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Wall Street Journal, New York Post supplements indicative of real estate boom

By
October 29, 2012

The Wall Street Journal's Mansion section

Just as the luxury real estate sector is seeing record growth, marketers are tapping this renewed interest from affluent consumers by advertising in the surge of niche publication supplements.

The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and Departures magazine are each adding on to their real estate and home design content through new supplements that are aimed at affluent readers. In addition, consumer curiosity in how the affluent live is another factor in this publishing trend.

“There are various reasons why luxury real estate is a focus of print publications that target the affluent,” said Ron Kurtz, president of American Affluence Research Center, Atlanta. “First, there is good potential advertising revenue for the publication.

“Second, the subject makes interesting editorial content for the publication’s readers,” he said. “Third, sellers of luxury real estate are looking for effective and cost-efficient ways to reach prime prospects.

“The overall market for luxury real estate has recovered faster than the general residential home market and, in some areas, the luxury real estate market is making a pretty strong recovery.”

Read all about it
Last week, the New York Post began circulation of a 12-page broadsheet centered on high-end real estate. It came as a free insert in the newspaper.

The “Alexa Luxe Living” supplement shows the “most exclusive real estate for sale in and around the city,” per the Post. It is an extension of the newspaper’s Alexa For Women and Alexa For Men sections.

The supplement also offers broker and buyer gossip and design trends.

Prudential Douglas Elliman, Town Real Estate, Philip House, Fox Residential, Extell, RFR and Trump were advertisers in the first go around of Alexa Luxe Living.

“Our readers and advertisers responded so well to Alexa For Women and then Alexa For Men that we decided to expand the brand,” said Margi Conklin, managing editor of features at the New York Post, New York. “We weren’t inspired by other publications – we simply knew Alexa had the strength to expand as a luxury publication.”

Additionally, American Express Publishing’s Departures announced last week that it is embarking on a second publication that will come out once a year and focus on architecture, design, home furnishings, objets d’art and entertaining.

The first issue of Departures Home + Design will be published in May and, like its parent magazine, will be distributed to American Express Platinum Card and Centurion members.

Sixty-nine percent of Departures readers are likely to purchase real estate outside of the United States, while 88 percent are making real estate decisions based on proximity to their favorite activities, according to research by Departures (see story).

Also, the Wall Street Journal recently launched a high-end real estate section called Mansion.

Mansion appears as a stand-alone section in the Journal every Friday in the United States, with select content in digital and multiple language editions (see story).

“Affluent consumers invest in homes like it is a sport,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami. “The more affluent, the more likely they own more than one home, and this is consistent with the concept that affluent consumers are global citizens.

“Publishing has advantages for real estate,” he said. “The Wall Street Journal and luxury magazines leverage their strengths to create beautiful look books.”

Getting real
Meanwhile, New York’s Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate is steering more towards editorial content through the redesign of its luxury real estate magazine that now contains lifestyle articles in addition to traditional listings.

Elliman magazine was reformatted to include interior design, food, style and celebrities, all centering on residential real estate. It is also available via an iPad application.

The brand also entered into a partnership with posh online marketplace 1stDibs and will offer content that features the Web site’s antiques for the home (see story).

“Luxury real estate has always enjoyed its place in the spotlight, but is now being brought to an entirely new level with these publications,” said Camilla Papale, chief marketing office of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, New York. “I see this as an exciting long-term trend to be enjoyed by those purchasing these exquisite homes, and by aspirational readers.”

During the last two years, the New York and Miami real estate markets experienced record sales and limited inventory in the “trophy” property category, per Ms. Papale.

The new luxury real estate-focused publications are timely since there is a much higher concentration of activity in this end of the marketplace. 

“The heightened focus on luxury real estate and the emergence of new vehicles highlighting some of the world’s most spectacular homes can be attributed to what we refer to as the rise of luxury real estate as a ‘safe haven,’” Ms. Papale said.

Estate sale
The increase in consumer interest in luxury real estate is a result of the affluent being the only consumers with the ability to spend on real estate, per Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, Stephens, Pa.

“This, plus luxury homes are also the biggest money producers for any real estate firm, and you have a lot of business riding on the high-end of the housing market,” Ms. Danziger said.

“Combine that with the fact that ordinary people who cannot afford these homes still have an interest in learning how that other 1 percent lives, and you have a real opportunity for publications to focus attention on luxury homes,” she said.

Luxury real estate developers are back in the market in a way that has not been seen since before the U.S. recession, per Karen Weiner Escalera, president of KWE Partners, Miami.

Records are being broken in terms of luxury real estate sales in major urban and resort locations.

“These buyers most relate to the luxury lifestyle magazines – the glossier and thicker the stock, the better,” Ms. Weiner Escalera said. “Even those for whom the double-digit million-dollar price tags are out of the question enjoy the read as a look into the lifestyles of the super-rich and famous.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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Tricia Carr is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are apparel and accessories, arts and entertainment, education, food and beverage, fragrance and personal care, government, healthcare, home furnishings, jewelry, legal/privacy and nonprofits. Reach her at tricia@napean.com.

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