The small Palm Beach County village of Wellington has become a magnet for wealthy horse-lovers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Wellington is built around horses, especially in the Equestrian Preserve, a 9,200-acre district with 60 miles of bridle paths and traffic features at rider height, the Journal said.
“When you’re talking about Wellington, the barn is the most important thing,” Matt Varney of Wellington Equestrian Realty told the newspaper.
A proposed 59-acre Equestrian Village, to include a hotel and retail component, triggered a public battle in Wellington, but did not slow sales.
While prices remain below 2006 levels, Varney says his agency has sold $45.7 million in real estate since the start of the year, compared with $38 million for all of 2012.
Liberty Media billionaire John Malone and his wife, Lesley, recently bought a Wellington manor for $7.8 million. Michael Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina, an accomplished equestrian, owns a 12-acre estate in Wellington, according to the Journal, and Bill Gates and family spent the past winter there.
Demand is also fueled by overseas buyers, particularly South Americans involved in the polo world and dressage, a rarefied sport akin to horse ballet.
“Wealthy people like horses,” Varney said. “Wealthy people’s kids like riding horses. It’s a relatively small world.” [WSJ] –Emily Schmall