Wine cellars and tennis courts are becoming passe for today's mansion buyers. What they really want are open floor plans, smart technologies and really nice pools. A survey from Coldwell Banker Previews International and the Luxury Institute asked homebuyers who make more than $250,000 a year about their priorities or amenities for their homes. To put this group in perspective, their most recent home purchase averaged $1.6 million. More than a third own at least two homes.
When asked about their preferred amenities, the number one choice was "open floor plan," cited by 39 percent of respondents. Ranking second (32 percent) was "fully automated/wired home environment" -- everything from high-speed cabling and integrated music systems to computerized lighting and home monitoring systems. By gender, wealthy men were slightly more tech-oriented than women -- 35 percent versus 29 percent.
Third up was a pool (favored by 28 percent), followed by outdoor kitchen, suggesting that the life of leisure is moving outdoors. Women favored the outdoor kitchen far more than men, who presumably are happy with just a barbecue. Having a gym was also important, along with a home theater.
Wine cellars are getting a little stale. More respondents listed them as "less important" than listed them as a priority. Also ranking low was a guesthouse, safe room, separate catering kitchen and a tennis court.
The amenity with the lowest priority was staff quarters. That suggests either that today's wealthy don't need so much help-or they're telling the help to find their own quarters.
MASSIVE MANSIONS: 10 OF THE LARGEST HOMES IN THE U.S.:
Location: Peapack-Gladstone, N.J. Square feet: 50,000 Price: $4.9 million
Considering how much space you get with this opulent Louis XVIII-style chateau, we'd call this a steal! With rich stone and wood detailing, this gigantic mansion, which was built from 1898 to 1903, "awaits further renovation."
Location: Beverly Hills, Calif. Square feet: 48,000 Price: $58 million
You might as well be living in a museum with that gorgeous pool and those fountains surrounding it! This home, which has a $58 million price tag that will put a serious dent in your wallet, is a true modern masterpiece.
Location: Lake Tahoe, Nev. Square feet: 38,000 Price: $75 million
The listing describes this juggernaut of a house as "Lake Tahoe's most prestigious property, with few rivals in the world." It's a magically secluded home consisting of eight buildings, including a main residence, art studio/conservatory and a gymnasium with basketball court.
Location: Orono, Minn. Square feet: 32,461 Price: $24 million
This magnificent mansion sits on 13 acres and commands 360-degree water views atop Bracketts Point, the most desirable location along Lake Minnetonka. Need a little action along with this serene escape? Downtown Minneapolis isn't far.
Location: Nahua, N.H. Square feet: 26,528 Price: $2.3 million
This home is "a rare example of Beaux Arts Classical design," according to the listing. An addition was built onto the home in 1947, which became Mt. St. Mary's, a mixed-use space with classrooms and living quarters.
Location: Greenwich, Conn. Square feet: 26,415 Price: $23 million
In the hoity-toity playground of the rich and even more rich, this estate has two gated entrances that lead to more than 8.7 acres of lush greenery. Not satisfied with this home's measly 26,000 square feet? There's an approved building site on the land where you can add on to the home until your heart's content.