“There’s almost a redefinition under way of what quality and prestige is,” Mark McCrindle, a Sydney-based social researcher and demographer, told the Domain Group.“We had the big impressive home with manicured, landscaped gardens as our sign of success, but nowadays quality comes in smaller packages.With that comes better locations and access to [amenities], like being close to the CBD or a beach or parks, gardens and public amenities. Australians have changed a lot, and high net worth individuals have changed along with them.”
Real estate agents are at the frontline of the evolving prestige market and can see exactly how prestige tastes are changing.
Alain Waitsman, associate director and head of sales at LJ Hooker, Double Bay,said families aren’t using gardens as much as they used to, mainly because children are now less into physical sports and spend more time indoors surfing the internet and playing video games.
“There’s now less emphasis on big parcels of land, and more [emphasis] on houses that are well-designed and have a fantastic view,” he said. “We’ve all now seen the value of good views, which is something the Asian market really appreciates too.”
While some buyers still go after the grand estates of yesteryear, there’s a definitive movement towards smaller homes and better amenities.
“Land sizes have come down and people are going more towards a low-maintenance style of home so they have more recreation time,” said John Bongiorno, director of Marshall White in Melbourne. “The aspirations of people to have tennis courts and a pool have lessened. They’re looking more towards lifestyle, and having more time for themselves. That might mean an easier-to-maintain home on smaller grounds plus a second holiday house.”
High-end apartments in the CBD are also making a resurgence in the prestige market, and penthouses and luxury apartments with panoramic views of Sydney Harbour are particularly coveted.
The wealthy prefer high-end apartments, not only for their proximity to commercial centres and high-end establishments, but also because these homes aren’t as high-maintenance as compact houses. Plus, who can resist facilities like luxurious swimming pools and state-of-the-art gyms?
“Some quality apartments are more expensive than big executive houses now too,” McCrindle said. “[They’re] close to restaurants and entertainments, have a walkable lifestyle, and have more privacy. Apartments used to be second-rate, but now good apartments are the first option for a lot of people.”
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