Research & Statistics

Vancouver Rules The World (of Luxury Real Estate)

As the most populous city in British Columbia — and the most densely populated city in all of Canada — Vancouver clearly attracts a lot of people and attention.

And according to the 2015 Prime International Residential Index developed by U.K.-based property consultants Knight Frank, Vancouver ranks #1 in the global real estate market. In 2015, the city’s high-end market was up almost 25% from the previous year. (Actual percentage is 24.5%.)

On the Index, Vancouver’s closest competitor was Sydney, Australia — which grew at a rate of 14.8% in the same time period, nearly 10% less than that of Vancouver.

Vancouver was one of only four North American cities in the top 20 (others including San Francisco at #7, Toronto at #12, and Miami at #14), and one of only eleven North American cities in the top 100. The others included Los Angeles at #22, Boston at #27, The Hamptons at #30, Washington, D.C. at #33, New York City at #39, Aspen at #53, and Chicago at #64.

The main reason for the city’s surge is a lack of supply in the face of increased international demand — while the weakened Canadian dollar is also playing a role.

Interestingly, Vancouver is not considered to be one of the cities that matter most to the world’s wealthy. In fact, Knight Frank notes that it is more reflective of the fact that many ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) who are educating their children overseas while working and living in multiple locations around the world.

When asked about Vancouver’s luxury real estate market, ILHM expert and Vancouver REALTOR® Alan Skinner noted that it "has been somewhat 'frantic' for an extended time, but we are feeling a ‘cooling-off’ approaching where rampant competition made (particularly investors) determined to "win" at all costs.

“Home seekers are being trumped by foreign investors and a levelling off of prices is likely,” Skinner continued. "Profit taking" (sale of residential property investments) may result in further price declines."

With regard to Vancouver’s appeal, Skinner opined that "desirability, livability and the spectacular natural beauty are clearly the reason demand for residential property is so high.”

Mr. Skinner continued: “Alas, the policies allowing for unrestrained investment prevalent over the past 10 years or so has encouraged not only immigrants, but substantial pure speculation by those intent on investing in a safe, appealing environment."

But this kind of phenomenon sometimes faces scrutiny and even a desire to control (or even slow down) the explosive growth. Some governments are trying to limit foreign buyers with new property taxes, as the negative effects on overall affordability can be worrisome for the average homebuyer.

Some relevant facts and figures about Vancouver:

  • Ranked one of the most livable cities in the world for more than a decade.
  • Ranked as having the 4th highest quality of living of any city on Earth.
  • 9 years ago, Forbes ranked Vancouver as the 6th most overpriced real estate market in the world and was second-highest in North America after Los Angeles.
  • Vancouver has also been ranked among Canada's most expensive cities in which to live. Sales in February 2016 were 56.3% higher than the 10 year average for the month.
  • Forbes has also ranked Vancouver as the tenth cleanest city in the world.
  • Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most liveable cities for five consecutive years.

So while many would surmise that major metropolitan cities like New York, London and Dubai would be leading the pack when it comes to growth in global luxury real estate, it’s interesting to note that #1 — by a wide margin — is beautiful Vancouver!


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.

 


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.)

 


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.


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.

 


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


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.”


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.

ChartWEBlog

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

WeChat1

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.)