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Luxury Homes

This is what $10,000,000 looks like in Santa Cruz

4660 Opal Cliff Drive, Offered for $10,690,000

It's been 4 months since Santa Cruz County has had a $10,000,000+ listing on the open market and nearly 9 months since the last closed sale.  When this uber-luxury listing popped up for sale on Opal Cliff Drive, I was excited.  Finally.... maybe Santa Cruz will finally breech it's glass ceiling.

I was really, really, really (to the 10 millionth "really") ready to be inspired, awed, and rendered speechless.

For the younger generations,
this is the adult
equivalent of MTV's "Cribs."

I had grandiose visions of previewing this property and transporting myself into my own real-life episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."  For those of you that don't know, this was a TV series hosted by, none other than, Robin Leach in the 80s and early 90s.  One of my favorite shows to watch, I might add.

So what does $10,000,000 get you in Santa Cruz?

Strictly speaking numbers, it will buy a 4100+ square foot, 1939 home with 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a 3 car garage and bonus room on 1.23 acres spread over 3 parcels.  So the value must be in the amenities and the view, the estate setting, right?

1 Thayer Rd sold for $13,700,000 in December 2014

In the last 5 years, Santa Cruz County has had only ONE sale (on the open MLS) above the $10,000,000 mark. That property was located in Bonny Doon and sold for $13,700,000 in December 2014. It was a 5000+ square foot ranch on 147 acres with a caretaker's cottage, guest cottage, and all of the modern amenities a luxury buyer could want. Multiple barns, a wood shop, surfboard storage, crystal clear pool, views to the Ocean, and a fully restored and updated main residence.

Back to Opal Cliff Drive-
The view was amazing. There's nothing like opening up the sliding door and smelling salt-rich air from the Pacific Ocean. An acre of ocean front property is also unheard of in Santa Cruz. It really is a once in the lifetime opportunity to gobble up a limited piece of prime coastal front property.  The reality is we can always build more homes, but it's not like we can "make" more coastline.

But here's where I feel a professional obligation to set the record straight.  If you're looking for all of the bells and whistles, keep looking.  You won't find a 3-car garage with pristine epoxy coating, so clean you can eat your dinner off the garage floor. The garage looked barely worthy of hosting a Tesla. There's no infinity pool with waterfall spa or a high-tech home-system hub that is so futuristic it requires you to download an app for the app.  The most updated section of the home was probably a mother-in-law wing with it's own kitchenette, fireplace, and sitting room.  Hardwood floors, sure.  Crown moulding, yup.  But overall, there  was no consistency with the updates. A long, inviting and modern hallway would lead to a 1950s wallpapered bedroom with the old windows in metal casing and hand cranks.

Dilapidated Play Structure

No epoxy coating here.

"Bonus Room"

Here's what $10,000,000 looks like in other areas

$9,995,000 Highland Beach, FL
$9,900,000 Rye, NY
$9,995,000 Harwich Port, MA
In the past 12 months there have been 42 luxury property sales ($2,000,000+) in Santa Cruz County. With close to 50% of those being all cash purchases, the real money is coming in from the Silicon Valley. These "new money," affluent, GenXers expect the latest in updates and amenities. They don't want CAT-5 wiring, they want CAT-6.  Energy efficient systems don't mean anything unless they're plugged into the latest and greatest NEST system to be operated remotely from their iWatch.  No Uber or Lift service in the area? Forget it.

These young, high end buyers are of the mindset, "I want it. I want it now, and I'll pay a premium for it."  Trust me, as a Cupertino-raised and educated person I know how these people think. I grew up with them, went to high school with them, I took my SATs with them. In 2011 tech start-up Punchd was acquired by Google for a $10,000,000+ price.  Niket Desai, one of the developers, hailed from the same high school I attended.

My point is the money is here in Santa Cruz County. It's not just one commuter bus leaving from Scotts Valley; there are multiple commuter buses shuttling high-tech employees to Google, Apple, Netflix, and Yahoo!.  The next $10,000,000 buyer is already eating at Penny Ice Creamery, surfing the waves off 38th Ave, and dining at Suda.  It's not the price tag that scares off the new buyer, it's the horrific lack of updates.  Out with the OLD. In with the MODERN. Let's give them a house they want to spend $10,000,000 on.

On a final parting note.....
The drought doesn't discriminate. Even the uber-wealthy have dead grass. 

Aimee Thayer-Garcia is a Real Estate Broker Associate at Bailey Properties. She is Top-Producing Agent and practices Real Estate full time with her husband, Angel Garcia. Mom of 3.  831-435-9146.