The Year Ahead in Luxury Real Estate

by Mansion Global

Your guide to new developments, smart-home gadgets, amenities, interior design and market trends

The upcoming year could prove to be a good one for buyers in many of the world’s top markets. 

While uncertainty defined 2019, the real estate market in cities like New York, London and Miami will be more defined next year, as buyers will continue to have an upper-hand. London, in particular, might finally be returning to stability after years of Brexit tumult and the re-election of Boris Johnson as prime minister. 

Sydney, meanwhile, is expected to continue surging, closing the window for buyers, who must move quickly to snag a deal.

Our 2020 preview will take a look at these markets, as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dubai.

You’ll also get to read about exciting developments, big leaps in smart home technology and amenities galore. And we will give you the inside scoop from industry insiders on interior design trends.

Join Mansion Global as we guide you through everything you need to know about luxury real estate in 2020.

With Recession Fears Abated, Luxury Housing Markets Enter 2020

Guarded optimism—it’s a sentiment that applies to numerous luxury housing markets in 2020. 

Rising concern over a global economic slowdown, a U.S.-China trade war and uncertainty that crescendoed into full-blown recession fears last summer have all abated to some extent. That’s encouraging news for the world’s luxury real estate hubs, where housing performance is closely tied to global economic growth.

“There’s a good link between luxury real estate prices and [economic] growth,” said Thomas Veraguth, strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management. So, there are reasons to be optimistic, he said, “if the consensus is that we are not going into recession—or even a pickup in the cycle.”

For the decade between 2008 and 2018, major global economic events, from the financial crisis through the recovery, caused most luxury housing markets to fall and rise in sync. 

But it’s becoming harder to use a single brushstroke to map the future movement of luxury home prices from Los Angeles to Dubai, as local economic conditions and domestic policies—from inventory to tax changes—override the global forces in driving price growth and demand. 

Top Interior Design Trends for 2020

A living area designed by Taylor Howes showcases a sense of relaxed yet elegant living. Photography Courtesy of Taylor Howes.

Tracking the décor that’s trending is often more about inspiration than instant overhaul. Afterall, the style that speaks to you may be a reflection of your personality rather than a prescriptive one-size-fits-all formula.

But every now and then we could all use a little change. And whether you’re tired of looking at the same old design scheme, need a small refresh or simply like to follow what’s new now, taking your cue from design trends can help you figure out just how to update your home.

More and more, people are forgoing stiff, formal interiors that feel more like museums than actual homes in favor of relaxed living.

 “We're noticing that interior design seems to be loosening up, that tastemakers seem less concerned with creating spaces that are models of perfectly good taste and are pushing boundaries in ways they hadn't before, even at the very high end," said New York-based Anthony Barzilay Freund, 1stdibs editorial director and director of fine art. “In these stressful times, people are increasingly seeing their homes as sanctuaries, so it follows that a more relaxed, even rumpled environment feels more soothing and comforting.”

Designed by Tania Cassill, owner/interior designer of Huit Laguna, this living room has a bespoke quality as if it was collected over time. 

There’s been a move toward livable luxury and curated design, said Tania Cassill, owner/interior designer of Laguna Beach, California-based Huit Laguna. “It really tells more about the person and what their favorite things are. The most beautiful interiors have a sense of pieces collected over time: iconic leather Togo Fireside chairs next to a stunning new crushed velvet sectional—all atop a vintage Moroccan rug they could have acquired on their recent visit to Marrakech,” she said. 

A big part of this look is mixing vintage with contemporary pieces. “Authentic and found pieces from varying eras that somehow work together to create a more personal design aesthetic,” Ms. Cassill said. 

Slow design, which focuses on the materials, origin of the piece and how it’s made, taking the environment and sustainability into account, has become more mainstream, said Adriana Hoyos, principal designer for ADRIANA HOYOS Furnishings in Miami. People are caring more about the provenance of a piece that’s well rather than instant, click-to-order mass production. “Designers will have to overcome the idea of the ‘extreme makeover’ and start investing their ideas into juicy statement pieces of lighting, furniture and accessories,” Ms. Hoyos said, noting that design in 2020 will also prioritize the idea of mixing traditional pieces with the designs of today.

New Developments: The Class of 2020

Luxury living today means modern, clean design, five-star service and curated wellness amenities. Whether it’s a record-setting tower or a villa in a boutique development, new developments are staffed around the clock, offering a range of services from refrigerator stocking to personal training to reservations at the nearest private airport.

Residences feature top-of-the-line finishes and calming color schemes, plus open floor plans and indoor/outdoor spaces. And, of course, views are always in style. 

Opening over the course of 2020, these projects create a resort-like atmosphere while still offering all the comforts of home.

  • Central Park Tower, New York City

  • Waterline Square, New York City

  • The Harland, Los Angeles

  • Regent’s Crescent, London

  • Lumina Residences, Noosa, Queensland, Australia

  • Australia 108, Melbourne

  • Turnberry Ocean Club Residences, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida

What’s in Store for the Smart Home in 2020

As we come hurtling toward the end of another year and the start of a new decade, we’re taking a look ahead at what 2020 might hold for the smart home.

2020 will be the year of streaming. While services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video have been around for years, steadily improving the streaming experience and amassing their own catalogs of original content, 2020 is the year when the more traditional film and television creators—as well as tech companies, like Apple—are embracing the medium and are launching their own dedicated streaming platforms. 

Already we’ve seen the launch of Disney+ (and Baby Yoda) and AppleTV+, with HBO Max and Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, on the horizon. There will even be a phone-only streaming service, Quibi, offering short-form content (“quick bites”), meant to be viewed during your free moments throughout the day. 

And these won’t be the last. While some services bundle multiple channels (HBO Max, for example, includes WarnerMedia properties like CNN, Adult Swim, TNT and more) or pool content along genre lines (Shudder is a streaming service dedicated to horror), the proliferation of streaming services will continue unabated for the near future.

The rapid expansion of streaming will have a natural knock-on effect on the smart home. Expect some internet connectivity to come standard on all televisions moving forward—at the bare minimum an operating system that allows for streaming apps or a web browser that would allow users to access streaming services’ online portals. More likely, though, the televisions of the future will see many smart integrations as standard features. 

If it becomes necessary for your television to be connected—and it is looking that way—then developers will likely make sure your TV can also control your lights, your locks, your laundry machines and even call your entire contact list. There’s a real possibility that your 65-inch flatscreen could become the remote control for your smart home.

But your flatscreen won’t be your only screen. Between your phone, tablet, smart speaker-with-screen and even your screen-outfitted refrigerator, the rise of streaming will emphasize the importance of synchronicity. While it will likely be a software solution (meaning: in-streaming app), look for developers to make it easy as possible to switch across devices—and across brands—to pick up exactly where you left off with what you were streaming.

The appeal to the streaming consumer is apparent—the programming that you want to watch, when you want to watch it and on the specific device you want to watch it on. But there are plenty of upsides to the streaming provider as well. Locking subscribers into monthly payment models (the price of which can be elevated over time), slowly eroding the secondary sale market and elevating new subscriptions via exclusives. 

But what about the consumer who has already spent years amassing media, both digitally and physically? Does the dominance of streaming mean you’ll need to purchase HBO Max if you want to watch he “The Sopranos” on your tablet? Not necessarily.

Look for the popularity of Plex, and similar services, to increase in the coming years. What is Plex? Quite simply, it’s your own personal Netflix. Plex software allows users to turn a connected machine (laptop, desktop; Mac mini is a popular option) into a server for the user's digital content. Own the entire “Alien” series? Host it on your Plex server and then access it through the Plex app on the device of your choice—be it phone, tablet, computer or television. Physical media—DVDs, Blu-rays—can also be ripped (via other software) and hosted on Plex, meaning you won’t have to pay a monthly fee to enjoy your favorite films and TV shows at anytime and from anywhere.

Cutting-Edge Amenities That Will Define 2020

In the world of high-end luxury condominiums, yesterday’s hottest amenities have become today’s standard features, prompting developers, architects and realtors to push the envelope in the hunt for those new extras to get an edge with buyers.

“Everybody does a nice marble bathroom now and a nice interior, everywhere you go,” said Michael Braun, marketing and sales director for Vancouver-based developer Westbank, which has projects underway in Seattle, Toronto and Tokyo among other cities. 

“Where we’re trying to go is beyond just amenities. We’re trying to look at how people live and try to rethink that,” Mr. Braun said. 

“I see with my buyers that they want ultra-convenience,” said Ivan Chorney, broker associate at One Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami. “O.K., it’s got a concierge? Great. It’s got a butler? Awesome. If I order my groceries to the building the day before I get there, is there someone who’s going to take them and stock the fridge? Those are the kinds of questions they’re asking.”  

So, what extras might present themselves in 2020, beyond expected luxuries such as 65-foot pools and serene treatment rooms, sumptuous lounges and libraries, state-of-the-art kitchens staffed by private chefs, rooftop terraces and that aforementioned five-star-hotel concierge service?