The luxury second home fund, Equity Estates, has announced the addition of properties in Florence, Italy, and Naples, Fla., to its portfolio. The fund has added five new properties to the portfolio since December 2008 and hopes to add several more properties by the end of first quarter 2010.

"We listened to the demands of our owner members in determining the locations of our next residences and then dedicated ourselves to finding spectacular homes in those destinations," said Adam Capes, co-founder of Equity Estates. "The new Naples residence is an upgrade from our previous property and Florence is by far one of our most stunning properties and in an ideal destination."

Florence, Italy

Equity Estates' first European residence is a jewel in the heart of Florence, Italy. A stunning two-bedroom penthouse with breathtaking views of the Arno River and the famous Ponte Vecchio, the residence is ideally located just steps from the Uffizi, Medici Chapels and Michelangelo's David statue. Nearby the property is an array of fabulous restaurants as well as shopping in the open air markets and jewelry stores along the Ponte Vecchio. The Equity Estates concierge can assist owner members in exploring the multitude of nearby sites and cities including the Chianti region, Sienna and Arrezo. Owner members can begin making reservations immediately for travel beginning April 1, 2010.

Naples Pool
Naples, Florida

Equity Estates' new Naples property is a four-bedroom, 4,275-square-foot residence situated in the heart of Old Naples, where upscale shopping and dining options abound. The home is three blocks off of the renowned Third Street area and seven blocks from the beach. The property boasts a variety of amenities including a private infinity-edge pool overlooking the harbor and large outdoor entertaining area, complete with its own kitchen. The Naples property becomes available for owner members on November 25, 2009 and replaces a previous property the club had in Naples.

"Our unique model has really served us well in 2009 in terms of both owner member growth and adding new properties," said Philip Mekelburg, co-founding of Equity Estates. "We look forward to 2010 being another successful year of acquisitions and continued growth."

The club now offers its members 11 residences in 10 locations, including two apartments in New York. The homes have an average value of $3m. The fund buys some homes outright although much of the recent growth has been through leases with options to buy contracts. Many of the new members have come from other destination clubs on special deferred payment plans, so the leases with options match these member payments with the lease option contracts.