Young baby boomers are typical owners of luxury homes

Friday, July 28, 2006

Today’s owners of million-dollar homes are typically younger baby boomers who work for a corporation, maintain diversified investment portfolios, and have household income of less than $500,000. Their homes can include such amenities as entertainment rooms, designer kitchens and wine cellars, according to the 2006 Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Survey.
The annual survey, which included interviews with 300 U.S. homeowners whose primary residence is valued at over $1 million (and over $2 million for California residents), also found about 35 percent of respondents own second homes. An additional 35 percent said they are considering buying an investment property and/or a secondary residence for family use.

Luxury real estate service Coldwell Banker Previews International commissioned the study, which was conducted in March and April by market research firm International Communications Research.

“The typical million-dollar homeowner likes to live well, but they are not living an ultra-lavish lifestyle,” says Jim Gillespie, president and CEO for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group. “We did not find huge numbers of these consumers having amenities like heated floors (14 percent), tennis courts (4 percent), or backyard putting greens (5 percent).”

About 65 percent of respondents have a designer kitchen and 37 percent already have a wine cellar or are considering adding a wine cellar to their homes, according to the survey. Meanwhile, 59 percent said they have a room in their homes devoted exclusively to entertainment. And in those rooms, 89 percent said that they can accommodate more than six people, with 84 percent indicating that they have either a 50-inch or bigger HDTV screen, or media systems such as DVD players and a surround sound system.

Fifty-seven percent have a wet bar and 24 percent have movie-theater style seating in their entertainment rooms. Also, 54 percent of respondents already own or plan to buy original artwork, according to the Coldwell Banker announcement.

Some other popular amenities in million-dollar homes: Security system, 86 percent; professional landscaping, 67 percent; in-ground swimming pool, 37 percent; hot tub 35 percent.

Of those respondents who own a second home, 55 percent of the second homes are in recreation areas, including the beach or oceanfront, 32 percent; lakefront, 11 percent; or in ski resorts or mountain areas, 11 percent. Among those who would consider buying a second home, 42 percent would select beach and oceanfront locations, 14 percent would choose ski areas and mountains, and 12 percent would choose lake areas.

The survey also found that 32 percent of those polled do not plan to retire until they are 65 or older, with 14 percent stating that they plan to retire at 60-64. Respondents said that when it is time to retire, they look forward to traveling internationally (46 percent) or within the U.S. (42 percent).

About 70 percent of respondents said that interest rate increases will have no impact on their planned luxury purchases.

About 62 percent said they have recently visited a high-end resort/spa; 43 percent went on an active vacation such as a ski trip, bike or hiking trip; 28 percent traveled for more than three weeks internationally; and 25 percent spending same amount of time traveling domestically. About 18 percent of those surveyed have flown on a private plane over the last year and 9 percent went on an extreme vacation or adventure vacation, such as an African safari, Coldwell Banker said

About 5 percent of those surveyed employ a personal assistant, 4 percent have a live-in housekeeper and 1 percent have a driver.

About 84 percent described themselves as moderate- to low-risk investors. The survey found that majority retirement holdings vary widely among respondents: Individual stocks, 29 percent; mutual funds, 23 percent; real estate, 19 percent; mixed portfolio including real estate, 14 percent; bonds, 11 percent; mixed portfolio excluding real estate, 11 percent; 401k, 7 percent; CDs, 2 percent; annuities, 2 percent; IRA, 2 percent; pension funds, 1 percent.

About 33 percent of respondents expect a tax refund this year, and 39 percent plan to invest this money in their homes, the survey revealed. About 29 percent plan to save that money, and 12 percent plan to invest it in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

About 43 percent of luxury homeowners made more than $500,000, and 41 percent cited their household income as between $200,000-$500,000. Owners of million-dollar homes shop at Nordstrom, 34 percent; Neiman Marcus, 17 percent; and Saks Fifth Avenue, 10 percent; with Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Talbots and Pottery Barn also making the list of top shopping spots.

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