Opinion: How celebrities and the super rich keep where they live a secret and why privacy is the ultimate luxury

Penny Mosgrove
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Luxury properties come in all styles and sizes, be it a French chateau nestled in the countryside or a contemporary design perched on a mountainside. Although it’s difficult to quantify exactly what luxury means, most buyers think they know it when they see it.

There are certain attributes that a luxury property cannot be without, however, such as a killer location, but there’s one thing we’re increasingly seeing high-end buyers willing to spend their energy, money and time to find, and that’s privacy.

Privacy is perhaps the greatest luxury of all, hence the trend for properties hidden away from prying eyes and online searches. This is certainly true of The Hidden Hills community in Los Angeles, for example.

The area’s residents, who reportedly include Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, value privacy above all. This means no Google Street View vehicles, so anyone looking for a kerbside view of a property in this area will find absolutely no evidence of it.

Indeed, many prospective property buyers are choosing to hide from the public eye to protect their homes from burglars and unwelcome attention. In an increasingly connected world, we are seeing an increase in client requests for ‘under-the-radar’ living, all around the world.

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To be clear, these options are not a stealth strategy to hide from tax authorities or security services, but rather a way of avoiding more casual unwanted scrutiny, from nosy neighbours right through to the paparazzi.

High-end property buyers share a desire for the features we all love, but on a grander scale. Privacy and security are currently at the top of the wish list – often to the point of seclusion – along with aesthetic beauty, custom architecture and design, and opulent finishes. We currently have a client looking to buy an eight bedroom, sea-view home in the south of France and their top priority is complete and utter privacy.

In an increasingly connected world, we are seeing an increase in client requests for ‘under-the-radar’ living, all around the world.

This particular client wants three acres of land with no overlooking neighbours. As land is hard to come by in this location they are willing to pay €150m to get what they want, which further demonstrates the lengths buyers will go to be ‘invisible’ within their properties and how privacy has become the ultimate luxury for high net worth buyers.

In stark contrast to previously sought-after individual villas set in plain view on a hillside, nowadays, gated communities are right on trend among international luxury property buyers.

People are pouring more money than ever before into home security systems and any extras that will reinforce their anonymity. The simplest way to remove any signs of habitation from public view, however, is to put the building underground with a basement dig or even to build an entire subterranean property.

For high net worth buyers, a pool, a wine cellar and an expansive master suite have their price, but keeping their private life private is priceless.

Read more: Is it time we target new build homes at the over 50s?

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