Research & Statistics

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


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.

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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


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.

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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.”


Tips For Marketing To Wealthy 50+ Prospects

Capturing business from an offline generation

An October 2015 report from Forbes Insights, Engaging 50+ Consumers In A Digital World, examines the consumer behaviors of wealthy Americans 50 years old and above, a demographic which holds $3.6 trillion in annual income, or 49% of all after-tax income in U.S. Created in partnership with Wealth Engine, the report asserts that this demographic has wholly unique values and preferences concerning marketing from luxury brands and service providers.

1. Emphasize the property’s quality and craftsmanship.

To speak to the values of wealthy 50+ Americans, luxury real estate professionals should highlight the quality and craftsmanship of high-end homes rather than the related prestige of living in the home or community. The Wealth Engine survey shows that this group considers the most vital aspects of a luxury product or service to be quality (82%) and craftsmanship (66%). These values are even more important to baby boomers (51-70) than older generations, so this definition of luxury will be around for a while. In contrast, more traditional conceptions of luxury—prestige of ownership (19%), brand/maker name (17%), price (11%)—are not top-priority with respondents.

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2. Market online and offline.

While the Internet plays a part in their decision making processes, these consumers are tentative about the ever-changing technological landscape and thus unlikely to make buying decisions solely based on information received online. On the other hand, 50+ wealthy consumers are generally more receptive than younger generations to offline interactions, experiences, and marketing. 50+ wealthy consumers prefer to get marketing and advertising messages: (1) by word of mouth, (2) through an online search, (3) by visiting a known brand or retailer website directly, and (4) via print or direct mail.

While it can be challenging to strike the on/offline balance needed to engage these consumers, the Forbes/Wealth Engine report urges that careful, value-oriented marketing can really pay off: “While [wealthy 50+ consumers] might not be as digitally savvy as their children and grandchildren, they still have more discretionary funds to spend.”

3. Avoid email marketing with unknown leads.

Be cautious about how you use email to engage 50+ leads and prospects. The Wealth Engine survey shows that, while 17% of respondents rank “email from known brands” in their top 3 preferred methods of receiving marketing and advertising, only 8% appreciate emails from previously unknown brands. In fact, reflecting on the proliferation of unsolicited direct and email marketing, 21% say it makes them not want to do business with a brand, and 18% think it indicates that the brand doesn’t understand what they want.

4. Utilize data-driven targeted marketing, but don’t get too personal.

The wealthy 50+ demographic is particularly receptive to targeted marketing. Of respondents who decided to buy from a particular brand or service provider after seeing their marketing: 68% say they did so because “the timing of the marketing message matched when I wanted/needed to buy,” and 52% say that the inciting marketing message included a special offer that appealed to them.

On the other hand, Forbes notes that, “while they like the personal touch in real life, they are not as keen on it in marketing messages they receive.” 50+ wealthy Americans are hyper-sensitive to data privacy and liable to be made uncomfortable by over-personalized messaging. They will likely not appreciate messaging that mentions a birthday, recent purchase, or any personal information that indicates data mining practices.

5. Be direct when seeking referrals and reviews.

Wealthy 50+ consumers are comfortable giving referrals and recommendations by word of mouth, but very unlikely to sing their praises online. The Forbes survey and report shows that, for referring a brand or business, 84% are willing to share by word of mouth, while only 21% are willing to write reviews online. To capture referrals from this demographic, real estate professionals should directly ask whether the client has any friends or family members who are thinking of buying or selling real estate in the near future. In addition, agents should ask for a written review to include in a testimonial book or in the testimonial section of your webpage.


Chinese Nationals Buy Luxury US Real Estate Via Social App WeChat

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Affluent Chinese nationals are scrambling to invest their wealth in US real estate. As of last year, Chinese consumers are the biggest foreign buyer of US real estate, and they’re the nationality willing to pay the highest prices for their properties. Chinese nationals are also the largest group of luxury consumers in the world, accounting for 32% of global luxury consumption. But with traditional avenues of engagement such as Google and Facebook being banned in China, how do US real estate professionals tap into this high-volume, high-demand market? Believe it or not, one solution might be found in a smartphone app.

WeChat Connects US Brokers With Chinese Buyers

You’ve likely never heard of WeChat, but this social app currently boasts 650 million predominantly-Chinese users. (That’s more than double the population of the United States of America!) Launched by Chinese internet giant Tencent in 2011, WeChat is a one-stop super-app that enables users to do pretty much anything: watch movies, share photos and videos, play games, chat with friends, call cabs, buy clothing, and offer personal loans.

Not only has WeChat had a profound impact on Chinese internet culture and mobile usage, but it’s now becoming something of a gateway between US real estate professionals and Chinese buyers.

Because a flight from the east coast of China to New York City takes a staggering 15 hours, many Chinese prospects are understandably hesitant to personally visit US properties. Instead, some are choosing to carry out the entire process through WeChat—going from initial contact with a US broker all the way to closing without ever setting foot in the country, let alone the purchased property. Significantly, the real estate being bought and sold via WeChat falls within the luxury bracket; a recent Business Insider article features interviews with US real estate professionals who’ve used the app to sell properties worth up to $5million.

How You Can Attract Chinese Buyers On WeChat

If you’re considering getting a WeChat account to tap into the Chinese market, here is some information to get you started.

  • It’s free! Like Instagram or Twitter, it doesn’t cost anything to create an account on WeChat.
  • Blog to build trust. In order to bridge the great distance between agent and prospect, use your WeChat account as a personal blog. In addition to posting your listings, share personal thoughts and photos from everyday life to reassure prospects that you are a real, trustworthy person. A strong personality on WeChat will lead to sales.
  • Virtual tours. Real estate professionals can share photos, walk-through videos, blueprints and other information to “show” a property via WeChat. Clients may also have locally-based representatives tour properties on their behalf.
  • To make communication easier across a massive time difference, you can leave voice messages via WeChat, which your clients can respond to the next day.
  • All digital. Once a deal reaches its final stages, a legal representative will cement your digital communications as binding and send an electronic version of the contract to the client.

Want to know more about working with the affluent Chinese buyer? Checkout The Institute's upcoming Member webinar, on December 17th at 3 pm Central Standard Time. Members of The Institute can register at www.LuxuryHomeMarketing.com/webinars.


The All-Black Kitchen Makes A Statement In Luxury Homes

2015 design trends move away from the all-white kitchen

Luxury Kitchen - Modern Rustic

 

In addition to being a hub of family and social life within the home, kitchens are an important way for homeowners to make a statement about their property, identity, and taste. As a result of their place at the heart of a home, kitchens are the second most frequently remodeled room in the house—second only to bathrooms. This year, the pendulum has swung away from the popular all-white kitchen and toward the opposite extreme: the black kitchen.

Kitchen Design Goes Over To The Dark Side

In 2015, bright-red cabinets and white tile are being eclipsed by darker colors. The beginning of this trend can be seen in the stunning 2014 Kitchen of the Year, designed by designer Steven Miller for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, which featured all-black cabinetry, dark tile backsplashes, and a steely grey ceiling. But why the turn toward darker hues? Black kitchens—or ones dominated by other dark shades—make a statement about the home and its owners: bold, strong, sleek, and luxurious. This design idea is particularly fitting for the luxury homeowner who craves a high-end kitchen that leaves a lasting impression.

Here are a few tips for incorporating darker tones into luxury kitchen design:

  • Cabinetry or countertops are perhaps the easiest way to introduce dark tones into the luxury kitchen. If all-black cabinets seem overwhelming, why not balance them out with a white marble countertop or soften the look with distressed or textured wood?
  • To darken the kitchen further, consider bringing in black or dark-colored appliances.
  • Dark wood flooring. If you want to go black but worry that the look will be too overwhelming, dark wood floors are a fantastic way to give the space a warm, rustic feel.
  • Black and green. Perhaps the only look more luscious than an all-black kitchen is a black-and-green kitchen. Apartment Therapy suggests this color combination as a way to make the black kitchen warm, earthy, and even more unique.
  • Look books. The internet is brimming with image-rich resources. Use these to show your clients just how stunning their high-end, on-trend black kitchen could be. (For example, check out this Pinterest board.)

China’s NWBs: Coming to a Luxury Home Near You

According to NAR’s 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, China is the second largest source of international buyers in the United States. Chinese buyers rank first in terms of dollar value of sales because they most often buy high-end luxury homes. The recent drop in Chinese stock markets, however, wiped out an estimated US$3.35 trillion of wealth. Where U.S. luxury real estate professionals are concerned, these turning economic tides might bring a change in clientele.

What’s an NWB?

Have you heard of NWBs? If not, you should make yourself familiar. The world’s fastest growing wealth segment is that of the NWBs—or “new wealth builders”—who hold financial assets between US$100,000 and US$2 million. While high-net-worth individuals (those with more than US$2 million in assets) accounted for US$43 trillion in global wealth last year, the NWB segment accounted for more than US$88 trillion. Translation: NWBs have a total of double the wealth of high-net-worth individuals! China’s NWBs, in particular, are amongst the world’s wealthiest and fastest growing economic group. It is estimated that China’s NWBs will hold double the wealth of American NWBs by the year 2020.

Most importantly, China’s NWBs seem to be fairing the economic storm better than most, and they are consequently in search of investments that protect their wealth, appreciate over time, or provide stable revenue streams. This makes them prime prospects for luxury real estate professionals in the United States.

Chinese NWBs: What They’re Looking For

A recent McKinsey Quarterly report shows that 69 million Chinese citizens possess the wealth to invest in U.S. properties. This figure is expected to reach 220 million by 2022. These numbers will likely yield an uptick in the number of Chinese buyers who invest in luxury homes abroad. In general, Chinese buyers are likely to be looking for these key features in U.S. real estate:

  • Great educational institutions. As far as Chinese buyers are concerned, education is king.
  • An expanding market with room for new businesses. Chinese buyers are looking to set down roots, and many want to open a business in the U.S. city where they buy a home.
  • Long-term ownership. Property laws in China effectively dictate that individuals hold long-term leases on properties, but can never fully own them. Chinese buyers want to own their homes outright so that they can pass them from one generation to the next.

Amongst Chinese buyers in general, NWBs are unique. Here are some things that luxury real estate professionals need to know about them:

  • Compared to individuals in the higher income bracket, NWBs are younger, more internet savvy, and more likely to rely on online resources when making investment decisions.
  • Chinese buyers take six months to research properties before they begin visiting and making purchasing decisions.
  • NWBs are more likely to look for investment opportunities in secondary cities.
  • NWBs are likely to only visit properties or work with real estate professionals that were visible online (and behind the Great Firewall of China).
  • Chinese prospects prefer to do their research in Chinese, on websites hosted in China.

China’s NWBs seem to be fairing well amidst economic upheaval and will likely be looking to make stable, long-term investments in foreign markets. For luxury real estate professionals, marketing your services and listings on Chinese sites will be paramount for reaching this growing group of international prospects.


Follow the money!

The very wealthy are on the move.  According to New York-based international  law, firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, which specializes in immigration services, the last ten years have seen the largest inflows and outflows of high net worth individuals (HNWI) relocating in history. In the last decade 11,000 HNWI left Switzerland, 14,000 left Russia, 32,000 left France, 43,000 left India and a huge 76,000 exited China. Many will keep assets and property in their home countries, yet most will buy real estate and set up bank accounts in their new locations, according to Fragomen.

Where did these HNWI move?  Over the same period, 212,000 relocating households and their destinations were identified by Fragomen. About 14,000 HNWI relocated to Canada, 20,000 to Hong Kong, 22,000 to Australia, 42,000 to the USA and an impressive 114,000 to the UK. The remaining 36,000 went elsewhere in the world. 

 


Have you met the HENRYs?

If not, let us introduce you. The HENRYs are High-Earners-Not-Yet-Rich households who represent an increasingly important consumer group with strong spending power today and the potential of becoming wealthy. Not defined by age or occupation, they are identified by income. HENRY’s represent a growing group of homebuyers who, in many cases, can afford high-end homes.

Defined as consumers with combined household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000, HENRYs come in all age groups (no, they are not all young). They are excellent prospects for luxury home purchases, beginning at the entry level of luxury and moving up. About 25 million U. S. households fall into this category. That’s about 20% of total households. More important, HENRYs make up about 90% of the affluent consumer market.

HENRYs

HENRY’s are also a key market segment for luxury Realtors. In almost any spending category, the affluent top 20 percent account for about 40 percent of total consumer spending, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this group may not be buyers and sellers of homes in the double digit millions, they are often buying in the top 10% of the market. And – they may get richer!

Here are a few characteristics of HENRYs which Unity Marketing has identified:

  • They appreciate a high level of service and want to work with pleasant people
  • They respond to stories. What stories are you telling about your listings?
  • They are executives and managers and they don’t leave their smarts at the office. They are careful buyers and their bragging rights come from making a good deal. So, think VALUE and remember that a good deal isn’t always lowest price. 
  • They buy premium products. Is your service premium or standard?

How do you find them? How about using one of your Institute for Luxury Home Marketing member benefits to acquire target lists of HENRYs in the geographic areas you serve. You can select by income, education level, family size and other criteria. Then, farm the list with a market update report, and other information rich materials. HENRYs represent great potential in the high-end market for SLREPs (Successful Luxury Real Estate Professionals)!


Is the 80/20 rule really true?

You’ve heard the statistic – 20% of Realtors do 80% of the business.

MLSIs this true or is it just another sales myth that’s bandied about in the real estate business? A recent blog post by Ted Jones, Chief Economist for Stewart Title reports on a study by the WAV Group that provides some insight to this question.

The research company surveyed about 150 Multiple Listing Services regarding listings and closed transactions for the first half of last year. The accompanying charts show the percentage of agents who had listings in that time period, as well as the percentage with closed transactions.

Certainly some people subscribe to the MLS for reasons other than listing or selling residential properties. This includes commercial Realtors that keep tabs on the residential market, appraisers, or others that use MLS data. However, the 39 percent who had no closings in the first half of 2014 and the 43 percent who had no listings is still remarkably high and indicates that about 40% of MLS subscribers are not listing and selling (for whatever reasons).

Add to this, the fact that another 50% only had from one to ten closings in a six month period, bringing to 89% the total of those who had from zero to ten closings in half a year and you can conclude that the remaining 11% of the agents are doing a high percentage of the business. It’s pretty much the same with listings. Only nine percent of MLS members had ten or more listings in the first half of 2014.

Our conclusion? If we are talking about numbers of transactions, the 80/20 rule may not be far off the mark in real estate.