On average, people spend at least a decade in a single residence, and in that time, almost 90 percent is spent indoors, so it goes without saying that choosing the right property on the luxury market is of paramount importance.
Universally, whether in built-up metropolitan areas such as New York City or in the sun-soaked locations of Florida or the Bahamas, buyers still want to be near good schools and have amenities such as leisure options and retail close by, and to feel and see nature, whether that’s parks, the sea, or the beach.
But there are nuances. The desire to work from home still dominates the New York City post-COVID-19 world, and is reflected in the types of properties being sold.
“In the past few years, building amenities have become essentials rather than added bonuses, with more people working from home and focusing on finding a healthy and balanced lifestyle in the city,” says Smitha Ramchandani, Director of International Partnerships, Associate Broker, Christie’s International Real Estate Group.
For house hunters, who include young retirees, millennials, investors, those from overseas, and seniors moving to be near family, skyline and park views are most in demand, with homes selling quickly.
Types of properties popular on the luxury market depend on targeted price point, family size, job, area, and personal taste, but condos and new constructions are increasingly favored.
Essentially, “anything that does not require major renovations is appealing,” says Edward Joseph of Christie’s International Real Estate Group. “They could be looking for modern designs in a new development condo, historical charm in a pre-war co-op, or traditional townhouses. Pieds-à-terre and low-maintenance condos are more popular in the city.”
Desirable features and amenities include a doorman, gym, swimming pool, outdoor space, and in-unit washer/dryers. Being close to restaurants, cafes, parks, and transportation are added conveniences.
Sought-after locations are still the usual Big Apple favorites, most notably areas closest to Central Park such as Fifth and Park Avenues, the West Village, and Tribeca. But new kids on the block, Manhattan’s Hudson Yards—which opened in 2016—and Battery Park, also in Manhattan, have been regenerated and rebuilt post-9/11, and are now on the rise with their new-build developments.
Going south, in the sunnier climes of southwest Florida, the allure of waterside luxury market property is once again starting to tempt purchasers. That part of the Sunshine State has been through a lot in the past decade: COVID-19, five major hurricanes, and unprecedented storm surges, resulting in greater interest in inland homes, away from the Gulf Shore.
But recently, despite building techniques required to meet storm and flood codes being expensive, residents have rebuilt, made repairs, taken measures to prevent future flooding, and learned how to manage insurance costs. The result is now more interest in coastal homes.
Being steps from the sand and having forever views of the Gulf of Mexico never gets old—Craig Jones
“Being steps from the sand and having forever views of the Gulf of Mexico and sunsets never gets old,” says Craig Jones, broker associate at John R. Wood, a Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate in Naples, Florida. “In our part of Florida, you are never more than a 10-minute drive to some of the best beaches in the country, and access is open to all at no cost or a very small one.”
Whether the style is 1990s Mediterranean, 2000s West Indies, or a more recent modern home, high-end appliances, sophisticated audio-visual systems with a security component, landscaping, pools, and enclosed garages for more than two cars are important.
Southwest Florida used to be a draw for U.S. Midwesterners, but since 2023 more have come from the northeast and West Coast regions of the States, says Jones, who adds there has been a surge of interest from Florida’s east coast with those seeking weekend getaways. “Florida’s favorable tax status and quality of life undoubtedly helps.”
Average sales prices have rocketed, with homes sold from Sanibel to Marco Island increasing by 142 percent since 2013 to $718,000; in Naples, by 151 percent to $1,106,000.
Privacy is Key
Sliding further south to the Bahamas, and simply put, “everything is selling,” according to John Christie, president and managing broker, H.G. Christie Ltd. “This is a great place to be and is a quiet, peaceful country. Many are drawn to getting away from all the craziness that seems to be going on [in some other places].”
While beachfront is still a significant draw, luxury market properties in areas such as New Providence are in limited supply, which drives up the price, says Christie, who adds that people are seeking out condos close to resorts like Baha Mar.
Everything is selling. The Bahamas is a great place to be… a quiet, peaceful country—John Christie
Homes in a well-known gated community such as Lyford Cay, Albany, Ocean Club, or Old Fort Bay are getting a lot of interest, too, says Christie. “Many, like Old Fort Bay, are all canalfront properties, and having a boat in the Bahamas is a big part of the lure of living here. All these communities have clubs associated with them, with amenities like golf and restaurants.”
There has been strong growth in luxury condo buyers in the $2 million to $4 million range right on the beach.
“This is driving the market in New Providence, and particularly in Cable Beach,” says Christie. “We have so many types of buyers here. At the top end we have the ultra-high-net-worth individuals looking for a private estate close to good schools, and at the other end of the spectrum are those looking for affordable homes with a view that they can rent out to create an income and also have a second home to use when they like. These would generally be in the Bahamas Out Islands.”
Within the buildings, contemporary design is favored, but a transitional feel in the property is most popular, as are residences with expansive spaces and doors that fully open out the home to the pool area and view beyond.
Today, more than ever, as the world settles back to some semblance of normality, having the ideal home regardless of location is top of everyone’s wish list.
Banner image: New York City. Getty