Manhattan, New York
Why A decade of construction fervor has transformed New York’s skyline. In the Financial District, the spire of One World Trade Center—the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere—now soars above the haunting 9/11 Memorial.
Further north, West Chelsea’s former factories and old brownstones now border a clutch of contemporary masterpieces— from Zaha Hadid’s sinuous condo to Bjarke Ingels’s twisted towers, which, once complete, will house America’s’ first Six Senses Hotel & Spa—and the High Line, a former railway line turned park overlooking the Hudson.
‘It’s a bit like London,’ says Kirk Henckels of Savills’ associate Stribling. ‘You have areas that heretofore were not so popular— certainly not as luxury residential—[but] money has spread like icing in the past 10–15 years.’
Buy West Chelsea is ‘a beacon of premium prices’, according to Christie’s International Real Estate. ‘Between the galleries, shopping, restaurants and parks, it offers nature, culture and world-class art and architecture,’ says Christie’s International’s Erin Boisson Aries.
Across Manhattan, however, an increase in stock has slowed prices, according to Liam Bailey of Knight Frank, so ‘there are deals to be done’. He tips the Financial District as the place to buy, after projects such as One World Trade Center cemented its appeal.
For Mr. Henckels, the West Village remains ever attractive, but the area to watch is the one covered by the new Second Avenue Subway, which opened last year.
Why Long the center of political power, now, Washington is leading the way in sustainability—at the end of 2017, it became the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum city, a top accolade.
In a bid to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and improve residents’ health, the local administration is encouraging people to walk, use public transport or cycle— for visiting cyclists, the best route is the 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail, which overlooks the Potomac River and local monuments and sights.
Parks and open spaces now cover 7,600 acres; Rock Creek has more than 1,700 acres, but the Hirshhorn Museum has the most scenic garden, thanks to more than 60 sculptures.
Renewable energy sources power government buildings and many new or upcoming developments have strong Green credentials. One such is 200, Massachusetts Ave NW, designed by Pritzker Prize winner Kevin Roche.
Another is The Wharf, a waterfront project that brings together apartments, restaurants, shops and a massive concert hall—the Anthem—which has added a stellar live-music season to Washington’s packed calendar.
‘This city offers so much,’ says Jonathan Taylor of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, who recommends eating at Le Diplomate, Rasika and Cactus Cantina. ‘Washington is a world hub that’s coming into its own.’
Buy Christie’s International sees Washington as one of the top five hottest primary home markets for 2018, thanks to high sales volumes and shorter sale times. Luxury property prices averaged $1.5 million (£1.16m) at the end of 2017.
Los Angeles, California
Why The ties between Britain and America’s most creative city have just become closer —LA is the birthplace of The Duchess of Sussex. Beyond the royal connection, the past few years have seen an architectural renaissance—particularly in Downtown
La—in a prelude to the 2028 Summer Olympics. The newly opened Nomad hotel, for example, has breathed new life into Giannini Place, an opulent 1920s building that once housed the Bank of Italy.
At the contemporary end of the spectrum, the 1,100 ft-high Wilshire Grand, California’s tallest building, has added a new focal point and curvy Circa Towers look set to brighten up the South Park neighborhood with their 18,000 sq. ft. LED screens.
It’s not only the changing skyline that’s adding to LA’S buzz. This year sees the opening of several top restaurants—from, among others, chef Jessica Largey’s Simone —and the start of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centenary celebrations, with an exciting program.
Buy The property market below $3 million (£2.3m) is outpacing higher price brackets, according to realtor Ari Afshar, although record-breaking sales above $20 million (£15.6m) continue. The revival of central LA has put the spotlight on Hancock Park, which combines large lots with great values, according to Christie’s International.
That said, Bel Air remains one of the most sought-after places. ‘It offers some of the largest residential parcels, with some of the highest dollar-per-square-foot values,’ says David Parnes from The Agency, Savills’ associate. For prices up to a third lower than Bel Air, Knight Frank’s Mr. Bailey suggests Brentwood.,
Why Once a whaling port, the Massachusetts island of Nantucket long ago traded harpoons and whaleboats for chic boutiques, cocktails and restaurants (Anthony Lassman of Nota Bene Global suggests CRU for seafood and yacht-watching), but the ‘mere hillock’ made famous by Herman Melville still has ‘more sand than you would use in 20 years’, three working lighthouses and cobbled streets lined by 18th- and 19thcentury buildings.
The 82-mile coastline has superb beaches, from the child-friendly expanses of the North Shore to the wild surfing waters of the South. Madaket Beach, on the island’s western corner, is the place to watch the sun set.
Buy One of the most expensive locations in the USA, Nantucket is the ‘anti-Hamptons’, says Mr. Lassman. ‘It’s more low-profile and boating focused, but every bit as super prime, with a distinctly island feel.’ Affluent retirees and telecommuting buyers are driving the market, according to Christie’s International, which reports that prime property sales increased by 19% in 2017.
Portland, Oregon, and its countryside
Why Ranked sixth in the 2018 US News & World Report’s best places to live in the USA, Portland combines vibrant culture with easy access to the Pacific (visit Cannon Beach, in Ecola State Park, to spot tufted puffins in summer and, with luck, migrating grey whales in winter).
‘Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with the Willamette River and gorgeous bridges downtown, acres of lush landscape, views of Mount Hood and wildlife near the city,’ says Mimi Mccaslin of Christie’s International affiliate Luxe Platinum Properties.
However, it’s the magnificent countryside around the city that makes the area particularly appealing. To the east are deep gorges, wildflower-strewn trails, majestic waterfalls and some of Oregon’s best ski resorts, including Timberline, the only year-round ski area in North America.
The rolling hills and valleys to the southwest are prime wine country. ‘Just outside Portland is Yamhill County, which has become famous for its Pinot Noir. You can spend the day picnicking and wine tasting,’ says Michael D. Babbitt of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty.
Excellent shellfish, truffles, berries and fruit complement the vinous offering (Celilo in Hood River and Sybaris in Albany make creative use of local ingredients). ‘People who move here don’t like to move [away],’ says Mrs. Mccaslin. ‘And why should they?’
Buy The Portland property market is steady, according to Mrs. Mccaslin, but price growth may well be on the horizon after a gift from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, matched by residents’ donations, raised $1 billion (£773 million) for cancer research at the Oregon Health & Science University, drawing specialists from across the world.
Why An 1800s silver-mining town, Aspen reinvented itself in the 20th century as America’s glitziest ski resort. Today, the Aspen Snowmass complex encompasses more than 5,300 acres, with jaw-dropping slopes, perfect powder and memorable après ski.
However, the town has long been a year-round destination, with a rich menu of music, art, ballet and Broadway-quality theatre, according to Ben Roos of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, plus panoramic walks, shopping (Palladium Properties agents recommend Kemosabe ‘for fabulous western wear’), fine dining (Cache Cache is a favorite), mountain-top yoga and, for the really adventurous, paragliding and hot-air ballooning.
Buy ‘What an amazing place Aspen is. When you land, you pass dozens of private jets, but it’s the most laidback place imaginable,’ says Nick Churton of Mayfair Office. One of the most sought-after neighborhoods is Red Mountain, where prices grew by 19% last year. ‘You’re not straight onto the ski area—you’re very close to it—but the views are incredible,’ says Mr. Bailey. But, add Palladium Properties’ agents, properties anywhere in Aspen hold their value.
Carla Passino, Country Life Magazine, August 2018, pgs 82-85.