Apologies, we are scheduled for maintenance.

A Glimpse Into Luxury Multi-Home International Buying

As high wealth individuals grow throughout the world, so do their real estate preferences and demands. Sotheby’s International Realty recently partnered with Wealth-X to gain a deeper understanding what’s currently driving multi-home global buyers.

Beyond the Traditional

The UHNW Luxury Real Estate Multi-Homers Report assessed an expansive group, 211,000 in total, of individuals classified as “Ultra-High Net Worth.” For the purposes of the report, that meant those people with a net worth exceeding USD $30 million.

What was uncovered is that those people who meet the ultra-high net worth standards and are owners or buyers of multiple homes are looking for something that is non-traditional. The focus for these buyers is on elements relating to technology and sustainability, which can include green and smart homes, but they’re also seeking private islands and apartments with five star amenity-based services.

While the buying habits of UHNW individuals have often focused on high-profile, urbanized luxury markets like New York and London, this particular report zeroed in on the markets of Miami, Geneva, Switzerland, and Long Island, New York.

The world’s wealthiest are moving increasingly toward globally-oriented lifestyles, where they’re not rooted in one location, but instead move around throughout the world. This is because of not only business ties but also social associations and the impact of an increasingly globalized society.

The Buyer Profile

When looking at those dubbed “multi-homers” we’re talking about people who have at least two homes, along with the classification mentioned above of a net worth of more than $30 million. If we’re going to take an overall look at these people, we will find that along with owning at least two luxury homes, 90% of these buyers are married, the average age is 63 and the average net worth is $165 million.

Aside from the primary place of residence, the most popular countries in the world for these luxury buyers and owners include the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, and France.

These buyers tend to be seeking the distinctive properties that are not only eco-friendly but also make a statement and create a supportive platform lending to global mobility, as well as a sense of privacy and the ability to create a long-lasting legacy.

A Greener Future

One of the biggest and most compelling trends in luxury home buying is the preference for green and sustainable properties. High-end purchasers are investing in what’s seen as the most significant buying trend amongst high-net-worth people.

Construction is reflecting this preference for sustainability, and we see an increase in the inclusion of features like solar power, geothermal heating, the utilization of renewable building materials and efficient heating and lighting technology.

As evidence of this trend and its prevalence, between 2014 and 2015 there was a 9.7% increase in the construction of LEED-certified homes in the U.S. and a 14% increase of BREEM-certified construction in the U.K.

Wealthy younger buyers drive much of this push for eco-friendly luxury housing, and it’s catching on in China, where there’s been a 19% increase in green construction, thanks in part to government incentives.

It’s not just a desire for social responsibility leading the way in eco-friendly luxury living; it’s also the fact that buyers see a better and more immediate return on their investment as there’s a reduction in cost differences between green and non-green building techniques and materials.

Smarter Living

With more than 9% of American UHNW people amassing their fortunes through innovation and the technology sector, it’s no surprise they’re embracing these elements within the design of their homes.

Juniper Research reports by 2017 the smart home market will total $60 billion, and while there’s no strict definition as to what classifies a smart home, they often include networking and communications technologies, security and remote access systems, state-of-the-art entertainment systems and energy management systems.

Many times these systems are operated remotely via a smartphone or tablet, which is ideal for the international buyer who wants to be able to monitor a luxury residence from wherever they may be located in the world at that time.

The Seclusion of a Private Island

There is perhaps no type of high-end property that says luxury and makes a statement like a private island. There are more than 1,000 private islands currently available for sale, and this option has continued to grow in popularity, particularly since the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Private island, Moho Caye - Belize $4,250,000

Private island, Moho Caye - Belize. $4,250,000

While the classic options of the Caribbean and Mediterranean remain popular, Southeast Asia, Canada, Belize and the U.K. are also real estate hot spots for purchasing islands. Along with the islands themselves, many high net worth buyers are seeking direct access to deep-water docks, and while these islands are purchased as vacation properties in many instances, they’re also being bought by affluent individuals who wish to create areas of conservation or off-the-grid sustainable living.

Full-Service Apartments

UHNW individuals are having an ever-increasing sense of globalization that characterizes their lifestyle, and this is aided by the growth of the private jet and chartered flight industry.

Luxury apartment with city view, New York.

425 West 50th Street, Apt 10c, New York. $4,995,000

This means one or more of their homes are very often located outside of their main residential region and serviced apartments allow them to enjoy a home that’s fully maintained while they’re away.

These luxury apartments may include concierge, valet, housekeeping, and security, offering a sense of not only convenience but peace of mind.

Key Market: Miami

Miami is an attractive multi-homer destination for not only buyers from around the world, but in particular from the Latin American countries. This U.S destination is known not only for incredible restaurants and nightlife, but also its distinctive coming together of cultures including American, Latin, and Caribbean, all of which make it a favourite for Latin American luxury buyers.


485 Leucadendra Drive, Coral Gables, Florida $15,850,000

It features stunning beaches and amazing weather throughout the year, as well as an array of outdoor activities, which has long made Miami a playground for the wealthy. Investment opportunities are growing as the city itself becomes a hub of not only entertaining but also culture. The types of homes available for wealthy people in Miami range from single-family properties located on a pristine stretch of beach to sleek, modern penthouse condos with fantastic views.

Miami has a UHNW population reported to be 1,085, with the net worth of those individuals averaging $185 million. The average luxury home listing price is $1.9 million, and 23% of the city’s industry is focused on finance, banking and investment. The top countries for foreign owners of Miami properties are Cuba and Argentina.

Key Market: Geneva

Geneva is the height of refined, luxurious and sophisticated living. Located in pristine Switzerland, known as one of the world’s most politically and economically stable countries, Geneva affords proximity to Lake Geneva, and it’s also home to everything from yachting to the nearby World Economic Forum in Davos.

Conches, Geneva, 1231 - Switzerland. POA

Conches, Geneva, 1231 - Switzerland. POA

Geneva provides easy access to other areas throughout Europe, and with a large international population, it’s one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.

With an UHNW population of 1,525, the average amount of wealth among this group is $190 million in Geneva. The average listing price of a luxury property is $4.1 million, and the primary industries are finance, banking and investment. The majority of foreign owners in Geneva hail from the United Kingdom and Germany.

Key Market: Long Island

Just a short distance from the millionaire and billionaire hub of activity that is New York City is Long Island. Waterfront communities abound, ranging from sprawling historic estates to more modern beachfront properties.

The Hamptons is perhaps one of the most desirable locales on Long Island, where homes often include water views, pools and beautifully manicured lawns.

Luxury living room with fireplace and sea view.

124 Dune Road, Quogue, New York. $19,995,000

The recent sale of an oceanfront home in The Hamptons brought in an astounding $147 million, which represent the record as the most expensive piece of high-end real estate ever sold in the United States.

There is an UHNW population of 635 on Long Island, and the average amount of wealth comes in at $140 million among the population. The average luxury home listing price is $2.5 million, and like Miami and Geneva, the primary industries are finance, banking, and investment. The countries that lend the most high net worth buyers to Lond Island include the UK and Canada.

About Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a means to provide independent brokerages with a marketing and referral program for exclusive luxury listings. Sotheby’s International Realty maintains one of the most elite clientele in all of the world.

About Wealth-X

Wealth-X is a global firm providing sales, marketing, strategy and compliance solutions centered around wealth intelligence. Wealth-X provides services to the financial, luxury, non-profit and educational sectors and has been featured on CNBC, the Financial Times, and the BBC. Wealth-X holds offices in 10 locations including Hong Kong, New York and London.