Until recently, luxury real estate buyers have found inspiration in properties with a sense of grandeur. Whether via a stately home in a major city or an idyllic cottage country retreat or a tropical paradise in a far flung corner of the globe, these buyers have opted for spaciousness and homes that mirror their success.
The next generation of luxury real estate buyers is redefining the priorities of home ownership. Now in their twenties and thirties, millennials comprise the largest living demographic in North America. With the help of an impending wealth transfer from their baby boomer parents, millennials make up half of the 32% of Canadians who are likely to purchase a home in the next two years. The share of home sales to first-time buyers recently hit a 17 year high.
The most affluent millennial home buyers entering the luxury property real estate market in 2018 are not looking for a 10,000 square foot gated manor. It appears that for today’s purchasers, experiences are more important than objects and that penchant carries through in everything from the luxury properties they prefer to their expectation about their relationship with their realtor.
Emerging real estate buyers think of a luxury property as a journey rather than as a destination. In its 2017 study of the emerging luxury market, Sotheby’s International Realty discovered that while spending on personal goods has decreased, spending on ‘experiences’ such as travel, evening’s out, spa breaks, etc., is on the rise. The perfect home is less about the things in it and more about how it will fit into the buyer’s daily life. Listings that show how a property supports a lifestyle are becoming more successful than those that simply list a multitude of amenities.
A home with a backyard isn’t just more land – it is a place for picnics and outdoor entertaining. An updated bathroom may be just a feature but a spa-like oasis for a relaxing bath at the end of a long work day is infinitely more appealing.
4K video footage, quality photography and augmented reality such as Sotheby’s CURATE all help to establish a sense of possibility before a buyer sets foot on the property.
As always, location is critical. Whereas past generations have moved away from urban centres, millennials are making a return to city life. A smaller home located in an interesting up-and-coming neighbourhood is more appealing to today’s buyers than a larger luxury property in the suburbs.
A property with a story to tell can be as appealing to buyers as a brand-new build. Was the loft a brewery in the 1920’s? Was the house built by someone prominent? A home becomes part of the buyer’s personal narrative, so heritage status, interesting histories, and thoughtful architectural details are all selling points. An updated kitchen, original hardwood floors and plenty of natural light all show well in photos on social media.
The cost of housing in Canada has increased much more rapidly than the average salary which is why millennials are looking for a home that can adapt and meet their needs over time. The next generation of luxury real estate buyers are looking for the next chapter in their life story. Where their predecessors were wooed by new windows, finished lower levels, extra bedrooms – today’s luxury property purchasers are more interested in updated chef’s kitchens, exposed brick detailing, location and walkability.
Alex Irish & Associates fully appreciates today’s evolving real estate market and represents numerous properties that appeal to the millennial buyer’s lifestyle criteria with respect to luxury property purchases.