The world’s Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) population are not just multi-millionaires, they are also multi-homeowners. The latest study published by Wealth-X in collaboration with Sotheby’s International Realty, entitled The Rise of the Multi-Homer, highlights the four types of luxury real estate that fulfil the needs, aspirations and lifestyle options of the world’s richest and also explains why such homes are high on the list of prospective homes of this wealth sector.
In addition, the report also shows that this buyer sector is fuelling market growth in regions outside hubs such as London, New York City and Hong Kong and looking at alternative locations, among which Geneva, Miami and Long Island were highlighted in the study.
Overview of the current UHNW individuals’ homeownership scenario
These facts and figures shed an interesting light on the international luxury real estate market because they indicate why environmentally sustainable homes, technologically sophisticated homes as well as serviced apartments and residences that offer privacy and seclusion, such as private island homes, are becoming increasingly popular among the wealthy. What is common between all these preferences is that all such homes serve the highly specific needs of these buyers.
The ultra-wealthy buyer type needs global mobility, remote access and has a desire for privacy and legacy as well as an interest in environmental sustainability. ‘Smart’ homes offer networking technologies and communication interfaces such as energy management systems, security and access systems as well as entertainment control systems that help connect key appliances with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
About 65% of the Sotheby’s International Realty network reported increased enquiries for ‘smart’ homes over the past year. Simultaneously, ‘green’ home construction has been rising across the world, including Europe. As today’s homebuyers are better educated and place more value on features such as improved air quality and energy-efficiency, eco-friendly homes are becoming more desirable and attainable.
As their absence from their primary residence is becoming more prolonged, UHNW individuals are looking at homes that are cared for in their absence and ready for living upon return. Serviced apartments are perfect to cater for this need as they offer a full suite of amenities including concierge, valet, housekeeping and security. Furthermore, such properties often offer the possibility of avoiding complicated contracts over the purchase of properties in foreign countries.
What could be the implications for the Maltese real estate market?
Focusing on the European region, 4 of the top 10 locations for additional homeownership among UHNW individuals are situated in this continent – UK, Switzerland, France and Monaco. As briefly indicated in this report and highlighted in the previous study entitled Homes as Opportunity Gateways, the purchase of additional homes is done for many reasons but is always attached to the benefits that come with it.
The Opportunity Gateways study shows that citizenship is one of the reasons why the ultra-rich purchase homes abroad and highlights Malta’s programme as an excellent long-term investment. Coupling this knowledge with the current purchasing trends of eco-friendly, technologically sophisticated and serviced homes among the rich, one may infer that the local market is bound to start shifting towards offering more of these homes as real estate investment from citizenship applicants continues coming in.
Malta has already started establishing its luxury sector through the development of several luxury lifestyle complexes and has recently implemented energy efficiency certificates for buildings, however it will be interesting to observe a shift towards ‘smarter’ homes and the way forward in terms of serviced and eco-friendly homes.
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