December 19, 2014
The Ultimate Heirloom : A Sprawling Estate
The Wall Street Journal, US Edition (by Cecilie Rohwedder)
Affluent Americans are increasingly building or buying legacy properties—multimillion-dollar compounds designed to be shared with extended family now and for generations to come. Fueling interest is the rise of multigenerational living and vacationing ; compounds also provide a gathering place for families that are spread across the globe. Of course, complex family dynamics, busy lifestyles or logistical issues can often foil the most lavish plans for legacy homes.
To make legacy homes fun for all ages, architects are designing large properties with resort-style amenities.
The homes typically include multiple master bedrooms or mini-apartments. For entertainment, some owners install croquet or volleyball courts, as well as swimming pools suitable for fitness laps and splashing grandkids. Cousins can bond in home theaters with stadium-style seating or teen zones with giant video walls for digital games. Lakefront or seaside properties often come with private docks, boat houses or beaches, while many farm or ranch estates include shooting ranges or equestrian facilities.
In a survey conducted earlier this year, 64% of wealthy Americans said they were likely to buy a legacy home to keep in the family, according to a report published earlier this year by Sotheby’s International Realty, which surveyed about 700 affluent consumers around the world. Waterfront properties are the most popular choice for legacy-house buyers or builders, according to the firm.
“The notion of a legacy investment is increasingly front-of-mind with our affluent clients,” says Mark Lowham, managing partner at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington, D.C.
In Nantucket, MA., where waterfront estates often stay in families for generations, prices of legacy-caliber properties currently range from about $15 million to $40 million, according to Steve DiFrancesco, chief executive officer of Hunter, Reed and Company, a luxury real-estate firm with offices in Nantucket and Philadelphia. Buyers of family estates, he notes, often flock to some of the same places, such as Nantucket, Palm Beach or Aspen.
“These buyers seek properties in locations which traditionally attract other affluent families and thereby represent secure long-term value,” says Mr. DiFrancesco.