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Zillow Real Estate

Trends in luxury spending

New York penthouse

With an asking price of $48 million, this New York City penthouse is among the Big Apple’s priciest listings and captures sweeping views of the city.

If you’re out shopping for luxury goods, you may be searching specifically for jewelry and other customized items that are “Made in America.” After all, that’s a big trend in luxury spending right now: Some 65 percent of high-end shoppers prefer to buy American, according to a study conducted by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group. Here’s what else is hot in luxury spending this year:

Pricey real estate

Luxury high-end properties — $50 million, $60 million and up! — are being snatched up by some of the world’s biggest spenders. And an analysis from Zillow shows that some of the nation’s priciest markets are seeing some of the biggest gains in home values. Look no further than the San Jose real estate market, home to Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and other tech companies, where values rose nearly 17 percent last year. Not bad, particularly when you consider that the “normal” rate of appreciation is just 2 to 4 percent.

Luxury cars

There’s lots of momentum in the luxury car market. In fact, things are going so well for Rolls-Royce that it introduced a new model, the Wraith, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Rolls-Royce calls the car “the most dynamic, powerful and beautiful Rolls-Royce in the company’s history.”


Customized, private tours are hot. Travel experts say that high net worth individuals are looking to take adventurous, authentic, cultural vacations with the kids — journeys of “discovery,” if you will — to places such as Bangkok, Cambodia, New Zealand, Morocco and others.


Spas are taking nutrition from the table to the treatment room, according to beauty expert Celeste Hilling, CEO and founder of Skin Authority. “Inside-out beauty marries nutrition, spa and skin care. A cornucopia of skin care and nutrition goodness is centered around Vitamin A, C, D and omega fatty acids.”

Adds Lynne McNees, president of the International SPA Association: “Sourcing organic, local foods and incorporating them into treatments, delivering nutrient-rich, solid results, is one of the biggest trends we’re seeing in the spa industry right now.”


Vera Gibbons is a financial journalist based in New York City and is a contributor to Zillow Blog. Connect with her at

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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