Agent Insights Luxury Real Estate Property Market Insights

Market Insights: 5 Summer Vacation Destinations

Luxury Defined shares insights from our real estate experts in some of the world’s hottest vacation markets

We asked the experts from the Christie’s International Real Estate global network for market insights into luxury housing in some of the hottest vacation destinations in the world.

From the Côte d’Azur to the Costa Smeralda, from Maine to British Columbia to the Balearic Islands and back again, the message was clear. Luxury homes, it turns out, obey the rules of economics, that dismal science: Lots of people want to buy them, only so many are for sale at any given time, and—like the morning sun—the price also rises. 

Luxury homes, like the balmy, perfect days of summer 2023, may be in limited supply, but they do exist. Ready buyers and willing sellers are out there, waiting to meet. For a price.  

Herewith, this edition of Luxury Defined looks at Summer ’23’s hottest vacation markets, and some of their coolest properties. 

1. The French Riviera 

French Riviera
Market Insights: Michaël Zingraf Real Estate 

“Today, we are still in a seller’s market,” said Angie Delattre, Property Broker at Cannes Luxury Department, Michaël Zingraf Real Estate.

“The market is stable, and vacation villas remain our main activity: 85 percent of our transactions are second homes, or what we call ‘primary second homes’ [a place to live and work remotely].”

Her clientele is mainly from Northern Europe: “Proximity of Northern European countries allows people to quickly reach the French Riviera, which makes a good choice of destination for vacation and second homes.” 

A post-pandemic boom helped drive up prices and increased the market’s scarcity. “After the summer, a decrease in prices could be looming, and we may have more new properties for sale,” she said. “This will help rebalance the market.” 

On the Market: Splendid Character Property in Cap d’Antibes 

Luxury French Riviera homeLuxury French Riviera homeLuxury French Riviera home

In the heart of Cap d’Antibes, this 400-year-old farmhouse, less than a half-mile from the sea, has been transformed into a luxurious private home.  

Designed with exacting attention to detail, the two-story 6,458-square-foot main house abounds with classic French elegance. 

Among the appointments are seven bedrooms and eight luxurious bathrooms, reception and family rooms with beamed ceilings and log-burning fireplaces, and a fully equipped kitchen.  

Several rooms have direct access to the home’s beautiful exterior spaces, which include a courtyard, covered dining terrace, and swimming pool. 

French formal gardens graced with box hedges, carved-stone fountains, gravel pathways, and towering palms and cypress trees complete the ensemble.  

2. Sardinia, Italy 

Market Insights: Immobilsarda Srl 

Sardinia and the Costa Smeralda are undoubtedly among the most popular destinations in the western Mediterranean for international luxury buyers, and our market shows no signs of slowing down for the remainder of 2023,” said Julia Bracco, Head of Sales, Immobilsarda Srl. 

“Post-pandemic, Costa Smeralda’s luxury hotel destinations helped to create the marketplace for unique trophy properties. Private estates on peninsulas, estates with vineyards, and seafront assets are boasting sales values of around €100 million to €200 million,” said Bracco.

“There is an increase in wealthy families buying these properties as a solid long-term investment, with the aspiration of passing the assets to future generations,” she said.

“Investors who prefer the elegant jet-set glamour of the Costa Smeralda can choose Porto Cervo, Cala di Volpe, Romazzino, Piccolo and Grande Pevero, La Maddalena and other beautiful locations in the Porto Rotondo area.” 

On the Market: Villa Marem in Costa Smeralda

Luxury Italian villaLuxury Italian villaLuxury Italian villa

One of Julia Bracco’s listings on the Costa Smeralda is an enchanting property on Pevero Bay.  

Villa Marem is the vision of celebrated French-born architect Savin Couëlle. The residence opens across several levels to follow the natural contours of the landscape. 

A sensitive renovation by architect Patrick Lesuisse united the indoor and outdoor spaces while staying true to Couëlle’s design. 

Locally sourced materials—wood, stone, granite, and terracotta—have been beautifully maintained throughout. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame the views of the bay and open to wide, wraparound verandas and terraces. 

Pergolas create tranquil lounging spaces with wonderful sea views. An alfresco dining area is served by a barbecue and wood-fired pizza oven. 

The swimming pool and sundeck are framed by verdant gardens with the sea as the backdrop. A one-bedroom guest house is set within the granite rock formations and Mediterranean maquis. 

The property offers total seclusion within minutes of world-class beaches, Pevero Golf Club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, and the glamour of Porto Cervo. 

3. Mallorca, Spain 

Market Insights: Luxury Estates Mallorca 

“After two extremely busy years post-Covid, the market in Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands has returned to business as usual,” said Andrea Berchtold, Executive Manager and Partner of Luxury Estates Mallorca 

Rising interest rates have slowed things down somewhat,” she said, “although, not to the extent that they have impacted primary-home markets since not many buyers here finance their properties with mortgages.” 

She said Spain’s latest elections promise “positive changes” for the housing market: “The new government supports much more favorable policies regarding wealth and inheritance taxes and the sale of properties to non-residents.”

On the Market: Contemporary Coastal Villa in Costa d’en Blanes 

Luxury villa in Mallorca, SpainLuxury villa in Mallorca, SpainLuxury villa in Mallorca, Spain

This contemporary villa is in Costa d’en Blanes, a highly sought-after area on the southwest coast of Mallorca. 

The striking, multi-level residence is perched on a pine-clad hillside with unobstructed vistas down to the Bay of Palma and the Balearic Sea beyond.  

The street-level entrance is on the upper level, where a welcoming lounge leads into a gallery. Farther along is the primary suite, with an en suite bathroom, dressing area, and another breathtaking sea view. 

The heart of the home is the first-floor living space with double-height ceilings and a wall of windows that flood the space with light. Adjacent is a dining area and chef’s kitchen with prep area and a side terrace with a summer kitchen. Three en suite bedrooms extend this level.  

An exterior staircase leads down to a lower-level terrace with a fabulous infinity pool. This floor is also accessed via an elevator, and offers a wine cellar, gym and sauna, lounge, and guest/staff apartment. 

Minutes away are the island’s beautiful beaches, Puerto Portals Marina, and the capital, Palma de Mallorca. 

4. Maine, United States 

Maine, USA
Market Insights: LandVest

Jamie O’Keefe, a broker specializing in waterfront and island properties at LandVest, said, “The demand for homes on the Maine coast exceeds inventory, with quality, well-priced properties seeing multiple bids.”  

“Sellers whose properties are well-priced should continue to see good activity, and because of the shortage in inventory, buyers should be well prepared and ready to move quickly when they find the right property.” 

Joseph Sortwell, Broker and Principal at LandVest, also cited the scarcity of high-quality waterfront homes. “Properties with deep-water docks are still at a premium,” he said.

“We expect the market to stay strong along the coast as more people look for alternatives to the more crowded areas to the south, such as the Hamptons and Nantucket.”  

One of Sortwell’s listings is a historic waterfront estate on Maine’s Penobscot Bay (see below). 

On the Market: The Grace Estate on Islesboro Island

Luxury home in MaineLuxury home in MaineLuxury home in Maine

The Grace Estate encompasses nearly nine waterfront acres on Islesboro Island in Penobscot Bay. 

Philadelphia architect Wilson Eyre designed the Renaissance Revival stucco “cottage” in 1918 for Louise Grace at the behest of William Russell Grace, the shipping magnate and former mayor of New York City.  

Situated at the end of a private peninsula, the property offers complete privacy and views extending from Penobscot Bay to Camden Hills and Seal Harbor.  

The property has been updated for contemporary tastes, while retaining its classic period character. The main residence is grand and welcoming with its spacious living and dining areas, and intimate areas—indoors and outside—for quiet contemplation.   

There are ample accommodations with seven en suite guest bedrooms and a private owner’s suite with two bathrooms and multiple closets. A stone guest house at the water’s edge was inspired by Italian seaside cottages and offers great potential for further development. A lovely saltwater swimming pool was reconstructed by the current owners, who also built a paddle tennis court.  

The landscaped, wooded grounds include elegant seating places and quiet clearings to take in the breathtaking coastal views.

The property has some 3,570 feet of shorefront, with granite ledge and sand and pebble beaches, a boathouse, and a custom-built deep-water dock with a kayak ramp. Several additional storage buildings—including a chicken coop—and a recreational pavilion are further amenities. 

The mainland, three miles distant, is accessible via a 20-minute ferry ride across upper Penobscot Bay or private aircraft landing on Islesboro island’s 2,500-foot airstrip. 

5. Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada 

British Columbia
Market Insights: Newport Realty 

Jack Petrie, Managing Partner of Newport Realty, Victoria, British Columbia, said Gulf Island properties near Vancouver and Victoria draw buyers seeking “the peace and romance” of the easy-going island lifestyle and its world-class boating.

“Properties on all the islands are in short supply, while demand never wanes,” he said. “It’s where people dream of being.” 

On the Market: Private Oceanfront Estate on Salt Spring Island

Oceanfront home in CanadaOceanfront home in CanadaOceanfront home in Canada

Salt Spring Island, the largest of British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands, is a boater’s paradise in the Strait of Georgia, between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island.  

This unique offering on the island’s western shore comprises four separate, adjacent waterfront lots overlooking the Stuart Channel and Sansum Narrows.  

The custom-designed main residence offers expansive indoor-outdoor living spaces with four bedrooms and six bathrooms. A separate studio can accommodate extended family, guests, or staff. 

The amenities include a boathouse, a private dock and sandy beach, a bocce court, storage sheds, and a greenhouse.  

The land extends to nearly 15 acres, comprising a seaside lawn, deer-fenced mature gardens, and virgin forest.  

Each lot is zoned for a residence, seasonal cottage, and ancillary buildings (one lot is undeveloped). Residents may retain all four lots as their own private compound or sell them separately.  

Searching for a summer home away from home? Explore our collection of waterfront escapes.