Custom Homes. What constitutes a luxury home? What
is a custom home? Are the two the same? Of course the
definition of what constitutes a luxury home differs
by location. In many parts back East $550,000 will buy
you a four-bedroom, five-bath, 4,500-square-foot home
on better than a 100,000-square foot lot. In California
the same money may get you a four-bedroom, three-bath,
2,000-square-foot house on a 5,000-square-foot lot.
Americans like to dream — and, for many, perusing
upper-bracket listings feeds those visions. Most of
the trends in housing show up first in luxury homes
and then make their way down. Learn about custom and
luxury housing or click below for related topics.
Estate values locally
Types of homes
What features are truly luxury
and not just a large family home?
Luxury doesn't just mean size
anymore, either, but luxury appointments. You don't have to
have a 5,000-square-foot house to say you live in luxury.
A 2,500-square-foot home that's very well appointed will do.
Of course Estates, mansions, castles, villas, log homes, seaside
homes and overseas property all qualify. Some
luxury homes may have some exceptionally luxurious features
such as an interior lap pool, an art gallery, a workout room
and a dance studio.
Upper bracket. Those
two words on a real estate ad will signal one thing for sure:
If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. Across
most of the United States, even in a soft economy, there are
still a lot of people who don't have to ask. In high-end,
luxury living, if you have the right site, the right location,
regardless of the economic conditions, you are going to be
able to sell that property as a luxury property.
What is the difference between
a large luxury tract home and a custom home?
There are an increasing number of large (4,000+ square foot)
tract homes that are billed as luxury homes. Although these
homes do have some luxury home features, there is a difference
between a custom home and one that is built in a subdivision.
What are the hallmarks of a luxury home? There are several
design features one can point to. One measure is that many
luxury homes have more bathrooms than bedrooms. In California,
where cars are part of the culture a luxury home has a 3 car
garage minimum, but usually has a garage for four vehicles
or more. Taller ceiling height,
larger door and room size and other hallmarks help to further
distinguish luxury homes.
No matter how you define a luxury home,
the market is growing. The aging baby boomer generation, in
particular, is driving sales of everything from chic downtown
condos to custom suburban homes as most of those individuals
enter their peak earning years at the same time they cash
in on home equity and inheritances.
Today every boomer either is or shortly
will reach the empty-nesting life stage. This life stage marks
a dramatic shift in consumer spending, away from needs-driven
purchases for home and family and more spending devoted to
personal luxuries. Property in
the best locations, which often would define a luxury setting,
often proves to be a good investment. And while price may
not be an obstacle, people buying expensive homes are benefiting
every bit as much from today's 45-year-low interest rates
as other buyers.
Historically, low interest rates make
high-end homes very affordable. Buyers are attracted to the
low carrying costs, realizing that even if prices decline
somewhat, increased interest rates could make their desired
home much less affordable.
The upper-bracket market in North County
San Diego, home base for many wealthy individuals, has been
especially strong, according to the bank's most recent luxury-market
index. Prices of homes over $1 million rose more than 11 percent
in the first quarter vs. a year ago, and are up 4.5 percent
since the start of the year.