Alaskan Luxury Real Estate – What Is It, and Where Can You Find the Best of It?

What exactly is Luxury Real Estate? When people hear the term, they often conjure images of large, sprawling manors nestled cozily on well manicured lots the size of small US states, and in many cases their imagined palaces are indeed apt examples. However in reality, there are many more factors involved in earning the rank of “luxury” than size alone. In fact, size is not even a requirement for luxury membership. The ultimate barometer for a piece of luxury real estate is well known in real estate investment circles: location, location, location.

According to’s definition of the term “Luxury Real Estate”, location largely defines [a] property’s value, especially with respect to whether it offers views (particularly, waterfront ones) or amenities such as proximity to golf courses, school districts, and the downtown district.” Generally, the closer a property is to well-established and profitable centers of commerce, culture, entertainment and eduation, the higher its value. Couple that with proximity to amenities like natural attractions, lakes, oceans, rivers, beaches and outdoor activities, and you’re probably in the “luxury” category. Add to that a private, beautiful waterfront setting, and well, you’re living in style.

While there is plenty of waterfront property in Alaska, and many very large and well-appointed properties, there are only a few that are also near major natural attractions and centers of commerce, culture, entertainment and education. Alaska has only a few major cities along it’s waterfront and the crown jewel is Juneau.

Juneau is the capital of Alaska. Incorporated in 1906, Juneau’s full time population is roughly 31,000 people, though that number swells in the summer when people with seasonal housing spend their summers in Alaska’s most popular tourist destination and when Cruise Ships bring over a million people at a time to the city, May through October. The city has a mild climate, thanks to the effect of the Pacific Ocean, with temperatures averaging above freezing during the winter and climbing to highs in the 70’s in July. Spring is the driest, and fall is the wettest.

Though Juneau sits at the confluence of 3 major bodies of water (Smuggler’s Cove, Fritz Cove and Auke Bay), there is limited waterfront residential property. Downtown Juneau and it’s business district occupy a significant portion of Juneau’s prime waterfront real estate, with a large section carved out to support the cruise ship port that makes Juneau one of the most popular cruise destinations in North America. Day trips from the port include trips to Mendenhall Glacier, one of the most visited glaciers in the world, which is only a 15 minute ride from the city, whale watching expeditions, sea kayaking and canoeing, dining, theatre, shopping and fishing.

Most of Juneau’s waterfront property is located outside of downtown, along the waterways that converge at the city’s center. Immediately surrounded by gorgeous, impressive 3,500 foot “foothills”, Juneau’s “flat” coastal areas are narrow and somewhat sparse, so waterfront real estate is at a premium and is not clustered in one particular area. Many of Juneau’s luxury waterfront properties were individually developed and built, and few are part of organized “communities”. An exception is Spuhn Island.

Spuhn Island is a large island community immediately off the coast of downtown Juneau. Located about ¼ of a mile northwest of the heart of the city, Spuhn Island is conveniently located within minutes of all the city’s activities and the area’s main attractions. It is accessible by ferry and boasts 38 private lots, all with at least 200 feet of waterfront and views of the land and sea. Spuhn Island’s luxury Alaska water front properties are equipped with cable TV, broadband Internet, underground electricity, water and phone. The first island in the area to offer such amenities, Spuhn Island’s combines the best of cultured, luxury living while maintaining the beauty and natural splendor of Alaska’s “big country”.

Karla Allwine, developer of Spuhn Island, feels that maintaining the island’s reputation as a place of pristine natural splendor is part of the allure of the community. “When we developed Spuhn Island, we wanted to create a private sanctuary for its residents, one that allowed them to experience the wonders of Alaska’s wildlife and natural beauty, but without sacrificing personal comfort and the conveniences of modern life. It’s proximity to Juneau made that possible. There aren’t too many places in the world where you can wake up to whale song and dine at a 5-star restaurant a few minutes later. We think we struck a nice balance between the two, and I think you’ll find our residents agree pretty strongly.”

For more information on Spuhn Island luxury Alaska waterfront real estate investment opportunities, visit


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