Charlie Chaplin always managed to mix a good measure of insight in with the silent movie knee-slappers. It was “The Little Clown” who once said, “The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.” One way or another, we Americans have come up with a singularly surefire way to overcome that problem: we just constantly redefine what comprises “luxury”!

Real estate website Trulia proves the point. Each year they count how frequently certain phrases appear in luxury listings—here in Bainbridge Island as well as across the nation. From year to year, their findings provide an interesting measure of what’s hot and what’s not in luxury listings.

Buyers Want A Room With A View (and A Marble Bath!)

The words that most commonly appear in luxury listings are marble bath, roof deck and oversize windows. Luxury listings were 78% more likely to contain marble bath than was true the previous year. And windows seemed a focal point in the latest luxury listings: three of the top seven phrases dealt with them in one way or another. Oversized windows were 56% more likely to appear this year, floor to ceiling windows were up 39%, and ceiling windows appeared 37% more frequently.

There seemed a general drift toward defining luxury characteristics as that which can be seen from outside the home as much as what is found inside. Bainbridge Island sellers might note that, along with great windows, roof decks and terraces were other popular draws in the luxury listings.

Luxury Cooking Facilities No Longer As Hot

At the same time, cooking and kitchen amenities seemed to have faded in importance. BBQ was the amenity that dropped the most—declining by 16%. Other big losers were stainless appliances, custom cabinets, gourmet kitchen and breakfast areas.

Yesterday’s Luxury: Today’s Necessity?

A word of caution about all this: when we are deciding the important phrasing for our own Bainbridge Island luxury listings, it’s worth considering that what was yesterday’s “luxury” can quickly become today’s necessity. Just as we wouldn’t think of heated indoor plumbing or refrigerator as a high end amenities, at some point they were. Amenities that were once emphasized may no longer be given prominence because buyers have simply come to take it for granted that they will be included…if they were headlined, the listing might look…well, average. As our conception of luxury redefines itself, we should expect their listing phrases will change, too.

Whether you agree with Charlie Chaplin or not, luxury in housing is apparently here to stay. If you are interested in exploring—or adding to—the luxury listings in Bainbridge Island, don’t you be silent—give me a call today!

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