Though coronavirus chaos has hit all sectors of the economy hard, the luxury real estate market has been especially affected. Jumbo mortgages have dried up, many would-be buyers backed out of escrow, and even Jeff Bezos — still the globe’s richest man — decided to back out of a $90 million deal to buy one of the late Paul Allen’s Beverly Hills estates. And many for-sale properties have been price-chopped or sold with big discounts.
But in an interesting twist, demand for land in rural areas has seen actually seen a sharp increase since the beginning of the pandemic, with many urban-living folks hoping to snag a second home far from the respective big cities.
Apple’s Mike Markkula, who provided Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with seed funding and served as the company’s second CEO, is hoping the exodus will finally sell his massive Carmel Valley estate. He’s listed the property, known locally as Rana Creek Ranch, for the third time.
Now carrying an improved pricetag of $37.5 million, the estate was initially put on the market in 2013 with a sky-high and profoundly unrealistic ask of $59.95 million. Records reveal he bought the original 8,000-acre property 35 years ago for $9 million, and has been steadily expanding its borders ever since. Today, it ranks as the largest land holding in all of Carmel Valley and now tallies a nearly unfathomable 14,000 acres. At its widest point, the ranch is eight miles long by over four miles wide. In essence, it’s big enough to lose yourself in its boundaries.
Carmel Valley is a census-designated area in Monterey County, about half an hour from the small cities of Monterey and Salinas and roughly 85 miles away from the tech hub of Silicon Valley. It’s got the gorgeous rolling hills characteristic of central California, is home to a few golf courses and is dotted with cute inns, bed-and-breakfasts and scattered wineries. It’s long served as a vacation destination for Angelenos and San Jose residents who want a wine country getaway without having to drive all the way to actual wine country.
But although Carmel Valley is known for its wineries, Markkula’s property is not outfitted to grow grapes: it’s actually a working cattle ranch. Before the Apple cofounder put the estate on the market, he was using it as vacation retreat for just himself and his wife, Linda. Included on the land are two very large barns, a covered pavilion, greenhouse, a corral and full-size riding arena. The property also features a strong aquifer which feeds the seasonal creeks and ponds, for those interested in further developing the land agriculturally. The topography of Rana Creek Ranch is delightfully varied with lazy, grassy lowlands and plenty of those rolling hills expected of Carmel Valley.
Anchoring down the entire compound is the lavish main house, which is framed by the property’s many majestic oak trees. Though it spans a mansion-sized 5,413 square feet, it’s got just one bedroom and three bathrooms. The floors and walls of the home are covered in wide, homey white oak planks, while picture windows let in copious amounts of natural light and frame idyllic views. The kitchen features granite countertops, plus a huge pot rack that hovers over the island. Of course, there’s also a wet bar for folks looking to wet their whistle.
And for visitors, there’s a covered walkway that connects the main house to a detached two-bedroom guest wing. Other features include a standalone two-bedroom guesthouse on the premises and extensive staff housing facilities. And, if potential buyers are the jetsetting type, there’s also a 2,900 ft. landing strip and helipad.
However, if one isn’t quite prepared to commit to take on all that land, they can buy just the northern section of the ranch (around 12,400 acres) for $27.5 million — a relative steal, really.
The listing is held by Bill McDavid of Hall and Hall.