Looking for a Great Golf Course? So Is the Humana Challenge.

“Like a kid in a candy store.”

PGA West Golf Course
PGA West

In a way, that must be how the organizers of the Humana Challenge must be feeling right now. They are looking for two new courses for the tournament after 2015. Of course, changing venues involves a lot of work and officials tasked with the job have many details that must be taken care of. Yet with so many excellent contenders, I think one of the biggest challenges is narrowing down their options.

Bob Marra, CEO and tournament chairman for the Humana Challenge, seemed to echo that thought when he recently said, “As you know, if any area has options for a PGA Tour event, it’s the Coachella Valley.” Of course, all of those great golf course options also translate into a lot of great options for golf course real estate.

La Quinta CC
The tournament plays three courses each year and replacements for two of those need to be found for the 2016 event. The two PGA West courses that have been often used in recent years – the Jack Nicklaus Private Course and Arnold Palmer Private Course – won’t be available. La Quinta Country Club is still on the 2016 schedule.

La Quinta Country Club
La Quinta Country Club

The tournament has been associated with PGA West in La Quinta since 1988 and the Palmer Private Course has seen a lot of play over those ears. Golfers who are also fans of the sport’s heritage will remember David Duvall’s final-round 59 on that course back in 1999 that led him to victory.

The Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West has also been the site of many Humana Challenge rounds over the years. The tournament used to be the Bob Hope Classic and today it works with the Clinton Foundation. Continuing an important legacy of the Bob Hope Classic, the Humana Challenge offers unique Pro-Am playing opportunities.

Environmental friendly
As we get ready to say “goodbye” to the PGA West Palmer and Nicklaus courses after the 2015 event, I want to mention one more thing about them. Both of these courses are certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuaries. That program is designed to greatly help the environment by protecting natural areas and wildlife habitat. Environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water conservation and quality management, along with education and outreach are major parts of the certification.

SilverRock Resort
SilverRock Resort

It’s a great program.

Here’s an idea for your next visit to our area: Think of yourself as having been tasked with finding two courses for the Humana Challenge in 2016 and make your own personal rating as you enjoy a few rounds of golf in the La Quinta area.

Get a TPC tee time
SilverRock is one course that locals have said may be in the running. And while PGA West has taken its private courses off the board for the Humana Challenge, some are speculating that the TPC Stadium Course will be called into action. That course will test your skill when you take an afternoon off from scouting real estate.

Finally, while there are a lot of details still to be set for the 2016 event, in La Quinta one fact remains certain: We’re still looking forward to a great tournament in our backyard. And if you want an “up close and personal” look at the courses and real estate that make up our “backyard,” download our golf resource guide and give us a call. We can introduce you to all the best places to live in La Quinta and Indian Wells as well as show you all the finest Palm Springs area real estate.

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The Night Life Tradition Continues

When you live in a place that has been the semi-official hideaway for the biggest names in entertainment and politics, you hear a lot of stories about “back then” and collect a lot of local lore.

Riviera Hotel Palm Springs
Riviera Hotel Palm Springs

The Coachella Valley and Palm Springs area is that kind of place and a good part of the lore that you pick up here centers around the night life. From the 1940s through 1965, one of the hottest spots was a nightclub/supper club called the Chi Chi in Palm Springs. World class entertainers such as Jerry Lewis, Sophie Tucker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Edgar Bergen, Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge graced the club’s circular stage.

All the big movie stars enjoyed evenings at the Chi Chi as well as the studio heads, like Jack Warner and Cecil B. DeMille. “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup…”

Relax after a round of golf
I imagine a lot of the guests who hit the Chi Chi for dinner and an evening of entertainment, needed a little relaxation after a day on the links. By the way, while the Chi Chi is gone, you can get a great feel for that era at the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs. It was built by the Irwin brothers – who founded the Chi Chi – and Mark Shuman in 1952 and has undergone some recent renovations that bring back its original splendor and glamour.

Riviera Hotel Palm Springs
Riviera Hotel Palm Springs

I also want to quickly mention The Purple Room Supper Club at the Club Trinidad Resort in Palm Springs, because it has a heritage that extends to the days of the Chi Chi. The Purple Room got its start in the 1960s – when you could find Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack there – but changed through the years. Fortunately, it’s been revived and today hosts some great entertainment and dining six nights a week.

Acts change every night so you can enjoy all styles of music, hilarious celebrity impersonators, comedy and more. Its restaurant, Trio, offers an extensive menu. You’ll find that Trio supports local, organic and sustainable agriculture; you’ll be impressed by the quality.

Daytime and nighttime activities
Clubs like The Purple Room really create a balanced lifestyle in this area. There are activities that get you outside during the daytime and then entertainment to keep you, well, entertained at night. Of course, an evening at a top quality restaurant with family and friends is always a wonderful way to spend some time as the sun sets.

Old Town La Quinta
Old Town La Quinta

By the way, not only does our free Golf Course Resource Guide give you all the important details on courses in the La Quinta, Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage area, you’ll find an extensive listing of restaurants. Download it today and look it over.

As you scan the map in the guide, you’ll be able to quickly visualize how convenient developments such as the La Quinta Resort are to everywhere you’ll want to go, whether it’s a great restaurant, the shops in Old Town La Quinta or one of the neighboring courses, such as the PGA West in La Quinta, The Hideaway Country Club, Indian Ridge Country Club, and many more.

This is one of the greatest single assets regarding La Quinta real estate, Indian Wells real estate and property throughout the Palm Springs area: everything is convenient. When you want to be doing things and not just spending time behind the wheel of your car, this is the place to be – just like it was for the Rat Pack.

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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

 

golfunitssold5-14

 

All-PSQFT5-14

 

Golf-PSqFt5-14

 

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.

Bubble5-14

 

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

1537

567

2014 YTD

650

335

* 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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More than Hawks Soar the Desert Sky

Compared to most regions of Southern California, the Palm Springs area, Coachella Valley—including communities such as La Quinta, Indio and Palm Desert—doesn’t have a very large population.

Parade of Planes in Palm Springs
Parade of Planes in Palm Springs

However, it’s not the quantity of people that make a place to live special, it’s the diversity of the people, and that’s something that makes this place unique. We have world-class events here unlike any other place on earth this size.

Sometimes we have events that no other place on the planet has, period. And I just read about one I’m looking forward to in the fall: the Parade of Planes.

Each year there’s an aviation summit in Palm Springs and as part of the festivities, private pilots fly into the airport there and then parade down East Alejo Road and North Avenida Caballeros to the convention center.

Please drop us a note or make a comment below if you know about any other annual parade where aircraft are the “floats.”

An aviation legacy
The California desert has long been a favorite place for aviators and as well as the international airport in Palm Springs, our area also boasts the Bermuda Dunes Airport, which is very near La Quinta, Indio and Palm Desert, and the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport, located just down the highway in Thermal.

Indian Wells Country Club
Indian Wells Country Club

For private aviation buffs, real estate in La Quinta and the neighboring communities can be the ideal location. We haven’t mentioned Indian Wells real estate recently on these pages, but its proximity to the Bermuda Dunes Airport makes it an excellent choice for pilots who also have a penchant for a good round of golf.

The Cove Course at the Indian Wells Country Club was home to the Bob Hope Desert Classic for more than 40 years. A lot of great moments in the game happened on that course. The homes there are just as notable and definitely worth touring when you come to our area.

A Weiskopf course
Also nearby is The Reserve Country Club. The Reserve Country Club course is designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. Weiskopf, with 16 PGA tour wins to his credit, including the 1973 US Open, brings some real cachet to The Reserve.

The Reserve Country Club
The Reserve Country Club

Of course, even if you don’t fly a plane or swing a golf club, there’s still a lot to do when you live in a place like the Indian Wells Country Club or the Reserve Country Club. Pools, spas and fitness gyms are in the mix. And if you visit the Reserve, you’ll see that it backs right up to the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains. A quick drive up the road will take you to the Randall Henderson Trail if you want to stretch your legs and look for some desert wildlife in its natural habitat.

Okay, have I taken this far enough? I started out talking about an airplane parade and managed to bring it around to trail hiking in the mountains. What more can I include? Oh yeah, I haven’t mentioned our free golf resource guide. Hit that big button and download a copy for yourself.

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Spring 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 throughApril, 2014.

The inventory of “Active Listings” in the Coachella Valley increased slightly from January through March but then slowed slightly in April as we approached the end of the “season”. The number of Sold units rose even more making the real estate market in La Quinta move to a normal market status of a 6 month supply. One of the reasons was that although the sales increase in February was lower than expected, the increase in March was higher than expected and fell off slightly in April. The pace at which real estate prices increased in the October to January period seemed to slow to a more normal rate in February and March. The price rise slowed while the home sales increased. 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.

allunitssold4-14

 

golfunitssold4-14

 

All-PSQFT4-14

 

Golf-PSqFt4-14

 

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.

Bubble4-14

 

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

1537

567

2014 YTD

514

262

* 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
CATEGORIES: BUSINESS OF REAL ESTATE, FORECLOSURES, LA QUINTA COMMUNITIES, LA QUINTA HOME FOR SALE, MONTHLY SALES REPORTS, PRICE ANALYSIS, SHORTSALES
TAGS: CHRISTIES INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE, CITY OF LA QUINTA, COACHELLA VALLEY GOLF, GALLAUDET PROPERTIES, HK LANE REAL ESTATE, LA QUINTA, LA QUINTA GOLF, LA QUINTA GOLF PROPERTY, LA QUINTA HOME SALES, LA QUINTA REAL ESTATE, SALE REPORT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Town La Quinta: A Unique Desert Oasis

Southern California is famous for a lot of things, but something that is in short supply here is the unique and cute downtown area, especially in smaller communities. I’m not sure, but I think maybe the concept of the “strip mall” was invented in California.

Old Town La Quinta
Old Town La Quinta

This is one attribute that makes La Quinta stand out from many of the neighboring communities. Visitors are always impressed by Old Town La Quinta and local residents are grateful to have such a diverse group of shops, restaurants and services all centered in one picturesque setting.

Fittingly, Main Street runs through the heart of Old Town La Quinta. Brick sidewalks, palm trees, the Spanish architecture and bougainvillea create an “Old California” feel. And with the mountains framing the entire scene, it’s really a drop-dead gorgeous setting.

Great shopping, fine dining
But it’s probably the boutiques, restaurants, salons and spas that are really the draw. It seems more difficult than ever to find one-of-a-kind items when you’re out shopping today. That’s not the case in Old Town La Quinta. You’ll discover things here that you’ll never see in the big mall stores.

In a similar way, the restaurants all do something a little different. There are none of those homogenized national brands where you get the same menu if you’re in Tampa or Toledo.

Proximity to golf
If you’re a golfer, whether you’re playing the Tradition, Rancho La Quinta, PGA West or virtually any of the others in the area, you’re only about five to 10 minutes from Old Town La Quinta.

PGA West Golf Course
PGA West

The La Quinta Resort has three of its own courses, the Mountain and Dunes which are public, and the Citrus which is private. Home shoppers have 10 gated residential communities to explore and compare there as well as several communities and courses that basically surround the La Quinta Resort.

If you’re like many of the folks who settle in our area, you’re looking for a lifestyle that doesn’t put you behind the wheel of your car for hours each day. That’s why having your home, your recreation and a prime commercial district such as Old Town La Quinta all nestled in with each other makes such a positive impact on the lifestyle here.

With not having to drive miles between home, golf and shopping, people suddenly find that there are more hours in the day to do the things they want to do.

You can’t put a price tag on that. However, we have put a price tag on our area golf guide: it’s free. Hit the button below and download it today so you can have your own copy.

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Puttin’ on the Ritz!

A few brand names in American popular culture have become synonymous with the highest levels of quality and taste.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage – Scenic Views

Cadillac would be one of those. In “Get Shorty,” John Travolta refers to his Oldsmobile Silhouette as “the Cadillac of minivans.”

Another iconic American brand that has that kind of stature is The Ritz. We have all probably heard the song, “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and whenever you want to point out something as being the best of the best, you might say, “It’s really ritzy.”

Hotel reopens
I mention this because just recently a big group of VIPs from local government, the hospitality industry and the community were on hand for the reopening of the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.

The Ritz-Calton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Calton, Rancho Mirage – Pool

It was a project that was a long time in the making. The hotel originally opened in 1988 as the Ritz-Carlton, but was rebranded as The Lodge at Rancho Mirage in 2001. It closed in 2006 to transform it back to the Ritz-Carlton, but the economy got in the way for a while.

Everyone at the rechristening will tell you that it looks better than ever and I know local residents are really glad to have the Ritz brand back in the Coachella Valley. And while visitors to the area will certainly enjoy their stays at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, it also has a lot of meaning for families in the area as well as the real estate market overall.

Property owners benefit
Homeowners in the Mirada Estates gated community are entitled to guest privileges from the new hotel! Also, as many as 150 condominiums will be built next to the hotel.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage – Hotel Lobby

When you’re looking for a very exclusive area with great amenities—including the Ritz-Carlton—Mirada Estates should be on your radar. If the keys to great real estate are “location, location, location,” then Mirada Estates is truly great.

Sitting just above the newly remodeled and reopened hotel, Mirada Estates is perched on a plateau in the Santa Rosa Mountains, so many of the homes have a view out over the desert. Of all the beautiful vistas we have here, one of my favorites has always been the twinkling lights of the desert floor from the nearby mountains.

Nature protected
Mirada Estates is surrounded by the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, so residents there know that the natural beauty will be forever preserved.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage – Guest Suite

The homes are all distinctive, so you can find just about any style of architecture that you prefer. Of course, a variety of golf courses are just minutes away as well. If you download our golf course guide to La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indio, you can get a good feel for which courses are in and around Rancho Mirage.

And hey, if you’re planning to visit soon to look at some property, why not spend a few nights at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage and see for yourself what an excellent job they did!

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