House Hunting in … Bali

Bali – This villa, built in 2009, is on a lushly landscaped, one-acre beachfront lot on Bali’s southeastern coast, in the village of Ketewel. In the approximately 7,500-square-foot main building with four bedrooms, a foyer gives way to the spacious living room and a wall of sliding glass doors that open onto the pool deck and garden. Past that, several steps lead down to the beach. Because of its eastern orientation, facing the water, the house has views of “some of the best sunrises you could have in Bali,” said Joe White, the sales director of Seven Stones Indonesia, which has the listing.

To the left of the foyer is an open kitchen with cinnamon-red cabinets and a dining area with a table for 12. The seller is a professional chef who designed the kitchen, Mr. White said. To the right of the foyer are three bedrooms, one of which is now used as a television room. Two bedrooms are en suite and there is a half bath near the entrance of the villa. A staircase from the foyer leads to the master suite, which has a sitting area, a bathroom with an outdoor tub, and a long terrace with an ornamental pond. This property is being sold furnished, and it is available as a leasehold or freehold acquisition.

The 1,880-square-foot guesthouse has two en suite bedrooms and an open kitchen, dining and living area. The landscaping and gardening were designed to create privacy between the dwellings, Mr. White said. The lot’s beach frontage — around 330 feet — is exceptionally large for Bali, he added. The property has parking for seven cars, including four covered spaces, and staff lodging near the parking area.

The house is about a 25 minute drive east of the center of Denpasar, Bali’s capital city, which has a population of about 800,000. The area attracts surfers, scuba divers and cultural tourists, Mr. White said. Ngurah Rai International Airport is about 15 miles to the southwest of the property.

Market Overview

Bali’s real estate market has weathered various local and international events — from the SARS epidemic of 2003 to the global financial crisis — with resilience, agents said.

Andy Gray, a partner with Seven Stones Indonesia, estimated that between 2003 and 2014 prices for land in some places multiplied by 10. But that growth temporarily stalled in 2015 and 2016, with prices flattening for the first time in at least a decade and transaction volume dropping by about half, he said.

“Everyone seemed to think Bali was bulletproof. And it wasn’t,” he said. Mr. Gray attributed the price plateau to two factors: Buyers began resisting prices they saw as too high, and the influx of wealthy Indonesians who had been investing in Bali tapered for a while.

Since about 2005, new construction developments, including condo-hotel hybrids and resort-style apartments, have proliferated around the island’s southern side, said Dan Miller, head of the Bali office of Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate and investment company. Today the new resort-style construction developments make up about 10 percent of Bali’s real estate market and roughly 20 percent of its luxury market, he said.

Karl Wilkins, a marketing executive with Paradise Property Group, observed that prices last year continued to grow, but at a lesser rate than before — 10 or 15 percent, compared to 20 to 30 percent three to five years ago. He said Indonesian investors started returning this spring. Mr. Gray said that this year there have been more inquiries and transactions at both his firm and others, while prices have remained stable.

As a result of the earlier price growth and the recent stagnation, Mr. Gray described a “two-tier vendor system,” where sellers who bought 8 to 10 years ago are able to sell at “realistic” prices, while sellers who bought when prices were higher — three to four years ago — will struggle to make a profit. “It’s still absolutely a buyer’s market,” he said. He added that properties are closing at around 80 to 85 percent of their asking price.

Mr. Wilkins said luxury properties start at around $1 million and reach more than $10 million. Most fall between $1 million and $2 million. He has been introducing buyers to less developed islands in the country’s east, where prices are lower. He mentioned Flores, Rote, Lombok and Sumbawa as options in the 17,000 island archipelago.

Who Buys in Bali

Agents said the vast majority of their clients are Indonesian. Foreign buyers tend to come from around the region — Australia, Hong Kong, China and Singapore. Farther afield: Germany, Italy and France, agents said.

Buying Basics

Foreigners who wish to buy real estate in Indonesia face several restrictions that are determined by the type of title a property has, said Manish Antal, the sales manager with Kibarer Property, a Bali real estate agency and legal services firm. Leasehold titles are available to foreigners with a time limit. Freehold titles are reserved for Indonesians, he said.

To buy a property listed with a freehold title, a foreign buyer has several options. One is to first convert it to a right to use title, which is available to foreigners, said Devy Susanti, a notary based in Bali. This title allows for ownership of a property for a fixed term that can be extended and renewed, for a total of up to 80 years. This option is available to foreigners with residence permits, in cases where a property meets certain size and price criteria.

Foreigners do not use mortgages in Indonesia. Mr. Antal said.

Languages and Currency


Indonesian Rupiah ($1 = 13,351 rupiahs)

Taxes and Fees

Annual property taxes on this home are around $320, Mr. White said. Monthly payments to the banjar, a local community organization that provides maintenance, security and that organizes celebrations, are around $200, he said.

*The New York Times*

House Hunting in … Brittany

This restored chateau, named La Gaudinelaye, dates to the late 17th and early 18th century. It sits in the middle of a grassy park, and its 25-acre grounds include a chapel. The property is south of Rennes. Credit: Cabinet Le Nail



This chateau, built in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, sits on a 25-acre property in the Brittany region of northwestern France. Shaped like the letter H, it has two aboveground stories and a garden level. Each floor is approximately 3,200 square feet, with reception rooms downstairs and eight bedrooms upstairs. The home was last renovated in 2005, when the roof, kitchens and interiors were all updated, said the owner, Charles Coop, 59, who bought it in 2003.

From a broad terrace, glass doors open onto an entry hall with a series of interconnected rooms on either side: on the right, they include a hunting room, a kitchen and a library; on the left, two reception rooms, a dining room and another, smaller kitchen. On the main floor, the rooms flow into one another through a series of enfilade doorways, but upstairs, the bedrooms are connected by hallways. The master suite, which has a dressing room and a large bathroom, is in the left wing; there are two other full bathrooms and a half-bath upstairs as well. On the garden level is a nonworking kitchen, along with a laundry room, two half-bathrooms and wine cellars.

The property has several outbuildings, including a greenhouse, an old chapel restored in the 19th century, and a caretaker’s house and stable, both unrenovated. There is also a heated pool that was added in 2010, as well as an orchard and parks. The Vilaine river is several hundred feet away.

The city of Rennes, which has a population of more than 200,000, is about 25 miles north; the high-speed train from there to Paris takes about an hour and a half. Nearby towns offer a weekly market, a grocery store and an automobile museum, Mr. Coop said. There is an international airport 23 miles away, near Rennes, and another in Nantes, a little more than 60 miles away.


Compared with other luxury markets in France — especially those in the south or on the Mediterranean coast — the Atlantic coast and the northwest are more affordable, said Ronan Pradeau, founder of France Châteaux Sotheby’s International Realty.

Properties in the south can sell for 20 million euros ($22,837,000) or more, while in Brittany, a beautiful chateau can be had for a million euros, he said; around €1.5 million ($1,712,780) will buy a private island, while €3 million to €4 million ($3,425,550 to $4,567,400) can buy a top-of-the-line property. At the lower end of the luxury market, around €800,000 ($913,481) will buy a well-appointed villa in a desirable location with a water view, he said.

The real estate market in Brittany has been picking up in recent years, Mr. Pradeau said, after a slow descent between 2008 and 2014. Across the region, he estimated, properties built more than five years ago now sell for around €3,200 a square meter (or about $340 a square foot) — almost what they did in 2008. In the past two years, prices have risen about 5 percent a year, he said, and in 2017, the growth has accelerated. That is in line with the general trend in France, he added, although Brittany has been performing somewhat better. An April report by Notaires de France, an association of notaries, attributes this in part to tax advantages and low mortgage rates.

Chateaus are valued comparatively, not by the price per square meter, said François-Xavier Le Nail, the director of Cabinet Le Nail, an agency specializing in high-end historic properties in the northwest of France, which has the listing for this home. Prices reflect the location, size, surroundings, atmosphere and condition of a property — as well as its ability to catch the eye of potential buyers and inspire “coup de foudre,” he said, using the French phrase for love at first sight.

In Brittany, chateau prices have been stable for the past two or three years, Mr. Le Nail said, and the inventory is relatively stable as well. Although the supply is gradually decreasing — as homes fall into disrepair or become less desirable thanks to their land being sold off and buildings constructed nearby — properties like this are more likely to come on the market than to be passed from one generation to the next, Mr. Le Nail said, as owners can no longer live off the land and maintenance is costly.


Most of Mr. Pradeau’s foreign buyers in the past year have been from Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg, he said. Mr. Le Nail’s foreign buyers — about 20 percent of his clients, he said — are usually from the United States, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain.


Foreigners may buy property in France without restrictions, Mr. Pradeau said, noting that transactions are handled by a notary, and lawyers are rarely involved.

Closing costs are paid by the buyer. They include the notary’s fee and sometimes a real estate commission, and total around 13 percent of the sales price, agents said.

Most foreign buyers pay cash, Mr. Pradeau said, but banks will lend up to 70 percent of the purchase price, agents said.


Rennes tourism:

Automobile museum:


French; euro (1 euro = $1.14)


Annual property taxes on this home are around €3,000, or $3,425, Mr. Coop said.

(The New York Times)

House Hunting in … Poland

Warsaw – This four-bedroom manor, with a French-inspired design inside and out, is in the suburb of Lomianki northwest of Warsaw, just outside Kampinos National Park, a forest recognized by Unesco as a biosphere reserve.

The house, which encompasses around 7,500 square feet, was completed in 2005 and updated in 2015; it sits on a 0.62-acre lot. Past the front doors, the entry hall, which connects the living, cooking and eating areas, has a grand travertine staircase. There is a half-bath near the entrance. The living and dining rooms share a large rectangular space to the right of the entryway.

Many of the furnishings were brought from France, where the sellers traveled and appreciated the architecture, and the home is being sold furnished, said Dorota Nowakowska, an agent with Poland Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing.

To the left of the entrance are the kitchen, a two-car garage, a TV room and a full bathroom with a shower and a Turkish sauna. There is a second staircase near the garage.

The ground floor has three fireplaces. One is in the entryway; another is the focal point of the living room; the third is in the kitchen, which is outfitted with white walls and dark teak countertops.

Upstairs, just past the central staircase, is a sitting area that leads to the master bedroom. The master suite has two closets, a sloping ceiling with gabled windows and a bright bathroom with a claw-foot tub, a shower and white cabinets. A hallway leads to the other three bedrooms, of which two have en-suite baths. One bedroom is ideal for guests because it has a sitting room and can be reached by a door near the garage and the second staircase, Ms. Nowakowska said.

Within a 15-minute drive are stables, a shopping center and restaurants. The forest, around 150 square miles, has trails and is popular for running and cycling. The property is about a 30-minute drive to the international airport and about a 25-minute drive to Warsaw’s center.


Poland’s housing market is still developing; prices are lower than in other European countries for comparable properties and the inventory is smaller, people working in the real estate market there said. As the Polish economy performs well, a wealthier population has been increasing demand for luxury homes in Warsaw and in other cities and resort areas.

In Warsaw, prices for all types of apartment developments are higher than in the rest of the country, according to a 2015 report about Warsaw’s luxury residential market issued by KPMG, the accounting firm, and REAS, a Warsaw-based real estate analysis and consulting company. Yet a luxury apartment in Warsaw might cost three to four times as much in Paris, according to Kazimierz Kirejczyk, the president of the management board of REAS, and one of the report’s authors.

Warsaw, which has an official population of 1.7 million and was almost completely destroyed in World War II, has few prewar buildings. Starting about 20 years ago, developers began constructing buildings aimed at affluent buyers, Mr. Kirejczyk said. The first projects were small infill buildings, followed by luxury towers about a decade ago.

Prices for luxury properties have been stable since around 2013, said Arkadiusz Wojciechowski, a managing director of Poland Sotheby’s International Realty. However, the volume of transactions has risen, as a handful of prestigious high-rise developments expanded the inventory at the market’s high end.

The luxury market for new construction is still small — there are around 90 to 100 new properties on the market in Warsaw with an asking price of more than $1 million — so sales in individual buildings can have an effect on price trends, Mr. Kirejczyk said.

Mr. Wojciechowski estimated that new apartments cost an average of $4,000 to $5,000 per square meter, or $372 to $465 a square foot. Luxury apartments and single-family homes start at around $1 million, but $500,000 can purchase an apartment in a renovated building with a concierge and a doorman, Mr. Wojciechowski said. Luxury properties typically sell for slightly below asking price, but in exceptional situations there are steep discounts — as much as 50 percent, he said.

In the luxury market, 90 percent of purchases are financed with cash, he added.

Daniel Kopania, a Warsaw-based partner with the international law firm Clifford Chance and the head of its Polish real estate department, said that compared with many other countries in the European Union, Poland’s housing prices are “still attractive.” The residential property tax is relatively low in Poland, he added.


Foreigners who live in Warsaw for work tend to rent. The vast majority of luxury homes are being sold to wealthy Poles, Mr. Wojciechowski said.

However, he said, the share of foreigners buying high-end homes in the city has been growing over the last two or three years. These buyers have been coming from the United States, Western Europe and Dubai, and they tend to have connections to Poland — for example, they have family there, or are of Polish ancestry.


Foreigners who want to buy certain types of real estate in Poland face restrictions, Mr. Kopania said. Buyers of new or previously owned apartments have no limitations, but people from many countries, including the United States, who want to buy single-family homes need to apply for a permit from the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. There are several ways to have that requirement waived, and many people do that, he added. European Union citizens are exempt, for example.

For a prospective buyer who cannot obtain an exemption, a permit takes around two months, Mr. Kopania said, once all the necessary documents have been gathered for the application.

Buyers typically cover most closing costs in Poland, and those costs vary significantly according to whether the property is new or previously owned, Mr. Kopania said. For a new house or apartment, the buyer typically pays a Value Added Tax of 8 percent. (For large new properties — houses of more than 300 square meters, or 3,230 square feet, or apartments of more than 150 square meters, or 1,500 square feet — there is a different tax structure, he said.) Parking spaces for apartments are often taxed at a higher rate of 23 percent, as are detached garages of single-family homes. For an existing house or apartment,there is no V.A.T., but a 2 percent tax commonly known as a transfer tax.

Transactions are typically handled by notaries. Lawyers tend to be used in complicated or high-value transactions, meaning those above around a million dollars, Mr. Kopania said.


Warsaw tourism portal:

Kampinos Park:


Polish; zloty ($1 = 3.83 zlotys)


Annual property tax is 1,270 zlotys, or $332.

The New York Times

House Hunting in … Rome


Rome – This bright five-bedroom, three-bath, three-story penthouse is approximately 2,500 square feet, with a view of St. Peter’s Basilica. The apartment is in a 19th-century building — young by Italian standards — in Borgo Pio, a neighborhood with small shops and restaurants packed into narrow streets.

The main entrance, accessible by elevator, is on the third floor. The front door opens onto the dining room; on the left is the kitchen, which has marble counters and a vintage design, and on the right, a small maid’s room and en-suite bath. Off the dining room is the living room, which has a fireplace, exposed wood beams and hardwood floors. The lower level can be reached by stairs from the dining room, but has a separate entrance as well. It has three bedrooms, a full bath, a sitting area and a hall closet. (There is also a large storage area in the basement.) On the top floor is the master bedroom, which has an en-suite bath, a fireplace, built-in bookcases and a private terrace overlooking terra-cotta roofs.

St. Peter’s Square is a five-minute walk; the Vatican Museums are 10 minutes away; and a large covered market, Mercato Trionfale, is within a 15-minute walk. The Ottaviano stop on the metro, which runs to the Roma Termini train station, is a 10-minute walk. Fiumicino Airport is about a 30-minute drive.


Italy’s real estate market started to pick up in 2014, said Maurizio Pezzetta, the owner and broker of La Commerciale, a luxury real estate agency based in Rome and the exclusive Christie’s affiliate in Rome and Lazio. In 2016, there were around 500,000 transactions nationwide, up from about 400,000 in 2013, Mr. Pezzetta said, although this is still far below the pre-recession peak of around 845,000 sales in 2008.

The market seems to be gearing up for a sustained recovery, he added: Mortgages are more readily available; there is an increased supply of housing and new government incentives to encourage home buying, and asking prices are more in tune with what buyers are willing to pay. But events like the Brexit referendum and recent terrorist attacks in Europe, as well as domestic issues like Italy’s economic problems and political crises, are standing in the way of a more robust recovery, he said.

On average, the Italian market has lost around 30 percent of its value since 2010, and the Roman market about 25 percent, said Flavio Angeletti, the deputy manager, Italy, of the luxury real estate firm Immobiliare Santandrea.

Rome is Italy’s second most expensive market, after Florence, said Carlo Giordano, the chief executive of, which calls itself Italy’s largest property listing website. Prices in Rome, as in the rest of the country, fell some 2.5 percent between December 2015 and December 2016, Mr. Giordano said, but they now seem to be approaching stability. Historically low mortgage rates and government incentives aimed at helping first-time buyers and buyers of energy-efficient properties are proving successful, he said, and he expects Rome and Milan to lead the recovery.

Diletta Giorgolo Spinola, the head of sales for Central and Southern Italy for Italy Sotheby’s International Realty, said about 80 percent of Italians are homeowners, and politicians are reluctant to raise taxes on primary residences. Second homes are not highly taxed either, she said, compared to those in other European countries and the United States.

The resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in December seems to have had little effect on the market, she and Mr. Giordano agreed, because Italian real estate is relatively impervious to political upheaval. As Ms. Giorgolo Spinola put it: “If every time we would have a political change, it would impact us, then we would be in a real mess.” But the economic situation in Italy and Europe, she added, has affected the lower and middle tiers of the market.

Luxury prices range from 7,000 to 20,000 euros per square meter ($689 to $1,970 a square foot), Mr. Pezzetta said. In the past, the city’s most expensive residences were often sold through word of mouth. Today, he said, they are more often advertised, because supply is greater.

Along with the historic center, desirable areas include the Gianicolo, Monti and Parioli, Via Veneto, Pinciano, Villa Borghese and the areas around Villa Ada and Villa Torlonia, agents said.


At the lower end of the luxury market, about 20 percent of buyers are foreign, Ms. Giorgolo Spinola said, and as prices go up, the share of foreign buyers increases. Most — about 80 percent — are buyers from the United States who are taking advantage of the strong dollar and Italy’s lowered prices, she said, followed by those from France, Britain and Switzerland.

Wealthy foreign buyers typically want homes in centrally located historic buildings, Mr. Pezzetta said, preferably on higher floors or in penthouses with terraces that have panoramic views. They are also interested in villas with gardens just outside the historic center.


Because of reciprocal legislation, citizens of some countries face restrictions when buying real estate in Italy, but those from the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia are not among them, said Giandomenico De Tullio, a partner at the De Tullio Law Firm, which has offices in Italy and London. It is becoming more difficult for foreigners to obtain mortgages, agents said, but that may not affect luxury buyers, who tend to use cash.

Italy’s tax laws are complicated, and closing costs are difficult to estimate, Mr. De Tullio said. In general, a buyer pays for a notary’s services, half the real estate commission, taxes and sometimes a lawyer’s services. Unlike notaries and agents, who represent both the buyer and the seller, a lawyer is “exclusively committed to the interests of the buyer,” he said, and for this reason hiring one is recommended.


Vatican Museums:

Official Rome tourism website:


Italian; euro (1 euro = $1.06)


Annual taxes on this property, including municipal fees, are approximately 4,800 euros ($5,088). Yearly condominium fees are approximately 1,800 euros ($1,908).

The New York Times

Irish Real Estate Market Slowly Recovering

Dublin- This 3,670-square-foot Victorian house, known as the Old Rectory, was built in the late 1870s and used as a rectory until the mid-20th century. It is a 10-minute walk from the village of Ashford, in County Wicklow, about 30 miles from Dublin’s city center.

The front door, which is original to the house, opens onto a small entryway and, beyond that, a foyer. To the right are the dining room, a family room and a bathroom outfitted with bookshelves (the owners call it “the library bathroom”). To the left of the foyer is a large drawing room. A corridor off the foyer leads to the back of the house, connecting the kitchen, pantry, a boot room, a playroom and a half bathroom. A staircase from the foyer leads to the second floor, where there are five bedrooms, including a master with an en-suite bath. Original fixtures include marble fireplaces, windows and servants’ bells, and records document the property’s history. The kitchen’s four-oven AGA stove was installed several decades ago. The roof on the main house is about 10 years old; the coach house roof is at most 15.

Separated from the main house by a courtyard, the approximately 1,300-square-foot coach house has a living room, a full bathroom and a kitchen, as well as a separate half-bath at the back, accessible from the outside. The large room upstairs has been used as a writing studio and as a space for slumber parties. The property was a happy place for raising children, said Maureen Soraghan, an interior designer who is one of the owners. The lot, which is about four and a half acres, also has stables, an indoor pool, a field and a landscaped garden with magnolia and eucalyptus trees.

Ashford, with a population of around 1,500, is a 45-minute drive to the center of Dublin, making it a commuter community. Buses run to Dublin, while a train connects Dublin to the neighboring town of Wicklow, four miles away. Ashford has several restaurants and a small grocery store. Attractions include hunting, riding, cycling and the Mount Usher Gardens. Two schools are within walking distance of the house, and Dublin’s international airport is a 50-minute drive.


After a decade of rising prices that peaked in 2006 and hit bottom in 2012, the Irish real estate market is slowly recovering, said Keith Lowe, chief executive of Douglas Newman Good, a real estate agency in Ireland. The recovery has radiated from Dublin “like a ripple effect,” he said, first reaching the commuter areas around the city and then the rest of the country. Dublin property has increased in price by an average of 65 percent since 2012, but is still 44 percent below the peak. “I would think that property prices are much more in tune with people’s income and their ability to borrow,” Mr. Lowe said.

Still, the market is facing several issues, he added: Prices have risen faster than inflation; there is a housing shortage, because construction is not meeting demand; rents have risen sharply for several years in a row, limiting the purchasing power of potential home buyers; and the central bank has restricted credit.

In a report issued in early January by Daft, another Irish real estate agency, Ronan Lyons, an economist at Trinity College Dublin, estimated that Ireland needed between 40,000 and 50,000 new homes each year because of population growth and housing obsolescence. Instead, “for every ten new families formed,” he wrote, “just two new dwellings were built, for the entire period from 2011 to 2016.”

The government has taken some action to address those challenges, Mr. Lowe said. A new grant program for first-time buyers is intended to spur construction, and the central bank is starting to relax income requirements for those seeking mortgages.

Philip Guckian, the manager of the Dublin-based Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, Farms & Estates, which has the listing, said luxury buyers were interested in historic homes in Dublin’s central neighborhoods, as well as the southern suburbs of Dalkey and Killiney. In County Wicklow, just south of Dublin, the draw was “value for money,” Mr. Guckian said. The entry point for luxury homes is around 750,000 euros ($810,000), compared with a million euros ($1.08 million) in Dublin.


There has been a drop recently in the number of foreigners purchasing homes in Ireland, including in Dublin and its surroundings, Mr. Guckian said. “We are seeing the domestic buyer coming back more and more,” he added, citing the Brexit referendum and the resulting weakened pound, as well as uncertainty about American politics leading up to the 2016 presidential election, as causes. Recent foreign buyers have come from the United States, Britain, China, Japan and continental Europe, he said.


Foreigners may purchase properties in Ireland effectively without restrictions, said Michael Walsh, a partner with ByrneWallace, a Dublin law firm. Each party retains its own attorney. The lawyer’s fee is typically less than 1 percent of the purchase price, and there is a value-added tax of 23 percent on that fee.

Closing costs paid by the buyer include a stamp duty (1 percent of the first million euros and 2 percent of everything over a million euros) paid on either the home’s market value or the purchase price, whichever is greater, Mr. Walsh said. The buyer also must pay a title registration fee, which does not exceed 800 euros, and public registry search fees for liabilities or issues including unpaid mortgages; those fees typically do not exceed 300 euros. Usually, the seller pays the real estate agent’s commission.

Mr. Walsh advised hiring a lawyer with sufficient professional indemnity insurance to cover the value of the acquisition.


Dublin tourism:

Wicklow tourism:


Irish Gaelic, English; euro (one euro = $1.08)


For properties valued at more than a million euros ($1.08 million), the annual property tax is 1,800 euros ($1,944) and 0.25 percent of the excess value over a million euros, Mr. Walsh said.

The New York Times

Favorable Conditions for Lithuania’s Real Estate Market

A contemporary home in northern Vilnius, Lithuania. Credit: Leonas Garbacauskas for The New York Times

This five-bedroom house in a tranquil setting in northern Vilnius, built in 2013, has simple lines, from the architecture to the furniture, appliances and lighting. Its exterior is made of stone, brick and glass, and the interior uses hardwood on the walls and floors.

A driveway through sparse pines leads to the house, which sits on about two and a half acres and encompasses around 9,700 square feet, according to Egidija Bruziene, an agent with Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing. A three-car garage and carport are to the left.

Past the front door, there is an entryway; a hall to the left leads to four bedrooms, one with an en-suite bath. The entryway connects to a glass gallery that leads in turn to the living room, which has mahogany-paneled walls and walnut floors. Beyond that is the master suite, with glass walls overlooking a serene landscape, Ms. Bruziene said. To the right of the glass gallery are the dining room and an adjacent kitchen, with appliances by Gaggenau. A library and office are past the dining room.

The house has three full baths and two half-baths, a wine cellar in the basement and a fitness room in the attic. Several lighting fixtures are by Jeremy Cole, a New Zealand designer. The house is being sold furnished, including pieces by Eames and Knoll. Paintings and art are not included.

Ms. Bruziene said the house is part of an exclusive 36-acre gated development of 13 properties bordering on a lake. Amenities include security and athletic facilities such as tennis and basketball courts.

The home is in an area known for its natural beauty, Ms. Bruziene said, adding that a major equestrian center is a seven-minute drive, while a golf club and the historic Verkiai Palace are 15 minutes away. Shopping is about a mile and a half distant, she said. Downtown Vilnius is around nine miles away, with the closest bus stop a little more than half a mile. The international airport for the city, which has a population of roughly 540,000, is about 15 miles.


Growing incomes and a falling unemployment rate in every year since 2010, combined with historically low mortgage rates, are enabling more Lithuanians to purchase homes, real estate agents said. The country’s adoption of the euro in 2015 and regional turmoil have caused only temporary slowdowns, agents said.

The number of property transactions in Vilnius (mainly apartments) for the first 11 months of this year was 10,630, said Remigijus Pleteras, chief executive of Ober-Haus, a real estate agency based in Vilnius. That was an increase of 10.5 percent over the same period last year.

In the center of Vilnius, luxury apartments cost between 200,000 euros ($208,000) and a million ($1.04 million), depending on size. Single-family houses start at 450,000 euros ($468,000) and go to 2 million ($2.08 million), he said.

Gediminas Pruskus, the chief executive of Inreal Group, a real estate agency with offices throughout the country, said prices today are around 86 percent of what they were in 2008. For the first three quarters of 2016, prices for luxury apartments were around 2,725 euros a square meter, or around $264 a square foot, an increase of around 9 percent over 2015 levels.

The increase “was influenced by a few newly launched projects that were much more expensive than the class average,” Mr. Pruskus said in an email.

Younger Lithuanians of means are increasingly choosing to live downtown. “People from the surroundings are coming back to the center,” he said. They are also buying rural summer homes, he added.

The country introduced the euro in January 2015, which caused buyers to hesitate in the first half of the year but had no lasting effect, agents said. The crisis following Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine in 2014 led to a brief drop in housing prices in Lithuania, but they recovered within a few months, Mr. Pruskus said. Western economic sanctions against Russia had not had an impact on housing prices, he said.


Foreign buyers account for only about 10 percent of the luxury market, Mr. Pleteras said, including those from Scandinavia, Russia and Belarus, as well as Germany and Britain.


Kestutis Adamonis, a partner with the Sorainen law firm, which has offices throughout the Baltic region, said people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Lithuania, the member states of the European Union or three other organizations, including NATO, are not permitted to purchase land in Lithuania. However, Mr. Adamonis said, land on which a single-family home sits can be rented, or the purchaser can set up an E.U.-based company that will own the land.

Most transactions are handled by a notary, but buyers in complex or high-value transactions — those above around 300,000 euros, or $312,000, — may benefit from the use of a real estate lawyer, he said. That typically costs between 2,000 and 10,000 euros, or around $2,080 to $10,400, depending on the complexity.

A valued-added tax of 21 percent of the purchase price is levied on newly constructed properties, he said.

Mr. Adamonis estimated that for a property costing a million euros, or $1.04 million, closing costs paid by the buyer would be around 7,000 euros, or $7,280. That includes the notary fee, a mortgage fee charged by the notary if applicable, title registration and technical fees. It also includes a 21 percent value-added tax on certain items. It does not include a possible commission or legal services.

Agents said the seller typically pays any commission to the real estate broker. Mr. Pruskus said the commission is generally around 2 to 4 percent of the purchase price.

Most foreign buyers pay cash, Mr. Adamonis said.


Lithuanian government:

Vilnius tourism:


Lithuanian: euro (1 euro = $1.04)


Annual property taxes are 400 euros (about $416). The gated community has an annual fee of 16,000 euros (about $16,640) covering security and use of amenities.

(The New York Times)

Bahamas’ Luxurious Real Estate Market Safe from Int’l Crisis

This four-bedroom plantation-style house, in the Old Fort Bay development on New Providence island, is tucked behind lush tropical greenery. The house, which has a guest cottage, is on the market for $3,800,000, and is being sold furnished. Moris Moreno for The New York Times

This plantation-style canalfront house is in the gated development of Old Fort Bay, on the northwest coast of New Providence, the Bahamas’ most populous island. The four-bedroom four-and-a-half-bath, 6,700-square-foot house has a pool and a 1,700-square-foot two-story guest cottage with one bedroom and one bath.

Past the double front doors is a foyer with a mosaic-accented floor. To the left are the living room and the formal dining room. The living room has doors that lead to the back yard. The floors in both rooms are travertine, and the ceilings are made of narrow wooden beams painted white, in typical Caribbean style, said Samira Coleby, an agent with Old Fort Bay Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing. The house is being sold furnished.

On the right side of the house are the kitchen, the family room and the laundry room. The kitchen has a wine cooler, stainless-steel appliances, a double oven and recessed lights.

On the same level are a half-bath next to the front door and a full bath, with a shower, next to the laundry.

A veranda cooled by ceiling fans is reached from both the living room and the kitchen, Ms. Coleby said.

Upstairs are four bedrooms, of which two have en-suite baths. The other two bedrooms share a bath. The master bedroom, painted blue, has bamboo floors and two closets, including a spacious walk-in closet. The property has central air-conditioning.

A wraparound balcony is accessible from three of the bedrooms. It has views of the canal and surrounding homes and treetops, Ms. Coleby said.

Besides the pool, the 0.6-acre grounds have a two-car carport, lush landscaping, a private dock and 160 feet of waterfront.

The home is in the gated development of Old Fort Bay, which has 270 homes and a private club with a private beach, a pool, a spa, tennis and a restaurant. The development encompasses around 45 acres. Nearby are more restaurants, tennis courts and beaches, as well as golf, snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities, schools, banks, and stores. Lynden Pindling International Airport and a private airport are about a 15-minute drive.

The island of New Providence, with a population of around 250,000, is home to Nassau, the Bahamas’ capital. Downtown Nassau is about a 25-minute drive from the house.


The Bahamas’ luxury real estate market is segmented, with different islands, neighborhoods and developments all fetching very different prices, agents said. In general, however, it is performing well this year, they said.

John Christie, the managing broker of H.G. Christie, a real estate agency that has its main offices in Nassau and on Grand Bahama, said the luxury market was not greatly affected by the global economic downturn. Sales slowed down but home prices did not drop, he said, adding that since 2013, prices have risen 5 percent to 10 percent a year, though not across the board. Homes are also selling faster this year.

There are bargains at the lower end of the market, because of foreclosures, he added.

Prices for luxury single-family residences range from $500 to $1,500 per square foot, Mr. Christie said. The lower threshold for luxury home prices is $1 million, while around $3 million can purchase a “very nice home,” meaning one in an optimal location, within a gated development, with high ceilings and quality finishes, such as travertine or hardwood.

The most expensive homes are listed at around $30 million, and there have been a handful of record sales this year and last, he said.

Heather Lightbourn Peterson, a broker with Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty, an agency with its headquarters in Nassau and offices throughout the country, said luxury homes in certain Bahamian islands, such as parts of the Abaco Islands, Eleuthera and the Exumas, can be more affordable, with prices starting at $1 million. On New Providence and on Harbour Island, luxury home prices start at around $2 million, she said.

For luxury property values per square foot, she gave a ballpark figure of $750 to more than $1,000, based on appraisals of recent sales. Ms. Lightbourn Peterson said buyers are typically offering 10 percent or so off the asking price, but that negotiations depend on the list price, the property’s location and comparable sales. Tight inventory and more realistic pricing has led to homes selling for closer to asking than in previous years, in some locations.


The vast majority of luxury properties go to foreign buyers, agents said. They are drawn to the island nation, a British colony until 1973, because of its low taxes; permanent residents do not pay income or estate taxes.

There has been a decrease recently in the number of British buyers because of a weakened pound, Ms. Lightbourn Peterson said; there has also been a slight drop in the number of buyers from Canada, also because of its currency. On the other hand, the numbers of buyers from the United States, Asia and South America have grown, she said.

Any foreigner who buys a home valued at more than $500,000 is eligible to apply for permanent residency. Buyers of homes that cost more than $1.5 million qualify for an expedited application, Ms. Lightbourn Peterson said.


Buyers and sellers should each retain their own lawyers, said Nerissa A. Greene, a partner with Halsbury Chambers, a law firm based in Nassau.

The Bahamas has a stamp duty of 2.5 percent on all real estate transactions and a 7.5 percent Value Added Tax on transactions of more than $100,000. Taxes are generally shared by the buyer and the seller, agents said.

Closing costs paid by the buyer typically include the agent’s commission, the buyer’s legal fee, and Value Added Tax of 7.5 percent on those services, Ms. Greene said. Sometimes the buyer also pays the seller’s legal fee, she added.

Foreigners can own property without restriction, and generally have access to mortgages. Transactions are done in Bahamian or United States dollars, she said.


Bahamas Ministry of Tourism:

Nassau and Paradise Island tourism:


English: Bahamian dollar (1 Bahamian dollar = $1)


Membership in the homeownership association costs $12,000 per year, which covers security and maintenance of common areas. The Old Fort Bay Club charges annual dues of $6,000; membership is optional. Insurance, which includes hurricane coverage, costs around $12,000 per year, Ms. Coleby said. Annual property taxes are $16,000.

(The New York Times)