New York Times

How National Trends in Luxury Real Estate are Impacting Orange County

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Recent coverage of the luxury market at events like the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference has highlighted the market’s strong resurgence and steady sales. In fact, statistics from the National Association of Realtors suggest that the luxury market is rebounding from the recession faster that middle market and lower-end properties. All signals point to great news for luxury owners that may be considering a property sale in the near future. If you are contemplating listing a luxury property in the Orange County area, what you learn may surprise you.

What is considered a luxury property is changing: Today, a luxury property in many metropolitan areas begins at about the $4 million dollar price point or more than 3500 square feet of space. In more rural areas, the price point for what is considered a luxury property starts around the $500,000 mark. There is further differentiation regionally and even on a town by town basis. In competitive markets such as Orange County, the prices may be higher than anticipated.

Practical features are coming at a premium: When people are contemplating buying a luxury property, they typically ask fairly standardized questions about luxury amenities. Is the kitchen gourmet? Does the house feature a stunning view? But more and more, luxury Realtors are seeing the importance of what can only be dubbed -practical features.- For example, generators are one key trend throughout the country as more areas are affected by hurricanes, storms, and other inclement weather. More concern has also been show about factors such as privacy, safety, and exterior builds to protect cars and other possessions during weather events. Buyers still want traditional luxury amenities, but it is important that safety and emergency infrastructure has also been addressed at the property level.

Luxury townhomes and condominiums are on the rise nationally: A recent piece in the New York Times highlighted the trend of the growing luxury condominium market. While the piece focuses on the New York market, it underscores a trend that is taking hold nationally. More and more people are looking for luxury-level accommodations with the benefits and flexibility of condominium living. Some luxury home owners are even evaluating whether or not their homes can be divided and sold as condos to maximize profits. The success of this approach depends greatly on the home’s location, zoning laws and overall layout and design.

Lifestyle features are playing an increasing role: Another trend that has been noted is the importance of lifestyle features in luxury property purchases. Lifestyle features could be as simple an inside/outside design that allows more flow between a home’s interior and exterior spaces. In other cases, it is more specific to aspects like waterfront or riverfront property. Many buyers are also looking at factors such as golf course access, high end club houses, and other luxury community amenities.

Non-traditional buyers are entering the pool: While the prospective pool of buyers for luxury properties is more limited than for mid-tier homes, there’s been an increasing diversification within the luxury market. Many owners are finding offers coming from buyers that contemplate transforming the space into retreat centers, upscale boarding schools, and even wineries, thus opening up advertising opportunities for Realtors and owners alike with truly unique properties.

The luxury market is thriving in areas of the country such as Orange County. Staying on top of trends helps sellers to make the right decisions regarding their properties. The first step in the sales process is finding an experienced luxury real estate agent that understands your local market and can guide you through the process.