by Deidre Woollard
Affluent buyers are younger, big home footprints (5.000 plus) are returning, and traditional Victorians and Georgians may soon trump the McModern. These are just a few of the revelations we got from the gal who knows luxury buyers like the back of her hand, maybe better!
Stephanie Anton is the President of Luxury Portfolio International®. She has been with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World since 2005 and is responsible for overseeing day-to- day operations of the companies’ high-end marketing division, Luxury Portfolio International®. Stephanie researches and frequently speaks to audiences around the world about the luxury industry, real estate marketing, research and insights into that most sought-after consumer, the affluent. She has been named to a myriad of lists from Inman’s 101 list of innovative leaders driving industry change, the Swanepoel Power 200 list of most influential real estate professionals and Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch. She also sits on the Board of Managers for the real estate industry initiative, Upstream.
CD’s west coast correspondent Deidre Woollard sat down with Stephanie to zero in on the latest in luxury marketing:
CD: What should the luxury home buyer and seller know right now?
SA: Luxury home buyers today should have great confidence in the strength and health of the luxury market nationally and globally as in general we are seeing more demand than supply (this varies based on pricepoint and location, of course). Today’s affluent have more money than they have ever had before and real estate is a significant focus and attractive investment, both from a financial perspective as well as an investment in family and loved ones.
CD: Great news. If you were selling a luxury property yourself, what one thing would you make sure you had to attract a buyer?
SA: I would ensure any property I was selling today incorporated a security system. Today’s affluent consumer is highly concerned about privacy, safety and security – no matter where they live. A simple security system provides peace of mind and includes an additional feature that will make a home more attractive to today’s buyers. It doesn’t have to be a complex system, though it should at the least, offer multiple views of a property easily accessible from a mobile device.
CD: What innovations in real estate marketing have you seen that most impress you?
SA: I am particularly enamored at the moment with the innovations we are seeing in virtual staging. It is truly amazing how far the technology has come in just a short time. This give us the ability to literally paint the picture of the potential of a property, which so often is something that can be so hard to get past.
CD: From your research, what do you see coming up for the luxury market?
SA: We were very excited, and perhaps even a little surprised, in our latest research where we talked to “younger” (under 50) affluent buyers to find that in their next home they are less enamored with contemporary design and in fact lean back more toward traditional styles (at least externally) such as Victorian and Brick Georgian. We were also interested to learn that we should expect demand again for larger footprints, over 5,000 square feet, and that for younger buyers, with growing families and growing portfolios, they want more home and more rooms/spaces to accommodate their lifestyle (of entertaining, enjoying outdoor space, focusing on passions such as movies, cars and music) so that those that are worried about all their large inventory for which we’ve seen less demand in recent years, not to worry much longer as everything comes around again, and those buyers intend to be back in the next 3 years.
CD: Luxury Portfolio works with brokerages all around the world, are there any qualities that brokers and agents universally share?
SA: It’s always so funny to me because everyone thinks their market is so different, their agents are so unique and that their worlds are so different. In truth, agent and brokers everywhere – and especially those that are part of LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio, are outgoing, creative, open-minded entrepreneurs. Our group is made up only of the top brokers in a market and that, in fact, is one of the best parts of what we do. We work with risk takers who have been successful taking risks and generally aren’t afraid to try something new. We work with brokers and agents who work exceptionally hard, but for whom that work is paying off. And in general, our group at least, is much more alike than we are different. That is a big part of the reason why our events are such a successful part of our value proposition because everyone is so alike. It is easy to get to know someone else from another top performing brokerage in another part of the country or the world, and idea share, relate and learn from one another. It’s great fun too!
CD: What’s the most over-the-top amenity you’ve seen in a home?
SA: We recently had a property on the market in the Atlanta area that included an entire underground bunker. This wasn’t a “safe room” but quite literally a small home – built in 1969 during the Cold War – with three, two-bedroom apartments including TV, internet, a larger one-bedroom apartment and two business centers. It had its own water and sewage treatment room, a workshop, home theater, water storage, backup power system and modernized commercial-size kitchen. Over the top to say the least.
CD: Wow in Atlanta! We’ve seen a few in Texas, too. What do you think makes the Dallas market so appealing to the luxury buyer?
SA: The Dallas area has so much going for it because there is so much demand, and so much room to grow. People are choosing to move to Texas due to the appealing lack of state income tax, the weather, and of course, the lifestyle. Dallas has all the appeal of big city resources, but in most areas, much more affordable prices. Bottom line, you can get a lot more for your money in a lot of the metro area and also get access to terrific city resources, great schools and more. It is not surprising the market has been hot in Dallas for so long and from where we sit, we don’t see anything changing in the near future.