Luxury Markets: What Do The Wealthy Really Want In Their Homes?


Large saltwater pools, massage rooms, and places to store extensive wine collections are popular, but there may be more important things to prospective mansion buyers.

During the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Las Vegas this month, a panel discussion was held to flush out current demands in the luxury market. Speaking during “Mansions 2024” was Mike Leipart, managing partner of The Agency Development Group; Rob Jensen, president of the Rob Jensen Company; Architect Michael Gardner of Luxus Design Build; and Architect Johnny Cruz of Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

Here are five key takeaways:

Wellness technology is popular with the rich.

Leipart said he was in a home recently where the owner had a sauna, cold plunge pool, gym, at-home hyperbaric chamber, and a red light bed.

“Listen, wealthy people generally want to try to live for a very long time. They look around and they go, ‘This is awesome, I have money. Life is fun. I want to keep this party going as long as possible,'” Leipart said.

Bigger-than-life closets are in demand.

Gardner said they have a closet in design right now that mimics a Versace store. It is almost 2,800 square feet and two stories.

“There’s a display for all of his expensive coats, artwork, things like that. So it’s not just a throw-away room anymore. For him, it’s his man cave,” Gardner said.

They’re not going back to the office.

Despite the push to get employees back into the office, many luxury clients are not planning to go back to work on a daily basis. In addition to at-home offices, they are designing outdoor working environments where they can collaborate on Zoom while dangling their feet in a pool.

Sustainability is not something wealthy people are willing to pay extra for.

“It’s generally not something people will pay an extra penny for,” Leipart said. “The reality of it is, is that if you said to 100 buyers, ‘If we just do it the old fashioned way, this house is going to cost $10 million, but if we do it highly sustainable, it’s going to cost $11 million,’ 99 out of 100 are going to save the million dollars.”

Gardner agreed but pointed out that once a person buys a sustainable home, they will brag about it.

“They love the talking points and the buzzwords, but yes, you’re absolutely right. Every home that I have designed and built, I’ve designed every single one to have a LEED certification of some capacity, but not one of my clients has been willing to pay the $5,000 it takes to get it certified so I just started burying it in our architecture fees,” Gardner said.

Security is the number one priority for mansion owners.

Leipart said it was not an accident that when Jensen introduced himself he said he specializes in gated communities.

“Every single thing that we talked about up here is actually secondary to security,” Leipart said. “Whether we live in a different time, or we just perceive that we live in a different time, regardless, that is the number one item.”

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