In the property market, size is no longer everything and it seems the wealthy are not content with getting as many acres as possible for their money.
According to a recent survey by Barton Wyatt, it is the all important extras that the rich and famous are now going in search of, This is Money reported. "Second class is not in their vocabulary and these clients know what they want and make sure they get it," the Surrey estate agents wrote.
But just what are those must-haves that socialites and celebs demand from their homes and can existing British stock meet these ever changing desires? If the latest list compiled by Barton Wyatt is anything to go by, perhaps not.
While a walk-in wardrobe may seem like a simple demand when shelling out on a luxury home, his and hers closets may raise a few eyebrows. Barton Wyatt claims that the rich and famous don't just want one sizeable walk-in wardrobe, but desire at least two. And we're not just talking about rooms with lots of clothing rails and shelves either - it's oak panelling or nothing for the wealthy.
If a property can remove the need for a kettle then it seems buyers will be queuing up around the block - or down the mile-long driveway as it were. This is Money explained that the rich now want a tap that produces either boiling hot, drinkable water or chilled H20 at the touch of a button.
While such technology is easy to install in a new build mansion, if you're looking for an historic property in Belgravia, for example, you may have to pay top dollar to get one installed. Nonetheless, it may be a good investment, as Savills central London index revealed prime luxury homes are selling at an average of 23.9 per cent higher than during their peak. If you have your eye on super prime real estate in Belgravia, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Kensington or Mayfair, you will be expected to spend up to 32 per cent more this year than the previous peak.
After a long day making millions, the rich want to come home to a property kitted out with the latest entertainment technology, according to Barton Wyatt. A big screen TV is just the icing on the cake, and speakers built into the ceiling, wall-length screens and wireless controls are now the must-haves for the UK's top earners. Consequently, it seems that an in-house cinema may not be a bad investment for luxury homeowners looking for a quick sale.
How many bathrooms your house has seems to be one of the main indicators of wealth and luxury, so it is no surprise that the rich are now demanding that master bedrooms should have not just one but two en suites. And, of course, the bigger the better, so be sure to fit a walk-in shower you can lie down in if you want to hit those top price brackets.
Wine is considered to be the drink of the gods, so it makes sense that for a luxury home to attract the wealthy it must have its very own underground, watertight, pre-cast cylindrical wine cellar that holds up to 1,500 bottles. While this may seem like one of the more frivolous additions to a home, it actually has investment credentials. Not only is wine an asset, but it never goes out of style, ensuring your property has longevity.
Whether in the heart of London or in the countryside, those paying top dollar for property expect it to come with land. Barton Wyatt claims there must be several manicured lawns, topiary and an environmentally friendly irrigation system.
A wealth of land also presents opportunities to invest in agriculture - a move that could prove wise for those with their sights set on farmhouses worth over GBP 2 million. On December 11th 2012, the government announced that such properties occupied by working farmers can qualify for relief from the new Annual Residential Property Tax (ARPT).
The levy will be introduced in March to crackdown on those looking to avoid paying stamp duty land tax by holding residential property through a company, rather than their own name. In a report Knight Frank explained: "Without the relief from ARPT farmers would have been unfairly penalised because there are a number of business benefits to being incorporated. A new tax would also have been particularly unwelcome at the current time given that we have just experienced one of the worst harvests on record."
Those who put their money in property generally also like to invest in automobiles too and it is therefore no surprise that the rich and famous demand garages that are bigger than some people's homes.
However, these units must be state-of-the-art, capable of housing four or more cars. They must also be temperature controlled, ensuring motors are properly protected. For ultimate luxury, garages should have a lift to take cars to a secure underground level.
For most of us, the best thing we can do to protect against crime is install a lock, an alarm and hope for the best. However, the wealthy prefer to take the Jodie Foster approach and invest in a panic room. These must be capable of being fully stocked, withstanding even the most determined onslaught.
If you're going to have a massive house, chances are you'll need a staff to keep it running properly. The wealthy want somewhere for employees to stay and staff quarters are becoming must-haves. Much in the style of Downton Abbey, this accommodation must have its own entrance, en suite and kitchen area.
Having many sizable rooms is no longer the ultimate in luxury home design. Instead, people are going in search of vast, open plan rooms, heated from below and big enough for a large event.
This has a very contemporary edge and many traditional properties are in fact being remodelled to meet changing requirements. However, with Britain, and London especially, continuing to attract the world's glitterati and business moguls, there are considerable opportunities for new developments in key locations, taking account of new sustainability guidelines.
- Wednesday 13 February 2013