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January 2008

Newsweek: What Housing Crisis?


Today, Newsweek published an article titled, "What Housing Crisis?" that looks at the current state of the luxury market.  Among other things, they highlight:

  • Rising prices at the upper end
  • The growth of the rich
  • The limited supply of trophy properties
  • The growing presence of international buyers

In the process I am happy to say that they reference The Institute and quote Laurie twice.

Just more evidence that the luxury market is the good news story in real estate right now. 

Recent record for British new construction smashed!

The ink on the release about the most expensive newly-built home sold in Britain (see below) was hardly dry when the news came out of London that the $70 million sale had been trumped by an even bigger sale -- $100 million dollars for Toprak Mansion located on Bishop's Avenue, a mile long strip which is home to Britain's uber rich. 

Any $100 million dollar transaction is interesting, this one especially so.  The home was purchased by a 75-year old female billionaire from Kazakhstan, Horelma Peraman, who plans to rename the house Royal Mansion and spend another $60 million adding on and revamping. The seller was a Turkish businessman who built the home, but never lived there.  On the market for several years, the price rose from $60 million to $100 million as the English home market soared. Neighbors include the Sultan of Brunei, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and Lakshmi Mittal (Britain's wealthiest man). 

Perhaps most interesting to real estate professionals, the same estate agent, Trevor Abrahamson, Managing Director of Glentree Estates, sold both properties. You're our hero, Mr. Abrahamson!

$70 million London home sets British sales record for new construction

An Israeli diamond merchant has set the record for the most expensive new single family home sold in Britain with his purchase of a Palladian mansion in a northern district of London for approx. $70 million dollars.

Note that this appears to be a new record for new, single-family construction. The reported sale late last year of a new London penthouse unit at One Hyde Park for $200 million to Sheikh Hamad of Qatar still appears to hold the record as the most expensive residential property sold in London and the world.  This sale bumped the previous record set by the $128 million purchase of a London residence by oil magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

For more details, see our press release.

The frog effect

The current mortgage and financial  turmoil may be keeping you awake at night, but Hawaiian Realtors now have another worry. Noisy frogs are being blamed for a drop in home prices on The Big Island. Yes, you heard that right, frogs. A very loud species has overrun the island and the sound of its chirps can reach 70 to 100 decibels, something akin to a roaring lawnmower. 

A recent news note in the Wall Street Journal reports that University of Hawaii economists estimate that the frog has damaged home prices to the tune of $22.5 million on the Big Island.  Concerns are that when the inter-island Superferry begins operations in 2009, the frogs will migrate to other islands causing substantial noise problems and perhaps stimulating home price reductions. 

Don’t worry if you hear that Hawaiian Realtors are kissing frogs.  They are probably trying to silence them by turning them into princes.                                             

CAT Scan of 'The Upper Crust'

Lore010208_cover_2 Just wanted to plug the current issue of lore Magazine, which has an article about The Institute and the valuable insights into the minds of the affluent that LifeStyle marketing provides.

The second page of article features a nice summary of the six affluent LifeStyles.

Here is a little taste:

The Unmistakables, who represent about 15 percent of the wealthy, demand a high level of service from their real estate professional. They also expect their sales professional to be well-turned-out and fashionable − like themselves. Because Unmistakables like to turn heads and make a statement, they would be great prospects for that posh property on a busy street. "They'll love the idea that so many people will be able to see their fabulous home," says Moore-Moore.

Thanks lore!

NAR’s Council of Residential Specialists Adds Luxury Home Training

The National Association of Realtor’s Council of Residential Specialists® has recently approved an Institute for Luxury Home Marketing course for two elective credits toward earning the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS®) designation.

Completion of The Institute’s two-day course on luxury home marketing also results in membership in the Institute and is the first step in earning the organization’s prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS®) designation.

“We are excited about working with the Council of Residential Specialists,” said Institute Founder Laurie Moore-Moore. “The CRS® designation curriculum is recognized as some of the best skill-based training for working with both buyers and sellers in the industry. We are proud to have our certification course included on the CRS elective credit list.”

CRS and The Institute each provide highly regarded designations. While the CRS designation recognizes outstanding success in the residential market encompassing all price ranges, the Institute’s CLHMS designation is specific to success in the luxury home niche.

“Adding The Institute’s luxury home marketing course to our CRS elective curriculum expands the opportunities for CRS candidates to complete their education requirements in the upper tier market area,” said Toni Sherman, the Council of Residential Specialists’ Director of Business Relations (who also holds the CRS designation).

For a schedule of classes which qualify for CRS and CLHMS designation credit, visit


New Institute Group on Facebook

Facebooklogo We've just created an Institute Group on Facebook so that Members who are active on the site can promote themselves more effectively and network with each other.

We've been watching Facebook for some time, though we were never quite sure if there was a fit.  After all, Facebook got it start as a site for the college crowd, who are not typically your buyers and sellers of luxury real estate!  That said, we've watched it grow and have always asked ourselves the question, "Can we benefit members by creating a group or boosting our involvement on the site?"   We've decided that the answer is yes and time is right, for a couple of reasons: critical mass and member requests

While it may not be for all of you, there are currently more than two hundred Institute Members active on Facebook.  That's a nice little networking group.  As for the Member requests, you can thank Aaron Wheeler for suggesting and keeping the idea of an Institute Facebook Group on the table. 

Since creating the group, I have been talking with another Member, Brenda Dubilowski-Haine who has been active on Facebook and successful in generating business from the site.  Her tip: she is connecting with buyers through the creative use of Facebook Marketplace listings where she can post properties and demonstrate her expertise.

LinkedinlogoAs a side note, I know that many of you are also active on the more business-oriented networking site LinkedIn (in fact we have more members active on LinkedIn than on Facebook).   The process for creating a group on LinkedIn is a bit more complicated as it requires their review and approval, but we are working on this too.  Stay tuned!

Market Report 2007-2008

Luxurytrends_20072008_page_1_2 Happy 2008!

The dawning of a new year  is always an opportunity to reflect on the year past and to make predictions on the one ahead.  Here is our Luxury Trends Report 2007-2008 (PDF 89kb).   

Here's a peek inside:

"Although statistics have only been reported for the first eleven months of 2007, the National Association of Realtors predicts the year will wrap up as the fifth best year on record for resale housing. That’s the silver lining on the cloud of a declining residential real estate market. The years leading up to 2007 were so strong that despite the historical strength of last year, sales numbers declined and the market paled in comparison to the preceding record-setting years. Declining prices, growing inventories, and the problems associated with “creative” securitization of mortgages were the added factors making 2007 a less than banner year.

On a positive note, the luxury market outperformed the market in general. The very top of the market remained strong. New U.S. price records were set, broken, and set again in 2007..."

If you are an active Member of The Institute, please feel free to use this material (with attribution) in your newsletters or other marketing materials.  Non-Members, please contact us for permission.

Best of luck for the new year!