In the News

Canadian Home Prices Rise In February as Toronto Stays Strong

Canadian home prices continue to rise, despite new regulations on foreign buyers in some markets and concerns of a real estate bubble. Prices across Canada were up 13.4 percent compared to a year ago, the biggest 12-month increase since November 2006, indicating strong growth and recovery after the global financial crisis.

Toronto Infographic

Image source HousePriceIndex.ca Teranet - National Bank House Price Index

The Toronto market continued to defy expectations, showing home prices rising for the 13th straight month, despite tighter mortgage lending rules. Reuters reports that some economists worry that the market could turn into a bubble if further regulations are not put in place to help control prices.

 

Read the full article written by Leah Schnurr (edited by Jonathan Oatis) on Reuters.com

See more details of the report on the Canadian Housing Marketing from Teranet - National Bank

 


U.S. Luxury Prices Flatlined in the Last Quarter of 2016

Santa Clarity source Wish Sotheby's International Realty

Santa Clarita, an affluent suburb outside of Los Angeles, saw the biggest price growth of the fourth quarter last year. Wish Sotheby's International Realty

The stock market rally has done little to move prices in the luxury real estate marketed consistently across the United States. In select cities, particularly Santa Clarita, California, average luxury home prices did rise more than 113%, however many cities saw a double-digit decrease in luxury home prices. The average luxury home price across the U.S. remained flat in the final quarter of 2016, rising a slight 0.7% year-over-year.

Read the full article at Mansion Global by Fang Block and see how your luxury market is performing this week with The Institute's Luxury Market Report.


Nine Things To Know About Today's Billionaires

“Luxury real estate is very competitive in the U.S.,” says Lucio Bernal, an Expert Trainer with the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and President of the Palm Springs Regional Association of REALTORS. “There is a direct correlation between luxury real estate and the number of billionaires in the U.S. — it’s those billionaires who are essential in keeping our luxury business active and robust.”

As the number of billionaires around the world increases, it’s helpful to understand how global business trends are affected by these people and the sources of their wealth.

In a recent New York Times article entitled “Where the Big Money Is,” Juan Velasco and Paul Sullivan explored today’s billionaires around the world through statistics. The infographics in the article present research by Wealth-X, which uses a database of regularly updated information on high net worth individuals.

Here are the top nine things to know about today’s billionaires: 

image from static01.nyt.com

Image Source: New York Times February 19, 2017

  1. Four of the top five billionaires in the world are American.

Bill Gates leads the pack at $89.3B, while the other top billionaires include household names such as Warren E. Buffett (#2, $73.5B), Jeff Bezos (#4, $68B) and Mark Zuckerberg (#5, $50.7B). The only non-American in the top 10 billionaires is Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega Gaona (#3, $70.7B).

  1. Europe has the most billionaires of any region.

With 806 billionaires, Europe is far and away #1 on this list. After Asia (645) and North America (628), there is a much lower concentration of ultra high net worth individuals in other regions: Middle East (166), Latin America & Caribbean (154), Africa (41), and Pacific (33).

  1. The city with the most billionaires is New York City.

“The Big Apple” is home to 97 billionaires — followed by Hong Kong (79), Moscow (74), London (68), Beijing (38), Singapore (37), Sao Paulo, Brazil (36), Dubai (35), Istanbul (32), and Mumbai (31).

  1. The world’s 2,473 billionaires had a combined wealth of $7.7 trillion in 2015.

For context, the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was approximately $17.9 trillion in 2015, and China’s GDP was about $11 trillion. If the world’s billionaires were a country, they would come in third after those two nations.

  1. The most common industry for billionaires is finance/banking/investments.
    The wealth of 377 billionaires comes from the finance/banking/investment industry, followed by: industrial conglomerates (317), real estate (141), nonprofit and social organizations (122), manufacturing (120), technology (114), textile, apparel and luxury goods (111), food products (103), and various other industries (1,068).
  2. There are 8.1 male billionaires for every 1 female billionaire.

While there are only four females among the top 50 billionaires, a 2015 Business Insider article revealed Wealth-X research that “The World’s 15 Richest Self-Made Women Are Worth $53 Billion — More Than the GDP of Iceland.”

  1. The majority of male billionaires are self-made, while the majority of female billionaires inherited their wealth.

60.5% of male billionaires are self-made — while 29.1% of them have a combination of inherited and self-made wealth, and 10.4% inherited their fortune. When it comes to female billionaires, 16.5% are self-made, 27.5% have a combination of inherited and self-made wealth, and 56% inherited their money.

  1. The average ages of billionaires are 63.2 for men and 62.2 for women.

Today’s billionaires, categorized by age:

  • Below 35 - 1.5%
  • 35-44 - 6.2%
  • 45-54 - 20.7%
  • 55-64 - 25.7%
  • 65-74 - 25.9%
  • 75-84 - 13.4%
  • Above 85 - 6.6%

9. The most common interest among billionaires is philanthropy.

While philanthropy tops the list of billionaires’ interests and hobbies at 56.3%, others include: travel (31%), art (28.7%), fashion and style (25.2%), politics (22.2%), wine and spirits (15.9%), boating (14.9%), health and exercise (14.8%), automobiles (14.5%), collectibles (14.1%), football/soccer (13.1%), reading (12.3%), cultural events (12.1%), golf (11%), and dining (10.9%).

Conclusion

These ultra-high net worth individuals play a major role in the luxury real estate market, so knowing as much as possible about them is essential for real estate professionals who serve affluent clientele. Living in “The Information Age” makes it easier to understand client needs and build successful relationships with them. Institute members have access to Online Wealth Lookup and WealthEngine's Prospecting Tool to assist them in learning more about the affluent buyers and sellers in their luxury markets.


Super Bowl LI Boosts Luxury Market in Houston

Super Bowl Sunday was this past weekend, and that one event had a positive impact on the host city. With more than a million tourists who came to watch the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots, Houston’s growing luxury real estate market experienced a real boom.

Like any city hosting a large sporting event, Houston revitalized many of its areas as the city tried to accommodate more than one million tourists, as well as wealthy individuals and celebrities who tend to stay at exclusive and luxury areas. With that in mind, Houston already has a growing luxury housing market, and the Super Bowl has driven many changes to the area. For example, the George R. Brown Convention Center underwent a large renovation project, worth around $175 million.

According to Avishai Sivan, CEO of Tena Holdings, a Houston based real estate investment firm, “ The Super Bowl couldn't have come at a better time. It helped the city plow through the economy's oil dip in more ways than one. From road construction around NRG stadium to a number of other new developments and improvements to the city, preparations over the past few years for the big game, hopefully will have a lasting effect on the real estate market and property value in Houston.”

Click here to read the full article.


How to Define Luxury Real Estate in Today's Market

Tips on identifying high-end properties in a world where the term "luxury" has become cliché.

by Devon Thorsby

This post is a condensed version of an article featured in U.S. News & World Report. Click here for the full version.

If you say a word enough times, it starts to lose its meaning. And in real estate, where the right description can draw buyers to a home on the market, using the right terms is crucial. So when half the homes on the market are suddenly marketed as “luxury,” the definition of the word starts to melt away.

How can you interpret how luxury is defined in your area, and how can you leverage that information to better express your expectations as a homebuyer? Whether or not you fall into the real estate definition of luxury living, knowing how your market defines high-end properties will allow you to better understand the qualities you need and want in a home.

The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, which specializes in training real estate professionals in high-end home sales, defines luxury agents as those performing in the top 10 percent of their given market. “It’s a way to flatten the country” and make markets more comparable to each other, says Diane Hartley, general manager of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Read more...


BY THE NUMBER: THE 2016 FORBES LIST OF WORLD'S BILLIONAIRES

Over the past five years, the Forbes magazine list of The World’s Billionaires has revealed — and continues to reveal — many interesting things about the wealthiest individuals around the globe:

HOW MANY BILLIONAIRES ARE THERE?

  • In 2011, there were 1,210 billionaires (people with a net worth of $1 billion or more).
  • In 2015, that number rose to 1,826.
  • In 2016, the list actually shrank a bit to 1,810.

BIG NAMES

The top ten billionaires in 2016 (in order of wealth) are:

  1. Bill Gates
  2. Amancio Ortega
  3. Warren Buffett
  4. Carlos Slim Helu
  5. Jeff Bezos
  6. Mark Zuckerberg
  7. Larry Ellison
  8. Michael Bloomberg
  9. Charles Koch
  10. David Koch

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

A few interesting notes:

  • Five of the top seven billionaires from the 2011 list are still in the top seven: Gates (#2 in 2011), Ortega (#7), Buffett (#3), Helu (#1) and Ellison (#5).
  • We also see that the top three from 2011 (Helu, Gates, Buffett) are still in the top four.
  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rose from #52 in 2011 all the way to #6 today.

WHERE THEY COME FROM

It should be no surprise that the tech sector continues to lead the way in creating billionaires. Also of note:

  • In 2011, about 1 in 3 billionaires (413, or 34%) were from the United States.
  • Today, 540 billionaires are from the U.S. — or 29.8% of the list.
  • Today, eight of the top 10 billionaires on the list are from the United States.
  • China has the second most at 251, and Germany is third with 120.
  • The Asia-Pacific region has 590 total — making it the region with the most billionaires.

 


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.


Communities Share Hyper-local Content & Recommendations via Nextdoor

Neighborhood social app begins testing advertising

Perhaps as a result of our lives moving further into the digital realm, the tight-knit American neighborhoods of old have been replaced by communities of relatively disconnected individuals. According to a 2015 City Observatory report, one third of Americans today have never interacted with their neighbors, and a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that nearly a third of Americans don’t know a single neighbor by name. Social platforms like Nextdoor are attempting to change all that by using the Internet to create hyper-local communities and reopen the lines of communication between neighbors. Similar hyper-local social platforms are available outside of North America, such as Singapore’s NearCircles and the UK’s Streetlife.

CellPhone

How Nextdoor Works

Perhaps the most significant advantage to using Nextdoor—as opposed to other popular means of group communication such as Yahoo Message Boards and Facebook groups—is that the platform makes it very difficult to join and limits membership to individuals who live within the physical boundaries of the relevant neighborhood.

  • To start a new Nextdoor community, a member of the neighborhood must fill out a lengthy application and convince 10 or more neighbors to sign up within the first 21 days.
  • If the community leader fails to meet the quota, then Nextdoor will not approve their group.
  • To verify that an individual truly lives within the relevant community, Nextdoor either checks credit card information, calls a home phone number, or sends a postcard and special registration code to the listed address.

The high threshold for membership secures neighbors’ privacy and ensures the relevance of the content they will find on the platform. Nextdoor is aiming to facilitate active, robust groups that are always brimming with relevant content—not groups that peter out after a few weeks. And they’re finding great success.

A Trusted Information & Recommendation Exchange

Now present in over 89,000 neighborhoods across the United States, Nextdoor acts as a kind of message board wherein neighbors can share information that is most relevant to members of their hyper-local community: the time and location of a garage sale, road and school closures, recommended dog walking services, crime reports, lost pet sightings, or referrals to a plumber. All conversations are archived and searchable, so members can look up a handyman’s contact information months after the recommendation was made.

The platform also presents an alternative means of discovering local events, restaurants, and news. Rather than trusting the restaurant recommendations of complete strangers on Yelp or Google, individuals can now get the trusted opinions of their peers. The same principle of trust applies to service providers and businesses. According to Nextdoor, 20% of the daily 5 million messages exchanged daily are service recommendations, and 80% of those posts are discussing local service providers and businesses.

How Real Estate Professionals Can Use Nextdoor

The most obvious way for high-end agents and brokers to get involved is to launch or join your own neighborhood’s Nextdoor group. People are much more likely to trust recommendations from others within their own community, and your participation could easily yield referrals. Opportunities for referrals and networking will multiply for agents and brokers who live within the markets that they serve professionally.

As Nextdoor begins to test different avenues of monetizing their hyper-local social platform, networking and marketing opportunities will become more direct. In a blog post published on January 20th of this year, Nextdoor co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia wrote, “Starting this week, we will begin testing sponsored posts from a select group of businesses who have relevant content to share . . . Sponsored posts will initially appear in the neighborhood news-feed and daily email digest, but we will continue to experiment and take the time to get this right.”