You might think that in the current economic climate it would be wise to advise a client against installing that new golf pavilion or building a new 15-acre driving range. Some of your wealthiest clients seem inclinded to agree: The average amount spent on luxury items by affluent consumers dropped 21 percent to $12,142 in the third quarter of 2007 versus the previous quarter, according to Unity Marketing, a firm that tracks luxury spending. That decline represents the sharpest since the fourth quarter of 2004, based on the firm's quarterly survey of more than 1,000 consumers with an average income of $150,200, and average age of 43.
But the über rich, as you may have heard, are different from you and me. Some wealthy folks are still finding the coin to invest in necessities like a temperature-controlled underground parking facility with padded walls — a.k.a. a “jewel box for the Ferrari.” Yes, that's one of the requests received by Nicholas Candy and his interior design and development company, Candy & Candy. Think that's a bit much? Candy's clients have also requested a swimming pool that turns into a dance floor at the push of a button, and a dining table that transforms into a roulette wheel. Did somebody say recession? What recession?