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Exploring the latest in luxury housing trends

Luxury houses may only make up a very small portion of the larger real estate industry, but much can be gleaned from studying the popular trends in the upper end of the market.

Luxury Real Estate: What’s Hot?

The economy is rocking and rolling, money is flowing, and the real estate market is red hot. This means innovation and design trends are rapidly evolving as well. And in the luxury portion of the market – which consists of homes that are priced well above the median sale price – a few trends stand out above the rest.

The explosion of Smart Home Technology

Smart home technology has really taken off over the past 18 to 24 months. There’s been a huge uptick in adoption rates for automated security systems, state of the art kitchen appliances, and smart entertainment systems. But the most interesting trend has been the growth of niche smart home products that can connect with other systems and provide a totally custom homeowner experience.

For example, many homeowners have smart shades that come with built-in Z-wave antenna technology that allows them to be integrated with existing home automation systems. This allows for easy and automated shade operation to control lighting and privacy.

Smart lighting is another niche aspect of smart home technology that’s taken off. Smart bulbs can be scheduled to turn on and off, adjust brightness, or even activate and deactivate based on motion.

Transition From Bathroom to Spa

Bathrooms have always been at the top of the list of priorities for homeowners. When it comes to renovations, in particular, they seem to provide the most bang for the buck. And lately we’ve seen a huge trend in spa-like bathrooms.

One of the more interesting developments is the disappearance of the bathtub (or at least its fall from prominence). When space is limited, the bathtub no longer seems to make the cut.

As one home renovation company explains, “Large luxurious showers built for two, with benches, multiple fixtures, steam units and heated floors are more and more at the top of the wish list for spa elements in bathroom renovations now.”

Incorporation of Unique Textures

Texture has always played an important role in interior design. It’s used to establish balance, add visual weight, and create clean contrast in what might otherwise be a monochromatic scheme.

Lately, textures have taken on a new meaning. Accent walls are especially common, with reclaimed wood walls, shiplap, and brick ruling the day. Wallpaper is even making a comeback, though the floral patterns of the 80’s and 90’s are being replaced with sleek, textured finishes.

Advanced Security

Home security technology and luxury real estate have always gone hand in hand, but new innovation is changing the game like never before.

“Recent security innovations are wonders of technology,” one real estate agent explains, “and are not surprisingly designed by former military masterminds: outdoor surveillance cameras with night vision to protect a home’s perimeters; safe rooms with oxygen scrubbers, back-up generators and Kevlar-reinforced doors; blast films on windows to make them virtually impenetrable; and ceiling devices that when tripped, fire pepper spray or a fog laced with ingredients to temporarily debilitate unwanted intruders.”

This may seem like overkill to many, but it’s just the sort of security that’s needed to provide luxury homeowners – who are often prominent public figures – with peace of mind in an unpredictable world.

The Trickle-Down Effect

You might be thinking to yourself, “Why should I care about what’s happening in the luxury real estate market?” It’s a valid question and one that many contemplate, but there’s good reason to pay attention. Whether you’re an architect, interior designer, real estate agent, contractor, or homeowner, you can benefit from keeping your finger on the pulse of the upper end of the market.

Luxury housing trends are just that – luxury housing trends – until they suddenly become, well, mainstream, middle class housing trends. History has shown over and over again that trends start in the luxury portion of the market and eventually trickle down. Over time, what starts as a luxury trend becomes the norm across all price points.

Smart home technology, spa-inspired master bathrooms, and other hot luxury trends may not be the norm in middle-class housing yet, but they soon will be. And by staying one step ahead of the market, you can prepare yourself to adapt.