Category: Los Angeles

Off to the Races: 2016 Horse Racing Season Guide

Off to the Races: 2016 Horse Racing Season Guide Kentucky Derby - Photo: iStockphoto/ Jill Lang

Ready, set, hats!

May marks the beginning of horse racing season, and its attendant mint juleps and mojitos, bright sundresses, and huge statement hats. To prepare you for high racing season, my team and I have put together a primer of the most important races, what’s at stake at each this season, and how to answer the most pressing question – what to wear?

Kick back with a mint julep and our guide to this season’s quintessential races.

Races to Watch

May 6 and 7, Kentucky Derby:

Held in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday of May every year, the Kentucky Derby kicks off horse racing season. Held at the famous Churchill Downs, the competition is between three-year-old thoroughbreds, who battle it out on the racetrack for one and a quarter miles. The Kentucky Derby is the first of three key American horse racing events that, together with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes comprise the “Triple Crown” of thoroughbred racing.

The race’s marquee social event is the star-studded, black tie Barnstable Brown Gala, held the night before the races every year in the jaw-dropping mansion of local social doyenne Patricia Barnstable Brown. It is one of the highlights of the Southern social scene, and a perfect occasion to break out your best Oscar, Carolina, or Miuccia. And once you’re at the races the next day, you’ll need a drink. If you’re feeling lucky with your bets, there’s no better way to toast to your luck than with Woodford Reserve’s $1,000 mint julep, which has been sold in a custom-designed commemorative cups at the Derby for the past ten years.

May 14, Iroquois Steeplechase: 

Hot on the Derby’s heels is the Iroquois Steeplechase, held near Nashville, Tennessee. Steeplechase has been held on the same course since 1941, and has been a fixture in Southern social calendars for just as long. The best views are from the “Tents in the Turn”– luxe, tented affairs with prime panoramas onto the track, and from the Skybox Suites, which are wood-paneled, climate controlled, and full of the crème de la crème of Southern society.

The hottest ticket in town is the Steeplechase-eve gala at the gorgeous and historic Belle Meade Planation. The soirée is invitation-only, but if you have a proper Southern belle on speed dial, you can bet she’ll have an in. You’ll have plenty of time to meet fellow race-goers in the preceding weeks, when all of Nashville congregates at the booming city’s best boutiques, including Reese Witherspoon’s new Draper James.

June 14 to 18, Royal Ascot:

For those looking to hop the pond for a mid-summer European escape, Royal Ascot is a must-go event on the British social calendar. Ascot is over 300 years old, and hats are required. The Royal Enclosure is the place to be, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, watch the race each year. Race-goers imbibe over 50,000 bottles of champagne each year and nosh on 2,900 lobsters and 50,000 macaroons. Four hundred helicopters and 1,000 limousines ferry Ascot-goers to and from London and beyond.

What to Wear

Races have a very particular dress code, of course. For the ladies, statement hats or fascinators are the most essential piece of any outfit. While you could always head to Barney’s or Saks to find your perfect topper, some designers have taken to making extraordinary hats particularly for the occasion.

The Royal Ascot collection is designed in collaboration with eight of the United Kingdom’s most fabulous milliners, many of whom have been of service to the Royal Family. (We think the fascinator would be a particularly good choice to pair with your L.K. Bennetts, in a nod to the Duchess of Cambridge.)

Top American milliners include Maggie Mae Designs and Gina Conti. There are ostrich plumes and hand-pleated Parisian ribbon aplenty, custom orders are not uncommon, and the most important rule of all is that the same hat can never be worn twice.

As for the rest of your outfit, ladies should opt for a bright shift dress paired with Louboutin wedges and ropes of pearls– a classic, understated look that lets the hat shine! For gentlemen, a Brooks Brothers seersucker suit was practically made for Derby Day. Smarten up your suit with a bowtie, a pair of horse bit loafers (worn sockless, of course), and a fedora or bowler hat for a distinguished, dapper look.

And now, we’re off to the races!

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Met Gala Preview 2016

Met Gala Preview 2016 Photo: iStockphoto/Samaro

Fashion’s hottest night is just days away. This coming Monday, May 2nd, the fashion world will convene on the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the museum’s annual Met Gala helmed by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Everyone from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to George and Amal Clooney to fashion world icons like Cara Delivigne and Stella McCartny clamor for invitations, and the sartorial selections of those who make the cut are par excellence.

This year’s theme – dubbed “Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology” – couldn’t be more perfect for our times. The gala marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s exhibit exploring the democratization of the formerly cloistered world of haute couture and high fashion thanks to the proliferation of technology.

As technology brings the world to our fingertips, whether in fashion, music, film, or real estate, creativity abounds as people globally merge and share experiences and technology speeds up the minds of our youth and what we can create. Live streaming and video content continues to grow online and I expect in time this will also transfer into real estate marketing though it hasn’t fully caught on yet.

Live streaming of fashion shows from around the world (remember the Zoolander crew’s cameo at Valentino last spring in Paris?) have exported the shows’ magic to those not able to be there in person. Instagram has turned well-dressed bloggers from every corner of the globe into street style stars and fashion icons. And technology has increasingly been used to both produce and inspire fashion, from designers like Kimberly Ovitz and Pamela Love using 3-d printers to fashion their wares to futuristic designs at Balenciaga produced with elements of engineering and neoprene.

It’s no surprise this year’s sponsor is Apple – not only is the iPhone the choice technological accessory on the red carpet (along with the gateway to Instagram), the tech giant’s upper echelons are stacked with talent poached from the fashion world, including Angela Ahrendts, who used to be the CEO of Burberry and is now SVP of retail and online stores at Apple.

For those whose invitations to this year’s gala got lost in the mail, an incisive documentary will offer an exclusive window into last year’s blockbuster gala, “China: Through the Looking Glass.” Made by filmmaker Andrew Rossi, the film – The First Monday in May – takes viewers behind the scenes of preparations for the gala, and to the big night itself. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month, no doubt reminding many of the premier’s attendees to start seriously considering their outfits.

Follow this link to see Vogue’s Met Gala Coverage

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Manhattan Market: What Does a $2.5M Condo Really Cost Foreign Buyers Today?

Manhattan Market: What Does a $2.5M Condo Really Cost Foreign Buyers Today? Rise in local currency cost to a foreign buyer for $2.5M NY property, from 2014 to 2016 based solely on currency value fluctuation

Much has been written about Chinese and Russians dropping $30+ million on Manhattan luxury condominiums since 2012. As a result, even sellers of condos priced between $1-4 million ask: “Where are the foreign buyers for my home? What will you do to attract them?”

While huge amounts of foreign currency is being spent on US real estate, not every property type is benefiting from it or is appealing to an international buyer. Generally, foreign buyers who Read more…

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How Tech Transformed Venice Beach Real Estate

How Tech Transformed Venice Beach Real Estate Venice Beach is fast becoming Silicon Beach | Photo: iStock.com/MyDinga

Why do some neighborhoods transition and become the hottest addresses in town seemingly overnight while others stagnate? One trend my team and I are watching closely this year is the role of tech in neighborhood place making. Earlier this year, we took a closer look at how the co-working revolution is reshaping New York real estate from Midtown East to Brooklyn. Out in LA, tech is also the driving force behind residential property spikes, especially along “Silicon Beach”. Read more…

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Toasting to Success: What’s Next for 2016

Toasting to Success: What’s Next for 2016

Our team enjoyed seeing each and every one of our wonderful clients at our 2015 holiday party as we toasted to our best year yet! Thanks to bespoke staging and an in-depth understanding of micro-market dynamics, our team helped sellers land top dollar for their properties. Cheers to the New Year! We look forward to creating even more success for our clients! – Tony Sargent & The Tony Sargent Team (To view our gallery click on Read More)
Read more…

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Chinese Buyers Purchase $28.6 Billion in US Property, Find Safe Haven in New York Real Estate

Chinese Buyers Purchase $28.6 Billion in US Property, Find Safe Haven in New York Real Estate

This summer, a luxury family home in Scarsdale, NY sold for $1.75 million. On the surface, such a sale is hardly remarkable. In fact, perhaps the most unremarkable part of the sale is that the buyer’s Chinese nationality drew little attention. Even a year or two ago, the sale of a non-Manhattan luxury home to a foreign investor would have been unusual. Today, it’s increasingly commonplace. The Shanghai-based investor who purchased the Scarsdale home (and immediately rented it out to a local family) is one of hundreds of Chinese investors who are increasingly investing in real estate not just in Manhattan, but also in New York’s boroughs and suburbs.

In the last year, Chinese buyers have replaced Russian buyers as the primary real estate buyers in New York– and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2015. Given current international market fluctuations and Russia’s continued economic struggles, this news may come as little surprise to many of you.

Since last year, Ukrainian turmoil, economic sanctions against Russia and a progressively worsening economy have slowed down Russian purchases in New York real estate, said Marlen Kruzhkov, an attorney with Gusrae Kaplan Nusbaum who advises many investors from former Soviet Union countries.

Chinese buyers, on the other hand, are eagerly pulling savings from their home country and investing overseas, and New York real estate has been a prime target for these investments. The recent stock market crash, including the late August drop of 8.46% in a single day for the Chinese exchange – capping off a 32% drop between June and July, according to Bloomberg data – has only enhanced the trend.

In the year ending in March 2015, for the first time, Chinese buyers exceeded all other buyers in terms of unit purchases and dollar volume, purchasing $28.6 billion worth of U.S. property, according to National Association of Realtors. In particular, they have been finding their safe heaven in New York real estate.

“New York is an international market. They feel that the market is very transparent, very conservative and they feel very comfortable in coming to the U.S. and to buy real estate in New York,” said Emily Zhu, director of marketing for Advantage America EB-5 Group, who works with many Chinese developers and investors in the U.S.

As the Scarsdale purchase reflects, Manhattan is no longer the only target for foreign investors, who have been seeking better prices and yields in the other boroughs. “A lot of Chinese buyers are starting to accept places others than Manhattan,” Ms. Zhu said.

For instance, Chinese developer New Empire Real Estate (NERE) is currently building on Park Slope’s Fourth Avenue and “there are a float of Chinese buyers that buy even before the development is constructed; there are a lot of pre-sales,” said Ms. Zhu, who represents the developer.

After the stock market turmoil, “some Chinese investors will want even more to diversify their assets in order to own something that is tangible rather that intangible,” Ms. Zhu said.

Things have changed for Russian buyers. “The economy is contracting terribly and the situation is getting progressively worse,” said Mr. Kruzhkov. As a result, he added, “The nature of purchasers has changed. There are less people buying.”

In particular, small and medium-sized Russian investors seem to have disappeared altogether from the New York City real estate market.

Only the wealthiest are still around, but they have changed their targets.

“In the last 6 months, they have been investing in different things, they are not necessarily buying apartments. They are investing more in development projects or pre-existing income producing buildings, more commercial or mixed-use,” properties said Mr. Kruzhkov.

For example, one of his Russian clients recently sold a Manhattan apartment for almost $25 million. He immediately re-invested in a development project.

A major flow of foreign capital into New York’s development market – especially as Chinese markets continue to cool – is a trend to watch in the coming months.

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Luxury Real Estate Report: The Sargent Report – Spring 2015

Luxury Real Estate Report: The Sargent Report – Spring 2015

Tony Sargent has released an e-version of his Luxury Real Estate newsletter The Sargent Report – Spring 2015. The current issue features 2015 New York market predictions and other articles: Luxury New Development Update, International Snapshot, Digital 3.0 – Tech & Real Estate, and more.

As the world’s local agent, Tony Sargent provides his unique perspective and insight on Manhattan’s luxury market, as well as globally connected world-cities. A local expert, Tony has developed a private global network of top brokers with whom he shares clients and market knowledge to his clients’ benefit. Tony is tapped to speak at Industry events such as Inman Connect and RE/MAX’s European Annual Convention as well as many others and was recently invited to be a regular author/contributor to the highly acclaimed real estate industry news-site, Inman News recently.

To read the full four-page issue of The Sargent Report as a PDF, click here or on the Report in the right column. For a mobile-friendly Flip-book version, click here.

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