Posted on February 4th, 2012 by Leonard Steinberg.
In a desperate attempt to find a lighter topic for a newsworthy real estate post, to-day I am trying to find meaning in the story of the weekend….SUPER BOWL. Yes, even I know its Super Bowl this weekend, although my attention is mostly focused on the half-time show. What message is 53-year old pop tart Madonna sending to us all, besides her highly choreographed, lip-synching performance? Did I just say 53-year-old-POP-TART??
To me, Madonna is sending a very potent message about 50-something year old’s in our world. Its especially noticeable in the wealthy environment of New York real estate. Do you remember what 50 years old used to look like? Well, it does not look like Madonna, although we are all certain this look is not natural. Maybe the entire package is un-natural, but maybe it’s a very important evolutionary revelation…. Madonna represents an entire breed I call the NOUVELLE 50 who have absolutely no desire to be associated or identified with anything that 50-somethings were from the past. This new breed of 50-going-on-40-somethings are youthful in their spirit, wear the clothes of people half their ages, have bodies that are lithe and youthful, and have skin as smooth as a 30-something. They do not want to be associated with anything tired or dull. They eat at the latest, greatest restaurants (although very, very small portions), they travel extensively, spend lavishly, work extremely hard at maintaining their youthful appearance and attitude, and more importantly for this blog, they want to live in more youthful environments.
The vast migration of Uptowners downtown is remarkable: couples with grown kids moving from very fancy Fifth Avenue apartments to West Chelsea? If the environment looks youthful, I guess it enhances the imagery. More importantly, the uptowners are decorating their homes to look like sleek, modern downtown (youthful) lofts. Real estate developers love this NOUVELLE 50 demographic: many are suffering mid-life crises, re-evaluating their place on the planet, coming to terms that life is not forever, and that youth is further away than ever…..most importantly, they are mostly much wealthier than their somewhat-similar-looking 30-something counterparts. They have disposable cash. Sassy divorcee’s often have big bucks to play with. They are 50 and they are ready for some FUN. Their homes have to reflect this spirit. A dowdy Park Avenue pre-war designed by Mario Buatta is not the answer.
Yes, the Madonna’s of the world represent an important real estate trend. No, not all 50-somethings want to re-build their entire faces or work out 2 hours a day, but there is a definite, noticeable difference in this group’s looks and aspirations when compared to just a few years ago. Older age does not equal older thinking or older looking any more, especially amongst those with the means to fight nature. Brokers take note: beware of limiting buyer profiling for a young-looking apartment: you may be surprised when Madonna shows up at the door for a viewing with a 20-something boyfriend in tow.