What Do Luxury Home Buyers Really Want?

What Do Luxury Home Buyers Really Want?

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By WPJ Staff | September 30, 2013 8:14 AM ET

Luxury home designers are including everything from fur refrigerators to laser security systems to woo buyers, but what amenities does the high net worth individual (HNWI) really want in a home? According to a new survey, the answer is "open floor plans."

Thirty-nine percent of the respondents to the survey by Coldwell Banker Previews International and the Luxury Institute said "open floor plans" are more important to them now than three years ago, followed by the 32 percent who chose "fully automated homes," with all the necessary remote controls and voice activated systems.

The survey focused on the responses of 300 Americans age 21 or older with a minimum gross annual household income of $250,000.

Beyond open floor plans and electronic gadgets, respondents ranked pools (28 percent), outdoor kitchens (23 percent), home gyms (20 percent) and home theaters (19 percent) as the amenities they want more now. A home's Green-LED certification was more important to 18 percent of the respondents, but less important to 12 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, staff quarters, tennis courts and other sports courts, safe rooms, and multiple garages are less important for today's wealthy buyers. 

The results, in part, reflect a shift toward younger buyers in the luxury market, the report says.

"Wealthy younger buyers are driving the luxury real estate market, and they are willing to pay more than similar wealthy buyers age 55 and older," the report concludes.

The younger audience is apparently more interested in property these days Forty-three percent of younger wealthy consumers are considering purchasing residential property in the next 12 months, compared to 21 percent of those age 55 and older, the survey found.

The younger buyers are also spending more. The younger segment of HWNI spent an average of $2.1 million on their most recent purchase of residential property, about twice as much as their older peers.

"This trend toward younger luxury buyers is leading a change in desired home amenities," said Betty Graham, president of Coldwell Banker Previews International NRT. "Whether these younger buyers have young families or are single without children, they are looking for homes that fit their active and unique lifestyle."

More from the report:

  • Online consumer reviews have more influence on agent choice than social media.
  • Over one-third (38 percent) of high income consumers surveyed report owning two or more residential properties used as personal residences or vacation homes.
  • Six percent of wealthy homeowners report owning residential property located outside of the United States.
  • Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed own two or more homes. Only 6 percent own another home outside of the U.S.
  • The average purchase price for wealthy consumers' most recent residential property was $1.6 million.
  • The most important factor when purchasing a home was by far its location, with 70 percent of respondents saying it was the most important factor in their last real estate purchase.

Source: Coldwell Banker Previews International and the Luxury Institute

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