A neon wild card among United States cities, Las Vegas took its time getting serious about the ultra-luxury residential market. Now, it’s got a full house of record-breaking deals and some ace listings north of $15 million up its sleeve.
The priciest residential sale in the city’s history was sealed in June 2021: A palatial home in Henderson’s MacDonald Highlands development that fetched $25 million. Clad in metaquartzite stone sourced from the Mojave Desert, the 15,000-square-foot residence is drawn with minimalist lines mirrored in a network of reflecting pools.
Named “Vegas Modern 001” by the design and build firm Blue Heron, the home is significant in ways beyond its jackpot price. Its sophisticated and somewhat severe look, which could be termed chilly, a perceptual plus on 100-degree days, solidifies an urbane standard among ultra-luxury desert offerings. With its glass bridge leading to a starry sky suite, Corten steel panels and vanishing walls―all existing beneath a soaring butterfly roofline––the home is coolly seductive and futuristic.
An “Instagram paradise,” is how Blue Heron terms the three-story home. While that descriptor, unfortunately, links the remarkable home to everyday image-obsessed pursuits, in Vegas, it’s true: being showy is a known lifestyle choice.
Vegas’ previous sales record was set in Summerlin’s Summit Club development―magician David Copperfield’s $17.55 million purchase of a 31,000-square-foot eight-bedroom home. Ivan Sher, who at the time headed the Ivan Sher Group, represented both the seller and buyer in the 2016 off-market deal.
We reached Sher a week before the launch of his new independent brokerage IS LUXURY. Pronounced “is Luxury,” the name is a play on his initials and the linking verb “is.” His official launch date is October 18.
“I decided it was time to focus on my team and their growth, and it’s hard to grow when somebody else’s name is attached,” says Sher, who fortified his venture by becoming a member of Forbes Global Properties. “I intend to be in my feeder markets and the markets where my clients vacation―Park City, Utah; Newport, California; and Lake Tahoe.”
Sher’s new headquarters is a block-long office located in downtown Summerlin, the business core of a master-planned community founded in 1990. Situated about 10 miles west of Las Vegas, Summerlin spans 22,500 acres interwoven with 250 parks, golf courses and choice amenities. It’s among Southern Nevada’s priciest neighborhoods.
“I wanted a space for my clients to put on an event for 40 to 50 people,” says Sher, who achieved $760 million in total volume sales in 2021. “When you walk into the new office, it’s very much like being in a Four Seasons lobby―great design, art and massive five-foot by five-foot chandeliers because the ceiling height is incredible.”
With one of his Henderson listings set at $32.5 million―a high watermark ask for Las Vegas real estate––Sher’s 15-member team is laboring to raise the market roof further. The 14,207 square-foot four-bedroom estate includes a car lift, space for a dozen vehicles, a glass elevator, indoor basketball court, rock climbing wall and “acrylic hot tub that hangs over the edge of the balcony in the primary bedroom,” Sher says. “I mean, it’s unbelievable.”
As for wrapped high-end deals, Sher sold a Summit Club home, now Vegas’ second priciest, for $18.95 million in July, fetching $200,000 more than the owners paid for the home last October.
In June, Casino magnate Steve Wynn’s Country Club Hills home sold for $17.5 million, a transaction handled by a different brokerage.
With such a parade of showstopper deals, where’s all this headed for Vegas real estate?
Sher and other Realtors fully expect the ultra-luxury market to crack $30 million before long. “I predict that in the next couple years, it’ll be $35 million and $40 million in the inner city,” Sher says.
IS Luxury agent Anthony Spiegel adds further context: “In 2019, there were approximately 500 homes over $1 million that sold in Las Vegas. In 2021, that number jumped to approximately 1,800. During the last decade, there have been about 200 resale residences sold for over $5 million, but nearly 60% of those were from the last two and a half years.”
The $35 million-plus mark Sher mentions is likely to be attached to a Summerlin residence, specifically in The Summit Club, which launched in 2016. Situated around an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, Summit’s 260 homes have sizzling Strip views and otherworldly vistas of the Mojave Desert.
The “uber-luxurious residential community” with home sites and “preimagined” bungalows, cottages, villas and suites, is spread over 555 acres―think elegant fire and water features in minimalist homes so whip-smart they just might rebel against their human hosts. It includes blue-chip amenities and a Golf House serving world-class cuisine.
“The Summit Club completely changed what Las Vegas luxury real estate is,” Sher says. “Literally, double the price per square foot of what other homes were. We have 100,000 square-foot homes being built in The Summit. Homes costing over $3,000 a square foot are being built there.”
Developed by Discovery Land Company in partnership with the Howard Hughes Corporation, The Summit Club is among the latest in Discovery’s march of exclusive developments―so cliquish in their appeal to rarefied tastes that Sher likens buyers to groupies.
“It’s like a (Grateful) Dead convention, you know?” he quips. “They’re like Deadheads. They follow (the developments) and do well, make money and so they go on to the next, do well, make money … ”
The Discovery Land Company’s empire now includes 31 near-utopian communities scattered across the globe, all with irresistible five-star amenities. In the U.S., several are located in states with irresistibly low tax burdens favored by billionaires.
In August, Mark Wahlberg bought a four-bedroom 7,327 square-foot townhome in The Summit Club for $14.5 million, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The month previous, he paid even more―$15.6 million for 2.5 acres of ready-build land. Notable sports team owners are also residents, along with Celine Dion and the requisite “billionaire entrepreneurs from across the country,” reports the Review-Journal.
To accommodate that firmament, The Summit Club is adding 54 acres that will accommodate 27 home sites. Nearby, the guard-gated Ridges development is conversely “light on land,” Sher says. “They’re almost completely built out.” Henderson’s MacDonald Highlands is similarly constrained but could build on resale lots or benefit from a final land release.
The Ascaya community―rare because it’s not golf-centric―has plenty of room for homes amid 670 acres about 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas. “It has incredibly stunning contemporary homes,” Sher says. “The majority of them have dead-on Strip views.”
Sher also deals in Southern Highlands, Lake Las Vegas and Red Rock Country Club, among other communities; 80% of his deals are located within guard-gated developments like these. Sher got his start in Las Vegas real estate when industry legend Florence Shapiro took him on as an agent in 2000. Later, they formed the Shapiro & Sher Group.
The fair-minded French native was revered in Las Vegas real estate circles―“the only agent to go to if you were a casino owner, a top attorney, doctor, celebrity,” says Sher of his 17-year partner who in 2016 died from cancer at age 72.
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