Can architecture and mass texts enliven Palm Springs’ reputation as a sleepy retirement town?

If you look at the property markets now compared to then, the answer is yes

Palm Springs.
Palm Springs.

Palm Springs’ efforts to attract younger people to the area and make it into a thriving tourist destination began nearly a decade ago with a mass text.

In 2009, Palm Springs’ tourism bureau slid into the DMs of about 55,000 college students with a bold request: “Skip Cabo, come to Palm Springs.” It was the beginning of a concerted effort to attract youth to the area best known recently for its retirement communities, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Now, various events beyond the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival sprinkle the calendar, including golf and tennis tournaments, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and a festival dedicated to the area’s architecture and design called Modernism Week.

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With more people funneling through Palm Springs, real estate has naturally reaped the rewards. Since 2011, average single-family home prices have jumped more than 70 percent, and the number of transactions over $1 million increased to 8.4 percent in the second quarter of 2018, as compared to 6.2 percent in the same period in 2015.

What’s more, homes designed by famous architects who worked in the area, like Richard Neutra and Albert Frey — or at the very least designed in their Modern style — can now sell at a premium of up to 30 percent. One Berkshire Hathaway Home Services agent recalled a 1950s-era home designed by E. Stewart Williams selling for more than $1,100 per square foot. The average home sells at about $300-350 per square foot. [WSJ] — Erin Hudson