Barrons’ Twenty Best Places to Buy a Second Home: Palm Springs

Palm Springs Gay Real EstateFor second homes in America’s most affluent locations, the past year was ugly. No way else to describe it. Median home prices were down 50% in North Lake Tahoe, and 44% on Martha’s Vineyard, to cite two examples.

Last year was brutal for second homes in the nation’s most affluent areas. But the market is firming up again. Here’s our list, expanded to 20 sites, for those seeking top-tier refuges.

After years of decline, Palm Springs is enjoying a genuine revival that would have cheered its late mayor, singer and congressman, Sonny Bono. Gay and lesbian real-estate speculators from San Francisco to Los Angeles have given Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley a total makeover. The new crowd can be seen sipping alcohol-infused snow cones by the vintage pool at Ace Hotel and Swim Club, as the wait staff zips around on skateboards. Sinatra’s Rat Pack is long gone, but those who are still nostalgic for crooners will find some of the old magic around the piano bar at Melvyn’s. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates frequently escapes Seattle’s wet and leaden skies by heading to his sun-washed home in the gated golf community of the Vintage Club in nearby Indian Wells.

The relatively modest home of the late President Gerald Ford is currently for sale; his recently departed wife, Betty, was, of course, famous in her own right for the drug and alcohol treatment center she founded in Rancho Mirage. For those with a taste for collecting presidential artifacts, the 6,300-square-foot Ford estate on the Thunderbird Country Club golf course in Rancho Mirage lists for $1.7 million.

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