Rick BissonThe world’s population is getting richer, and most want to spend that wealth on luxury real estate, according to Luxury Portfolio International’s 2017 Global Luxury Real Estate Report.

Released in September at the annual LeadingRE Global Symposium in Vienna, Austria, the report provides insight into the demographics of the world’s wealthy and highlights the key differences among high-end consumers, including their thoughts and motivations as well as their attitudes toward luxury living.

The number of wealthy people across the world is increasing, as evidenced by data from Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook. In 2016, 1.6 million households around the world had more than $10 million in net worth. That figure represents an 11 percent increase over 2015 and a 91 percent increase since 2010.

Most of the world’s wealthiest live in North America, where the number of $10 million-plus households has increased 146 percent in the last eleven years. The second largest “wealth region” in the world is Europe – home to nearly 20 percent of the world’s wealthiest households.

In the Asia Pacific region, high-net-worth individuals increased more than 20 percent between 2015 and 2016. China is producing 100,000 new millionaires each year.

Data from Luxury Portfolio International’s indicate New York City sales of properties selling for over $10 million in the first half of the year increased 12 percent from the same period the year before to hit a total of 192. However, Manhattan continues to experience an excess of high-value properties, so the increase in sales may be driven largely by closings from contracts signed in 2014 and luxury sellers’ growing willingness to negotiate on price.

In Los Angeles this year, there were 65 sales in the $10 million to $20 million range, up from 50 during the same period of last year. There have been 23 sales in the over-$20 million market in the city so far this year.

When evaluating the motivations of the luxury consumer, the report reveals that in the last few years, the issue of privacy has become increasingly important to high-net-worth individuals. Worldwide, 82 percent of luxury home buyers expressed that their privacy has never been more important. Luxury Portfolio International President Paul Boomsma said, “Today’s high-net-worth buyer seeks privacy and the latest technology, creating a strong opportunity for new home developers.”

To satisfy their interest in privacy, luxury buyers are beginning to seek out security features that allow them to monitor their homes remotely. High-net-worth buyers are also extremely aware of the risk posed by identity theft; their home technology desires match that concern. Luxury consumers value centralized networks to securely control smart-home and internet connections.

Values and lifestyle are also significant factors in how high-net-worth individuals make purchasing decisions. Recently, there has been an increase in interest for housing amenities that focus on elder care. This trend is prevalent on a global basis – identified as one of the top trends at the 2017 Homebuilders Show in Bangkok, Thailand.

Looking into the future, analysis from the report suggests the international luxury residential market will see more demand than supply over the next three years, with 25 percent of high-net-worth individuals expected to buy high-end real estate compared to the 17 percent who want to sell.

For insight into the current and future residential luxury real estate market in Maine, the Midcoast and your neighborhood, consult with a trusted Realtor who has made the investment and qualified as a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist. Their experience, knowledge and access to the necessary tools to analyze the luxury market will help you better understand the value of your property.

This column is produced by Rick Bisson and his family, who own Bisson Real Estate with Keller Williams Realty of Midcoast and Sugarloaf.