The pandemic has caused people to reevaluate what is important to them in 2020, with greater emphasis placed on home, family and health. This has led to the creation of a new group of affluent trailblazers. These trailblazers defy traditional categorization commonly generated by demographic factors such as net worth, age or gender. They aren’t following traditional migration patterns dictated by their place of work either. They are changing their luxury spending habits, moving to new locations and purchasing homes that better accommodate the needs of their family for right here and now.
Looking at the most current wealth research generated by Wealth-X, WealthEngine, other third-party sources, and combining it with anecdotal evidence from Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® Property Specialists in the field, a picture begins to emerge. Three archetypes are having a major impact on the luxury real estate landscape in 2020: explorers, new suburbanites and resorters.
Explorers are ready to leave the city behind. Generally, they are looking for a new adventure in America’s exurbs, far-flung suburbs and sleepy small towns where their dollar will carry them further. They are less concerned with status and are more willing to choose “hidden gem” locations — slightly more rural, non-traditional luxury markets — if it means that they can have better schools, access to open space and a dynamic mix of shops, restaurants and recreational facilities that allow them to center a lifestyle focused on family. Explorers tend to be younger (under the age of 39), married with at least one young child, and have a net worth in the $1 to 5 million range; however, they are a diverse group and many exceptions apply. Many are business owners, or business executives or work in professions that allow them the flexibility to work from home, making it easier for them to live farther away from major metro centers.
New suburbanites are leading a revival of the suburbs. Often, they prefer suburbs that offer personal space, private backyards, a bedroom for each child, plenty of property amenities (like dual home offices for two working parents), good schools and, in some cases, a dose of city culture with newly developed urban-style mixed-use centers with restaurants, retail, offices and open green spaces. Despite the fact that many new suburbanites are entrepreneurs, business owners or senior managers who have the ability to work from home, they may still need to be within commuting distance of cities for work or business. The majority tend to be slightly older than explorers (between the ages of 39 and 54) and are married with two or more school-aged children. While net worth and disposable income vary based on location, they also tend to have a higher net worth ($5 to $10 million). Many own more than one home. They are more likely to make luxury purchases like sports cars, boats, art, collectibles and health and wellness treatments.
Resorters are those who are flocking to world-class vacation destinations where they can enjoy a resort lifestyle filled with fresh air, freedom and access to recreation and luxury amenities. Whether they ski, golf or enjoy wine, resorters often choose their locations based on their life passions. They may either be permanently relocating to their favorite vacation destination or are converting a seasonal second home already in their possession to a primary residence in response to the pandemic.
Because resort markets tend to have higher price points, resorters are often in a higher wealth bracket — $10 million and over. In many cases, they are not giving up their city homes completely. The majority of them are slightly older (over the age of 54) and are married with possibly older or adult children. They often own at least two properties, including a home in a city. The majority are established business owners with middle management onsite, giving them the freedom to work remotely. They may also be at retirement age, giving them extra freedom to live anywhere they want. However, accessibility and driveability to their resort home may still be important factors for them. They are accustomed to sophisticated living and look for properties that afford them a lifestyle that matches their affluence. They place a premium on privacy and freedom. They enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including skiing, biking, hiking, boating, tennis or golf. Because of their activity, they love their toys — cars, boats and collectibles. However, they also prioritize health and wellness.
For more on what’s driving these trends, read the complete 2020 report, “A Look at Wealth: Affluent Trailblazers.”