In its annual Luxury Lifestyle Report, Sotheby’s International Realty breaks down what’s important to wealthy real estate buyers.

The report aims to define the purchasing behaviors of the wealthy. They surveyed affluent consumers in the U.S, UK, Brazil and China and found that the majority are more likely to purchase a lifestyle property now than they were five years ago. The study also showed that compared with five years ago, a majority of affluent consumers are more confident in the strength of the housing market in their country of primary residence.

According to Philip White, President & Chief Executive Officer Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, these insights are important because the luxury sector tends to lead the way for the overall real estate recovery. “High-net worth consumers are recognizing the critical role real estate plays in building wealth…and they are investing in it.”

LIFESTYLE HOMES: A Global Demand for Waterfront Properties

Just what do affluent consumers look for in their real estate purchases? According to the survey, location continues to matter—a lot. The majority of those surveyed want that location to be waterfront. In addition, 71% of respondents declared they would pay more for the home’s location over its size, historic significance or the notoriety of the previous owners.

When it came to amenities, Sotheby’s International Realty brokers said the number of clients who wanted a home with “smart amenities” has increased drastically over the last two years. These include appliances, lighting, entertainment systems, security, and more that can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world.

China’s wealthy real estate investors also valued space to display their massive art collections, while U.S. buyers were mostly interested in having a multi-car collector’s garage, according to the report.

Luxury buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, China, Australia, New Zealand, as well as those in Caribbean and Central America all searched predominantly for waterfront properties on

The survey was sent to Sotheby’s International Realty’s affluent consumers over 25 years old all over the world, from the U.S. to China, between January 28 and February 18, 2014. Search data came from using Google analytics.


Read the full report here