(Bloomberg) – Space is a top priority for real estate hunters during the pandemic at all levels of the market. But for the rich, that means much more than just a bedroom.
Tennis courts the size of a championship (not necessarily for playing tennis), a bedroom in a penthouse that is both a garden and wine cellars worth Instagram are just some of the features that real estate agents claim to crave.
And even as The introduction of the vaccine is accelerating, experts do not expect the desire at the top of the market that the experience similar to resorts will soon withdraw.
“Covid has made people reconsider the lives they want to lead,” said Michelle Ciesielski, head of residential research at Knight Frank Australia. “This is not going to go away.”
Here is a brief overview of what is currently current in the world of premium products:
Sipping a martini by the pool has always been a hallmark of the good life. And during the pandemic, its appeal only increased, at least for those wealthy enough to afford a pool in their backyard.
From 2015 to the first three months of 2020 (before everyone realized what Covid-19 meant), about 26% of homes sold each quarter in Greenwich, Connecticut – one of the richest places in the U.S. – had a swimming pool. In the last 12 months, that jumped to an average of 35% of total quarterly sales, according to Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal house Miller Samuel Inc.
“The pools were definitely an outstanding driver,” said Jason Friedman, who works at Daniel Real Sotheby’s International Realty and specializes in the gilded north coast of Long Island, New York. People who fled to the area from the city for rent earlier at the time of the pandemic which may now be purchased, and private facilities, including the aquatic species, are factors of attraction, he said.
In sunny Australia, where swimming pools have long been a must for the rich, championship-sized tennis courts are now attracting buyers.
According to a Knight Frank survey, in 2020, super-high-end properties with tennis courts sold an average of 22% more than their peers without a court.
All of this requirement is not necessarily driven by a desire to stay in shape or a passion for sports.
“It’s a great place for kids to play and put a champion in the future for their 21st and 40th birthdays,” said Adam Ross, who specializes in Sydney luxury sales for Knight Frank. “It’s an investment that proves the future.”
For wealthy home hunters, it’s not just the outdoors that matters.
Anna Czarnowska of Morpheus London, a top housing and hospitality design company, says there is a growing demand for indoor spaces that have an outdoor atmosphere.
The most common request during locking was for multifunctional space and “biophilic design”- an approach that tries to integrate nature into the built environment, according to Czarnowska. Her team used such principles when building a garden room for a penthouse on Chelsea Waterfront in London. They see that the trend continues beyond the pandemic.
“Even if we get back to normal, I think we’re going to be afraid that these things won’t happen again for a long time to come,” Czarnowska said. “So everyone would like to have a home that’s multifunctional.”
Rickesh Patel, director of design at Morpheus, says he continues to see clients looking for such “indoor-outdoor” spaces, especially in London where garden space has a premium. Top customers, he says, were willing to sacrifice themselves for that outdoor atmosphere. One client who wanted to maximize light coming from outside was willing to lose about £ 150,000 square feet to make room for a large light axis, Patel said.
With so much more time at home, what’s inside has become increasingly important. On a practical level, this means that his and her studies (and not just sinks) are increasingly in demand, says Harry Williams-Jones, super top housing development consultant for Savills London.
It doesn’t stop there. Wealthy customers are also looking for amenities such as playrooms in cinema rooms for teenagers and private spas.
“The pandemic has just catalyzed trends that have already emerged,” Williams-Jones said. “It’s not necessarily an absolute paradigm shift, but it’s just more focused on people’s way of life.”
I don’t forget the wine. Far from being something you’ve shoved into your closet, now is the time for an architectural stance with a glamorous room.
For the ultra-rich, their close and dear loved ones are now worth paying extra. This means that the houses are large enough to accommodate parents, grandparents and children – as well as staff rooms – along with all the other luxury toys and open space.
Country houses similar to Downton Abbey – many of which have been on the market for years – are suddenly much more popular. For example, last year wealthy customers launched a Sales increase of 1,900% in British country estates that have more than enough room for all foreign families.
“Covid was really the catalyst for that, an excuse to gather the whole big extended family and go somewhere amazing,” said David Forbes, president of the private office of Savills.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was talk of a boom in the Caribbean private islands where the ultra-rich could sit in Covid by the beach.
A similar trend is now taking place among the poor. In Hong Kong, top agents report that customers who would never have dreamed of looking away from Central, the main business district, are starting to hunt for peace.
Will Robertson, CEO of Nest Property, says that especially for those who rent, the quieter areas of the city – like Clearwater Bay or Sai Kung in the new territories – are increasingly attracting attention.
Aside from being one of the few areas in Hong Kong where you can buy a detached home rather than an apartment, the world also seems to be far from the city’s busy city.
“Access to beaches and walks often becomes more important to residents who are increasingly concerned about their health and the environment,” Robertson said. “These areas can offer lower density life.”
Another advantage is the price. In the last two months, the most expensive house sold in the Mid-Levels neighborhood cost HKD 136,000 ($ 17,500) per square meter, while the highest price recorded in the New Territories was only HKD 39,000 per square meter, according to Nest Property.