What Luxury Home Buyers Look for Today

 

What Luxury Home Buyers Look for Today by Steve Cook

 

If you had $1 million or more to spend on your dream house, what amenities would you choose?  An Olympic-sized pool?  Four garages for your selection of sports cars? Tennis courts? A classy wine cellar to stock with your favorite vintages? A separate guest house for family and friends?

 

If any of those topped your list you’re in good company.  Those are the kind of amenities that younger wealthy buyers are willing to pay for, according to a new survey by the Luxury Institute for Coldwell Banker Previews International.  Luxury home buyers are getting younger—single or with young children– and they are looking for age-appropriate amenities.  As a result, these younger, wealthy consumers spent more than $2.11 million on their most recent purchase of residential property, more than twice the average amount spent by older and similarly wealthy luxury buyers, which was $1.07 million.

 

However, most wealthy buyers—young and old alike—put first priority on infrastructure quality, especially open floor plans and a fully automated and wired home environment.  When it came to the big ticket toys and

 

However, pools ranked next, popular with 28 percent of wealthy buyers, who may know that it’s usually less expensive to buy a house with pool already built than to build one from scratch.  But pools were less important with 19 percent, a sign that for one out five wealthy buyers a pool is a negative.  Outdoor kitchens ranked surprisingly high with wealthy buyers, 23 percent would like one outside their next mansion.  Home gyms and home theaters ranked next, with 20 and 19 percent of buyers.

 

Environmental consciousness has not a priority among America’s wealthiest buyers, who can more easily afford the extra costs of green construction.  Only 18 percent of wealthy buyers think it’s important that their next home be green and LEED certified.  Nearly as many, 12 percent, consider a LEED-certified home to be a negative.

 

Wine cellars and wine rooms also have limited appeal.  More buyers are turned off (19 percent) than turned on (16 percent) by the prospect of a haven for their vintages. Special guest houses also rank negatively with most wealthy buyers (16 percent to 12 percent).  Perhaps they’d rather not encourage extended stays by family or friends.  Extra garage space, catering kitchen and safe rooms were even less popular, but all ranked higher than tennis courts and staff quarters; only 12 percent of survey participants play tennis.

 

While wealthy buyers have lists of toys and creature comforts for their next home, they also view it as a solid business decision.  On average, wealthy consumers who are in the market for a residential property expect a value appreciation of 14 percent on their new home in the next five years.

 

Wealthy young buyers are making inroads in the luxury real estate market, and they are willing to pay more to do so.  The survey found that 43 percent of younger wealthy consumers are considering the purchase of residential property in the next 12 months, compared to 21 percent of those aged 55 and older. On average, these younger wealthy consumers spent more than $2.11 million on their most recent purchase of residential property, more than twice the average amount spent by older and similarly wealthy luxury buyers, which was $1.07 million.

 

While location is still the most important deciding factor in a home purchase, one in five affluent consumers and 24 percent of ultra-affluent consumers say that they are not limited by geography and have the freedom to purchase a property that truly fits their lifestyle.

 

“It seems that more affluent consumers are basing their home purchase decisions on how they want live as opposed to where their workplace is located.  It shows that buyers at the top echelons of the market are more mobile than ever before,” says Betty Graham, Coldwell Banker Previews International NRT.  “This shift toward younger luxury buyers is driving a similar change in desired home amenities.  Whether these younger buyers have young families or are single without children, they are looking for homes that fit their active and unique lifestyle.”

 

 

About Steve Cook

Steve Cook is managing editor of Real Estate Economy Watch, which was recognized as one of the two best real estate news sites of 2011 by the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Before he co-founded REEW in 2007, he was vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors. In 2006 and 2007, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate.

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