of the most competitive luxury markets in the state alongside coastal communities, including Santa Barbara, but is the absolute finest community overall.

“San Diego County has better climate, has superb school districts and is a more livable and desirable community,” she said.

San Diego luxury home values rose 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2007 compared to a year ago, according to the First Republic Prestige Home Index by First Republic Bank.

The index, which has tracked luxury home sale prices since 1985, found San Diego values increase 0.8 percent in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. The average luxury home in San Diego is now $2.17 million, according to the report which also looked at the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.

Katherine August-deWilde, chief operating officer of San Francisco-based First Republic Bank, said values in the upper tier of the luxury market are particularly strong and the luxury market in San Diego is doing very well.

Benny Landman, of Coldwell Banker in Del Mar, agreed. In the Prestige Home Index report, Landman said since January, there have been multiple offers on many luxury homes.

“Homes are selling right near or at the asking price,” he said. “There are a lot of buyers with a lot of cash, although it is taking a little longer to sell.”

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