What the rich want in a home
Coldwell Banker asked owners of luxury homes about their life style. The results: pretty modest.
By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The latest Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Survey reveals that, although owners of million dollar houses are living well, they are not indulging in especially lavish life styles.

Coldwell Banker surveyed 300 U.S. homeowners whose primary residence is valued at over $1 million ($2 million for California residents because the median house price is more than twice the national average).

Many homes of the wealthy come with pools.
Many homes of the wealthy come with pools.

"We did not find huge numbers of these consumers having amenities like heated floors (14 percent), tennis courts (4 percent), or backyard putting greens (5 percent)," said Jim Gillespie, CEO of Coldwell Banker.

They live comfortably, however, and they have money left over to fund discretionary purchases. A good proportion of these luxury home owners, 35 percent, own second homes, for example, and an equal number are considering buying another house as an investment or as a second home.

When they buy second homes, recreation is the biggest reason for it; 55 percent are in recreational areas such as beaches (32 percent), lake front (11 percent) or ski resorts (11 percent).

Must haves

Nearly two thirds of respondents have designer kitchens and more than a third have wine cellars. Other amenities of choice: entertainment rooms (59 percent), wet bars (57 percent) and theater seating (24 percent).

These have-a-lots also want to keep what they have; 87 percent have security systems.

And they don't want to spend their time mowing the lawn; 67 percent hire professional landscapers to take care of their yards. Some 37 percent have in-ground pools gracing those landscaped grounds.

One aspect of the modern lush life that distinguishes the present-day wealthy from their predecessors is the notable absence of full-time household help. "The million-dollar life-style is not what you see in the movies," says Gillespie. Only 5 percent employ personal assistants, 4 percent have a live-in housekeeper and 1 percent a driver. That despite the fact that 43 percent made more than $500,000 a year and another 41 percent earned between $200,000 and $500,000.

And they don't shop solely on Madison Avenue and Rodeo Drive. In addition to their most popular shopping places - Nordstrom (34 percent), Neiman Marcus (17 percent) and Saks Fifth Avenue (10 percent) - they also say they patronize stores like Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Talbots and Pottery Barn.


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