There is one annual meeting the top guns in the industry can ill afford to miss, if & when they qualify to attend this members-only “convention”. I am talking about “The Luxury Portfolio International Summit”. Just returned from the last one, in Las Vegas, and I swear it took me a good 24 hours to adjust back to normal life. Don’t blame Vegas for that. Over those three days on the strip, the real action was not on the floor of a casino or on a show-biz stage watching Celine Dion… No, the action, the buzz, the steam, the fever, the brain-smoke, were encapsulated within the 4 walls of a multitude of packed meeting rooms were agents from all-over the world gathered to learn and network.
Let me sidetrack somewhat to tell you a little bit about Luxury Portfolio International, in case you don’t know. It is our “Intero Prestigio” marketing partner and the leading global network for high-end buyers, sellers and real estate professionals. More than ever, in 2013, it did affirm its dominance of the US luxury property market over such great competitors as Sotheby’s, Christies, Coldwell Banker Previews, etc. On any given day, LPI (for short) has an inventory of more than 12,000 active listings ranging in price from $1M to a hundred times more, and markets these exceptional properties to over 3,000,000 high-net-worth visitors, in 200+ territories/countries.
Last year was a phenomenal year for Luxury Portfolio International. For one thing, the number of affiliated professionals attending the Summit (as well as the annual meeting of the mother-company, “The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World”), grew nearly 30%! Even more significant is the fact that this year, 100% of the 2,500 participants were smiling. Hence the magic slogan we all heard throughout the Summit:
“The Luxury Market is Back!”
Of course, in some traditional high-end areas, it never left; it is simply more active now. One thing is different though: the make-up of the buyers. Every year that goes by reflects the same observation: the foreign demand for the most exclusive of US real estate is… huge, and exceeding the qualified domestic demand. The higher the multi-million dollar price-tag, and the more likely a foreign national is at the buying-end of the transaction.
And you know what? Those trophy-homes’ buyers, irrespective as to where they are looking and where they come from, are… the same. As I was able to explain as a panelist during the Summit, today’s affluent international buyers do not limit their home search to one country or region. It is true that the West Coast has more buyers from China & India, while the East Coast has more buyers from Europe & Canada, and Western Europe has more buyers from the Middle-East & Russia… But anyone of them can buy anything, anywhere, at any time. A buyer can very well own a penthouse in Manhattan, a chalet in Courchevel and a beach house on St. Barth.
At this level, buyers do not need to sell the previous home and move their equity over to the next one to close the deal. They don’t need to scrap a few more dollars here & there to meet the seller’s price. They have plenty enough of accessible funds to buy a property or estate they cannot live without.
Case in point: a listing of ours, in the $25M-$30M price range, was recently purchased by a buyer from Asia. Come to find out, this buyer acquired 2 other similar properties, in the same price range and in the same vicinity, only a few months before!
Yes, the world of luxury real estate has changed dramatically and is still evolving right before our eyes. Some Realtors understand and can adapt. Some don’t understand and do not adapt. Some understand but cannot adapt. They don’t have the clout, the network and the power.
One cannot market extraordinary homes with ordinary means. Marketing a high-end property in a meaningful way requires access to…the world. No matter how good agents and companies may be, they no longer can do it alone. They need a bridge to qualified buyers on all continents and in all relevant countries. It takes the size and marketing scope of a partner such as The Luxury Portfolio International to be legitimate and effective. Sellers beware!