There is no shortage of “Top Lists’ for the best cities in the US, but if you are seeking to invest in luxury real estate, there are truly only a handful of places that offer the ideal combination of location, lifestyle, and caliber of properties. As one of the most respected firms serving luxury markets across the country, Hilton & Hyland is compiling its own list of top American cities from its experience with countless high-end clients.
This mainstay of Los Angeles’ famed Platinum Triangle has been frequently noted as one of the most expensive cities for real estate, and for good reason. The sheer number of luxury estates – both classic and contemporary – is impressive, and there are many standouts such as this recently constructed French Chateau that looks like it popped out of a movie. And the local lifestyle in Beverly Hills, from the shops of Rodeo Drive to five-star restaurants, is a beacon for visitors and residents alike.
For those who desire an urban sanctuary, whether they prefer an apartment style condo, a loft residence, or classic townhome, few cities can match what The Big Apple has to offer. There are historic buildings – such as the legendary Dakota – that have countless stories to tell, as well as modern high-rise condos such as One Central Park, part of the massive Time Warner Center complex, that offer direct access to world-class shopping, dining, and sweeping views of the city skyline.
Bel Air has everything that an investor who desires the utmost privacy could ask for. This secluded and exclusive Platinum Triangle community, separated into Lower and Upper districts, offers expansive multi-acre parcels, as well as locations quietly nestled in the hillside. Buyers will typically come across fine examples of new and old architecture, such as this recently completed 34-acre palatial estate designed by Ron Firestone, which redefines the idea of what a custom home can achieve.
Along with New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco is continually rated as one of the most expensive – and desirable – places to live. Real estate here is simply iconic and unforgettable, whether you are looking at the famed Victorian ‘Painted Ladies’ to new condo construction. The Pacific Heights neighborhood of the city even has a ‘Billionaire’s Row’ that is home to multi-million dollar properties that are architectural marvels in every sense of the word.
Situated on a small barrier island, between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, Palm Beach is a sun-kissed tropical paradise. First settled at the turn of the century as a resort haven for the rich and famous, this city offers many unique luxury residences, such as La Casa Sin Nombre, which is actually four historic properties that were rolled into one by the late billionaire John Kluge.
The Hamptons are an essential destination for members of New York City’s high society. With access to an exclusive village lifestyle, beautiful beaches, and a bevy of social events, this has for generations been the place to own a summer getaway. What stands out among the numerous multi-million dollar properties here are the early 20th Century mansions that are every bit as beautiful (sometimes more so) as when they were built, offer expansive acreage, and even beach access.
If you live in New York, you can’t find more of an elite getaway than the Hamptons, but if it is, indeed, ‘more’ you are looking for, then you may want to turn your attention to Martha’s Vineyard. This summer island colony to the south of Cape Cod attracts some of the wealthiest vacationers who are looking for a bit more privacy – this destination is only accessible by plane or boat. Many enjoy pointing out that cost of living here is 60% higher and real estate prices are 96% higher than the national average.
Located to the north of San Diego is the bedroom community of Rancho Santa Fe, which – thanks to its collection of prestigious gated communities – has been rated as one of the most expensive ZIP codes in the nation. The local market offers an outstanding selection of high-end properties, such as Villa Nafissa, that exemplifies all of the qualities that luxury investors seek – multi acre grounds, tennis courts, guesthouses, and much more.
East Coasters who seek a world-class city atmosphere along with a tropical climate won’t do much better than Miami. This waterfront city is a thriving center for commerce and culture, and presents a nightlife that would make any seasoned party person blush with excitement. While there are many high-rise condos here, districts such as Gable Estates offer multi-million dollar Mediterranean-inspired properties that are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Many Southern California cities ended up on this list, but it is because the west coast overall ranks among the best places to invest. Malibu, however, is often singled out as one of the most sought-after beachfront destinations, with its charming village ambiance and breathtaking coastal surroundings. And with numerous architectural masterpieces like this Michael Graves-designed modern estate, which presents countless modern flourishes and its own beach frontage, it is no wonder why luxury real estate buyers come here in droves.