Our Splurge: Adriana De Castro of One Sotheby’s International Realty has listed 90 Leucadendra Drive, Coral Gables, Florida, for $29.9 million.

With a prime location close to the Port of Miami, Miami International Airport, and Miami Beach, Coral Gables is a mecca for the jet set looking to live large. Known for its tree-lined boulevards, ivy-covered mansions, and historical landmarks, “The City Beautiful” is just that – a jaw-dropping place to escape the winter’s chill and soak up the sun in style. Aside from being a shopping and dining paradise, Coral Gables is also home to the world-famous Biltmore Hotel and the Venetian Pool, both built in the 1920s. And it’s the site of this week’s Splurge vs. Steal! Which would you choose, the opulent Leucadendrasplurge or the Villa Rosales steal? Let us know in the comments.

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by Andrea Kavanagh

Who would have ever thought that a second home could be an asset? Especially one in Florida? 

Once upon a time, I had the best of both worlds.  A beautiful Preston Hollow home in the heart of my beloved Big D, and a fabulous second home in Weston, Florida – located in between my darling husband Ken’s family in Miami and our friends in Palm Beach.  Little did I know our second home would temporarily become our primary residence. Ken landed his dream job in his home town of Miami, and we suddenly needed a place to live.  With corporate headquarters located in Coral Gables, we are currently in hot pursuit of our new dream home in the “City Beautiful.”

Until then, that “second home” has come in handy as a primary residence! We have snuggled into our little vaca home in Weston, a suburb of South Florida in Broward County where values are actually increasing. Located in the gated community of Mariposa Pointe, our neighbors include several high-profile former Miami Dolphins football stars. I am sworn to secrecy as to their identities, but Candy says she’ll get it out of me.

Get this: in October 2011, Weston was ranked #1 Nationwide Housing Market in a Businessweek survey of 1,000 largest cities nationwide. Property values rose 15.1% from February 2009 to August 2011.

In 2010, Money Magazine ranked Weston 19th in America in the “Biggest Earners” category.

In 2008, the publication ranked Weston as the best place to live in the state of Florida, and Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Weston as one of the “best affordable suburbs” in the United States in 2006. In short, this low-crime, fully-planned community is the perfect Florida location for a second home, conveniently located to both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami International airports.

Unfortunately, with a 45-minute commute to and from Coral Gables — picture  commuting to Frisco from Preston Hollow– Weston is simply not a practical place for us to reside. We’re looking at several water-front fixer-uppers in Coral Gables, so we are tremendously grateful for our cozy Weston pad. But once we get settled into our new digs, keep an eye out for an MLS listing of our freshly redecorated, furnished Mariposa Point residence.  The only question then will be… where will we buy our next second home?  We live in a temperate paradise so my vote is for someplace cold!  Aspen, anyone?