The pandemic changed consumer trends in a wide variety of ways, but perhaps none more so than unshackling us from the office and opening the ability to work from anywhere. This flexibility to travel has had knock-on consequences far and wide, with a remarkable increase in consumer interest in purchasing second homes across the globe. From the Alps to the Hamptons, luxury second-home projects have been selling out incredibly quickly, and with this outsize demand, new luxury development projects have been popping up in exciting, emerging destinations.
In central Wisconsin, Sand Valley has made a name for itself as one of North America’s premier golfing destinations. Yet it’s also fast becoming a sought-after residential destination. “Sand Valley buyers come here to escape traditional and often outdated ‘luxury’ communities,” said Baker Thompson, Head of Real Estate at Sand Valley. “What drives the growth we are experiencing is authenticity — authentic, world-ranked golf laid simply across the dunes; wooded enclaves with home designs that surround you with water, dunes and forest views. Sand Valley is a genuine place where families and friends can connect in a beautiful and unspoiled natural setting, and that may be the most luxurious quality of all.”
This drive for authenticity has been visible in travel markets for many years, with experiential travel establishing itself in the leisure travel industry. It looks increasingly like this appetite for the authentic has now made its way into leisure real estate markets in a pronounced way, with luxury consumers eager to commit to longer-stays in remote areas that offer a healthier and more active way of living.
In Mexico, new luxury destinations are emerging on the outskirts of traditional demand centres. RLH Properties launched the ultra-exclusive One&Only Mandarina in a remote part of Riviera Nayarit’s coastline last year, bringing to market the brand’s first residential offering, One&Only Mandarina Private Homes. Their 55 villas offer expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, with lifestyle amenities ranging from firepits to infinity pools. Kappner Clark, the chief marketing officer for RLH Properties, describes the villas as capturing the best of indoor/outdoor living. “The essence of Mandarina is to be immersed in nature and, to that end, the homes have an indoor/outdoor living room and a kitchen that opens out onto a large terrace where you get vistas of the water or mountains,” she says.
Remote luxury is also on show further south in Belize, where the Four Seasons Caye Chapel is expected to open to guests in 2024. The project will include 24 branded beachfront residences, and the hotel will become the first luxury brand to enter the Belize market. The project is only a short swim away from the world’s second-largest barrier reef, and the development will pay homage to its stunning setting by dedicating 90 per cent of the island to conservation, nature reserves and outdoor experiences.
Similar trends can be seen around the world, with new leisure destinations emerging. Colin Hannan, Principal at Proven Partners, a real estate marketing partner for luxury second home developers, is working on a number of luxury projects in a wide array of international markets. “In Zanzibar, we launched Johari Beach Residences late last year and sales interest has been amazingly global, with enquiries coming from over 23 different countries to date. Our first phase of villas are now fully reserved, with the majority of buyers sourced through digital avenues” said Hannan. Zanzibar seems to be on the verge of major growth, with the Four Seasons mooted to opening a sister hotel to its Serengeti outpost in the near future.
In Europe, similar trends can be seen in emerging markets. “Our partners in Montenegro, Ena Capital, have just launched Terra Homes in the up-and-coming mountain destination of Kolasin, offering luxury villas in a year-round adventure destination,’ said Hannan. ‘We have project partners in a variety of destinations from St. Barths to Big Sky — across the board these second home destinations have shown incredible growth in the last two years.” Montenegro already boasts recent openings from Aman and One&Only, positioning it as an emerging destination at the apex of boutique luxury.
From the Americas to Europe and onwards to Africa and Asia, the future seems bright for the luxury second home market.
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