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February 2008
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March 2008

Updated Member Website!

We’ve updated our Member Website:


The site has been completely redesigned, making it easier for you to access the tools and information you need.

Members, check out the new MEMBERS ONLY section.  In it you’ll find:

  • Logos
  • Videos
  • Document Downloads
  • Information about special offers and discounts from our marketing partners
  • Member Products (and more new products to be added soon)
  • Networking
  • And more…

You’ll also want to check out the new MY MEMBERSHIP page
This is your "one-stop-shop" for seeing and managing the details of your membership.  On this page you can:

  • Renew your membership
  • Update your contact information
  • Download CLHMS/Guild applications
  • Change your password
  • Manage your personal listing in the Member Directory on the website

Note that the username and password for the old site won’t work on the new one.   

If you're a Member, you’ll need to activate your account to access the MEMBERS ONLY section.  It is a simple process of confirming your email address, clicking on the link in the email we send you, and choosing a password.

Number of Millionaires Growing, but More Slowly

There’s good news and not so good news. The number of millionaires in the US continues to grow (that’s good), but the rate of growth has substantially slowed (that’s not so good!). 


According to Chicago-based Spectrem Group, the number of millionaires in the US grew by just 2% last year, reaching 9.2 million households (excluding equity in primary residences).  That compares with an 8% increase in 2006, 11% in 2005, and a whopping 21% in 2004.  See the accompanying chart.

The slowdown in individual’s accumulation of wealth is also evident at the $5 million and above level. The number of people worth $5 million or more increased 2% last year, a BIG drop compared to 23% in 2006 and 26% in 2005.

What’s going on this year?  It’s a pretty safe bet that given the liquidity woes, see-saw financial markets and the general uncertainty in the economy – recession? stagflation? – we are likely to see less wealth creation in 2008, 2009.  Look for the number of US millionaires and multi-millionaires to be flat or decline slightly in the short term.

What impact will this have on the luxury housing market?  It may lead to a bit more softening in the bottom half of the luxury market, where some buyers and sellers (especially those who s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to buy as much house as possible) are already feeling the pinch.  This means you are going to have to be better than ever to compete for the business which does remain.  You must polish your skills, get creative, and add real value for affluent buyers and sellers. 

London sale sets new “most expensive home sold” record

Purchase price close to buy-out price for Bear Stearns!

Just as the financial news is buzzing with reports of the $236 million Federal Reserve-backed bail-out of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase, The Times of London reports that a yet to be completed flat in central London has sold for a record-setting price of between £115 million and £120 million ($230 million to $240 million).  By comparison, former financial giant Bear Stearns changed hands at about the same time for about the same price. 

The flat is one of six apartments  yet to be carved out of a seven story office building located at 8 St. James’s Square, which the Times reports is “equidistant between 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace."  Who will be the new resident sharing the neighborhood with the Queen and the Prime Minister?   The buyer’s name is unreported, but you can bet your $2 Bear Stearns’ stock that it is one of the world’s billionaires who wants bragging rights for the most expensive residence.

This sale is one more indication that in the rarified air of the very, very top of the housing market, the search for trophy properties continues, despite the growing housing and financial market troubles.

What do you think?  Which is the better investment - The London residence or Bear Stearns?

$6.5M Sarasota home to star on Denmark TV

Fourth most watched TV show in Denmark to feature Institute member’s listing

Event marketing works and when the event is the filming and airing of a popular TV show, you have an example of really creative marketing.  Case in point:  A group of Danes invaded Sarasota recently to view a luxury property listed by Kelly Osborn, one of The Institute’s CLHMS members.  Peter Ingemann, celebrity host of Hammerslag, the fourth most watched television program in Denmark, visited the home to film a special segment of the popular show which will air in Denmark on March 20th.  (If you happen to be there, tune in at 8:00 p.m.)

As part of the event, two teams of Danish Realtors arrived to view the home and competed to guess the price of the property -- without prior knowledge of the market or location. One team guessed the current $6.5 million list price of the home, but the other team priced it higher.

Listing agent, Kelly Osborn of Florida Executive Realty, expects the show – which is viewed by 80% of the Danish viewing population -- to help bring attention to the Florida real estate market, climate, and lifestyle while highlighting how much home for the money the European buyer can expect as a result of price and currency differences.

According to Kelly, the show should spark interest from abroad, especially since Florida is a popular destination for International buyers.  Kelly is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist with the Institute. Tillykke!  to Kelly (which I think is Danish for Congratulations!)

Buffet bumps Gates -- now richest man in the world!

After 13 years as the world's wealthiest man, Bill Gates has dropped to number three on the Forbes List of Billionaires, below top ranked Warren Buffet and number two ranked Mexican telecom Tycoon Carlos Slim Helú.

Reportedly at $62 billion, Buffet's fortune jumped by $10 billion since last year's ranking.  Gates, who is now worth $58 billion saw just a $2 billion increase. Helú's $60 billion fortune has increased by $11 billion since last year.

Rounding out the list of the top five were, Lakshmi Mittal, head of the world's largest steelmaking company ($45 billion) and Mukesh Ambani ($43 billion), Asia's richest resident, who is building a 27-story home in India.  Find the complete list of the world's billionaires on the Forbes website.

Agent-to-the-stars sets price records despite Las Vegas market slump

The Las Vegas market may have slowed, but nobody seems to have told Realtor Aaron Auxier. For the third time in a row,  Auxier-- an agent with Luxury Realty Group -- has broken the price-per-square-foot records for both residential homes and residential high-rise condos in the Las Vegas valley. (According to his brokerage firm, all three records have been verified by multiple sources including Clark County tax records.)

The 34-year-old, who has earned the nickname "Hollywood's Connection to Vegas," recently sold several multi-million-dollar penthouses at The Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences in the the new MGM CityCenter development.  Auxier's luxury condo transactions include sales of $1,500, $2,000 and over $2,400 per square foot. The previously recorded record was $1,300 per square foot. Over the past year, Auxier has sold nearly $30 million worth of real estate on the Las Vegas strip.

"Despite the slow national housing market, there is currently more than $30 billion worth of construction happening in the four-mile stretch of The Strip known as the Resort Corridor," says Auxier, who specializes in working with celebrities, CEOs, and professional athletes. "Certain parcels of land have realized up to an 800 percent increase in land valuation since 2004. With an ever increasing appeal to a global audience and $1.5 billion in condo sales at CityCenter in 2007, I feel the press often misunderstands what's happening on the Las Vegas Strip."

As we've said in the past, the market overall is slow, but there are some segments in the luxury market which continue to click along, in this case with the sound of slot machines in the background.

Luxury Diva: Affluent Online?

You won’t find the wealthy Online, the rich just don’t use the Web – is that fact or fiction?  Definitely fiction.  Wealthy Americans have flocked to the web.  If you want to reach the affluent with your services or maximize the promotion of your listings, you need an online strategy.