The Luxury Report 2021

Top trends, landmark listings and sales, changing buyer preferences, the latest U.S. power markets and more — Coldwell Banker Global Luxury has released it’s luxury report for 2021!

The Report 2021

Read The Report 2021

Released February 24th, 2021

“The Report” identifies top 10 power and emerging luxury markets as luxury home buying trends and lifestyle preferences shift.

From President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC (2020)- M. Ryan Gorman:

After the mayhem and miracles of 2020, we are entering a new year with guarded optimism. The high-end real estate sector showed its strength as resilient Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialists acted as trusted advisors for their clients and communities in a time of uncertainty.

Often, out of great challenge comes great opportunity. This was true for 2020. We know major buyer migrations have already taken place. Perhaps more are still to come. New definitions of luxury – like the intangibles of family, health, space, and security – continue to spur new affluent living trends.

The statistics uncovered in this report point to a promising luxury home market with a strong starting position as we move further into this year. In the top 10% of the U.S. markets we examined for this report, luxury home prices for single-family homes rose an average of 8% last year, driven by buyers migrating from dense cities in favor of locations with great numbers of single-family homes. High sales ratios for single-family homes in many luxury markets, indicating large volumes of sales compared to inventory levels, were another surprising feature. Many of last year’s top performing markets made a comeback on this year’s list, and we explore them in depth… There were many other bright spots around the country and the world, as people adjusted their notions of home and sought fully amenitized retreats where they could live, work and eventually entertain in place.

The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury team is tracking all of these shifts closely so that Luxury Property Specialists have the latest data and information they need to better serve their clients in these rapidly changing times.

This year, “The Report” combined sales data analysis with a record number of in-depth interviews from Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialists providing on-the-ground perspectives from diverse real estate markets. In addition to these interviews, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury also selected 40 of these Property Specialists for a first-of-its-kind survey to better understand the shifts in affluent property-buying trends and what lies ahead for luxury real estate.

Defining Luxury

New definitions of luxury — like the intangibles of family, health, space and security — spurred new affluent living trends in 2020 as buyers realigned priorities by seeking out properties with access to the outdoors, privacy and more space. Demand for mega mansions, estates and other luxury compounds surged, with 55% of Luxury Property Specialists surveyed that more square footage was the number one amenity that flipped in demand from 2019 to 2020. A new affluent demographic, known as Trailblazers, drove shifting buying trends as they migrated away from cities in favor of small, hidden gem towns, the suburbs, and second home destinations.

As wealthy homebuyers embraced new lifestyles, new trends prevailed. The top preferences expected to have staying power over the next 5 years include: the home office (27.5%), demand for a second home (22.5%), and the desire for single-family detached homes (22.5%).

Changing Markets

In 2020, there was a dramatic change in many luxury markets that had been buyer’s or balanced markets in 2019. Escalating demand now pushed these markets into seller market territory, which is only anticipated to continue into 2021. To determine the Top 10 “Power Markets” of 2020, the Coldwell Banker® brand collaborated with The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing to analyze the markets with at least an average of 50 sales per month and the highest sales ratio percentages. On reviewing the Top 10, four new hotspots came into focus for a variety of reasons:   

  • East Bay, California: Both single family and attached-home sales soared due to high demand as buyers’ concerns shifted from reducing daily commutes to gaining space. Inventory could not keep up, as most listings prompted multiple offers and drove up prices. This resulted in the sales ratio rising over 100% after July.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: Growth in this city expanded faster than predicted fueled by millennial and out-of-state buyers. The sales ratio (38.84%) remained consistent with luxury single family homes in high demand.
  • Fairfax County, Virginia: Luxury townhome sales saw unprecedented levels; there was only a month of inventory for $645,000+ townhomes in December, and even less for those in the $1M+ category, with a 51.93% sales ratio for attached homes.
  • King County, Washington: Pent-up buyer demand, driven by historically low interest rates, desire for more space, and lower-than-expected inventory levels, contributed to record low days on market and a 37.7% sales ratio at asking price.

“The Report” also identified four key categories of emerging markets across the luxury home sector offering a range of lifestyle amenities, cultural experiences, and educational opportunities. The unexpected rise of these locations underscores the unforeseen dynamics at play during 2020 as the pandemic impacted many buyers’ decisions.

Secondary Markets on the Rise

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Dallas, Texas

Markets Exceeding Expectations

  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Sacramento, California
  • Louis, Missouri

New Discoveries

  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

Ready for Discovery

  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Hamilton County, Indiana


“The luxury real estate market showed its resilience through a dynamic year as the market accelerated many ongoing trends that were already occurring. The Report highlights the achievements of 2020 and uses the rich insights from 78 Luxury Property Specialists across 65 markets – a record for us. With these timely perspectives, our Luxury Property Specialists can prepare for what’s to come in 2021 and continue to act as trusted advisors as many shifting buyer trends and preferences are here to stay.” – Craig Hogan, vice president of luxury, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

“2020 was a transformative for the luxury real estate market – we saw record-low interest rates paired with demand at an all-time high for single-family homes, resulting in extremely low inventory levels and multiple bidding wars across several luxury markets. The emergence of a new affluent demographic and type of home buyer fueled this growth driven by shifting lifestyle preferences. Many of the trends we saw at the forefront in 2020 will continue to evolve in the years to come.” – Jade Mills, president, Jade Mills Estates and International Ambassador of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury®

About The Report

Designed to be a definitive guide for international high-end property buying and selling, The Report adds insider intelligence to strong industry research by combining anecdotal insights from local market professionals affiliated with the Coldwell Banker® brand, as well as The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Wealth-X, and other leading luxury insiders.


The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program collaborated with The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Wealth-X and other third-party data sources to analyze median list prices of sold properties, median sold prices, median sales-price-to-list-price ratios, median price-per-square foot, median days on market, as well as the highest list and sold prices for the top 5 percent and 10 percent of 65 U.S. luxury metros. The data for this report is based on closed and recorded sides of homes sold during 2020; the statistical information has been calculated using closed sales activity reported over a 13-month period from December 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020, as gathered from multiple sources including but not limited to various Multiple Listing Services, local Real Estate Boards and the Coldwell Banker brand co-operating brokerage firms. Data is deemed reliable but not guaranteed for accuracy as it may not reflect all of the real estate activity in the area.  For more information on how data was collected and defined, please refer to the full methodology on pages 128-129 of The Report.

About Coldwell Banker Global Luxury®

The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program legacy traces its roots to 1933 and has been a world leader in luxury real estate since. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialists are an exclusive group within the Coldwell Banker organization, making up under ten percent of independent sales associates affiliated with the brand worldwide. Coldwell Banker affiliated agents conducted 32,663 transactions of homes priced at $1 million or more in 2020. This equates to $168.4 million in luxury sales every day (+16.6% YOY) with an average sales price of $1.9 million in this category. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker logo Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo are registered marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each franchise is independently owned and operated.

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