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July 2016

PYRAMID-SHAPED YACHT "LEVITATES" WITH LUXURY

This story is about a luxury yacht with expected amenities — such as gorgeous sun decks and elegant eating areas — but also a high-tech twist or two.

Created by London-based architect Jonathan Schwinge, the Tetrahedron Super Yacht’s unique design is based on a three-based pyramid shape. But beyond the vessel’s four faces and six leading edges (which provide greater stability), it actually appears to float above the water — thanks to a single vertical strut on a torpedo hull that remains underwater.

According to Schwinge, the yacht will lift above the water (at speed) on side-mounted, adjustable hydrofoils. This enables the vessel to travel smoothly — even in choppy waters — and reduces seasickness by eliminating any rocking or heeling.

The yacht features a take-off speed of 15 knots (17.2 MPH), and can reach speeds as high as 38 knots (43.7 MPH) above the water line. Its range is 3,000 nautical miles.

Schwinge believes that his design will reshape the “modern superyacht” into a simple enclosure that can function as “an elevated mode of travel above the water line.”

While there is no price tag on the Tetrahedron Super Yacht, it’s easy to see that this kind of vessel would be coveted by high-tech fans who can afford such a luxury item.

 


TOP 7 HOTTEST PLACES IN THE U.S. TO MOVE TO - AND BUY A HOME

Forbes magazine recently answered two important real estate questions:

Where are people moving to?

And where are people investing in homes?

At the end of this article, we’ll answer our own question: What are the most attractive cities for movers and for homebuyers?

To determine where people are moving to, Forbes examined the population growth (or decrease) in major cities throughout the U.S. They focused on a variety of factors — specifically, economic opportunities, affordable housing, and cost of living.

The cities that the most people are moving to are:

  1. Austin
  2. Raleigh
  3. San Antonio
  4. Denver
  5. Nashville
  6. Charlotte
  7. Orlando
  8. Houston
  9. Oklahoma City
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth

 

Austin and the other Texas cities owe much of their success to the state’s excellence in job creation and overall business growth — thanks in part to corporate-friendly laws and taxes that have supported new companies and attracted existing companies looking to relocate.

Elsewhere in the southern states, Raleigh and Nashville continue to grow thanks to the technology, manufacturing and business services strengthening their respective economies. And many movers are also heading to the Mountain States and the Pacific Northwest, taking advantage of the mostly strong economic growth and affordable housing costs.

It’s one thing to move, but it’s another thing to get a mortgage and purchase a home. The top 20 cities where people are buying homes are:

  1. Grand Rapids
  2. Orlando
  3. San Antonio
  4. Charlotte
  5. Salt Lake City
  6. Dallas
  7. Austin
  8. Fort Lauderdale
  9. Seattle
  10. Cape Coral/Fort Myers
  11. Indianapolis
  12. North Port/Bradenton/Sarasota
  13. Nashville
  14. Tampa
  15. Charleston
  16. Denver
  17. Madison
  18. Jacksonville
  19. West Palm Beach
  20. Boise

 

This list considered factors including job growth, population increases and expected home price appreciation. Although nationwide housing prices are on the rise, overall wages are unchanging — so many 2016 homebuyers are finding it difficult to afford a new residence. For investors buying rental properties, these conditions can be beneficial for their strategies.

Geographically, more than half the list includes cities located in Southern states — a good thing for the movers in the first list above. These cities include seven Florida locations and three Texas markets — indicating that movers and investors alike are finding these states to be appealing places.

Florida can attribute its success to lower housing prices, thanks to the recession which had retirees and vacationers staying at home — driving down demand. And Texas, shielded from much of the economic downturn, features affordable housing and a diverse economy that make its major cities a strong choice for investors.

By cross-referencing the 1st and 3rd lists in this article, we can identify the seven cities that are most attractive to movers and homebuyers (by appearing in the top 20 on both lists):

  • Austin
    • #1 on the movers list, #7 on the homebuyers list
  • San Antonio
    • #3 on the movers list, #3 on the homebuyers list
  • Denver
    • #4 on the movers list, #16 on the homebuyers list
  • Nashville
    • #5 on the movers list, #13 on the homebuyers list
  • Charlotte
    • #6 on the movers list, #4 on the homebuyers list
  • Orlando
    • #7 on the movers list, #2 on the homebuyers list
  • Dallas
    • #10 on the movers list, #6 on the homebuyers list

 

So, the answer to our question above — “What are the most attractive cities for movers and for home-buyers?” — appears to be a simple one: Cities in the South! (And Colorado, too.)

 


Trendingwatch: High-Fashion with Designer Names

Today’s luxury homes feature dozens of amenities never seen before, or even dreamed of. One of the fastest-growing concepts in the luxury residential market is the “branded property” — a residence associated with luxury brands and high-end designers.

Among the big names working to develop these beautiful properties are Armani, Versace and Bottega Veneta, among others. These designers are each bringing their own unique styles and sensibilities to projects around the world.

Armani’s upcoming projects include the Smart Hero-Central Park Plaza complex in Beijing — the renowned designer will be creating the residential units, shared areas and various amenities, to be completed by the end of 2017 — as well as the Century Spire residential tower in one of the Philippines’ top luxury districts, due to be completed by the end of 2018.  

In addition, Versace has begun work on its AYKON Nine Elms project in London (scheduled to be completed in 2020), and is nearly done with projects in Beirut and Jeddah. Bottega Veneta recently started developing its initial residential design work. And Eisenzahn 1 — a major property in Berlin — will feature design work by creative director Tomas Maier and furnishings from the luxury brand’s home collections.

While a famous name on the side of the building is a major selling point, this trend is more about what each designer/fashion brand brings to the actual properties. Homebuyers and investors alike are looking for aesthetics, comfort, amenities and lifestyle when it comes to a luxury residence — and a world-famous designer’s creativity can give a property a decided advantage over other luxury homes.

There are varying levels of brand association per property — some projects and brands are limited to the design of the common spaces and individual units in a building or complex. Others have brand associations incorporated into the amenities and additional features of the property.

But some owners may pay for the privilege of having the brand’s interior design team on the project give them personal consultations to add an even higher level of customization to the residence — or a complete branded design with furniture at an exclusive price.

Overall, these branded residences are often priced 30% to 50% more than unbranded properties. Not that a larger price point deters luxury homebuyers; many of these projects sell out quickly.

This is likely due to one of the basic tenets of the fashion industry — reinvention can revitalize an entire product line. In this case, the reinvention is the concept of residential development, which is now incorporating a new level of branding and design into these projects to attract luxury homebuyers.

Because these branded residences are currently located around the world, they may be some investors’ first experience with an international purchase. This means dealing with a different country’s real estate laws, as well as the unique issues of owning a property halfway around the world. But having a world-famous brand associated with the home can boost an investor’s confidence and provide a sense of security.

While this trend has already taken hold in hospitality — many hotels have established associations with luxury brands — the enjoyment of high-end accommodations, amenities and conversation-starters is taken to a new, longer-lasting level with branded residences.

And while this trend creates substantial opportunities for investors, it’s also an appealing option for home-buyers to have a unique property created by world-class designers.

 


Millennials: The Next Generation of Luxury Spenders

You’ve heard all the complaints about Millennials. Spoiled, lazy, entitled kids who think the world revolves around them.

But stereotypes are just that — stereotypes. And it’s foolish to think that this generation — which will be larger than the huge “Baby Boomers” demographic — is nothing but overindulged, smartphone-addicted brats.

In actuality, there are plenty of hard-working, successful young professionals among Millennials, who are emerging as “the next big market.” Just like every generation, they include ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) whom real estate professionals should work to understand — since they’re your potential clients.

According to MarketWatch.com, a UBS study shows that Millennials have unique spending habits. They usually prefer travel and entertainment over material goods, and they exhibit more brand loyalty than previous generations.

However, the Millennial UHNWIs do appreciate high-end accessories and upscale fashion brands, especially European luxury brands. And probably because they feel optimistic about their personal financial futures, many spend more money on luxury items than consumers over 35.

Because of their large numbers, the Millennials are already affecting the real estate markets. According to a study on LuxuryDaily.com, this generation actually has more UHNWIs among them for two main reasons: inheritances (as with most generations), and early professional successes in the technology industry.

That’s one reason that, on average, Millennial UHNWIs who recently purchased a home spent about $5 million — which was triple the amount of the Baby Boomers, and almost as much as “Generation Xers.”

This Millennial influence is evident in the changing home search requirements. About 33% of UHNWIs want a home gym (this percentage was lower just three years ago), and they also want a “green” or LEED-certified property.

And as for “location, location, location,” Millennials aren’t as limited. Because they can work remotely or their business is location-agnostic, tech-driven cities (Bellevue, WA; Bend, OR; Boulder, CO) are appealing to younger UHNWIs.