High-end homes aren’t just huge anymore

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Luxury has come to mean more about an owner’s personality and less about size

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What defines luxury real estate in 2022? In dollars, that’s a price over $2.5 million. Or $4 million, depending on who you ask.

But for Paul Maranger of Sotheby’s Canada, which sells high-end homes in and around Toronto, neither cost nor size are reliable indicators of the extravagant living they once were.

“Previously, luxury was only defined by size, but the segment has expanded beyond that equation,” says Maranger, noting that smaller families, the growing number of unique buyers and the rise in Urban real estate prices are forces that are reshaping the luxury market.

For young buyers, a very large house can be seen less as a status symbol and more as a waste of time and money. They want to indulge themselves, to make their home a place of retirement, but on a smaller scale, as many older buyers do who are downsizing or renovating to stay put.

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For Maranger and his business partner Christian Vermast, it all makes sense. Having both lived in Europe, they understand that space-saving spaces can make big style statements while providing everyday comfort and convenience.

In Europe, says Maranger, the focus would be less on square footage and more, for example, on finishes and fixtures. “Now we have access to global design, and we can look to smaller spaces in Europe or Japan, which I think is the epitome of luxury – that’s where you see the best work in the smallest spaces.

Generally, the higher the price of the house, the more customization there is. “So you need to find the buyer who appreciates the same things that make sense to sellers.”

Guests are less likely to be thrilled with a huge kitchen with a double-door fridge (so much cleaning!) than they are with a media room with a drawer fridge and an 18-inch dishwasher (Netflix and chill). “

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And I never hear these days ‘where the hell am I going to put all my china and crystal and silver?’ Never,” says Maranger.

Personal expression in design is a hallmark of well-appointed homes, he adds. “To me, luxury is a house that is layered and reflects the personality of the owner. It’s not a space that looks like someone walked into a design store and said I’d take this living room off the floor.

The personality was certainly present in a recent listing on Lake Shore Boulevard West, a two-story custom condominium that had housed art collector and philanthropist Dr. Salah Bachir.

Contrary to the estate sales gospel of reducing or even eliminating art when selling a home, the 6,470 square foot space, which stands high in the sky above Humber Bay , housed some 3,200 pieces, including works by Andy Warhol, Kent Monkman and Betty Goodwin. Here, the gallery vibe didn’t detract from the presentation of the property, says Maranger.

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“It tells a story. In real estate, we need to tell a story that connects to a buyer. We don’t need to tell a story that connects with 100 buyers, we need to connect with whoever it resonates with. Plus, I see the way eyes roll now when people walk into perfectly staged spaces. They are tired of that look. “

Despite geopolitical and economic uncertainty, Maranger expects Toronto’s luxury real estate market to hold up over the next few years. “There is no land and we have borders,” he explains. His concern is for suburban markets, which he says have hyper-inflated over the past two and a half years.

“There will be substantial rebalancing in these markets. But in the realm of luxury, people are coming back to what the city has to offer. As for current market conditions, he uses a caffeinated example.

“Let’s say there’s a cappuccino. Last year there was moss on it. In February, he had a triple mousse. For the moment there is no foam but the coffee is really strong. Market fundamentals are solid.

Vicky Sanderson is the editor of Around the House, www.aroundthehouse. California. Check her out on [email protected], Twitter ATHwithVicky and/or Facebook.com/ATHVicky.ca.

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