All the Valley’s a Stage, and Golf Courses!

Throughout the year, there are events in the Coachella Valley that bring some of the world’s best athletes into our community. For those of us who sometimes make better spectators than we do participants, these are great times and I’ve mentioned them before on these pages.

However, if you like being in the audience there’s more than just sporting events to see here and I’m going to briefly touch on a couple of these today. I want to talk about live theater and a special project that has been getting a lot of attention recently.

McCallum Theatre
McCallum Theatre

The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert is a venue that offers the widest variety of performances imaginable. Broadway productions, ballet and concerts keep the facility hopping with activity all year long. Scanning through upcoming events, I see that Guys and Dolls, Anything Goes and Memphis are among the musicals scheduled over the next few months.

A great lineup of shows
Musical acts coming up include Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers, Neil Sedaka, the New Christy Minstrels and Patti Austin. There’s also comedy, dance and some great Christmas programs. As this line up demonstrates, renowned artists perform regularly, but I also wanted to mention a more of a local initiative.

It was recently announced that the McCallum Theatre is teaming up with David Gonzalez, a nationally known storyteller and poet, to preserve and present the stories that come from the eastern Coachella Valley. This will be a way of honoring and celebrating the heritage of this region.

Gonzalez will be going through neighborhoods in La Quinta and Indio – among other areas – to talk to locals and gather their stories. Eventually he’ll present these stories through different media, such as video and online, as well as in performance settings. It will be interesting to see how he is able to capture and highlight the local cultural heritage of our area.

La Quinta Resort
La Quinta Resort

‘Activate’ your lifestyle
All of these offerings add to the “active lifestyle” we’re able to enjoy in La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and the greater Coachella Valley. But I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention some of the things that put “active” in the active lifestyle, especially golf. When you can live in communities like any of the 10 that are part of the La Quinta Resort, you begin to understand why the phrase “Golf Mecca” is often used to describe our area.

Those 10 gated communities span the La Quinta Resort’s three golf courses and include six communities that are actually within the gates of the resort. Among those six The Mountain Estates and The Enclave feature some truly magnificent custom homes. And to get a great idea of how all of these golf courses and golf course communities are situated, be sure to download our free golf resource guide.

It gives you a “bird’s eye” view of the Coachella Valley so you can see how the courses are located. It also serves as a country club membership guide by providing great information on membership fees and more.

Of course, if you call we can give you even more information than you can get from our guide as well as help you decide which communities would best meet your needs.


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The Thermal Club, Where You Can Do An Entire Course in Seconds…

When the discussion turns to “good drivers” in La Quinta, usually it’s a couple of inveterate golfers debating the relative merits of brands like Ping, Cobra, TaylorMade, Titleist and others. (Sorry if I’ve missed your go-to one wood.)

But take a short jaunt out of town and the phrase “good drivers” takes on a whole new meaning.

At the Thermal Club, it’s not the swoosh of a nicely stroked tee shot that you’ll hear, it’s the roar of a powerful and finely tuned engine. What a private, members-only country club is to golfers, the Thermal Club is to professional and talented amateur race car drivers.

The Thermal Club
The Thermal Club

It’s probably the best private motor sports facility in the world. It boasts 4.5 miles of track spread over three different circuits along with an incredible clubhouse and some fantastic private homes. Instead of a home on the third fairway of the Citrus Club, how about a home on the Desert Circuit’s second straightaway? Instead of maybe hitting 20 mph in a golf cart, how about 200 mph in a formula car?

A major addition
Some pretty big news came out of The Thermal Club recently. BMW is coming on board to create a dedicated road course and training facility. It will be called “Performance Center West” and is supposed to open by the end of the year.

It will give non-members a chance to satisfy their need for speed in the Coachella Valley. BMW says it expects to attract as many as 17,000 customers to its facility every year. The course will be 1.4 miles long, occupy 32 acres, and have an 8,500 square-foot performance facility.

Just when you think your neighborhood has everything, a project like this is announced. When you consider the realm of major individual sports – such as golf, tennis, road racing and swimming – there may not be any other place on earth that has as much to offer as we have here in La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and the general Palm Springs area.

Mountain View Country Club Golf Course
Mountain View Country Club

Golf Resource Guide
Will we someday have to redo our golf resource guide to include this booming high performance driving facility? Maybe, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in getting some extremely useful information on our golf courses and the real estate that surrounds them, you need to download the free guide.

You’ll get an excellent overview of the area, including specific information on virtually all of the courses. If you want a home at PGA West, Mountain View Country Club, Rancho La Quinta, The Hideaway, The Tradition, and many more, our guide is the best place to start.

We would love to have the chance to answer any of your questions and help get you pointed in the right direction. Maybe one day soon you’ll come by our office and we can take you out to see some homes. Let us do the driving. We won’t hit Thermal Club speeds, but we’ll get you around town quickly and efficiently!


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A Small Oasis of Mid-Century Modern Architecture

There can be more than one kind of oasis in the desert. Not long ago we talked about some palm canyon oases tucked away in the creases of the San Jacinto Mountains. They were the life blood of the original inhabitants here and they were certainly a pleasant discovery for the early explorers.

Today some of the “oases” are of the man-made variety and one that comes to mind is the Hotel Lautner up the road in Desert Hot Springs. It’s a beautiful four-room hotel (yes, just four guest rooms) in one of the Coachella Valley’s mid-century modern architectural gems. If you’re up on your noted American architects, you may know the man the hotel is named for, John Lautner.

Hotel Lautner
Hotel Lautner

He was one of the most influential architects who worked primarily in Southern California. Lautner studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and designed some of the details for various Wright homes as well as supervising construction. In 1947 he struck out on his own and that’s the same year he designed the Desert Hot Springs Motel, now Hotel Lautner.

A taste of the early days
A stay in Hotel Lautner or one of the other mid-century modern hotels is one of the best ways to personally experience an earlier era in Palm Springs, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and the greater Coachella Valley. And if you want to really get a feel for modernism in the Palm Springs area, schedule a visit for the yearly “Modernism Week” when there are special tours and programs. It’s set for Feb. 12-22, 2015 and Nov. 1 is when tickets are available.

If the architect you’re most familiar with is Pete Dye, you might want to be in La Quinta a couple of weeks earlier for the Humana Challenge at La Quinta Country Club and PGA West. Formerly called the Bob Hope Classic, virtually all the top golfers in the world will be in town as the 2015 season gets rolling in the “Lower 48.” The tournament runs from Jan. 19-25.

By the way, there’s a direct architectural connection between the Bob Hope Classic and John Lautner. Lautner’s most famous mid-century modern creation in Palm Springs is Bob Hope’s 17,500 square-feet home that was built in 1973.

PGA West Stadium Course
Hole #17 @ PGA West Stadium Course

The season is just right
With fall here and winter just around the corner, a stay at one of La Quinta’s fine hotels is ideal. It’s the perfect time to scout the various golf courses in our area as well as the homes that are on or near them. Imagine purchasing a home on the PGA West courses or at La Quinta Country Club and having such easy access to the tournament.

I’d also like to mention that the fact so many world-class events come to La Quinta and the Coachella Valley is testimony to the excellent infrastructure here, including hotels and restaurants. The big tournaments come in for a week or so, while residents get to enjoy the area all year long.

If you’d like to get an overview of the valley, with the golf courses and the neighboring communities, be sure to download our free Golf Resource Guide. It maps the locations of all the courses, communities and many restaurants. It also includes membership information and relative real estate prices.


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An Epic Movie and an Epic Palm Springs Home

Classic movies and local nostalgia recently crossed paths with the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind.

If you went out for a movie in the month before the anniversary, you may have seen a trailer for a special two-night screening put on by TCM and Fathom events. It’s really one of those movies that you need to see on the big screen to appreciate and I hope a whole new generation has been introduced to this classic American movie and story.

Clark Cable
Clark Cable

Okay, by now you may be wondering how this relates to real estate in the Palm Springs area, including La Quinta, Indian Wells and the other local communities, but I assure you it does.

If you would like to have an up-close and personal connection to Gone With the Wind’s male star, you might consider putting in an offer on Clark Gable’s home in Palm Springs – it recently came on the market. And your connection to the Golden Days of Hollywood would stretch even further; Gable built the estate for his wife at the time, Carol Lombard.

Talk about Hollywood royalty!

Gable and golf
As you know, a lot of celebrities have owned and currently own property in the Coachella Valley, so it’s not all that unusual that one comes on the market that has something of a cachet. However, I can’t think of any that top Gable and Lombard.

Gable, by the way, must have enjoyed the golf scene here. Golf was one of many endeavors he truly wanted to master.

“Golf looked so easy to me,” he once related, “so I just bought some clubs and started out. I found out different and so I decided that I would quit fooling and become a real golfer.”

He buckled down, found a pro to teach him and vowed not to hit a course until he was ready. Gable worked at it for eight straight months and when he finally ventured onto the Lakewood course in Los Angeles, he shot an 81!

La Quinta Resort
La Quinta Resort

If you want to take a few strokes off your game, La Quinta is your ideal home base. With our climate you can pursue your passion just about every day of the year. I feel bad for anyone who loves golf and lives in an area where the courses have to close over the winter months.

Live on your favorite course
And the great thing about La Quinta and the neighboring communities is not only do you have dozens of excellent courses within minutes, you can pick one and live next door to it. Some of the great options here include homes at La Quinta Resort, PGA West, The Tradition, Citrus Club and several others.

If you download our free golf course resource guide, you’ll see that there are really too many to list here. The guide gives you a great map of the courses along with the details you need to judge relative prices of memberships as well as real estate.

Once you get a feel for Coachella Valley real estate and golf from our guide, give us a call and we can answer any questions you have. We work hard to keep our clients informed and help them find the ideal home, because unlike Clark Gable’s infamous line in Gone With the Wind, we really care!


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La Quinta Real Estate Sales Analysis (Summer, 2014)

The City of La Quinta, year-to-date unit sales for 2014 are 18% lower than 2013. As you can see from the graph below, each month in 2014 has fallen behind the previous year. The second quarter of 2014 was the worst with 28% less sales than the second quarter of 2013. During 2014, we have had a very tight inventory of homes for sale which is a major contributor to the decrease in sales this year.

The summer of 2014, (3rd quarter – July, August and September), was the worst summer quarter for La Quinta since 2007. The quarter that just ended recorded La Quinta sales of 266 homes, a drop of 15% over the same quarter in 2013 (314). Just to keep this in perspective, 2013 was the best year since the “bubble” burst in 2005.

What we have noticed here in the Coachella Valley was that during the late fall of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 there was a noticeable increase in the number of American buyers and a decrease in Canadian buyers. The number of buyers at that time, coupled with a very low inventory, caused prices to begin to rise substantially in many developments. Toward the beginning of the second quarter, there seemed to be a change in buyer attitude and prices leveled off and even declined slightly. This malaise which has been caused by the tight inventory, and the investors not liking the increase in pricing, has malingered for the rest of the year. We are hoping that after the election and as we enter the selling season, we will see more inventory and then sales again pick up.


allunitssold9-14 golfunitssold9-14 All-PSQFT9-14 Golf-PSqFt9-14 Bubble9-14

This is a graph of the Real Estate “Bubble”. The red line represents the normal historical Real Estate appreciation rate of 4.5%
Here are some yearly sales figures (units) for the City of La Quinta from 2002:
Year – All LQ – Golf Course
2002 – 1,356 – 259
2003 – 1,572 – 640
2004 – 1,938 – 785
2005 – 1,563 – 638
2006 – 1,118 – 483
2007 –   942 – 444
2008 – 1,076 – 405
2009 – 1,202 – 409
2010 – 1,360 – 518
2011 – 1,446 – 510
2012 – 1,532 – 587
2013 – 1,537 – 567
2014 – 1,000 – 474
YTD (Sept)

* 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