The Vegas luxury market is about to hit new heights amid the biggest plans for virgin multi-million-dollar lots in recent history. Is there a ceiling? We asked the experts.
Specs appeal: Growth Luxury Homes is building smart dream houses.
The stunning views from the prized perches of our city’s massive new developments are part of their appeal, but modern designs, next-generation technology, and property as a safe haven for high rollers looking to diversify are making for exciting times for the leaders of one of the most massive land grabs in recent Las Vegas history. Mike Meldman, chairman and CEO of Discovery Land Company, has partnered with the Howard Hughes Corporation to create the Summit Club, a 555-acre country-club community in Summerlin. Rich MacDonald is the visionary developer behind MacDonald Highlands, a country-club community that has more than 200 lots with unblockable vistas available. Bob Barnhart of Luxurious Real Estate is working with Growth Luxury Homes on about some $150 million of high-end spec houses. We talked to them about what’s on Las Vegas horizons.
Why is there so much enthusiasm for building luxury homes in Las Vegas? Rich MacDonald: Most people realize real estate is a good hedge against inflation and that it’s a safe place to park your money. Part of the rationale is that they think a nice expensive house is something they can liquidate and get value out of. I believe in that. Bob Barnhart: When you look at the success of Howard Hughes with Downtown Summerlin and you look at the success of the Ridges, and you couple that with Discovery Land Company and look at all that momentum, you’re seeing homes turn over and prices increase—2015 was a really good year.
The lofty Dragon Ridge Clubhouse at MacDonald Highlands is perched 2,700 feet above the valley.
What are some of the design elements and amenities driving the market? Mike Meldman: People want homes with the best amenities, but most important is to have places where their families can gather and be comfortable. Generous great rooms, theaters, game rooms, and gyms are some of the things our members are requesting. We also find that spacious kitchens with state-of-the-art appliances are important since fresh and farm-to-table food is popular and cooking and entertaining at home is another way to bring families together. BB: Obviously, the strongest plans are going to win—the newest in design, energy-efficiency, and technology. The icing on the cake is the ones that are turnkey, fully furnished, staged really well. It’s for people who say, “I want it and I want it now.” RM: We’re looking at one house that has a bridge entrance. There’s water under the house, water sometimes cascading a whole level or two, as you walk into the house. There’s a new home coming in that has an infinity-edge pool that’s about 300 degrees—not quite 360 because you have to get into the pool! It makes you want to tear your house down and start over again. The sophistication of the new construction is just mindblowing.
Do you see a ceiling for the Vegas market? MM: We believe the upside at The Summit is limitless. There is a finite number of properties in the community so every sale creates even more demand. The investment in the property will be over $100 million, and as we develop the property and build the golf course and clubhouse, the lots and homes will become even more valuable. RM: For most high-end buyers, there’s such value in Vegas. You build a house in Hawaii, you’re paying twice as much a foot. That’s also true in California and in Miami. We’re seeing prices wind their way up, but it’s got a long way to go.