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When it Comes to Real Estate, What Constitutes Luxury?

by Gwen Holloway and Elena Sanwick, REALTORS®, LUXE Real Estate Group – Luxury Prescott

The word “luxury” often is used in real estate property descriptions, but what exactly does that mean?

Is there a universal, understood definition of luxury real estate, with minimum requirements and expectations? According to Merriam-Webster, the word “luxury” is defined as:

1. a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort

2. something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary

3. an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction or ease

Applying that definition to real estate typically translates to properties that share the following features:

Prime location

Luxury homes typically are located in sought-after areas that provide features not readily available at all price points. In our area, these locations usually offer spectacular mountain or forest views, golf course frontage, gated access and/or amenities that accompany a master-planned community such as a clubhouse, fitness center, pool, etc.

Quality of build

Luxury homes are expected to feature high-end fixtures and finishes. These often include upgraded flooring, windows, stone and woodwork and top-of-the-line appliances.

Custom amenities

Luxury homes generally contain special-interest rooms and areas that reflect the owners’ lifestyle. Theater rooms, libraries, wine cellars, gyms and entertainment areas with bars and table games often are incorporated into the design.

Price point

A general rule of thumb in the real estate industry is that the price of a luxury home should fall in the top 10% of all homes for sale in a given area. This formula can be helpful in a broad sense, but the results will vary from day-to-day, particularly on the lower end of the scale.

All this being said, then, when it comes to real estate, what exactly constitutes luxury? After working with hundreds of real estate clients over the years, we’ve discovered that the true definition of a “luxury home” is very personal and unique to each person.

Going back to the definition — a “condition of abundance or great ease and comfort” — may mean a 10,000-square-foot custom contemporary home in a gated golf course community to one person, or a 1,200-square-foot log cabin nestled in the woods away from all of life’s distractions to someone else.

As it turns out, the universal understanding and appreciation of “luxury” seems to be shifting from material affluence to the luxury of rich experiences and lifestyles.

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