Another Desert Gem: The Custom Architecture

With the Palm SpringPalm Desert area so popular with the entertainment crowd over the years, you find some incredible architecture here that you wouldn’t find in other communities this size.

Twin Palms Estate
Twin Palms Estate

One architectural style is represented here perhaps better than anywhere else in the country: Mid Century Modern. In fact, so many noted architects designed homes and other buildings here in that style, that “Palm Springs Modern” has become well known on its own merits.

One of the best examples of this is Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate, which has been recognized as a Class 1 Historic Site. It was designed by architect E. Stewart Williams and the local legend is that Old Blue Eyes strolled into Williams’ office in the spring of 1947, eating an ice cream cone and announcing that he wanted the home built by Christmas. It was Sinatra’s home during much of his tumultuous time married to Ava Gardner.

There are fascinating tours of noted Coachella Valley architectural gems throughout the year and the current owners of Sinatra’s estate open it for tours once a year in February during Modernism Week.

Twin Palms Estate
Twin Palms Estate

Custom homes today
The tradition of outstanding design continues today and many communities around and near golf courses offer stunningly original designs. If you get a chance to tour Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate, you’ll see how Williams incorporated the beauty of the natural setting into his design. You’ll see that same quality if you’re shopping for a new home in our area and we have the pleasure to head out and look at some properties.

Melding the desert scenery, such as the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains, with home design is one of the things that makes living in this area so special. You’ll see that approach to design in many of the custom homes at La Quinta Resort, including the properties of the Enclave Mountain Estates.

Enclave Mountain Estates is an exclusive gated community of custom homes on the grounds of La Quinta Resort and Club. Each home is distinct and ideally designed for its setting. The attention to detail in the homes in this community is extraordinary. You’ll find that properties run from around 3,600 to  7,100 square feet and make great use of outdoor living space as well.

La Quinta Resort
La Quinta Resort

Golf course architecture
When residents here want to venture out, they’re just steps away from the Mountain Course, which was designed by the renowned Pete Dye. Since this article has been highlighting architecture, I suppose I should mention a little about golf course architects as well. With his Mountain Course, Dye has really given us a course that not only challenges golfers but also treats them to some magnificent mountain vistas; he has worked with the environment just as great structural architects do when they design custom homes.

Why don’t you download our free golf resource guide so you can get a good overview of how courses and communities are spread out over the Coachella Valley? If you’re considering La Quinta real estate, Indian Wells real estate or a home anywhere in the general Palm Springs area—and have an interest in golf—our guide is a great place to start. Of course, we’re always ready to answer your questions and help in any way we can.

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May, 2014 Sales Analysis

Here are the latest sales numbers for all homes sold within the City of La Quinta as well as all Golf Course homes in La Quinta from January, 2008 through May, 2014.

The inventory of “Active Listings” in the Coachella Valley decreased from April to May which is usual as we approach the summer season. The number of Sold units decreased significantly over the same period last year (May, 2013) which was the best month since 2008. The main reason is that the inventory has decreased in April and May. The pace at which real estate prices increased in the October to January period seemed to slow to a more normal rate in February through May. The price rise slowed as did the home sales. The activity in the million dollar+ market seems to have picked up but prices have not increased as much as they have for the under a million homes.allunitssold5-14








Below is the chart depicting the “bubble” in sales versus the historical 4.5% annual appreciation. As predicted by the National Association of Realtors back in 2005. It will be interesting to see how close the actual sales prices stay to the “Normal Appreciation” line in the coming months. One of the reasons for the recent price increases is that we have seen more American buyers in the market than in the past few years which is a sign that our economic outlook seems to be improving.



Here are some yearly sales figures (units) for the City of La Quinta from 2002:



LQ Golf Course





































2014 YTD



* Remember that the sales numbers represent “Closed” escrows. Since the average escrow is between 45 and 60 days, the decision to purchase the homes that closed in June was probably made in March to early April.

For more information about the Coachella Valley Real Estate market, Please call us at (760) 203-2621!
Source: DesertAreaMLS


What’s in a Rock? A lot of History!

Driving through the Coachella Valley and the desert in general—if you’re paying attention and not too distracted by whatever you’re listening to—can be like driving through history.

People have been living here for thousands of years and they all have left their distinctive marks on the landscape. To really take a hike back in time, explore the Corn Springs Petroglyph Site sometime when you’re in La Quinta. It’s just a bit further down I-10 and on BLM land.

Point Happy Rock
Point Happy Rock

However, here I wanted to open your eyes to an interesting feature you might not give a second look while you’re driving through La Quinta and Indio. It’s called Point Happy Rock. Highway 111 cuts right through it and it’s where the popular Cliffhouse Restaurant is located.

A route that really rocks!
Today, road engineers tend to plot the course of new highways around rock outcroppings like this. But in the 1930s, when this right of way was originally carved—or blasted—out, the engineers apparently had other priorities.

Often when we drive “through”Point Happy Rock, we think about all the people over the years who have traveled this route. When a road funnels through a narrow slit carved through a massive piece of rock, you know that that specific patch of ground will always be a route for commerce.

Back in the days of the Dust Bowl, some travelers from the Midwest must have rolled through there. Today, visitors and residents of La Quinta and other communities in the Palm Springs area pass through Point Happy Rock on their way to golf courses such as La Quinta Country Club, Rancho La Quinta, Indian Wells Golf Resort, El Dorado Country Club, The Vintage, The Reserve, and many others.

Rancho La Quinta
Rancho La Quinta

Homes with views
Of course, golfer-homeowners in locations like Rancho La Quinta seldom have to hop in their vehicles and head out onto Highway 111 to pursue their favorite sport. Rancho La Quinta offers 36 holes of golf. Another special treat here is its elevated lots that deliver stunning views of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

And if there are non-golfers in your family, the tennis courts, pool and fitness center are great ways to stay fit. I said pool, but I should have said “pools.” However, the main pool at the Racquet Club is the perfect size to put in some laps.

When you drop in to get more details on some of these properties and the various golf options you have, be sure you have our free golf resource guide with you. It gives a great “birds-eye view” of the area. Combine that with one of the local books that talk about desert history, and you’ll really be able to maximize your understanding of this special area.

We hope to see you soon!

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President #44 Plays 9 Holes

Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage is certainly accustomed to taking care of high profile guests, but none get any higher profile than the President of the United States, and that’s what happened recently when Barack Obama was in town.

Thunderbird Country Club
Thunderbird Country Club

President Obama’s love of golf is well known—we hear that he’s somewhere around a 16-18 handicap—so it shouldn’t be any surprise that Air Force One is seen occasionally at Palm Springs International. Reports we saw said he played nine holes of golf at Porcupine Creek, Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s place in Rancho Mirage.

The Valley of the Presidents
I wonder if any single valley in the country has had as many presidential visits and homes as our area. President Eisenhower is, of course, one of our most famous aficionados, but he wasn’t the first to discover the area. Herbert Hoover was here in 1936 and FDR was in La Quinta before WWII. And after his years in the White House, Gerald Ford settled in the area.

La Quinta Resort
La Quinta Resort

And that actually brings me to my topic: Publications like Variety have speculated that President Obama was actually checking out property when he was here with the First Lady. I suspect that if the president does decide to buy a home here, one of his main reasons would be similar to what motivates many of our residents: the number of great golf courses in the area. (I’m going to have to see if anyone from the White House has downloaded our golf course resource guide…)

While you might not find yourself in a foursome with a former president, you will certainly be in good company when you golf in the La Quinta, Indian Wells or the greater Palm Springs area. And, whether you’re looking for a retirement home, second home or just a great place to live, this is a the place to be. Of course, living on or near a golf course is nirvana for many of our residents.

La Quinta Resort Tennis
La Quinta Resort

The Royal Treatment
Even if you haven’t been the most powerful man in the free world, you’ll find that you’re treated like a king at all the local facilities. When you start to scout real estate here, some of your most difficult decisions will be choosing between communities in places such as the La Quinta Resort, with its three courses (2 public, 1 private at the Citrus), tennis courts, and other fine facilities.

Boasting three courses and some 10 different communities tucked in, around and near the golf courses, there is a lot of variety available. Everything from large custom homes at The Enclave to the La Quinta Resort Spa Villas condos make ideal locations for golfers and anyone looking for an active lifestyle.

There are many other communities I should mention, but I’ll leave them for a future post. For now, let me just point out our free golf resource guide download. Who knows, maybe the president has a copy on his laptop right now, so when you push the download “button” you could be in very good company.

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