Post-Pandemic Home Buyers Want Resort-Style Living, Says NRIA

Life in post-Covid America is well past its first birthday and has ushered in an era of work-live-play communities. We’ve collectively traveled the learning arc for working from home and troubleshooting virtual meetings.

While it’s become common to mention the challenges that the pandemic has brought to commercial real estate, a much more exciting trend is also well underway; that of purpose-built living space designed for the higher-end buyer.

Hoboken Heights, a four-building luxury-condominium complex in Union City, New Jersey, reflects this trend.  Currently in development by NRIA, the New Jersey-based real estate developer and investment fund, the complex is built into the side of a cliff on New Jersey’s “Gold Coast,” overlooking the Hudson River.  The cliff-side location boasts panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.

Blending the comforts of home with the amenities and atmosphere of a destination resort, luxury communities like NRIA’s are attracting everyone from single urban professionals to young families to retirees.  

“The resort-style living concept is experiencing tremendous growth,”

says Ira Meltzer, CEO of One Million Dollar Plus, a California-based luxury residential financing firm.

“People want that pleasurable vacation lifestyle every day. And they can match that with the flexibility that comes with working at home.”

The scenery is a part of the resort-minded lifestyle to be offered at Hoboken Heights.

“Walking out on that hill takes your breath away,” says Rich Stabile, senior vice president of NRIA, the New Jersey-based developer behind Hoboken Heights. “You can see from the Verrazano bridge all the way up.”

The development, to be completed, according to NRIA in spring of 2023, will offer 55 residences, including nine penthouses. Residents will have use of the project’s many hotel-like amenities including shuttle service, gym, indoor pool with outdoor lounge area, bar and meeting room, children’s play area, spa and sauna, multiple decks with outdoor fireplaces, and others.

Drycleaning, pet grooming, and car valet services will also be offered as a la carte luxury concierge services.

“Residents don’t have to leave the building much,” says AJ Scutaro, senior vice president of project management at NRIA. “We are trying to eliminate the need to go outside for everyday errands.”

Scutaro says that lifestyle amenities like these aren’t unique to Hoboken Heights for NRIA, reflecting a national trend towards living, working, and playing all in one location. “I’ve seen it evolve over the past ten years,” he says. “The kinds of people who want to live in a building like this are busy. They are doctors, lawyers, health care workers…they don’t want to spend the time they do have on home maintenance and routine errands. They want the luxury of having it all at their fingertips.”

Added to that mindset is the post-COVID world, he says, where people in general don’t want to leave their homes.

Our collective experience of staying inside for months has begun to influence how buildings are designed, with built-in health and safety measures a new priority.

At Hoboken Heights, state of the art sanitizing keeps residents safe from pathogens, including UV light cleansing and high-tech air purification. Extra sets of elevators allow for easier social distancing, according to NRIA.

“We are stepping up the game,” Scutaro says.  

Safety measures like these permit residents to enjoy the indoor and outdoor amenities without worry.  “Health-driven lifestyle choices are more important than ever before,” says One Million Dollar Plus’s Meltzer.

In fact, the National Association of Home Builders reports that in today’s market, multi-family homes are getting smarter, healthier and more all-inclusive.  A fitness center, for example, is now a necessity and not just a luxury for prospective buyers, according to the NAHB.

These health-driven choices include the wellness of the environment too, with sustainable living and green building the new buzz words in commercial real estate. Buyers are looking for spaces that can reduce their energy costs while using resources responsibly.

And at Hoboken Heights, environmentally-aware construction is a key part of the design, according to Anthony Ulisse, vice president of construction analysis for NRIA.  Energy savings, water efficiency, emissions reduction, and indoor environmental air quality are all a top focus, he said.

Such priorities increasingly command top dollar in the CRE market, according to the NAHB. Match that with the growing preference for fivestar amenities and every convenience, and responsible resort-style living is booming.

“It’s a hotel lifestyle in a high-end condominium,” says NRIA’s Stabile. “It really is like going on vacation, but you are on vacation every day.”

Homes like this fit into the new market for co-primary residences too, One Million Dollar Plus’s Meltzer said. Today’s affluent workforce anticipates a hybrid work from home model for the long haul, he said, with the flexibility to come into the office part of the time and to work from home part of the time.

For professionals who choose to live at Hoboken Heights, many of their day to day needs will be taken care of, allowing some busy executives to keep a maintenance-free home near the city and the office, while also having a second, but equally lived-in more traditional home somewhere else.

When it comes to luxury perks however, a building’s location is still one of the most valued. Just like at a traditional resort, scenery adds atmosphere. In fact, an unobstructed and prized vista can increase a unit’s value by as much as 100%, according to NerdWallet, the California-based personal finance company.

And at NRIA’s Hoboken Heights, the view is indeed a prime part of the development’s ambiance.

“It has to be seen to be believed,” says NRIA’s Ulisse. “You have a panoramic view of the Manhattan Skyline.  You can’t do it justice by merely describing it. It has to be experienced.”

A stunning view, five-star amenities and environmentally-friendly construction are clearly valued by high-end buyers today. And as we move forward in the post- pandemic world, it’s important to remember that the rules have changed.

More people are answering the question “When do we go back to the way things were?” with, “We don’t.”

Intelligence can be defined as the ability to adapt to change.

With family and professional life evolving, it stands to reason that those who live the smartest will enjoy the highest quality of life.

THIS is the new look of intelligent living.

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