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April 2010

Wealth and Luxury news from the Commonwealth

Luxury home sales soar in Vancouver (via Business in Vancouver)

Wealthy investors are opening their wallets again as luxury home sales in Greater Vancouver skyrocketed 184% in the first quarter of 2010.

"Recovery in the upper end has been nothing short of remarkable," said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president for RE/MAX of Western Canada. "This segment of the market was hardest hit when the recession took hold, yet its comeback has been fast and furious."

Sunday Times Rich List 2010: Britain's richest see wealth rise by one third (via Telegraph.co.uk)

The collective wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest people has increased by almost a third in the past year despite the uncertain economy, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2010. 

British Rich Break Wealth Record (via The Wealth Report)

America isn’t the only country with an upstairs-downstairs recovery.
Like the U.S., Britain’s rich enjoyed a banner 2009 while the rest of the country remained mired in public deficits, bank bailouts and collapsed home prices.


How "green" are the wealthy?

Green-earth[1]Forty years after the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the wealthiest 10% of US households reveal the extent of their commitment to a "green" lifestyle in a new survey by the American Affluence Research Center.

Top 10 findings:

  • 90% recycle regularly
  • 56% believe they are doing their part to help the environment
  • About 3 in 10 feel they should be doing more to help the environment
  • 70% report using energy efficient light bulbs and/or other products to reduce energy consumption
  • 30% purchase organic foods whenever they are an option.
  • Only 6% buy fashions that use organic materials
  • A third of the respondents currently own none of the 7 eco-friendly products listed
  • Most commonly owned "green" items are compact fluorescent light bulbs (45%), low flow toilets or faucets (44%), and EnergyStar appliances (40%). Green cleaning products (27%) was the only other item owned by more than 10% of the respondents
  • Half of the respondents do not expect to buy any of the 7 listed "green" products during the next five years. The most frequently anticipated purchases are a hybrid automobile (24%) and EnergyStar appliances (22%)
  • Two-thirds have done none of the 3 listed eco-friendly activities during the past 5 years. The most frequently mentioned (31%) activity was the purchase of hormone-free meat, dairy, or produce. 
  • Almost 8 of 10 respondents do not anticipate doing any of the 3 listed activities during the next 5 years. The most frequently anticipated activity (15%) is an eco-friendly vacation or resort.

More details can be found on the American Affluence Research Center website.

Happy Earth Day!


April 'Wealth Report' now available

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The April 2010 Wealth Report Newsletter is now available for members.

In this month's issue:

  • Retail Sales Surge, Luxury Still Leads
  • WealthSurvey: Multichannel Shopping Habits of Wealthy Consumers
  • Old World Appeal, New Era Marketing
  • The ROI of Hiring Right In The Luxury Business - Changing Rules of Engagement

Members can access this report and an archive of past reports on our website (login required). 

The report is produced by the Luxury Institute, the uniquely impartial, independent and objective ratings and research organization that is the global voice of the high net-worth consumer. 


Affluent 2.0

A new study from DWELL Strategy + Research (yes, that DWELL) identifies a segment of consumers they are calling the "New Affluents."  You could also think of them as "Affluent 2.0."

An article in Ad Age sums it up in this way:

Using 2009 Mendelsohn Affluent Survey psychographic data, and with the help of DJG Marketing, New York, Dwell identified a segment of nearly 9 million Americans who have household incomes of $100,000 or higher. They represent less than half of 1% of U.S. households, spend $303 billion annually on their favorite brands and have a whole new take on what it means to be wealthy.

According to the survey respondents, "luxury" brands, per se, are no longer important to them, or even relevant; neither is "overall social status," they say. This generation of nouveau riche is shunning "conspicuous consumption" in favor of brands that represent quality, aesthetics and authenticity
[see DWELL's own fruit bowl manifesto]. These attributes, along with uniqueness, integrity, design and performance, represent today's "prestige" for these high-end consumers. And their emerging values and brand motivations make these consumers a more diverse group than one might assume.

A brand does not have to be expensive to attract New Affluents. What they're now demanding from brands is a new and different kind of relationship. And, as supported by these findings, the days of controlled, top-down brand marketing are over, especially for this sector. These wealthy and would-be elites are actually looking for brand interaction -- a dialogue -- based on integrity, authenticity and performance. And not only are they equipped for interaction, they're demanding it. 

Interestingly not much is really new here.  The  attributes of uniqueness, integrity, design,  performance, quality, and authenticity have long been hallmarks of luxury products and brands.   Likewise, there have always been "understated" segments of the affluent who eschew conspicuous consumption and status signaling.   

What is perhaps new and noteworthy is the extent to which technology and the "web 2.0" ethos factors in here.  Take their parent's desire for luxury"brand experience" and "heritage" toss it into the web 2.0 mixer and out comes their desire for "engagement" and "authenticity," delivered consistently anywhere and everywhere that is accessible by internet and mobile device.  Affluence 2.0.

Now this doesn't mean that you have to start trolling Twitter for clients, but recognize that your internet presence is important to these folks and they'll be expecting to see you engage them consistently and responsively with your uniqueness, integrity, professionalism, and EXPERTISE no matter what the channel. 


New tools from Proxio to help build your network and promote your listings

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ProxioPro, the International MLS and Global Referral Network, has added 5 more languages.  You can now easily connect with thousands of agents in almost any corner of the world, build your referral network, and share listing with the click of a button in these 16 languages :

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • German
  • Russian
  • Chinese traditional
  • Chinese simplified
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Dutch
  • Turkish
  • Hindi
  • Hebrew
  • Vietnamese 

They've also added the ability to publish  your listings to Facebook and Google Base.  Nice!

Of course Institute Members get a free standard account on ProxioPro.  Just one of the many benefits of membership.


Agents with CLHMS designation earned $177,836 in 2009

CLHMS_125x125 A national study by RE/MAX ranks real estate designations and certifications by agent earnings.  Agents with CLHMS designation post the highest average earnings for 2009:  $177,836

The study of RE/MAX  agents with residential real estate designations and certifications revealed that in 2009, real estate professionals who held the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation earned more than other residential designation groups by a margin of at least $65,600.  

Agent_Income_by_Designation

Average earnings by designation or certification

$177,836 - Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® (CLHMS)   
$112,153 - Certified Residential Specialist® (CRS)           
$110,338 - Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE)        
$100,882 - Certified New Home Specialisttm (CNHS)           
$99,240 - Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES)           
$99,196 - Accredited Buyer Representative® (ABR)           
$95,483 - ePro®                            

The study covered associates with designations who were with RE/MAX for all of 2009.  Commercial agents who are Certified Commercial Investment Members (CCIM) of NAR earned a reported $138,838 according to the RE/MAX study.

Despite the fact that luxury home market sales were down significantly in 2009, agents with the CLHMS designation outperformed other agents.  Our members tell us they are using the skills and marketing ideas they learned in our CLHMS training to capture business across all price ranges.   

We're proud of our CLHMS members!