The answer, according to the majority of Coldwell Banker’s Report for 2019 is outdoor living spaces.
“The Report: State of Luxury 2020,” by Coldwell Banker, is a comprehensive profile of emerging luxury markets and buyers. Included in the report are trends as well as top preforming luxury markets of 2019 and those to watch in the upcoming year.
“The Report” by the American real estate franchise owned by Realogy with headquarters in Madison, New Jersey, combines analysis of sales data with interviews of dozens of Coldwell Banker affiliated agents who provide on-the-ground perspectives from diverse real estate markets.
Luxury real estate trends in 2019 include migrating wealth, impacts from tax law changes in 2018 that limited deductions for state and local taxes and a focus on holistic wellness and eco-friendly design. The report also dives into how the luxury market has been impacted by LGBTQ+ and millennial demographics.
Most Desirable Luxury Home Amenities, according to Coldwell Banker:
Outdoor Living Spaces
Almost 72% of respondents said outdoor living spaces are a necessity for today’s affluent homebuyers.
Other most-wanted home features include flex spaces/home offices, vehicle storage, home automation, eco-friendly features, and au pair suites. The popularity of outdoor living spaces reflects a growing movement toward indoor/outdoor living, as people not only want to be closer to nature but also to maximize their homes’ useable space.
Flex Spaces/ Home Offices
After outdoor living spaces, flex spaces or home offices topped the list of must-haves — which comes as no surprise to Tracy Allen of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties in Honolulu, HI.
“I think we’re seeing more of these multifunctional spaces because people want ease of living. With everyone working on laptops and being so mobile, I’ve found that many of my luxury listings must have a component that is multipurpose and multifunctional. Dining rooms can double as conference rooms; you can have a business meeting in the dining room, then put your laptop away and lunch is served.”
When it comes to smart-home technology, 81% of respondents said home automation is the most wanted feature. Smart home security systems, wireless sound systems and electric car docking stations were also popular among buyers.
“If people buy a fully renovated turnkey home, part of that turnkey idea is to have smart-home technology that is voice activated and precisely integrated,” said Hertzberg. “A true smart home in 2020 goes beyond automated lighting and smart temperature control. The smart-home focused consumer wants every aspect of living to be seamless, from wireless security to curated pre-programmed sound systems for every occasion. Electric charging stations for cars are important, and many buyers are looking forward to the expansion of smart roofs, which generate back up power storage. The evolution of smarthome tech has gone from convenience-focused applications to experience-focused integration of all components for daily living and energy efficiency.”
Modern Style and Open-Concept
With more people living relaxed lifestyles, home styles have also shifted. Whereas Mediterranean or Tuscan styles were in vogue during the early 2000s, the last decade was all about modern. The majority of our respondents said that modern or contemporary were the most popular home styles among luxury buyers. About 77% said that luxury buyers prefer open- concept floor plans and less formal layouts.
“They want the perfect setting for their family and the ultimate setting for entertaining,” said Diane Polland of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Long Island, NY. “Informal, casual, and luxurious are the keywords describing the home they are looking for.” Notes Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Realty in Beverly Hills, CA, “They love the modern transitional style and want good quality, not a spec house.”
New or Move-In Ready
The condition of the home is also important to affluent buyers.
“They are looking for turnkey properties where they can envision the luxurious lifestyle they are seeking,” reported Polland. It’s the same for buyers on the West Coast. “Most of my buyers want a home in perfect move-in condition,” agrees Mills. Some are even taking their preference for a move-in ready home to the extreme.
Said Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Realty, Longboat Key, near Sarasota, FL, “They’re willing to pay up for brand new or newly renovated, and they will even give up a view if you have a new home requiring no work.” In fact, 68% of respondents said that a new build has become a more desirable property characteristic over the last year. “Buyers are into the finishes and something in the house that gives it a wow factor,” said Anne DuBray of Coldwell Banker Realty in Glenview, IL.