Last month the Harrison Group, a Connecticut-based marketing and consulting firm, conducted an Internet survey of 638 respondents with incomes of $100,000 or more. The company broke the group of respondents into four categories, ranging from “Upper Middle Class” (incomes of between $100,000 and $149,000, 123 respondents) to “Wealthy” (incomes of $500,000 or more, 119 respondents).
The survey found that more than three-quarters of respondents believed the U.S. was in a recession. The wealthy were the most pessimistic, with 81% agreeing that we’re in recession.
Yet the wealthy were also the most cheery about the real estate market. Of wealthy respondents, 40% said they plan to buy real estate over the next year. That compares with only 17% for the Upper Middle Class.
The rich who plan to buy homes are mainly looking for leisure properties. One-third plan to buy a vacation home, while about a quarter plan to buy third homes.
Wall Street Journal , May 2 2008
In a time where sales of new and existing homes are sluggish in general, sales of multi-million dollar homes are surprisingly strong. Luxury homes, costing $5 million and above, climbed 31 percent during the first quarter last year over the previous year, according to DataQuick, a real estate research firm. This year, values in the luxury market are continuing to rise with no end in sight.
Analysts say it’s a matter of supply and demand. Multi-million dollar homes tend to be situated in high demand areas with one of a kind views and access to sophisticated amenities. There are only so many of these properties available. While there are still an increasing number of high-priced homes on the market, there are even more affluent buyers looking for the right property. A growing number of those prospective buyers are wealthy foreign buyers from Asia and Europe looking for an opportunity to capitalize on the weakened U.S. dollar.
“The very wealthy are pouring more money into residential real estate,” said the founder of Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “While Europeans have always invested in American properties, new buyers are increasingly from brazil, Russia, India and China.” Luxury homes in the U.S. hold great appeal to buyers worldwide and make an excellent long-term investment.
Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging space to promote harmony in an environment. Home owners who are preparing their home to sell can take a few simple tips from this venerable tradition.
The first step is to engage the senses:
Your home should look good: A buyer’s first impression should be a visual sense of cleanliness, light and space. When you scan your eyes around a room, does every object enhance a sense of beauty? If it doesn’t, put it in storage.
Your home should sound good: Have some soft classical music playing or a fountain burbling and mute your answer machine.
Your home should smell good: Smells that you have been used to for years make the strongest lasting impression on people smelling them for the first time. Deep clean kitchens and bathrooms, remove cat boxes, and make smoking a strictly outdoor activity. Bake cookies or throw some orange peel in the garbage disposal before a client comes over to give your home a fresh welcoming scent.
First impressions carry the most weight for a buyer. Make sure your home is appealing to all the senses.