Over the last few years, and more recently since the beginning of the pandemic, high-end home buyers have had a shift in both their demographics and their wish lists. First of all, the demographics of the buyers themselves are changing—the millennial generation is beginning to increase their presence in the luxury home market as well as the LGBTQ community, with individuals controlling upwards of $1 trillion in annual buying power.
This changing demographic of buyers also brings a change to the high-end amenities that are most popular among them. One notable new amenity buyers look for is an overarching “wellness” category according to Chicagoagentmagazine.com. In general, this means adopting more eco-friendly and sustainable technology in their homes This is a very broad category and could include anything from eco-friendly building practices and energy-saving measures (i.e. energy-saving windows, insulation, etc) to the installation of solar panels and home gardens. An especially popular amenity is an eco-friendly technology that controls home temperatures and devices. This allows the homeowners to keep energy usage to a minimum, which is both good for the environment and good for the wallet. Another amenity under this eco-friendly umbrella is electric car docking stations, which are becoming increasingly popular.
Luxury buyers across the board find views very important. If they are located in downtown Chicago, floor to ceiling skyline views are a big selling point. If the buyers are looking in other neighborhoods, rooftop views are an important feature. Going hand-in-hand with outdoor views is the concept of outdoor space. Urban dwellers don’t always have private access to the outdoors that many suburbanites have, so condos or single-family homes with private balconies, decks, terraces, or even back yards are becoming increasingly popular—especially during the pandemic when going outside without a mask feels especially luxurious and having a private outdoor space allows homeowners this luxury.
Additionally, buyers typically want a lavish entertaining space. For example, open floor plans with a lot of room for seating are coveted features. And if outdoor spaces are equipped for entertaining with enough room for outdoor dining, it is a bigger plus. For high-rise condominium buyers shared party rooms with billiard tables, swimming pools with cabanas, and barbecue areas have become increasingly important on want lists.
One thing that luxury homebuyers do not want, however, is too much customization. Anything that is too highly personalized may turn off the majority of buyers who will view it as something they need to change to their own tastes, not something they will enjoy as much as the original homeowner. A few examples of this can include tennis courts, indoor pools, or any area devoted to a particular hobby or pastime (poker room, sauna, etc).
Though the housing market in Chicago is moving once again, propelled by record-low interest rates, luxury homes (usually referring to homes priced at $750,000 and above) remain on the market for longer periods of time since there is a smaller pool of buyers. However, there has not been a substantial decrease in sales since the start of coronavirus precautions, according to online news outlets.
In addition, those homebuyers who are actively looking and visiting properties are typically much more serious at this moment in history than during pre-COVID times because of the extra precautions everyone needs to take during showings. So, there may be a smaller pool of potential buyers, but the pool has been more serious.