At Inman Connect Now, top luxury agents discussed how the pandemic has changed the wish lists and priorities of luxury buyers.

If you’d like to catch a video replay of this Connect Now session, and access the other 25+ hours of video content from Connect Now, tickets are still available. Click here to access.

Space and safety are the two things that are currently top of mind for every luxury buyer, speakers at Inman’s virtual real state conference, Connect Now, on Wednesday concurred.

Mauricio Umansky

Mauricio Umansky, of The Agency, said that staying in one place for long periods of time has made many of his clients in Beverly Hills reconsider what kind of home they’d like to live in. Many have reached out and said that they wish they’d bought a bigger home with more features and space in which to shelter from the outside world.

“The house has become a very important commodity,” Umansky said. “[…] People are now learning how they want to live in a home.”

For many luxury buyers, a home is their ultimate nest and getaway. As a result, many have been spending big money even in the midst of a pandemic and protests against police brutality. While they haven’t seen sales of more than $40 million, sales of around $20 million have been taking place in L.A. since the pandemic first hit the United States in March.

“One of the first things we started seeing in luxury real estate was a big difference between the asking price and the bid price,” Umansky said, adding that some sellers are setting unrealistically high prices in the hope that people will pay big money for a luxury home amid pandemic-induced panic. In reality, the market is seeing more of a push and pull — some are selling, some are buying and many more are renting properties in which they can wait out the summer.

Dolly Lenz

Dolly and Jenny Lenz, a mother-and-daughter team from New York’s Dolly Lenz Real Estate, said that safety is currently a primary concern. Affluent buyers are hoping to move away from condos with many units and amenities like in the past. Once considered a luxury, a penthouse is now seen by many as a longer elevator ride and potential exposure to COVID-19.

“Density is going to be the name of the game,” said Lenz, adding that she has been seeing more and more interest in vacation homes and apartments in boutique buildings. “Wish lists are going to change. Smaller units, fewer amenities.”

Amie Quirarte, who works with vacation homes at Tahoe Luxury Properties in California and Nevada, said that they’ve seen an uptick of people looking to buy a vacation home. Both showings and escrows are up as people search for vacation homes and places they can spend long periods of time during a pandemic.

Amie Quirarte

“We are seeing a lot of new people buying into our market from other areas, not just the Bay Area,” Quirarte said. But even as the economy takes a hit from pandemic-related closures, sellers are not rushing to list and are instead considering renting for extra income.

But while sales are up, Umansky said that the past few months — first the pandemic and now protests over police brutality — have made some consider the role that luxury plays in the world. While many are retreating into big houses, some are reevaluating the problems that are currently rocking the country.

“It’s definitely a little bit scary but the world has to come together,” Umansky said.

If you’d like to catch a video replay of this Connect Now session, and access the other 25+ hours of video content from Connect Now, tickets are still available. Click here to access.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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