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The seven trends that are defining the luxury property market across the world today

There was a time when luxury house buyers sought homes that served as glitzy status symbols; in 2022, the world has changed. A huge new survey of buyers across the world shows that people are looking for homes where they can live life to to the full in a happy, playful and sustainable manner — while also having all their needs looked after.

Outdoor living, a kitchen full of gadgets and living life in a relaxed, bright and breezy atmosphere — these are some of the key things that buyers of luxury homes are looking for in 2022, according to new research from Luxury Portfolio International.

The company spoke to almost 5,000 people in 20 countries to compile their report, The Luxury Home of Today, asking for the hopes, dreams and priorities of those seeking to buy homes in the $1m+ bracket in some of the most sought-after spots around the world. The result makes for fascinating reading, highlighting seven key trends that define the luxury house of today.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in the post-pandemic world, respondents repeatedly highlighted the elements of a home which makeit a comfortable, fun, safe and happy place to live, as opposed to focusing on location, accessibility or other related attributes.

‘The trends are pointing to a happier, healthier consumer than what might be expected after two years of COVID-19,’ says Mickey Alam Khan, President of Luxury Portfolio International.

‘The lifestyle attitude they portray is a blend of contentment, playfulness and self-expression. We find this is reflected also in the way that they use their home: elevated outdoor spaces, greater focus on at-home entertainment and a well-appointed kitchen for bringing family together.’

That’s not to say that there aren’t responses which reflect the uncertainty around the planet in 2022, however: security and sustainability were also cited by house buyers as being of great importance. Let’s take a look at the seven key trends one by one.

Trend #1: Living Life Light and Breezy

‘A life that is playful, joyful and satisfying’: that’s not merely a philosophical statement of what being alive is all about, but they key phrase in the number one trend identified in LPI’s report. Almost half (49%) of those who took part in the research said that ‘being happy and content’ was their top priority, when asked what they’d like people to say about them. Being perceived as ‘successful and accomplished’, which in pre-Covid times you’d have expected to top the list, was mentioned by 38% — that’s fewer than those who said they’d like to be described as ‘artistic’.

The Luxury Homes of Today are being snapped up by ‘buyers who want to enjoy their life, one that they have been intentional to create a balance in work, leisure, relationships and purpose,’ the report explains. ‘In other words, the buyers are not only financially successful people, but are also artists at the game of life. The home, therefore, is expected to reflect their nature.’

Trend #2: The Outdoors are Reimagined as an Adult Playscape

Outdoor bars, fire pits, cabanas and al fresco entertaining spaces became enormously popular over the past couple of years, and LPI’s report finds that they’re here to stay. Spending more time at home has led people to enjoy their properties as never before, and thus having more options for enjoying yourself with friends and family at home is a key need for luxury house buyers.

It’s not all hot tubs and pizza ovens, however: natural features such as beautiful gardens, vegetable patches and even your own orchard are also on the wish list for many buyers. ‘Luxury homeowners are seeking an outdoor escape that is close to home,’ the report concludes.

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Trend #3: Sustainability Features are Distinctive Elements, not an Afterthought

An astonishing 90% of luxury house buyers agreed when asked ‘Does environmental sustainability factor into your home search criteria?’, and 58% said they’d happily pay more for a home which had sustainability features. Solar panels, ground source heat pumps, energy-efficient appliances were just the start; homes built from sustainable, non-toxic materials are also increasingly sought after, and taken very seriously by buyers. ‘Owners who have invested in solar panels and energy-efficient appliances did so because it mattered to them,’ the report explains. ‘They may consider it the best feature of the home.’

Trend #4: Wellbeing is the Antidote to Uncertainty

The global wellness industry has surged upwards since the end of 2019, and is now said to be worth $4.4 trillion — so it’s no surprise to hear that house buyers at the top end of the market expect at least three fitness or wellness amenities in their home. These can be the things you might expect —gyms and pools — but also include yoga studios, tranquility gardens, and less tangible things such as homes bathed in natural light. ‘The Luxury Home of Today will be expected to deliver a profound sense of peace as buyers demand calm, tranquility, relaxation and healthy living right at home,’ the report’s authors note.

Trend #5: Home Security Extends Beyond Alarm Systems

Wellbeing isn’t just about having fun or looking after mind and body; it’s also about peace of mind, and home security feeds in to this as the fifth trend. Monitored home systems and smart locks are increasingly popular, with 73% of buyers looking for them in their next house purchase, but more traditional elements such as CCTV and on-site security or protected grounds remain popular. Interestingly, the security buyers want is more than just about security from crime: fail-safe systems for power and internet access are also increasingly sought after, including things such as generators and 4G WiFi to as a back-up should cable-based broadband fail.

Trend #6: Gadgets Make a Kitchen Memorable

‘The kitchen has evolved from a humble, downstairs feature to an ornate amenity suited to both entertainment and daily family living,’ the LPI report concludes. Bar areas, formal dining rooms, kitchen islands and dual appliances — in particular dishwashers and cookers — were all mentioned by those polled, as are auxiliary spaces such as pantries and secondary kitchens (including outdoor kitchens). But top of the list? A kitchen full of shiny gadgets just can’t be beaten, it seems: ‘80 percent deem this category essential. Smart devices, such as built-in coffee makers, cookers, blenders and cocktail mixers, create distinctive images in the mind of buyers,’ the report explains.

Trend #7: At-Home Services Growing in Popularity

The boom in online services goes way beyond the likes of Amazon being able to deliver anything you can think of to your doorstep by the next morning (or even sooner); today, there is an expectation that you can have a gourmet meal prepared and brought to your house, and every domestic service imaginable requested via the tap of an app — all supporting businesses in the area. ‘The Luxury Home of Today will make it easier for owners to outsource everyday chores to willing participants in the local economy,’ the report says, and it’s all been driven by the connected world and the upheaval we’ve been living through. ‘The past two years have launched the digital revolution forward by a decade.’