By Jennifer Karami
While the average sale price for luxury homes nationwide rose 4.7 percent annually to $1,772,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018, a few things remain constant: the kinds of features and trends associated with high end houses.
Money can buy you a lot of things, and in luxury homes, several amenities ring universal, says Los Angeles-based agent Alec Traub.
“The higher the price point, the more features buyers expect and that desire intensifies,” he said.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury home in 2019 –or just love daydreaming about them–these are the features and trends to watch this year.
“In higher price points privacy is one of the things people are expecting. If you buy a $5 million home, you don’t want to see your neighbors or have someone on the street be able to walk up to your front door. People want gates, walls and hedges, but they must be aesthetically pleasing–no big chain link fence– especially somewhere like LA where you have a lot of celebrities, which adds a whole different layer to it as well.”
2. Smart Security
“In addition to the privacy element, there is the security element. Most homes these days on the higher end allow you to remotely control everything from lights, fireplace, pool, air conditioning and security cameras from an iPad or a phone. It’s something that’s almost come to be expected. Rather than, ‘that would be nice,’ it’s become, ‘that needs to have it.’
We’re also seeing super high tech safes hidden in closets for valuables like expensive jewelry, watches or purses. Or they’re being displayed in a way where you can’t just open a drawer and take something. You have to open up your closet drawer like you unlock your phone.”
3. Smaller Pools
“A pool is expected, but these days, no one really wants a big deep pool taking up the whole backyard. Instead, my clients are looking for smaller plunge pools that are almost glorified jacuzzis. While houses have been built bigger and take up more space on the lot, the pool is still something people still want and expect–just less of it.”
4. Guest Suites
“Luxury buyers I’m working with this year want guest suites. It doesn’t have to be detached–it could be downstairs off the garage, or a bedroom with en-suite bathroom that can be used for a live–in nanny or maid, or friends or family who come to visit. My clients want that extra space, as well as rooms that can be a home office, as well as a gym or workout room.”
5. Upscale Design Touches
“I’ve seen an emphasis on imported finishes–but pieces imported to LA from Italy as opposed to New Jersey. In the kitchen, an obvious design choice is still Ceasarstone or quartz over granite, but also high-end appliances. A $5 million home shouldn’t have Kitchenaid or GE. Not because they’re bad, but because they don’t fit with the narrative of a luxury home. Similarly, if there are sliding doors, my clients want them to be pocket doors that disappear into wall. Those are the kinds of added touches expected in a luxury home.”
6. The Power of Two
“A lot of homes I’ve shown have a trend of two. It’s no longer one stove and oven, now it’s two stoves, two ovens, two dishwashers, two sets of washers and dryers, and all upscale, designer brands. Luxury means never waiting or having dirty clothes or dishes.”
7. Overly Customized
“There is also a risk with ultra luxury homes in that features might be too customized to fit an individual need. I’ve seen houses where a musician put in a recording studio, and a basketball player had a full court. Those are things that won’t appeal to everyone, and as a result, can negatively affect a sale.”
Author bio: Jennifer Karami is a writer at Redfin, a technology-enabled real estate brokerage. Redfin’s mission is to redefine real estate in the customer’s favor