LOS ANGELES — Even in a state with hundreds of miles of beautiful, sandy beaches, luxury homebuyers in California preferred hilltop homes over ocean-front properties by a margin of four to one, according to the California Association of Realtors’ 2013 Luxury Real Estate Consumer Survey.
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Forty-one percent of buyers who bought luxury homes (homes priced more than $1 million) last year, purchased a home with a hilltop view, compared to 10 percent who bought an ocean-front home. Hilltop homes even outranked ocean-front homes and ocean-view homes combined (38 percent). Buyers also purchased luxury homes located near a golf course (16 percent), mountain area (12 percent), resort area (9 percent), lake-front (4 percent) and ski resort (1 percent).
The vast majority (79 percent) of luxury homebuyers said they purchased the home as a primary residence. Ten percent purchased the home as a vacation or second home. Nine percent purchased the home as an investment or rental property, and two percent cited “other” reasons.
Additional findings from CAR’s 2013 Luxury Real Estate Consumer Survey include:
• One-fourth of luxury homebuyers said the main reason they purchased a home was because they wanted a larger home, compared to traditional buyers (23 percent) who said they were tired of renting as the primary reason for purchasing a home.
• With luxury homebuyers usually being higher income earners, more than a third of all luxury buyers (35 percent) were able to pay all cash for their property, compared to 27 percent of traditional buyers, and 11 percent of first-time buyers.
• Luxury homebuyers also made higher down payments (30 percent of the sale price) than traditional buyers (25 percent), and as a result had less difficulty in obtaining financing than traditional buyers. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “very easy” and 10 being “very difficult,” luxury homebuyers rated acquiring financing difficulty at 3.7, compared to 8.6 for traditional buyers.
• While luxury homebuyers spent less time looking for properties (five weeks) compared to traditional buyers (10 weeks), luxury buyers looked at more properties (10 properties) than traditional buyers (eight properties) before purchasing the home.
• Buyers of luxury properties tend to be more optimistic than traditional buyers, with more than seven in 10 (71 percent) luxury buyers saying they expected home prices to increase in one year, compared to 36 percent of traditional buyers.
• Luxury homebuyers intended to keep the property for a median of 10 years, compared to six years for traditional buyers.
• Fifty-seven percent of luxury buyers were single, compared to 37 percent of traditional buyers who were single.
The Luxury Real Estate Consumer Survey was conducted via email to a random sample of Realtors statewide who worked with luxury home buyers. All eligible respondents closed escrow on their homes within the 12 months prior to November 2013. The survey asked Realtors a series of questions regarding their last closed transaction with a luxury client.