The luxury end of the residential real estate market is a pretty nice place to be these days.
While the pace of home sales in the upper price end slowed a bit on a worldwide basis – with luxury home values only rising by 1.4 percent – some markets continue to hold considerable allure to the moneyed buyers. And real estate firms that cater to them have found increasing success in the process.
Vancouver is one of those cities that continues to hold tremendous appeal to those who are not merely wealthy, but “ultra-high net worth.” In fact, UK consultants Knight Frank’s 2016 Prime International Residential Index (PIMI) of the world’s top markets pegs Vancouver as the best-performing luxury housing market in the world.
In 2016, Vancouver’s homes in this category, defined as being in the top 5 percent by value, appreciated by almost 25 percent, a full 10 percent higher than the next closest city, Sydney, Australia. And this was despite British Columbia’s controversial 15 percent surcharge on transactions by foreign buyers, which was designed to cool hot markets like Vancouver.
The city’s real estate boom, giving it status as a playground for the rich, has been more than a decade in the making, and it’s engendered any number of businesses poised to cater to the particular needs of this marketplace. Luxury car dealers, for example, are selling Bentleys, Jaguars and Aston Martins at such a pace that many talk of boosting their sales staff by a third and staying open longer hours.
And, of course, numerous firms have also emerged to help the luxury buyers conduct their search for the perfect residence – whether that’s a mansion overlooking Vancouver’s yacht-dotted harbor or a high-end condo unit in the upper reaches of the toney Trump International Hotel & Tower in downtown Vancouver.
It’s a market that AISA Real Estate Services has been excelling in since the firm opened its doors in 2011. AISA Real Estate Services has recently gained attention for marketing 30 percent of the Trump Vancouver Residences for a record (for a project of its size) average price of $2,306 per square foot.
Not just any firm can successfully carve out a niche meeting the needs of affluent buyers and sellers, observes AISA’s Aaron Chen. “It takes an understanding of what motivates clients in the luxury real estate market and how that translates into finding them a property that meets all their expectations and hopes.” Chen adds, “Most importantly, it requires an understanding of how you as a firm can align your goals with the goals of your clients’.”
At one level, that translates into being aware of the kinds of amenities this segment of the real estate market demands. For example, infinity pools, fully-equipped gyms, doormen and 24-hour concierge services are high-priority features, and the smarter the home, the better. But, traditional luxury home design elements, like gourmet kitchens, wet bars and spa-style bathrooms, aren’t seen as luxuries these days – but are expected.
But, there’s more to it than just showing luxury residences. Succeeding in this end of the market means developing an honest rapport with and being transparent in your dealings with clients.
“You also need to respond to their sensitivities,” Aaron Chen remarks. “It almost goes without saying, but they expect that their transactions will be handled with discretion, and that their privacy and confidentiality are honored.”