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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » November 5, 2008
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Who Defines Luxury?
November 5, 2008   
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Jeffrey Utterback, managing director, Griffin Real Estate:

As the real estate market in Wroc³aw absorbs the effects of the current worldwide credit problems, developers are now scrambling for higher ground. Rather than trying to find a long-term solution to dealing with their current product portfolio, most are now running around trying to artificially reinvent themselves into the one part of this business that is still working-the luxury home market. In doing so, suddenly the public is bombarded with projects described with words such as "luxury," "exclusive," "prestigious," and "unique."

While this may seem initially like a clever move by these developers, the reality is that it only serves to confuse the public. The more this happens, the less powerful these words become. Unfortunately, there is no way to police these actions other than to watch the response of the skeptical buying public.

Whether we want to believe it or not, we are not the first developers to try to define the luxury real estate project. Fortunately, this was done for us long ago by other developers in places such as New York, London, Paris, and even Hong Kong, and certain standards defined by these words are now universally accepted. What has happened in Poland is that developers have created a sort of false luxury, only measured against the local competition, not on accepted international standards. The ironic thing here is that the public who really is able to afford such luxury products has traveled the world outside of Wroc³aw and is fully aware of the difference in the standards.

The silver lining of the current credit crunch is that those developers who simply do not understand the difference between luxury and standard and were hoping to make the quick buck, will ultimately fade from our market.
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