North Saanich home sells for $6.6 million

Villa Madrona, one of Greater Victoria’s most luxurious and extravagant homes, is being sold for $6.6 million after eight years on the market.

The deal was one of 27 sales of more than $1 million in the region during June. In May, 30 homes in the category were sold.

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The Villa Madrona sale is the highest recorded in three and a half years, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board.

The sale agreement was firmed up in June and will close later this year, Lisa Williams, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty, said Tuesday.

The house was built on waterfront in North Saanich for Linda and Ralph Bodine, former chairman of the board of Sunkist, and their family. Construction was completed in 1996.

The new buyers are originally from China, but have been living in Victoria for a few years, Williams said. When they toured the house “they loved everything about it,” Williams said.

During the time this property has been for sale its price has fluctuated as market conditions changed. Williams is the most recent listing agent.

It was listed for sale at $18.5 million in 2005. In May 2011, the price rose to $19.25 million, but by early this year, it had dropped to $6.998 million.

Real estate agents who handle homes in the upper end of the market know that these properties typically take longer to move than mid-range homes and they are commonly marketed to international buyers.

Although it is challenging to find buyers in the higher-price ranges, Williams has had a strong year so far.

“What I’ve experienced this year in particular is that we have had a real increase in the number of Chinese buyers who are coming in and looking at high-end waterfront properties.”

Of her six sales of more than $3 million each, five were to Chinese buyers, Williams said. “It’s really interesting right now. We’ve just seen a total drop off in the number of buyers coming out of Alberta ... A few years ago, it [seemed] every other sale of waterfront was to an Albertan.”

Villa Madrona is a one-of-a-kind, two-acre waterfront property at 660 Lands End Rd. The main home was constructed as two buildings to meet North Saanich’s size restrictions for housing.

Opulence defines Villa Madrona. A 1998 Times Colonist story described the property’s design as “Lorenzo de Medici-meets-the-West-Coast style.” The main living area is 11,000 square feet and it has a 1,524-square-foot games and entertainment complex, and a 3,174-square-foot guest house.

Its many special features include a wooden bar bought in Venice, carved oak pilasters that were once part of the Vanderbuilt mansion, a German crystal chandelier bought in Singapore, computerized window and light settings, multi-coloured marble flooring, a mural in the enclosed pool area featuring a Tuscan scene, outdoor artworks, a series of cascading and reflecting fountains and a library interior created in England from a historic building.

The house was “customized with some very expensive and priceless things,” Williams said.

The record paid for a Greater Victoria house was set in 2006 when $10.5 million was paid for 3115 Beach Dr. The 1914 waterfront home in the Uplands has been extensively renovated. It was built for Thomas William Paterson, then B.C.’s lieutenant-governor. Later owners included local businessman Harold Husband and actress Meg Tilly. It is currently for sale at $11.9 million.

A total of 23 homes priced at $4 million or more are listed on the Victoria Real Estate Board’s multiple listing service. The highest listing is $18 million for another North Saanich property.

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