Top 10 Luxury Housing Trends: What's Hot and What's Not

by Yvonne von Jena | August 29, 2018

According to US real estate journal Inman, here’s What's hot and what's not: 10 luxury housing trends you can't ignore. What’s hot includes smaller properties of exceptional quality (versus big), tech-savvy home properties with spectacular kitchens, custom finishes and fixtures as well as access to great amenities (easy access to beaches, pools, spas, etc.). What’s not so hot are properties that are ‘oversized, overdone and ostentatious’, far removed from conveniences, have poor quality finishes, are functionally obsolete (awkward or choppy layouts, wasted space, etc.) and have ‘pie-in-the-sky’ pricing (pricing that defies logic). Although US-based, still insightful and applicable to Canada.

Luxury Homes Defined

First, some definitions. What defines luxury is hyper-local given varying price points, styles of homes and who the buyer audience is for properties in the are. As a result, what happens in one geographic sector can be completely different than what happens in another.

What’s Hot

1. Smaller properties of exceptional quality (versus big): Today’s luxury buyer desires exceptional quality, but does not have to have thousands of square feet. The right size with thoughtful use of space and breathtaking views are a better fit.

2. Tech-savvy homes properties: In today’s society where there is “an app for everything”, being at home is no different. Modern luxury buyers want their home equipped with the latest technology to control everything from utilities, appliances, security, window shades and entertainment systems — all from the comfort of their phone.

3. Spectacular kitchens: Whether a luxury buyer cooks or has a cook, a well-appointed and spacious kitchen with the highest quality finishes and state-of-the-art commercial-grade appliances is a must. The kitchen is considered the crown jewel of the home, and in the luxury sphere, it must stand out.

4. Custom finishes and fixtures: This might be custom-designed furniture, items incorporated into a home’s design from the owners’ travels or purchased elsewhere for a one-of-a-kind feel. They don’t want what everyone else has.

5. Access to great amenities: Whether it is within the home or nearby, today’s luxury buyers want easy access to beaches, pools, fitness, spas, meditation and massage rooms. Proximity to private clubs that offer it all are also quite attractive also.

What’s Not So Hot

What’s “out”, and could make a property harder to sell, are properties that are:

1.Oversized, overdone and ostentatious’: For example, the custom window or wall treatments that cost six figures to go with custom-made furniture pieces for the current owner may not mesh so well with another buyer looking to incorporate their taste and spin.

2. Far removed from conveniences: Today’s luxury buyers crave convenience. They don’t want to have to travel unnecessary distances for shopping, dining or services, and the same goes for a commute to work.

3. Poor quality finishes: With luxury real estate, details matter. Today’s high-end buyers are attune to quality at every level and look closely at walls, ceilings, woodwork (or lack thereof), stair treads, railings and spindles.

4. Functionally obsolete: Not ‘in vogue’ to luxury buyers are homes that have awkward or choppy layouts, wasted space, floor plans that go on and on, steep staircases and no elevator (or a way to put one in).

5. ‘Pie-in-the-sky’ pricing: The luxury market is certainly one where pricing can defy logic as sellers believe there is a unique demand for what they have and what a hypothetical buyer may be willing to pay for. But pricing far beyond the upper range ultimately leads to lengthy “time on market”, which can make them seem less desirable.

Luxury Home Prices in Canada

According to RPS sister company Royal LePage’s president and CEO Phil Soper, “Home prices in Canada’s luxury real estate market have remained remarkably resilient when you consider the economic headwinds that serial government interventions have created… The resilience of home values reflects the strong aspirations of luxury buyers to reside and work in cities that are consistently ranked among the most desirable on the planet.”