The State of California in the United States is lined with endless miles of beautiful beaches, but luxury homebuyers prefer homes in the hills with views of the cities.
By Verónica Boix
According to the "2013 Luxury Real Estate Consumer Survey" conducted by the California Association of Realtors last year, 41 percent of buyers of luxury homes--those valued at over one million dollars, bought a house overlooking the hills, while only 10 percent preferred a house by the sea.
In with the trend, Japan's richest man, billionaire Masayoshi Son— founder and CEO of Softbank— paid $ 117.5 million for a mansion in Woodside, California, the heart of upscale and wealthy Silicon Valley. This property became the most expensive in U.S. history.
While 79 percent— a vast majority of luxury buyers purchased the houses as their primary residence; only 10 percent bought them as holiday homes or investment properties. Other interesting options such as exclusive villas, luxury apartments and farms impressed the most discerning customers, who took about five weeks to find the "perfect home."
Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are booming. Los Angeles has positioned itself as a generator of trends in fashion, entertainment and lifestyle, with exclusive areas such as Holmby Hills, Bel Air and Hollywood Hills. San Francisco, on the other hand, is framed by steep hills with one of the highest standards of living in the country, especially in areas such as Pacific Heights, Russian Hill and Belvedere, across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin.
According to the Survey, buyers opt for these properties primarily for two reasons: to acquire a larger home or improve the quality and location of the previous one. However, not all chose views towards hills or the sea. Some preferred alternative landscapes: areas near golf courses were very attractive to 16 percent of buyers, while 12 percent purchased property in the mountains. Real Estate around lakes and ski areas captured less interest, with 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
A curious fact highlighted on the survey is that luxury property buyers tend to be more optimistic than regular buyers: seven out of 10 were confident the price of their property would increase in a year. And almost all said they would keep the house for a period of ten years, unlike traditional customers who usually keep their property for only six years.
The survey’s data reveals the lifestyle preferences in a state like California, one of the most exclusive destinations for homebuyers. And perhaps it is because the State is a commercial hub that attracts some of the most creative and productive businesses in the U.S. and the world. ■
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