Luxury homes have always included premium amenities, and it has always been the role of agents to connect buyers with aspirational conveniences. But as highlighted by a Mansion Global report, there has been a recent shift in what luxury buyers are searching for when purchasing a new home. Affluent consumers are spending less on conspicuous symbols of wealth and focusing more on personal wellness. From yoga retreats and fitness memberships to meditation classes and digital detoxes, health consciousness is in. This trend is especially strong among urban homebuyers, who are not just investing in wellness experiences but expect to have high-end amenities included in the properties they purchase.
So what types of health and wellness features are your clients looking for? And how can you help them find the homes that fit this new trend in luxury living? Four leading agents weigh in.
Gyms are just the beginning: the workout rooms of the future
“The most requested amenities are a gym and roof garden or outdoor space,” says Juliette Janssens, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor with Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhattan, whose clients are often in the market for exclusive Manhattan condos. “These have been consistent over the years.”
“The question used to be ‘Does the building have a gym?’, but now buyers come in with the expectation that buildings have state-of-the-art fitness centers,” adds Allison Koffman, also a Senior Global Real Estate Advisor in Manhattan. “They’re turned off if the workout rooms haven’t been recently renovated or have poor lighting, and now expect more specific on-trend equipment like Peloton bikes.”
The demand for cutting edge equipment is especially noticeable among buyers looking for properties in markets well-known for clean living and recreation. “Being in Denver, buyers are very health conscious,” says Deviree Vallejo, Real Estate Consultant with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “Many new buildings offer rooftop gardens, Pelotons, bike storage, and even bikes available to borrow. The Laurel, which just opened in Cherry Creek, offers a saltwater lap pool.”
Tranquility pools, yoga rooms, and the new urban escapes
But changing times have ushered in new trends that go beyond workouts. Peace of mind is often as high a priority as outdoor space and physical activity for luxury buyers; affluent clients are seeking out places of sanctuary to pursue the passions that bring them joy.
“Buyers are trending on ‘sacred spaces’ — a getaway within their homes,” explains Liz Richards, Global Real Estate Advisor and Associate Broker with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “While the ‘man cave’ is alive and well, I’m seeing buyers seek out meditation and yoga rooms, ‘she sheds’, art studios, hobby rooms — basically, spaces where they can unplug and have quality time.”
Richards has also advised on meditation rooms where residents can surround themselves with relaxing sounds. “Having a ‘listening room’ loaded with state-of-the-art AV equipment is the new home theater,” she says.
As Janssens and Koffman note, today’s luxury buyers are more discerning and knowledgeable than ever before and are looking for homes that offer elevated amenities. “Something new
Developments are going the extra mile, and sellers should, too
As developers continue to raise the bar, real estate agents should advise luxury sellers to optimize their own homes for this burgeoning health and wellness market.
“Home gyms are inexpensive to add, especially to a basement, and you will typically get more than a one hundred percent return on your investment,” says Vallejo. “Xeriscaping — decorating your outdoor space with hardy, drought-resistant plants — and Zen gardens also pay back.”
For agents selling to wellness-focused clients, keeping track of the differences between buildings and amenities — and targeting this information to the buyer — remains integral. “Do your homework, know about all the latest trends, and make sure you are up on the special features and services that buildings are offering,” says Janssens.
Because of the inherent limits of what can be provided for a larger community in a high-rise building, Richards is also mindful of the amenities nearby. “I usually look at proximity to parks, and health food shops and farmers’ markets, as well as yoga studios, bike trails, and running paths.”
Gone are the days when a simple gym and indoor parking were sufficient to satisfy a luxury lifestyle. As urban centers become more concentrated, and a growing number of luxury buyers move into the condo market, unique amenities for physical and mental well-being are in high demand — and will be for years to come.
About Sotheby’s International Realty
Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.
The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.