The Luxury Real Estate Market is Making a Move

People are curious, trying to figure out what is going on with the obscure luxury markets.  But with the the volitility of the stock market and the unpredictable nature of commoditiies, it appears that scarity has momentum.

Whether rare art items, antiques, or unique luxury properties, the smart money investors are coming back to the plate and making investments in the things that can only be bought be a few.

Take note, we are on the verge of the next stabilization of the high end real estate market.  Read today’s Wall Street Journal post to read  more about this exciting market move:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704717004575268573660359734.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_realestate”

The Kitchen is Still King

The 10 must-have features in today’s new homes

I found this article very interesting and it significantly points to the trend toward Traditional Neighborhood Develops and the many benefits of living with houses built for the way people live.  In Saratoga Springs, the primary location that supports this criteria is the Oak Ridge subdivision:  http://selectsothebysrealty.com/oak_ridge.php.   Here is the article:

By Steve Kerch, MarketWatch

LAS VEGAS (MarketWatch) — Americans want smaller houses and they are willing to strip some of yesterday’s most popular rooms — such as home theaters — from them in order to accommodate changing lifestyles, consumer experts told audiences at the International Builders Show here this week.

“This is a traumatic time in this country and the future isn’t something we’re 100% sure about now either. What’s left? The answer for most home buyers is authenticity,” said Heather McCune, director of marketing for Bassenian Lagoni Architects in Park Ridge, Ill.
Winter garden work to prep for spring

WSJ’s Anne Marie Chaker gives a tour of her basement garden and demonstrates how to get a head start on seedlings in the dead of winter.

Buyers today want cost-effective architecture, plans that focus on spaces and not rooms and homes that are designed ‘green’ from the outset,” she said. The key for home builders is “finding the balance between what buyers want and the price point.”

For many buyers, their next house will be smaller than their current one, said Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio, Texas. Large kitchens that are open to the main family living area, old-fashioned bathrooms with clawfoot tubs and small spaces such as wine grottos are design features that will resonate today, she said.

“What we’re hearing is ‘harvest’ as a home theme — the feeling of Thanksgiving. It’s all about family togetherness — casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces,” Lavender said.

Paul Cardis, CEO of AVID Ratings Co., which conducts an annual survey of home-buyer preferences, said there are 10 “must” features in new homes:

1. Large kitchens, with an island. “If you’re going to spend design dollars, spend them where people want them — spend them in the kitchen,” McCune said. Granite countertops are a must for move-up buyers and buyers of custom homes, but for others “they are on the bubble,” Cardis said.
2. Energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency insulation and high window efficiency. Among the “green” features touted in homes, these are the ones buyers value most, he said. While large windows had been a major draw, energy concerns are giving customers pause on those, he said. The use of recycled or synthetic materials is only borderline desirable.
3. Home office/study. People would much rather have this space rather than, say, a formal dining room. “People are feeling like they can dine out again and so the dining room has become tradable,” Cardis said. And the home theater may also be headed for the scrap heap, a casualty of the “shift from boom to correction,” Cardis said.
4. Main-floor master suite. This is a must feature for empty-nesters and certain other buyers, and appears to be getting more popular in general, he said. That could help explain why demand for upstairs laundries is declining after several years of popularity gains.
5. Outdoor living room. The popularity of outdoor spaces continues to grow, even in Canada, Cardis said. And the idea of an outdoor room is even more popular than an outdoor cooking area, meaning people are willing to spend more time outside.
6. Ceiling fans.
7. Master suite soaker tubs. Whirlpools are still desirable for many home buyers, Cardis said, but “they clearly went down a notch,” in the latest survey. Oversize showers with seating areas are also moving up in popularity.
8. Stone and brick exteriors. Stucco and vinyl don’t make the cut.
9. Community landscaping, with walking paths and playgrounds. Forget about golf courses, swimming pools and clubhouses. Buyers in large planned developments prefer hiking among lush greenery.
10. Two-car garages. A given at all levels; three-car garages, in which the third bay is more often than not used for additional storage and not automobiles, is desirable in the move-up and custom categories, Cardis said.

Steve Kerch is assistant managing editor and personal finance editor of MarketWatch in Chicago.

Real Estate Confidence demonstrated in Manhattan

As the Real Estate Market, and the financial markets are looking for the secret sauce to lift from the turmultous years of the later part of the first decade of 2000, bid deals are being made.    According to Bloomberg online, SL Green, one of NYC’s largest landlords agreed to purchase an office tower for $330 Million.  In the same article, it is predicted that Manhattan office rents may rise 25% in the next three years.  Definate signs of recovery, but is that too much too fast?  Only time will tell.

Here is the article:   Click to read on Bloomberg.com