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Luxury New Kind of Luxury Leader

Luxury New Kind of Luxury Leader

In the late 1990s, the dotcom boom was a watershed moment for luxury land. It had an impression that extended well beyond those making many dollars within the tech industry. The acquired wealth and accompanying optimism created a new breed of affluent consumers and a renewed demand for luxury real estate, resulting in a surge in prices in the ultra-high-end. While the market has had multiple swings since then, the fascination with the posh land space has persisted.

“In the mid-’90s, luxury apartments revived the market. The values were so enticing that it began to domino the opposite way, tumbling from the higher-end apartments right down to the smaller ones,” says Diane Ramirez, CEO of Halstead Property in NY City, a member of Luxury Portfolio International®.

Before this time, it was rare to see a home over $10 million, even in the most exclusive areas, but as we moved into the early 2000s, prices that once seemed astronomical became commonplace.

Suddenly, there was a whole new luxury consumer—a new generation of affluence—and the way they approached life, including their pursuit of real estate, has had a lasting impact. Unlike the traditional affluent individual who had inherited his or her wealth, the “new luxury” consumer was self-made, growing up with middle-class values, a strong sense of family and a desire to find out about luxury products and services to form intelligent decisions.

With this changing landscape, the seeds were planted for a new kind of real estate marketing that responded to the needs of this savvy consumer, empowered with technology and increasingly globally-minded. Even before the web became a pervasive part of the home search, consumers wanted more control of the method. They were more demanding than ever and expected a high level of experience and performance from their land brokers.

Joining Forces

To meet these needs, shifts began to occur within the luxury marketing space. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® already included a majority of the luxury firms throughout the U.S. with a smattering of global affiliates. On the luxury front, many of these companies had marketing affiliations with the Sotheby’s auction house. But when Sotheby’s licensed its brand to Realogy, the real estate franchisor behind Century 21, ERA, Coldwell Banker, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, most of the independently-branded and -operated companies rejected the opportunity to transition from their former marketing affiliation to the Sotheby’s franchise business model.

These firms had a dominant luxury market share—locally and collectively—but had no common home for a distinctive luxury marketing program. Firms like Houlihan Lawrence in Westchester County, Slifer Smith & Frampton in Vail, Michael Saunders & Company in Sarasota and John Daugherty Real Estate in Houston made a bold move that might dramatically change the way land firms engage affluent consumers. Born of the desire to continue to invest in their own brands and control their own destinies, these firms joined forces under their established Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) affiliation to make Luxury Portfolio International® in 2005.

Coming Together

The new division of LeadingRE was fortunate to attract Paul Boomsma, who had managed marketing at a Chicagoland Sotheby’s affiliate, to lead the effort. Boomsma’s experience in marketing significant properties, like Chicago’s original Playboy Mansion, made him the ideal executive to bring this vision to reality.

Within months, Boomsma brought over Stephanie Pfeffer Anton, who, after studying marketing and analytics for her master’s degree at Northwestern, had been involved in marketing such high-profile developments as Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

Boomsma and Pfeffer Anton had actually met several years before over cappuccinos at Starbucks, instantly bonding over Boomsma’s enthusiasm for marketing and Pfeffer Anton’s love of data. They represented the perfect fusion for the new age of luxury, not knowing that the birth of Luxury Portfolio was in their future.

Today, Boomsma has a dual role as both president of Luxury Portfolio and chief operating officer of LeadingRE, while Pfeffer Anton is responsible for Luxury Portfolio operations as its executive vice president.

“We couldn't have found two people better suited to steer this bold initiative than Paul and Stephanie,” says LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “They have developed a tremendous team and have launched and sustained a substantive program that filled a void within the luxury marketing space, which had traditionally relied solely on brand with little program content and market intelligence.”



Unique from the Start

From the start, the posh Portfolio team was clear that they wanted a program that was about quite just a reputation. One of the differentiators was attention on the posh consumer who seeks a particular experience, values data and embraces technology. They sought a tangible approach to strategically market and expose each individual property to a targeted audience, rather than just promote a legacy brand.

Everything Luxury Portfolio does is in support of its mission, and this has been the case throughout its history: give member listings exposure to the largest high-net-worth audience beyond their marketplace, both nationally and globally; build the first website in nine languages and 60 currencies to tap that global audience; offer a program with tangible resources, including trackable advertising, listing exposure analytics, global events and customized agent marketing at the best possible value; selectively attract and leverage the talent of the most respected, competent, connected and powerful group of luxury real estate brokers in the industry; and, research and share the latest, most relevant information about today’s luxury consumer.

Success through the Recession

Despite launching at a time when the market was starting to soften, quickly had more listings over $1 million than any other luxury network. Even though the good Recession and therefore the decline of the housing market, Luxury Portfolio continued to realize traction. When the economy began to stabilize in 2011, Luxury Portfolio was during a prime position to maximize the opportunities the market presented. 

“We were fortunate to possess success from the beginning, largely because we had critical mass within the luxury space, with members dominating their markets and representing numerous of the world’s most extraordinary properties,” Pfeffer Anton says. “Our emphasis on showcasing these homes with beautiful photography helped us capture a loyal audience of affluent consumers early on.”

The Post-Recession Consumer

One way that Luxury Portfolio has consistently remained connected to the affluent consumer is thru its ongoing research. By sponsoring studies, hiring multiple research firms, conducting consumer focus groups and forming close connections to its member sales associates who work with luxury clientele, Luxury Portfolio has developed a keen understanding of affluent behaviors and lifestyles.

For example, one among the white papers released by the corporate-focused specifically on the post-recession wealthy consumer.

“The economic downturn reminded people of the importance of being financially responsible, even those of serious means, and caused a migration faraway from over-the-top ostentation,” Boomsma says. “Even now, there remains mindfulness about being resourceful and an emphasis on being fulfilled—at work, at home, and in one’s personal development. This attitude directly influences how, when, where and under what circumstances these affluent customers will buy a home.”

The trends identified by Luxury Portfolio’s latest research reveal the motivations that drive the post-recession affluent consumer. First, there is the desire to be victorious. As affluence becomes more widely available, so does the pursuit of luxury living. To many, luxury purchases represent the owner’s victory over whatever challenges they need to be faced. Next, there's the power to discern, to acknowledge the difference between what's good and what's excellent. Luxury consumers are also increasingly independent, preferring brands that are distinctive from the mainstream and offer deeper local connections. Also, there's a trend toward collecting things supported one’s passions and therefore the desire to spot the simplest a category has got to offer. Lastly, the study identified a decline in brand power; the name alone isn't enough to influence purchases by today’s affluent buyers.

An Experiential Approach

These insights enlighten Luxury Portfolio affiliates and influence the ways they anticipate and meet the needs of affluent homebuyers and sellers. They also impact the Luxury Portfolio’s passion for developing content and design that attract and engage its targeted consumer. Since its beginning, the Luxury Portfolio has successfully connected to the affluent by connecting to their lifestyle. This strategy goes far beyond simply marketing expensive homes—it involves telling stories and connecting emotionally with this special clientele. Through its lifestyle magazine, a luxury trends e-newsletter, a first-of-its-kind, award-winning lifestyle blog, and local luxury consumer events, Luxury Portfolio has always been about the consumer experience.

“Widely accepted traditional definitions of ‘luxury’ have evolved over time, with a shift from ‘having’ to ‘being.’ Words like ‘worth,’ ‘quality’ and ‘craftsmanship’ resonate with today’s affluent, and there is an accentuation on wellbeing, family and recollections," notes Pfeffer Anton.

By redefining luxury beyond the lebensraum, Luxury Portfolio is leading the charge for a completely unique, experiential approach to high-end land.

Data-Driven Insights

Luxury Portfolio has mastered not only a breadth of coverage but also a unique depth of resources for its customers by providing data-driven insights. Luxury Portfolio agents are armed with proprietary “LuxeAnalytics” data that presents listing-specific results, including the countries and states from which the property has been viewed and the language and currency conversions that have been used.

Deals partners can impart these custom reports to their vendors and make and adjust focused on advertising to potential purchasers.

“Our buyers are so well-educated that nothing just ‘local’ is supportive enough to make them feel confident that they’re making great decisions. When you can expand your analytics and talk about other marketplaces, they get a higher level of comfort very quickly in terms of relevance to your marketplace,” comments Tony Cutugno, associate real estate broker with Houlihan Lawrence in Westchester and surrounding bedroom counties north of New York City.

This combination of using data-based insights and offering a consumer-centric experience with a uniquely global reach, all delivered by the most elite, quality-focused independent brands, is the foundation of Luxury Portfolio’s success.

 Within the organization that takes us to be generally strong, taking advantage of our interesting features while providing access to a robust global network and dedicated marketing tools that differentiate, says Rainy Hake, California's Executive Vice President and Operations Director Alain Pinel REALTORS®.

Global Growth and an Eye on the Future

Today, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® extends to 55 countries, with Luxury Portfolio participants in 30 countries.

As Berry Everitt, CEO of Chas Everitt in Johannesburg, South Africa, notes, “The benefits of the value proposition of Luxury Portfolio International are tangible for us, and we were thrilled to have been selected for membership. In only the first year of our relationship, the program, its leaders and our incredible colleagues from around the globe have inspired us to make significant changes to our approach to the posh market, and therefore the impact on our organization has been dramatic.”

The program has developed into the world's chief extravagance home advertising feature—guided by the showcasing intuition of Boomsma and Pfeffer Anton and conveyed by the autonomous agents who offer the neighborhood aptitude and extraordinary help that the present world-wise shoppers request. 

Looking forward, unmistakably Luxury Portfolio will keep on advancing, reacting to shifts in the market, advancements in innovation and changes in customer esteem and needs. 

For the time being, Boomsma invests heavily in what the gathering has accomplished, taking note of, "Extravagance Portfolio offers a remarkably modern blend of on the web and disconnected media to situate properties for most extreme introduction to a world-class crowd. We advertise more than 50,000 properties valued over $1 million every year on our honor winning site and in renowned distributions flowed the world over—including the uber-very good quality, with more than 500 properties over $10 million at present recorded. We are resolved to making an outstanding encounter for the prosperous shopper. To convey on that guarantee, we interface quality free extravagance businesses around the globe—the entirety of this in only 10 years. Envision what is conceivable in the following 10 years!"

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*Book New York Fabulous Luxury Apartments can be purchased at amazon 

Kenitchou kamel eddine is a real estate blogger and editor. Email your real estate news ideas at [email protected] facebook twitter pinterest tumblr