Must-Have Amenities in Luxury Homes Today
Modern masterpiece in Beverly Hills, California. Hilton & Hyland.
70-acre Wilderness Retreat in Telluride, Colorado. Telluride Real Estate Corp.
Newly Built Home in Greater Boston, Massachusetts. Bassick Real Estate Advisors.
In the world of luxury real estate, the preferences of affluent homebuyers have always reflected a myriad of lifestyle trends, regional styles, demographic factors, and the unique preferences of the individual buyer. The global pandemic has prompted many HNWIs to reassess the true value and purpose of “home,” and with it, the most important amenities to consider when buying a luxury home. Over the past 18 months, homes have doubled as offices, workout spaces, schools, and entertaining spaces, provoking potential buyers to reevaluate their priorities.
As many affluent homebuyers are no longer tethered to working five days a week in an office, the oft-cited mantra “location, location, location” has begun to shift instead to “location, location, lifestyle.” Properties with an easy commute and access to transport have taken a backstep to luxury homes with space, privacy, and access to lifestyle amenities that enhance the lives of its residents.
To better understand the preferences of today’s luxury buyers, and to help potential sellers understand what are the most important upgrades or renovations in a post-pandemic world, we asked Forbes Global Properties members to rank luxury home buyer priorities in their respective property markets in 2021. These findings are reflected in Exhibit 3. The top priorities for luxury homebuyers today across the globe are:
1 . More space — Indoor & Outdoor
A natural response to being confined at home during pandemic lockdowns was the desire by HNWIs for more space. More than two thirds of brokerages reported that space was one of the top priorities for luxury home buyers in 2021. “The key word for all post-pandemic purchases is space,” observed Jelena Stankovic of Driven Properties in Dubai. “The experience of being in lockdown completely changed the way people look at properties and buyers made their decisions being wary of repeating that experience. Space is king, and that is the one thing nobody is willing to compromise on, along with large outdoor areas.”
In Singapore, Sammi Lim of Brilliance Capital noted: “There is a trend, a flight, to quality. The pandemichas triggered most to review their housing requirements, and the bigger or more luxurious, the better.”
Affluent homebuyers have shown a greater yearning for more indoor and outdoor space as well as a preference for luxury homes with optional room to grow. As Jeff Raper of National Parks Realty in Montana’s Flathead Valley noted: “The tiny home trend is on the decline. Privacy, safety, and access to outdoor recreation are major priorities.”
“In the Colorado mountains, we’ve seen an influx of people looking for an escape.”
–Mark Smith of Slifer Smith & Frampton
Outdoor spaces were a key priority for luxury home buyers in a variety of locations – from urban city centers to mountain and lakefront regions markets — and brokers reported that this trend is set to continue in 2022 and beyond. “An open floor plan and a well-maintained outdoor space are paramount for buyers,” noted Catherine Bassick of Bassick Real Estate Advisors in Boston, Massachusetts.
Luxurious Old Colony Estate in Toronto, Canada. Barry Cohen Homes
Oceanfront Estate in Vero Beach, Florida. Dale Sorensen Real Estate
2. Dedicated Workspaces
More than two thirds of luxury real estate experts reported that a dedicated home office, “Zoom room” or a flexible work area was one of the most important features for luxury home buyers. “Many buyers are now looking for dedicated workspace in their homes as some have shifted to working-from-home permanently since the beginning of the the beginning of the pandemic, or expect to work more from home,” said Justin Cohen of Barry Cohen Homes in Toronto, Canada.
Buyers are increasingly looking for private, quiet, and discrete spaces in a home that can be used for work or school by multiple residents. “Due to Covid, we have seen an increased demand for home offices,” said Chris Morrison of RETSY in Arizona’s Paradise Valley. “Luxury buyers are requesting at least one home office, sometimes two.”
As workforce flexibility prompts more HNWIs to consider moving either full or part time to a second-home destination, home offices with connectivity are paramount. “In the Colorado mountains, we’ve seen an influx of people looking for an escape,” said Mark Smith of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate. “They’re looking for home offices and turning to technology more than ever before to feel safe, comfortable, and entertained.”
141 Acre Estate in Whitefish, Montana. National Parks Realty.
73 Acre Oceanfront Estate in Maui, "Hawai'i Life".
The Point in Brentwood, Bel Air, California. Hilton & Hyland.
3. Privacy and Security
About one third of luxury real estate experts reported that privacy and security were among the top five amenities and features prized by luxury home buyers. Privacy remains paramount in locations such as New York and Los Angeles where many high-profile celebrity and ultra-high-net-worth individual buyers reside. “Our buyers are currently more interested in properties with lots of land, open air and privacy than maxed out lots with great views,” said Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, California.
“Our buyers are currently more interested in properties with lots of land, open air and privacy than maxed out lots with great views.”
–Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland
A desire for privacy and a resurgence of interest in real estate as a “safe haven” asset resulted in an incredible increase in buyer demand for historic castles and chateaus in France over the last 18 months. “We have seen a lot of urban dwellers arrive, especially Parisians, who have an almost physiological need to escape and find a place of protection far from urban constraints,” said Olivier de Chabot-Tramecourt of Groupe Mercure. “These buyers had often long dreamt of purchasing a chateau, but the pandemic prompted them to take the plunge.”
The desire for privacy and security also prompted an uptick in luxury homebuyers and permanent residents in Montana during the pandemic, in part due to the remoteness of the area. “People were seeking the safety of a less urban, less populated area, as well as the opportunity to work from home during the pandemic in a resort-like area,” said Jeff Raper of National Parks Realty.
4. Turnkey Move-In Ready Homes
Nineteen percent of member brokerages reported turnkey or move-in-ready homes as one of the top priorities for luxury buyers today. They have little appetite for refurbishment or renovation. “People don’t want older, out-of-date homes,” observed Andy Nelson of Willis Allen Real Estate in San Diego, California. “They’re looking for instant gratification.”
Turnkey homes are, in turn, commanding higher prices. “With labor shortages and supply chain issues constantly in the news, a home that needs no work or construction automatically makes it far more desirable than its peers on the market,” said Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, California. “That being said, if buyers are patient and willing to put the work in, there are definitely deals being made.”
Point Loma Estate in San Diego, California. Willis Allen Real Estate.
Hualalai Resort Estate in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i. Hawai’i Life.
Casa Tres Cervezas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. CDR San Miguel.