(NEW YORK, NY) — We had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Buono, CEO of Mulberry Development, about the current trends of the luxury housing market and how they will influence the industry in 2019.
First, some background on Mulberry Development…
Mulberry Development is a New York City-based construction management, general contracting, and real estate development firm within the luxury hospitality sector. The development firm is reputed for its long list of clientele, many of whom are household names—Justin Timberlake, Sam Rockwell, Steven Soderbergh, the Kardashians, Dr. Dre, Irina Shayk, and Michael Feinstein.
Mulberry has worked on well-known projects in New York such as the Playboy Club New York, the Sound View Inn, 1OAK, and the Plaza Hotel.
We caught up with Michael to discuss all the current trends in the market—amenities, technology, location hotspots, designs, and eco-friendly features—to get his take on what to expect in the coming year.
Amenities & Technology…
Here are Michael’s top three building must-haves for 2019:
- An Extension Of The Home – community and entertaining spaces should feature a high-end aesthetic that is reflective of a personal space.
Amenities are everything. Michael referred to the Financial District’s standout luxury condominium complex, 130 William, as a point of reference when trying to predict future market trends. Indoor soccer fields, rooftop gardens, full-floor pools, and screening rooms are just a few of the lavish perks that have hit the market this past year.
Michael continued to explain that the secret to Mulberry’s success is the company’s ability to produce products that best suit consumer needs. After discussing the popularity of digital entrepreneurship in metropolitan areas and the rise of companies like WeWork, Michael explained that it is crucial to incorporate these shifts into new developments. Providing amenities such as an in-house conference room or a living room that doubles as an office can make all difference to the vast population of residents who are spending more time in their living spaces than the generations before them.
- Technology With A Purpose – buildings should be fully wired with automations, both integrated and easy to use interfaces are a must.
The growing demand for tech-savvy living spaces is indisputable. Michael believes that the demand for automation– audio, visual, lighting and temperature–will increase in the coming years, stating that although home automation systems were once a luxury for the most elite, they are now appearing more often in the lower market thanks to the accessibility of advanced technology.
- Service, Service, Service – buildings should offer residents a robust suite of onsite and ancillary services.
The definition of luxury living has changed immensely over the past few years. A market that was once predominately about status and brand has shifted its focus to experience. High-end amenities and services have and continue to shift the desires and expectations of prospective buyers.
What locations will become hotspots for new developments in 2019?
We asked Michael what factors drive successful development firms like Mulberry to certain locations. He explained the decision requires a constant study of both the market and relevant current events. When deciding on a new project, the company looks at a location’s current and future rate of productivity.
With 2019 just weeks away, there is no crystal ball that will tell us which locations will become homes to prime real estate. Consider this—Amazon’s announcement of their coming to Long Island City caused the neighborhood as well as its surrounding friends—Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, and Downtown Flushing—to become goldmines for developers and investors. Prime locations are not so much trends as they are products of what is going on around them. Michael states that the growing success of Mulberry Development is due to the constant focus on ever-changing markets.
What type of designs have dominated 2018 and will they carry over to 2019?
During our conversation, Michael stated that while working on a new project much of his focus is on the utilization of space and recounted the use of tech-savvy, space-cautious furniture such as all-in-one washer dryers. Throughout the year, he has built a large number of units between 800-1200 square feet, and as we said before, people are spending a lot of time in their homes. Mindfulness of space is definitely something the market will continue to see in 2019.
We asked Michael about the rise of eco-friendly features and how this may reshape developments and the luxury market in the coming years.
He told us that those at Mulberry already partake in a wide-range of eco-friendly activities and pointed out a recent project that included the installation of rubber flooring made entirely of recycled material in a hotel out in Greenport. On top of the visible additions, Michael stated that the company partakes in many hidden energy-saving processes that not only help make the building more eco-friendly but are cost-friendly too. Sorting through debris and recycling it accordingly is not only environmentally cautious, but it saves the company money as well.
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The question on everybody’s mind…
We got Michael’s opinion on the rate at which luxury condos are selling and what he expects to see in the coming months. And, while he agrees the market has slowed down, he believes that good quality products will always sell even in a slow-paced market.
As for Mulberry Development….
Michael gave us an inside look at what’s to come for the company in 2019. They will be working both in the US and internationally, focusing on projects such as the repositioning of AKA Tribeca. The team will carry their diligent work ethic into the new year and continue to partner with top designers while testing boundaries with new technology and amenities.
We asked Michael his favorite part of the job. “Being able to do things that haven’t been done before,” he responded.