Luxury Living - Home Trends
The luxury real estate market saw a meteoric transformation since the onset of the pandemic, with high net-worth home seekers realigning their priorities and lifestyles, fleeing dense cities for warmer climates and open spaces. Home prices have reached record highs in many cities due to increased demand, and diminished inventory continues to build fierce competition for single family homes. In Florida, focus is on properties with increased square-footage, access to the outdoors, and “secluded” amenities.
“Wealthy buyers are looking for real estate makes them feel like they are in a cocoon of their own,” said Liz Hogan, Compass’ #1 agent in Florida four years running. “A home that caters to this lifestyle and offers a sense of security and resort-style living are most highly sought after.”
Florida experienced a rapid influx of buyers fleeing from areas including the Northeast and West Coast, settling in less dense areas from Miami to Naples. Looking to relocate and settle in quickly, they sought out turnkey trophy properties. “There is a shortage of homes, especially for luxury and new construction, and buyers are willing to pay a premium,” said Angel Nicolas, founder of The Nicolas Group, who recently sold a new build in Coconut Grove for $1 million over the asking price. “We are positioning listings to create bidding wars and a seeing a sharp increase in off-market deals.” For many buyers, the focus is on fully furnished residences to avoid the hassle of needing to hire a designer and wait for furniture to arrive. “Having a home that is decorated and ready to move into trumps just about everything else these days,” added Dennis Bowers, who leads The Bower Group in Naples. “Buyers are looking for a completely move-in ready home with very minimal effort required”
Waterfront has always been the most desirable location to purchase property, and in South Florida buyers get their pick from oceanfront or bayfront. “The Miami lifestyle is all about being on the water, either from your backyard or by boat. Our top assets are the year-round warm weather and stunning waterfront properties,” said Dina Goldentayer, Douglas Elliman’s #1 agent in Miami who recently sold her 50th house on the coveted waterfront Venetian Islands. She says the influx of buyers from the Northeast and California are all looking for an iconic Miami home and the perks that come with it – sunset views, dockage, and ample yard for entertaining. “There is a limited amount of waterfront inventory and an overwhelming demand for these coveted properties,” says Goldentayer whose primary area of selling is in Miami Beach. “In central Miami Beach there are 700 waterfront homes and likely just as many buyers in the marketplace at any given moment.”
Outdoor Space + Resort-Style Amenities
With more time being spent at home, space to play is paramount. From sprawling backyards and terraces with expansive pools and summer kitchens, demand for ‘self-contained’ amenities that can be enjoyed in seclusion have increased exponentially. “Clients are looking for properties that can be customized to their hobbies and needs,” said Jeff Miller, a top ONE Sotheby’s International Realty agent with more than $1 Billion worth of luxury property sales. “They want these amenities to be available privately, right in the comfort from their own home.” In-home movie theatres, home gyms, yoga and meditation studios, and spas are on the checklist. Miller says he recently worked with a buyer whose requirements included enough land to build a paddle tennis court for himself and a treehouse for the kids, while another client built a miniature soccer field. “We have re-established the term ‘live-work-play’ because so many people have designed homes where they can do all three.”
Home Offices + Kids Rooms
With remote work and virtual school as the new normal, increased square footage with dedicated spaces to work and learn became a necessary luxury to optimize a work/life balance. “Clients want their own space where there are no distractions,” said Ida Schwartz senior director of luxury sales with The Schwartz Team in Miami Beach. She says home buyers are gravitating towards offices built out in a detached garage that feel more independent from the rest of the home, while many condo owners are purchasing or renting studio or one-bedroom units in their buildings to have a completely separate office setup. “Promotion or not, you can get your own corner office with amazing views,” says Schwartz. Homes with space for kid-friendly features including areas for learning pods and virtual school, and playrooms with kid-approved amenities are also a priority.