Change Of Scenery Quest Sparks Turnkey Residence Boom

The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled in many a desire for a near-instant move to greener pastures. But expedited moves across town or country aren’t easily undertaken. Moreover, the faster the move must be completed, the greater the potential for unpleasant outcomes.

The answer for numerous well-heeled Americans: A turnkey residence.

Furnished to the nines, and requiring only a key to make it home, turnkey residences are proving a seamless solution for the uber-wealthy moving ‘cross neighborhood or across states.

MLS closed sales data reveal half of Miami-Dade condo sales above $6 million in the last 90 days have been furnished turnkey residences. One in 16 Miami-Dade single-family homes valued at more than $6 million were sold fully-furnished in the last 90 days.

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The turnkey residence phenomenon is being seen from Florida, where a turnkey residence designed by Meyer Davis at the Jade Signature in Sunny Isles can be had for $14.9 million, to San Francisco, where a MASS Beverly penthouse is offered for $46 million.

Another setting appealing to those seeking turnkey residences is the newest luxury condominium on the Sunshine State’s exclusive barrier island, Fisher Island, Fla. New residents moving in to the residences of Palazzo Della Luna do so without having to fret about the attendant expense of renovating and decorating. The fully-furnished, ready-to-be-lived-in homes designed by celebrated interior design firm Champalimaud are paired with amenities from a butler-serviced apertivo bar to a beauty salon.

Eliminating stresses

“Not only do turnkey homes allow for an expedited move-in process, but it also eliminates the stresses associated with new-home details such as interior design selections and time-consuming renovations,” says Palazzo Della Luna Director of Sales Dora Puig. “Given today’s climate, nothing is more valuable than the ability to relocate with ease and fluidity.”

The ultra high end of the residential real estate market isn’t the only place you’ll find demand for fully-furnished homes these days. Among those noting COVID-19’s profound impact on the furnished rental market is Omer Kucukdere, CEO of Nestpick, the world’s largest data base of furnished apartment rentals, currently listing millions of apartments in 2,000 cities worldwide. He has noted the improving economic climate following the 2008-09 recession saw an explosion in long-term rentals converted to vacation rentals in cities like New York City, London, Barcelona, Paris and Berlin. That helped grow the current global inventory of vacation rental apartments to some 20 million, he estimates.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an enormous reduction in domestic and global travel, leaving many of these units empty. He says that in New York (as in other popular cities), many of the tens of thousands of furnished short-term vacation rentals will have to be converted to month-to-month rentals to continue generating revenue.

Furnishing convenience

Vacation rental providers will have to reduce rents, likely matching long-term rental rates to capture a portion of the lowered demand for shorter-term housing, he says. Meanwhile, owners of unfilled, unfurnished apartments will have to either lower their rents to better compete with furnished units, or furnish their units to maintain higher rent revenue.

“A significant number of landlords will likely choose the latter, and increase the furnished rentals stock even more,” Kucukdere recently wrote.

“At a time when it is much harder to get a new tenant, property owners will need to differentiate themselves through better service on top of competitive prices. In a world with ongoing economic instability, we may expect more tenants will be interested in renting on-demand housing. [That’s because] fully-furnished, utilities-included apartments will cost about the same as unfurnished apartments, without need to commit to 12-plus month lease terms and [enabling renters to] avoid the additional cost and burden of buying furniture.”

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