Luxury Trends

6 Things to Know from the 2016 Wealth Report

There are a variety of challenges facing today’s ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (UHNWIs), according to the 10th edition of “The Wealth Report” — published by global real estate consulting company Knight Frank.

The 2016 Attitudes Survey is based on responses from approximately 400 of the world’s leading private bankers and wealth advisors who were surveyed in the 4th quarter of 2015. Their answers — concerning the UHNWIs in their client base — tell a story of growth slowdown, changes in family and succession dynamics, increased scrutiny and economic pressures.

Here are six of the most interesting findings from the report (in our opinion):

  1. Two-thirds of respondents believe that their clients’ wealth will increase at a slower rate over the next 10 years than it did over the previous decade.
    While a positive trend has lasted nearly a decade, the forecast for the next decade is slightly bearish, with growth expected to slow down. The main issues creating a challenge for wealth creation then — and now — include succession and inheritance considerations, increasing taxes, and the worldwide economy. Other important concerns include the fact that more families have members spreading out around the world, personal security and safety, and personal and family health.
  1. Threat to future growth #1: Succession and inheritance issues.
    More than 85% of respondents agree that their clients are more active in managing their wealth — so 92% believe that they need to work harder to earn their clients’ trust. These advisors also have to take a look at how they engage with clients, since nearly 80% of them see women taking a more prominent role in managing their family’s wealth — and UHNWIs are getting their children more involved in the family business at an earlier age.

    Also, UHNWIs traditionally have been concerned that future generations would not be successful in maintaining the family’s wealth — almost expecting the third generation to waste much of it. Recently, however, the attitude has been that the second generation is more likely to fail at growing the family’s fortunes. When asked, 62% worried that their children would be encouraged to earn their own wealth, and nearly 50% felt that they wouldn’t know how to handle the family’s investments.
  1. Threat to future growth #2: Wealth taxes.
    Nearly 70% of respondents agreed that their clients feel that they are under increased scrutiny by the public and authorities, so they are more aware of displaying their wealth publicly. One example of this increased attention is in the U.S., where “the 1%” are being criticized for currently favorable tax rates, as well as corporate tax benefits.
  1. Threat to future growth #3: The global economy.
    Many respondents felt that UHNWIs are being scapegoated by governments who are failing to address wealth-inequality issues.
  1. The majority of respondents said that their clients will be increasing their philanthropic activities.
    As always, philanthropy is an important part of the UHNWI agenda — perhaps more so than ever before. According to the survey respondents, most of them noted indicated that their clients would be expanding their philanthropic activities, which continues the trend over the past decade.

    Approximately 67% of UHNWIs had already been growing their philanthropic efforts over the past 10 years, while nearly 80% noted that they would continue that growth over the next 10. The main reason cited was “a sense of personal fulfillment,” although religious beliefs were also mentioned as an important reason (specifically in the Middle East).
  1. 30% of UHNWIs are considering a residential purchase in 2016.
    Another important part of the Wealth Report is the coverage of the current attitudes of wealthy individuals with regard to property — whether as a place to live and/or as an investment.

    Over the past decade, more than half of respondents noted that their clients were allocating more of their investable wealth to residential property, while more than 40% expected that to increase over the next decade — with 30% of them being likely to think about a residential purchase this year.

    According to the report, UHNWIs have designated about a quarter of their investable wealth for residential properties, and another 11% on commercial real estate. The major motivators for this expected growth in residential real estate purchases? The most popular reason (55%) was as a re-sellable investment, while other key factors include as a safe haven for funds (47%) and investment diversification (46%).

    In addition, commercial real estate interest is growing. Nearly half of wealth advisors foresee increases in their clients’ portfolio allocations in the next 10 years. Their most likely targets include offices and hotels (the standard investments of choice), although warehousing and logistics are increasingly popular.

While new challenges are out there, 2016 should be a year of opportunity. Even with a variety of issues facing UHNWIs and the professionals who work with them — from slowing growth and changes in family/succession planning to increased public and media scrutiny and economic pressures — these challenges should be viewed as opportunities for advisors to develop creative solutions and prove their value.

 Source: The Wealth Report 2016 Attitudes Survey


Luxury Garages Become A Swanky Social Space

Along with clothes, watches, and wine, high-end and vintage cars are a favorite collector’s item for high-net-worth individuals. And—just as many luxury homes have custom wine cellars and walk-in closets—luxury homeowners with treasured car collections are likely to want a special space for their high-end vehicles.

Luxury Garage

Top end luxury garages have little in common with the dusty cement rooms that immediately come to mind and they’re about much more than car storage. For individuals with prized vehicles—whether 1 or 100—the ideal luxury garage might be used for:

  • Entertaining. A high-end car enthusiast wants to be able to spend time socializing amidst their car collection, so luxury garages can boast an entertainment system, seating area, wet bar, and card table or billiard table to widen the space’s utility.
  • Showcasing. For car collectors, each vehicle is a work of art, and so a luxury garage acts as the gallery. Custom lighting and rotating turntable displays can enhance the presentation of a homeowner’s favorite vehicles.
  • Maintenance. Many car collectors like to get under the hood of their cars and a well-equipped maintenance bay is the perfect space to tinker.
  • Preservation. Finally, a collector will want their high-end vehicles to be cared for and protected from the elements, so climate control is a must in humid climates where weather can speed deterioration and encourage rusting.

If the luxury home is in an area without space restrictions, then an added garage can span thousands of square feet and accommodate dozens of vehicles without issue. For city dwellers, however, a car storage space can prove more elusive. One popular solution for wealthy collectors is a car elevator such as the PhantomPark, which starts at about $40,000, is custom built to fit the homeowner’s needs, and stores cars below ground. It is important to note, however, that while a lack of garage may diminish a home’s value and desirability, luxury garage renovations see a mere 52% return on investment in resale.


Global Wealth Forecast: New Money, Same Tastes

The next decade and beyond will see many changes in who holds the world’s wealth, how they acquire it, and what they do with it.

Old Money

Individuals who have inherited their wealth favor investing their money in luxury residential real estate. According to the recent Decades of Wealth report by Wealth-X, ultra-high-net-worth individuals with inherited wealth hold 17% of their wealth in high-end residential real estate. This figure is only 9% for self-made UHNWIs. This trend is likely to continue as Baby Boomers age and pass their wealth on to younger generations. In the next decade alone, global UHNW individuals will bequeath $4.1 trillion in wealth to the next generation. An estimated 30% of this projected wealth transfer will be in liquid assets.

The number and nationality of individuals with inherited wealth is shifting. In North America and Western Europe, for example, the past decade has seen a decline in the number of wealthy individuals with “old money.” The opposite trend can be observed in developing nations where most of the wealth is brand new: the first big wave of new wealth is being passed down to the next generation.

New Money

According to the World Wealth Report, the global HNWI population grew by 6.7% in 2014 and the group’s total wealth grew by 7.2%, resulting in an estimated HNWI population of 14.6 million.

  • The HNWI population in China grew by 17% in 2014. China continues to experience economic prosperity and a growing upper economic class, the older generation of which is now passing its wealth on to the next generation and investing in foreign economies.
  • Over the past year, the number of millionaires in India grew by 27% and their HNWI population grew by 26% in 2014. According to Wealth-X, “Aligned to this wealth growth is an equally substantial increase in luxury consumption.”
  • African nations. As entrepreneurial and tech-centric countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda continue to experience increased economic prosperity and innovation, they are catching the attention of foreign investors—particularly wealthy Chinese nationals. Wealth-X projects that Africa’s UHNW population will quadruple by 2040.

AprilBlog

Globalized Taste

In their Decades of Wealth report, Wealth-X wrote, “China is often cited as a market that has surprised observers with the speed of its move from conspicuous consumption to careful, tasteful purchasing.” With the globalization of media and entertainment—and, as a result, trends and lifestyles—the world’s new wealthy are expected to follow in China’s footsteps by becoming discerning consumers with refined tastes—including a taste for luxury residential real estate. Roughly 80% of the world’s UHNW population own 2 or more residences, and it is becoming increasingly popular for UHNW individuals to invest in unique and exotic luxury homes outside of their home country. The United States remains the most popular destination for wealthy individuals seeking a place to invest in real estate


Luxury Bathroom Trends: TOTO Washlet

Even in the most extravagant homes, in which no expense is spared to make the homeowner and their guests feel pampered, Americans have historically deprived themselves of the ultimate in household luxury: heated, remote-controlled toilet seats with a built-in bidet feature. While the concept may seem too bizarre (or too indelicate) to those with American sensibilities, it is estimated that roughly 76% of households in Japan have such a technologically advanced toilet seat. In fact, the Japanese government tracks the popularity of electronic bidet seats as an indicator of economic prosperity. This luxury bathroom accessory is also used widely throughout Asia and the Middle East, and is even disrupting the market for traditional bidets in Western Europe. Although their use in the United States has mostly been limited to luxury hotels and a small cult following, the electronic bidet seat seems to be taking root.

TOTO, the largest plumbing manufacturer in the world, has sold more than 40 million Washlets, its brand of electronic bidet seat, since launching the product in Japan in 1980. Although only a few thousand Washlets are sold each month in the United States, TOTO’s U.S. sales figures have increased by 20% in each of the last five years.

TOTO

Why A Washlet?

In a recent press release announcing their huge sales success, TOTO described the revolutionary accessory: “Washlets use pure, clean water – and myriad technological innovations – to make their users cleaner, happier, more refreshed than they have ever felt after a bathroom break by reinventing the humble toilet seat as a warm water personal cleansing system.” And Toto seems to have succeeded in making its users happier. People who have had the pleasure of sitting atop a Washlet typically respond with rave reviews. In “The Cult of the Toto Toilet,” for example, The Times interviewed the owner of a Manhattan plumbing showroom who said that going back to a regular toilet seat would be like “going back to the Stone Age. It feels very uncivilized.”

Depending on how advanced an individual wants their electronic bidet seat to be, a TOTO Washlet can cost anywhere from $1,000 to almost $10,000. In addition to the standard features—heated seat, bidet wand, remote control—more high-end models might include UV light technology that kills bacteria and other cleansing functions to keep the luxury bathroom clean and fresh.


Enormous Basements Add Space & Value To Urban Luxury Homes

Londoners with limited space are digging deep

Over the past decade, many of London’s most famed and wealthy residents have been expanding their homes’ square footage by adding enormous basements below their gardens. The controversial trend came about when wealthy Brits wanted more space, but were bound by plot constraints and property laws that prevented them from expanding up or outward. The result: so-called “iceberg” mansions all over London, where what you see from the street is only a sliver of the home’s actual space. These basements can go many floors deep and often house the homeowners’ wildest dreams, from pools to ballrooms to 15 additional bedrooms.

Blockbuster British Basements

In the cramped and centuries-old streets of London, hundreds of mega-basements have been dug for the UK’s most rich and famous residents, including Prime Minister David Cameron, Foxtons founder Jon Hunt, and Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal. The basements belonging to these ultra-high-net-worth individuals are home to ballrooms, lap pools, vintage car garages with lifts and turntables, gun rooms, wine cellars, saunas, industrial-sized kitchens, movie theaters, dozens of spare bedrooms and bathrooms, and—in the case of British recording artist Damien Hirst—an art gallery.

Floorplan-basement

Hirst recently won a planning battle to add an enormous 150-foot-long backyard basement to his £39.5 million, 19-bedroom home in Westminster. The property, bought by Hirst in 2014, is considered unique for its half-acre yard and large garden, although his renovation proposal was contested based on the number of trees that would have to be cut down to carry out the plans. Despite protests, Hirst and his legal team prevailed in November 2015. Beyond simply adding more square footage to his home, the enormous bunker is destined to hold Hirst’s storied multi-million-dollar art collection, which includes works by masters like Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The subterranean art gallery renovation boasts double-height ceilings and an elevator that can lift art weighing up to ten tons.

Buried in Controversy

Although politicians, actors, and athletes seem thrilled to have the mega-basements of their dreams, the blowback has been widespread and multi-faceted. Neighbors resent finding themselves living beside noisy construction sites, and often fear what the fast-and-deep digging might do to their own homes. And their fears are not unfounded: Goldman Sachs’ Christoph Stanger undertook a basement renovation that caused his neighbors’ homes to slide toward the excavation site, causing their door frames to shift and trapping them in their own homes. Billionaires’ basements have proven dangerous for construction crews, too, as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive has reported 17 deaths and 27 injuries in the last decade. In a rush to respond to the wave of problematic and over-the-top mega-basrments, London boroughs are now tightening their regulations on subterranean renovation. In Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, for example, homeowners can now dig basements no more than one story deep and these additions cannot take up more than 50% of their garden.

Your Client’s Mega-Basement

 

There are several important design elements to bear in mind for the luxury homeowner who is considering a major basement renovation or addition.

  • Open floor plans help to prevent the space from feeling too dark and cramped.
  • Natural light is vital for a luxury basement, so designers should opt for light wells rather than light switches. See-through glass stairs also provide an opportunity for light to filter down from above.
  • Light colors will help the space feel airy. Think white or beige walls, light-wood flooring, and neutral fabrics.
  • Egress to green space. Consider installing a door with a stairway up into the backyard garden, or even digging a lowered private garden at the basement level.
  • Great space for kids, storage, and quiet entertaining. When considering what to do with a big basement renovation, think first of playrooms, cinemas, laundry rooms, wine cellars, and gyms. Let more social spaces remain upstairs in the light of day.
  • Think twice about pools. While storage space, gyms, and playrooms often add resale value, this is not always true with pools.
  • Permits and insurance. Be aware of the laws and regulations that govern basement renovations and additions in your area, as well as the insurance options for during and after construction.

U.S. Will Unmask Secret Buyers of Luxury Real Estate

Beginning in March of this year, the Treasury Department will take steps to increase transparency in luxury real estate transactions. The new initiative will target all-cash real estate purchases made by shell companies, LLCs, partnerships, and other entities that conceal the homebuyer’s identity. The use of shell companies in real estate purchases is legal, and this will be the first time that high-end buyers—often private by nature and necessity—will be required to reveal their identities. While an individual might utilize a shell company or LLC to protect their privacy and protect themselves from liability, the Treasury and the FBI are aiming to crack down on the international buyers who use these transactions to hide illicit funds and illegal activity.

Cityscape

Money Laundering & Luxury Real Estate

In “Towers of Secrecy,” a series of investigative articles published in 2015, The New York Times pulled back the curtain on all-cash, multi-million-dollar real estate purchases made by mysterious shell companies in Manhattan. This investigation revealed that many of these real estate transactions were being used to shield the significant wealth of foreign politicians and business people who had been accused of or tied to criminal activity. The Times reported: “Many of the owners represent a cross-section of American wealth: chief executives and celebrities, doctors and lawyers, technology entrepreneurs and Wall Street traders. But The Times also found a growing proportion of wealthy foreigners, at least 16 of whom have been the subject of government inquiries around the world, either personally or as heads of companies. The cases range from housing and environmental violations to financial fraud.” This investigation revealed that, of all the homes worth $5 million or more in the United States, nearly half are purchased using shell companies. It also suggested that, in many instances, luxury real estate professionals do not know the true identities of their clients.

 

Unmasking Secret Buyers

Partly in response to The Times’ findings, the U.S. Treasury is launching their initiative to unmask mysterious buyers of high-end homes. The initiative will start in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County, running from March through August, and apply only to all-cash purchases made through shell companies. When a shell company pays cash for a Manhattan property worth at least $3 million or a Miami property with at least $1 million, the title insurance company will be required to identify the “natural persons” behind the transactions—“each individual who, directly or indirectly, owns 25 percent or more of the equity interests” of the entity that purchased the property. The title insurance company will then copy the license or passport of each individual and report their findings to the Treasury. The government will compile this information in a database for federal law enforcement, who will investigate the buyers and the origins of their cash.

If many sales involve suspicious money, the Treasury will instate permanent reporting requirements across the entire country. The Treasury also noted that, as part of a broader push to crack down on money laundering in real estate, future investigations would focus on the professionals who assist in these suspicious transactions, such as lawyers, bankers, and real estate agents.


Renovation Angel Leads A Revolution In Luxury Home Remodels

It’s no secret: renovating a luxury kitchen has historically been an outlandishly expensive endeavor. For owners of a high-end home, a kitchen update can cost anywhere from $50,000 to well over $100,000. These renovations, however, imply another hidden cost: the loss of the existing luxury kitchen, which in many cases includes valuable appliances, cabinets, and fixtures with plenty of life left in them. Not only is this bad for the homeowner who is dumping their valuable property, but it’s also an unsustainable building practice that is bad for the environment. Since 2005, however, a New Jersey-based non-profit has been working to reduce the high financial and environmental costs of luxury kitchen renovation.

Recycling Luxury Kitchens

Steve Feldman founded Recovery Unlimited, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, after happening upon the renovation of a luxury mansion. Feldman explains, “The trucks, the piles of rubble, the ‘Demolition in Progress’ sign in the driveway all sparked an unexpected thought: Why did all this have to go to waste? Why couldn’t at least some of these luxury goods go to a worthy cause?” Thus began Renovation Angel, Feldman’s answer to the luxury renovation problem. Since 2005, Renovation Angel has recycled over 4,000 luxury kitchens and awarded over $2 million in proceeds to non-profit projects and charities. To date, Renovation Angel’s kitchen recycling program has diverted over 22 million pounds of waste from landfills.

It’s a great deal for homeowners, too: the individual incurs no cost for removing the old kitchen, receives a full tax deduction, and the premises are left clean and ready for renovation work to begin.

How Does It Work?

Luxury homeowners need only visit the Renovation Angel website to submit information and begin the appraisal process. If Renovation Angel specialists confirm that the items meet their benchmarks for quality and condition, the company offers free, insured, and professional “white glove” removal of all donated items. The organization accepts luxury items that are of high value and in good condition.

  • Kitchens: cabinetry, appliances, countertops, light fixtures, sinks, faucets.
  • Bathrooms: vanities, free-standing tubs, fixtures, mirrors, pedestal sinks.
  • Interiors: high-end and antique furniture, fine art, pianos.
  • Exteriors: generators, outdoor bars and kitchens, statues and fountains.
  • Showroom displays and inventory.

Renovation Angel has recycled kitchens from coast to coast, and can do removals in luxury markets nationwide. 

The Institute Members are welcome to attend a special webinar with Steve Feldman, President and Co-Founder of Renovation Angel, as our presenter. Join us February 25th, 2016 at 3pm CST, as Steve shares how Institute members can provide a fascinating resource to client’s who are looking to update a space without emptying their wallets, all while being environmental conscious. 

To register for this webinar visit, www.LuxuryHomeMarketing.com/Webinars

 


High-Rise Living: The World’s Wealthy Move Toward City Centers

The growing popularity of high-rise living is most notable in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Miami, where ultra-high-rise condo towers offer high-end amenities, high quality of life, great views, and unbeatable convenience for individuals who would rather not commute. High-rise living isn’t for everyone, but it presents a desirable lifestyle for wealthy international buyers who want a landing pad in a U.S. metropolis and U.S. families seeking hassle-free access to the city. These buyers are willing to pay huge sums for the high-rise lifestyle, and condo units regularly sell for prices starting around $5 million and climbing all the way to $100 million.

Record-Breaking Heights & Price Tags

The sheer, impressive height of today’s newest luxury residential towers afford residents two important things: status and killer views. One57, a high-rise condo development in New York City, stole the title for the city’s tallest residential tower in 2014. One57’s penthouse, taking all of the 89th and 90th floors and towering high above Central Park in Manhattan, sold for just over $100 million in January 2015. To date, the One57 penthouse is the most expensive condo purchase ever recorded.

Endless Amenities

Today’s high-end high-rise developments have truly thought of everything: high-speed elevators and private elevator landings, wine cellars, optional guest apartments and separate servants’ entrances, indoor-outdoor fitness facilities, deluxe swimming pools, exclusive resident-only terrace restaurants with world-renowned chefs, bicycle shops, terrace dog parks, room service and catering, and (unbelievably) so much more. Due to the difficulty of engineering these sky-high buildings, higher units in ultra-high-rise residential towers cannot have terraces or rooftop gardens. To address this shortcoming, residential skyscrapers include community gardens and parks, which are often available to rent for residents’ special events.

Starchitects

Celebrated “starchitects” from around the world are being invited to reimagine urban life for high-net-worth individuals. Uruguayan star architect Carlos Ott is responsible for Miami’s posh Echo Brickell; Pritzker-prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed 152 Elizabeth St., a 7-unit condominium complex in New York City; and World-renowned Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid created the curvy and futuristic high-end residential building at 520 W. 28th St. While ultra-wealthy individuals have always adorned their walls with one-of-a-kind works of fine art, it is becoming increasingly desirable (and possible) to live within a work of art.

Community

For those who make the move toward inner-city residential towers, the potential loss of community and social opportunity is of utmost concern. Many new high-end urban developments, however, are designed to be communities within themselves. Single-building residential high-rises include common spaces such as parks, entertainment areas, and playgrounds where residents can mingle and form friendships. Other high-end, mixed-use urban developments—such as London’s Battersea Power Station project—encompass entire neighborhoods and include office spaces, shops, restaurants, galleries, parks, music venues, cultural spaces, hotels, and residential towers.

Security & Privacy

In addition to status and luxury amenities, buyers are drawn to high-rise living because they seek a secure and private home within the city center. High-end high-rises boast top-tier security, floor plans that enhance the privacy of each unit, and reliable maintenance and upkeep services to take care of residents’ homes when they are away.


New Tech Means More Luxury Buyers Making Offers Site-Unseen

Consumers are looking for new ways to buy and sell real estate. A recent Redfin-commissioned survey of 2,134 individuals who had bought a home in the last 2 years shows that only 21% of respondents prefer buying and selling homes using the traditional methods. In contrast, 64% of respondents were open to unconventional, alternative, and innovative takes on the home buying and selling processes. But just what do we mean by “alternative” and “unconventional” ways of buying a home? One example: putting in an offer on a luxury home without ever setting foot inside.

The SurveyMonkey-run survey showed that 21% of buyers—or 1 in 5—had made an offer on a home without having ever visited it in person. And more than 50% of these site-unseen offers were made by high-end consumers who ultimately bought luxury homes with a purchase prices of $750,000 or more. Behind luxury homeowners, the demographics most likely to make an offer without seeing the property are millennials (30%) and single, never married people (30%). These numbers are huge and, according to SurveyMonkey’s review of the data, “a testament to the proliferation of online listings, mobile real estate apps, and cool things like 3D scans that take you inside and through every room of a home for sale online.

Technology & Lifestyle Marketing Are Key In All-Virtual Sales

So, how do you make yourself and your listings more attractive to prospects who might buy without stepping foot in the property—or even the same country? SurveyMonkey posits that “[it] has a lot to do with technology that enables people to know agents and properties intimately without a walk-through or face-to-face visit.”

Some important marketing and branding techniques to consider in attracting and closing these all-virtual transactions:

  • 3D virtual walk-throughs. Nothing offers a more realistic and intimate off-site home preview than 3D walk-through technology. Luxury real estate professionals can hire a service to photograph and construct the 3D walk-through, or buy their own 3D real estate camera and software packages, like the very impressive 3D Showcase from Matterport. Prospective buyers can navigate throughout the home, explore floor plans and specs, and even seeing what the view is like from each window in the house. In addition to increasing the accessibility of your listings, this exciting technology has the added benefit of differentiating you from other luxury real estate professionals.
  • Rich, up-to-date websites. With consumers relying heavily on property information found over the Internet, it’s vital to maintain an impressive and up-to-date website for your listings—or possibly unique websites for each of your biggest properties.
  • Statistics don’t lie: listings with video get 4x more inquiries than those without, and 85% of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video to market or showcase a home. Video is a fantastic way to bring a property and its lifestyle to life for a viewer.
  • High-quality photography. It’s always a must-have—especially in luxury—but site-unseen buyers want images that showcase minute design details and insinuate the lifestyle that accompanies your luxury listing.
  • Great lifestyle copy. For wealthy individuals doing their home shopping from afar, it can be difficult to get a sense of the lifestyle that comes with a property. Paired with video and area guides, good copy can change all of that by transporting the reader to their possible future in your luxury listing.
  • Social networking. Social media, blogging, and online networking present an opportunity to build an authentic, trustworthy personality over the internet so that your relationships can blossom before (or without) face-to-face encounters.
  • Testimonials. A simple way to build trust with far-flung consumers is via testimonials from your past satisfied clients.
  • Traditional printed property promotion. Where videos and 3D tech fail, traditional marketing materials, resources on local culture and amenities, and quality copywriting can bring high-end homes to life and help push the online buyer to make an offer.

If the 64% of consumers interested in alternative buying processes are any indication, then site-unseen luxury home offers and sales are likely to become more and more common in the coming years. Luxury real estate professionals who want to capture business from this growing market must leverage both new technologies and traditional marketing methods.


2016 Luxury Bathroom Design Trends

The luxury bathroom is becoming a haven for peace, relaxation, and pampering within the home. Since the bathroom is one of the most commonly remodeled rooms in the house and tastes are ever-changing, here are some of the most important luxury bathroom design trends to watch in 2016.

Walk-in shower.

In 2016, the luxurious walk-in shower is expected to continue growing in popularity. These spacious showers—sometimes as big as a guest bedroom—often feature frameless glass doors, although a step-up entry or small entry hall can eliminate the need for any door at all. Many walk-in showers are entirely walled-in by glass to highlight unique shower tiles and design elements within. If a homeowner wants to maintain some level of privacy, however, lowered walls are a fantastic option. Larger walk-in showers can feature multiple showerheads, bench seating, and even a steam room setup for the ultimate in-home spa experience. Regardless of size, walk-in showers are becoming a staple of the sleek, modern luxury bathroom, and the possibilities for utility and design are endless. (For inspiration, check out these incredible walk-in shower photos on Houzz.)

 

Radiant heat flooring.

Perhaps “trend” is not the right word, because this one is here to stay. Is there anything as luxurious as a heated floor? (And don’t forget to heat the shower bench!)

Freestanding bathtubs.

In addition to being a luxury home-spa necessity, freestanding bathtubs are an opportunity to introduce unusual and captivating shapes into a room that is traditionally full of straight lines and right angles. And when you place a sleek bathtub by a floor-to-ceiling window? Now that’s luxury. Pictured below, check out the Wissioming Residence bathroom by Robert Gurney Architect.