Agent lifts lid on luxury property industry


The growing influence of offshore buyers in recent years is seeing our top-end properties become more extravagant, says Caleb Paterson of Paterson Luxury, which specialises in multi-million dollar residential estate sales

New Zealand’s most expensive residential homes are increasingly becoming more opulent as buyers install internationally inspired ‘showpiece’ features and technology, ranging from solid gold bath taps to state-of-the-art wardrobe security systems for million-dollar-plus designer handbag collections.

Buyers in this part of the market are well travelled and expect their property to be elevated beyond a tennis court, pool and view, which may have previously set a standard. These buyers have their own tastes and do not simply rely on the expertise of architects and interior designers, but rather take inspiration from a variety of sources from around the world.

They are global citizens and are often inspired by what they’ve seen overseas in luxury properties, lodges and hotels such as the Four Seasons, they will even add design elements from commercial buildings and want these incorporated into their homes.

Both internal and exterior concept features are added with the intention of elevating the property and enhancing the lives of its occupants. Often these are at a scale that most would be staggered to experience in a residential setting.

As an example, one of the largest outdoor pools I have seen covered approximately 250 sqm and came complete with a terraced waterfall and fountain, volleyball nets, waterslides and a function that produces a cooling mist at the touch of the button.

Technology and home automation are key areas where high-net-worth individuals invest a considerable amount of money. This goes beyond the hidden TVs that many properties have these days. In one residence the kitchen was transformed into a high-end cocktail bar which emerged from the floor on demand.

It is also becoming common for homeowners to create lavish bathrooms. One couple had installed his and her baths for the ultimate wind down experience, complete with champagne fridge and flat screen TV so they could relax in front of their favourite show.

I have also been through a home with solid gold taps worth hundreds of thousands of dollars fitted over a claw bath.

Another home had a full-length 25m commercial-grade pool with four lanes because the owner’s child was a competitive swimmer, it was set indoors alongside a sauna, plunge pool, and fully equipped gym.

It is these curated design elements which heighten the perceived value of these multi-million dollar properties to the most discerning segment of the market.

Potential buyers will approach Patterson Luxury to find homes fitting their personalised criteria.

I am currently looking for a property for a car enthusiast who wants a place where he can store his collection of 20 luxury vehicles in a purpose-built facility he will construct on site.

For this buyer, it is less about the quality of the home and more about having enough space to accommodate his interests.

The maintenance of these luxurious residences is often a full-time job with many property owners having additional quarters for live-in help who assist with; landscaping, building, property maintenance, cooking, cleaning and nannying services.

There are also separate kitchens so when entertaining staff can perform culinary duties without guests seeing them come and go.

One property owner was fastidious and liked to keep the grounds immaculate, they paid more than $5000 a month for this service. Others who want their lawns continuously groomed and maintained at a specific height are investing in robotic lawnmowers with GPS technology allowing them to navigate the section.

Outside technology and sports and leisure facilities, high-net-worth clients also invest heavily in the arts. Sometimes the properties are even sold with valuable works and collections included in the list of chattels.

Despite perceptions, these homes are not always in the pristine condition that one would expert of a high-end property. Outside appearances can also be deceiving. Often the homes may have little street appeal but when you walk inside the interior you will see a number of grandiose items that take you by surprise.