Every year I note the forthcoming trends in luxury real estate, but most pundits merely gaze a year or so into the future, talking about colour palettes, lighting, and advancements in materials and technology.
But what about in a decade? I’m interested in trying and taking a longer-term view – so forgive me for gazing into a crystal ball, but here are a few points I think we must take note of in how to fully embrace longer-term trends in the luxury real estate markets.
Firstly, what looms large over the sector is sustainability. We will see more sustainable materials, more efficient use of energy, and the amalgamation of technology and design to deliver less environmentally impactful homes.
Increasingly, we will see eco-friendly technology used to create properties that embrace green architecture and design. Future luxury properties will undoubtedly be constructed with locally sourced materials and powered by geothermal, solar, or wind energy. We can also expect humidity-controlled indoor air, filtered drinking water, LED lighting, HEPA air filters, and “smart home” controls.
Speaking of technology, I believe every luxury home will need cutting-edge technology to be given the “luxury” moniker. I’m thinking we will see homes that go beyond the “cinema room” to virtual and augmented reality spaces; places where you can not only hold cloud-based virtual meetings with global colleagues and family, but a space for relaxation, virtual travel, shopping, and other leisure pursuits.
A strong element of luxury property for many is the use of cutting-edge technology and today that extends beyond the kitchen and home theatre to connectivity, communication, and even how we can now move through virtual worlds. Savvy tech companies will push technologies into the sector that allow UHNWIs (ultra-high-net-worth individuals) to work and manage global teams from a simple home office, for example. Tech will also play an increasingly important role in our leisure time; from activities such as virtual fitness glasses and sports such as golf – maybe even virtual hang-gliding or scuba-diving, to exclusive bespoke shopping experiences and attending fashion shows or film premieres.
Millennials might be known as “generation rent”– unwilling to invest in real estate – but I’m already seeing that change. Recent figures suggest that those born between 1985 and 1996 currently represent around 38% of the home-buying market, a percentage I believe is only set to grow. Of course, only a small percentage of those will be on the market for luxury property, but the trend is that when millennials buy, they are more inclined towards the luxury segment.
Common jobs for this demographic tend to be in tech and finance, and statistics show they’re better educated, have higher earnings, and stand to inherit more.
And they have grown up with and around technology. They’re also acutely eco-conscious. I see these two trends converging on luxury real estate in a move towards more green landscapes – both inside and outside the home. Living walls (made up of moss, plants, or both) naturally filter the air inside the home, while heavy foliage outside naturally protects windows from the harshest sun rays, while producing carbon dioxide. We will also see more office-style technology incorporated into luxury homes.
Next-gen luxury properties will include a hyper-connected home office, at the very least, as the working-from-home trend looks set to stay. I’d expect many properties to include a high quality (soundproof, broadcast quality) remote meeting space and possibly a conference or boardroom.
Pushing the envelope further, we are already seeing 3D-printed homes. It won’t be long before this becomes more commonplace, and we will have a combination of a bespoke, 3D-printed living space that encompasses sustainability, the most advanced technology, and unbridled luxury.
In conclusion, I believe that the luxury real estate market is moving towards a more self-conscious, environmentally friendly, and data driven industry. What an exciting era we live in!
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