António Rebelo de Sousa

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António Rebelo de Sousa

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Real estate and the concept of luxury

João de Sousa Rodolfo

Architect and Founder of Traçado Regulador

João de Sousa Rodolfo
Luxury is a relative concept, which lives in the individual imagination and depends on the social interaction of each individual. Luxury often has the connotation of wealth, ostentation, of something unique and difficult to attain for the majority, but also of superfluous, excessive, dispensable or even futile. But luxury can also mean quality and excellence, invariably associated with high cost.
In real estate, this concept becomes relative: for those who don’t have a house, having a house is a luxury; for those who have a flat, having a house with a garden and a pool is a luxury, etc.
In real estate, luxury is proportional to cost and essentially depends on three factors: location, construction area and the standard of finishings and technical infrastructures.In terms of location, I would highlight the centrality, accessibility, environmental and urban surroundings and the prestige of the area. This factor can generate differences of one to ten in terms of the value of land with building potential. 
As for the construction area, this is the main determinant of the construction cost. Thus, large areas equate to high cost and therefore fall into the «luxury» category.
Finally, we have the quality of the finishes, surfaces, appliances, kitchens, bathrooms, window and door frames, and the quality of the technical infrastructures, air conditioning, lighting, home automation, etc. To get an idea of the importance that this third component may have in the cost, we can give two examples: the replacement of an exterior wall with a glazed surface makes the value of the affected area multiply by ten or more; the alternative choice between a basic ceramic mosaic and a rare marble may mean a difference of one to one hundred.
Unlike what happens in other products, the quality of the design does not necessarily mean a more expensive product, the opposite is often true - houses with better spatiality, better aesthetic quality, better habitability, better relationship with the surroundings and, at the same time, better control of construction costs. This is due to the fact that, in most cases, the quality of the design is associated with a strong technical quality of the project, which allows for a strict control of costs.
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