Demand for homes in expensive resort towns surged in the first three months of 2010, according to local tallies. Sales in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island more than doubled in the first quarter from a year earlier, reported Miller Samuel Inc., a New York property appraiser. In Aspen, Colorado, transactions rose 43 percent, said Tim Estin, a broker with Mason Morse Real Estate.

Iain Heydon traveled to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains three times during the past year looking for a vacation home in Grand Lake, where waterfront properties list for as much as $3.95 million. After seeing more than a dozen houses, he has yet to make an offer.“I’m watching to see what happens to the U.S. economy,” said Heydon, 46, who lives near Basel, Switzerland. “The market for these homes may not have reached its bottom.”Demand for U.S. luxury vacation properties may be fading along with prospects for faster economic growth, after an early 2010 rebound. The government last week reported slower growth in private-sector jobs and manufacturing and a decline in factory orders. While rates on jumbo mortgages used for many expensive homes have dropped, it’s harder to qualify.“There is a lot of concern about a double-dip recession that’s keeping people on the sidelines, especially at the high end,” said Mark Goldman, a mortgage broker with Cobalt Financial Corp. in San Diego.
By Kathleen M. Howley, July 8, 2010 Bloomberg

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