Luxury Home Prices Still Rising

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.

Take a tip from the Ancients

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.

A strategic time to buy

We’ve all seen the news reports about the real estate market slow down.  Those reports have motivated many home buyers to wait until they are certain that the market has reached the bottom before they buy, so they can get the best deal.  This might not be the best strategy, here’s why:First, it is nearly impossible to accurately predict the real estate market’s ups and downs.  According to several analysts, prices generally are now at or near the bottom of the cycle.  In some areas the market is already coming back and seeing a gradual increase in values. The larger selection of homes that are listed these days makes it easier for you to find your ideal home in the right location.  Once the slump is over, that selection will dwindle.  With so many properties on the market, sellers are willing to negotiate price and terms and even offer incentives. This is the best way to make a deal rather than waiting for home prices to drop significantly.    Mortgage financing is still available at near record low interest rates.  True, it’s tougher to qualify for a loan today, but if you have good credit and a decent “credit score” you should have no problem in obtaining financing with very favorable terms. Many lenders are still offering 95 and 100% financing.  Rarely will you see the combination of factors we have in the market today.  Take advantage if you are in the market to buy.  It is a great time for first-time buyers and investors!