By Robert Frank
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.
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