Investing in Luxury Real Estate

by paulmcdonald
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Reposted from Investopedia | By AMY FONTINELLE | Updated Sep 13, 2020

Real estate has long been considered a safe investment, whether you own, flip, or rent. If you have the money, you may want to expand your portfolio into the luxury real estate market. Before you jump in, here are some of your options for investing in luxury real estate.

Luxury real estate prices were hot and had been soaring. Case in point: The most expensive residential real estate sale of 2019 was a Manhattan penthouse that sold for $240 million, according to data from Miller Samuel Inc. That’s almost $166 million more than the previous year’s top New York City sale.

With the wealth of the world’s richest people growing, it had seemed that the potential market for luxury properties was larger than ever. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and prospects for real estate prices and real estate in general have become notably uncertain.

Bargains may be available for those with cash. However, the willingness of potential investors to step up and buy them is doubtful, to say the least.

Whether you’re interested now or thinking about future investments, here are key principles for investing in luxury real estate based on market growth before the pandemic.

What Is Luxury Real Estate? 

It’s crucial to understand the features that characterize luxury property before you invest. A high price tag alone won’t put a property in this category. “It has to be unique and exclusive—in a good way, in a desirable way,” said Randy Char, senior VP of operations at One Queensridge Place, a luxury Las Vegas high-rise. “People who are wealthy will pay a premium for something that’s perceived to be superior.”

High-end buyers want locations with access to luxury activities such as high-end shopping, dining, and the arts, as well as proximity to other luxury homes. A trophy address, like Park Avenue in New York City, adds value. Having a storied history doesn’t hurt, either. Many luxury buyers seek the natural beauty of a waterfront location, or at least views of a river, ocean, or lake. Others want countryside or mountainside views.

High-end buyers desire many of the same features that all buyers want but on a grander scale. They want privacy and security, sometimes to the point of seclusion. They want beauty inside and out and can afford custom architecture, custom design, over-the-top attention to detail, and opulent finishes.

They also want amenities on top of amenities: a chef’s kitchen, luxury pool, expansive owner’s suite, and outdoor living space, not to mention home automation, motion detectors, car lifts, and temperature-controlled wine cellars. Many also want space, but you certainly don’t need a massive home to live in luxury.

When choosing a luxury home, it’s extremely important to think about the aspects of the property that can’t be changed, said Mark Fitzpatrick, CEO of RUHM Destination Marketing, a marketing service for luxury properties. “You can’t change the path of the sun, the location of the ocean, or the fact that there is a flight path for large airplanes over your head. Ugly wallpaper in the bathroom is far less important than the weather,” he said.

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