Turnkey belongs to those with a “move to now” mindset.

When Covid-19 began spreading in early 2020, the mistaken assumption among real estate experts was that sales of the luxury market would slow as shoppers held their cash until they saw how the pandemic would develop. Instead, buying has boomed to the point that the shelving and destination communities have few listings available to peruse.

As a result, many buyers who have been reluctant to jump into the hot second home market in the past couple of years have to change their expectations and look into any remaining homes, regardless of size or type. Sensing the need for urgency, many developers are delivering turnkey concepts to boost the offerings – offering upscale, furnished and pre-decorated homes that allow the buyer to pay, take the keys, and enjoy.

Through case studies, the full completion boost has found its way to Hawaii, Grenada and California with separate developments and price points, but the “Action Now” theme remains.

The condominium of Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii, for example, is not reporting any sales inventory among its 350+ homes for the first time in 25 years. According to Rob Kieldo, Director of Sales and Principal Broker for Hualalai Realty, the site has seen a 20% rise in demand during the pandemic – creating a local market that is all set for now.

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“When our residents sell their house, a buyer from a smaller property here buys it and moves into the larger space,” said Mr. Kildow. “They leave the smaller home fully furnished while their new home is being built. I then have a three-page waiting list for buyers interested in this smaller property.”

Mr Kildow explained that prefab housing in Hualalai routinely sells out within days at or above the asking price. Residents enjoy the natural beauty of Kona Coast with access to the elite facilities of the Four Seasons, including a Jack Nicklaus-designed main golf course and a second private course among the community homes.

When the pandemic slowed reservations during severe Hawaiian testing and quarantine ordinances, Four Seasons Hotel Hualalai took the time to complete a $100 million resort-side renovation to upgrade all guest rooms, complete two new villas and add a 1.8 million-gallon pool aquarium.

“There is a clear trend towards single family, we want it now,” Mr Kildow added. “Psychology has always provided different sales drivers, and the pandemic has pushed buyers over the fence to buy – in some cases ‘invisible’.”

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Candice Douglas, director of property sales and marketing at Silversands Villas in Grenada, cited pandemic-driven construction challenges as a driving force for buyers looking to grab off-the-shelf spaces as they enter the market.

“With furniture and materials in short supply, buyers want something fully prepared to be enjoyed,” said Ms. Douglas.

Strongly embracing a luxury ‘move-in’ mentality, Silversands Villas sells fully furnished homes featuring original artwork curated by CEO and Chairman of Ora Developers Naguib Sawiris. The art in question remains in the home, so the collection of each property will be owned by the future residents of the villas, adding investment value.

Silversands villas offer an added advantage that many ready-made housing developments cannot manage – a type of ready-made citizenship program. Grenada offers the Citizen by Investment program through which home buyers and their families can apply for citizenship after making an investment of at least $220,000 USD. Once approved after the screening process, these buyers will soon be able to obtain a Grenadian passport that grants them visa-free access to over 140 countries.

In Rancho Palos Verdes along the Southern California coast, the Terranea Resort real estate development covers 102 acres and offers nine dining venues, a 50,000-square-foot spa, and a nine-hole golf course. Resort president Terri A. Haack reports a familiar surge of buyers’ interest.

“The demand for Terranea properties cannot be met as there is only one property currently available for sale,” Ms Hack said. “Since all the properties available for sale in Terranea have been sold, the owners have shown little interest in selling their property.”

Terranea buyers cannot use their resort space as a primary residence due to California laws, so they opt for the simplicity of purchasing in pre-existing “ready-to-go” spaces.

“Prefab homes provide peace of mind and instant pleasure – while avoiding the construction costs and workforce issues that today’s economy poses,” added Ms. Hack. “Time is priceless.”

Kathleen Benoit, a Ross Lyon/Sotheby’s estate agent in the huge Scottsdale Desert Mountain community, insists buyers looking to access this golf community’s value for a second home easily stick to a long list of potential collection options.

“It is all about instant gratification, simplicity and getting to the end game of a home resort one can enter to start enjoying this lifestyle,” said Ms. Benoit. “Whether buyers like the furniture or not, the comfort of enjoying the home immediately outweighs whether they end up replacing items in the home.”

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Back in Hawaii on the sleepy island of Kauai, the 1,010-acre real estate development in Kukui’ula stands only 25% in its public construction and already leans toward the single-family, turnkey trend.

Richard Albrecht, president of Coquiola Development, explained that buyers are eager to buy long-term housing where they can live for extended periods of time throughout the year. Rather than purchasing an open plot of land and working through the design and build process (also offered by Kukui’ula, if desired), many buyers come to Mr. Albrecht in search of easy access to a growing community.

“Our buyers are looking for second homes, not vacation homes,” said Mr. Albrecht. “We are currently designing the next phase, including the carefree furnished residences. We built four of these prefab homes in December 2019 for pre-sale, and they all sold out within hours.”

Kukui’ula’s current construction includes 14 new homes targeted to sell in the $4.5 million to $6 million range. A batch of 45 smaller homes now underway is expected to sell for approximately $3 million to $4 million.

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Kukui’ula’s life revolves around the 21,000-square-foot community club, home of the Umeke Kitchen Restaurant and Huaka’i Outfitters that prepares residents for a variety of ocean activities. Residents also come to this Kauai sanctuary to enjoy the 18-hole Kukui’ula Golf Course designed by Tom Wiskop.

Mr. Albrecht believes that half of the people who make up the luxury real estate market never wanted to delve into design and build even before the pandemic. These buyers come to the Kukui’ula team ready to exchange choices of household items for convenience.

“We built turnkey apartments on the property during our previous phases,” he said. “At this time, we have no intention of building more apartments. We are looking at single family homes when we offer this turnkey option. Homes on the market last here for different times based on the price point, but none of our ready properties are very long.” .

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