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Affluent home owners are sold on homes. In the past year, two thirds of those with an average income of about $142,000 either purchased a new, existing or vacation home or expanded, remodeled or redecorated their existing home.

What's more, 69 percent of them have more major home-related plans for the coming year, including 17 percent who plan on buying a new, existing or vacation home. All this in the midst of so much bubble talk? Why risk it?

Home buyers, affluent or otherwise, who buy homes to use as owner-occupants full or part-time, typically are in it for the long haul and aren't speculating about short term gains or losses. Any downturn in the real estate market will be followed by an upswing and the rich know it. If history is any indication, any down turn will be more than offset by the next upswing. "Despite rising gas prices and the threat of a housing market slow down, the luxury consumers feel well cushioned," said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing.

"The luxury consumers' confidence is on the upswing and fully 63 percent expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next twelve months. Given the strong activity in home buying and major home-related improvements, Unity Marketing predicts a strong and growing demand for all-things luxury for the home," said Danziger, also author of "Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses -- as well as the Classes" (Dearborn Trade, $27). Unity Marketing's latest survey of 1,153 luxury consumers including "super-affluents" with an average income $141,000 aged 42.6 years, found the typical luxury consumer believes bigger is better and lives in a home nearly twice as large as the national average (3,153 square feet vs. 1,708 square feet) and has a lot nearly three times as big (1.2 acres vs. 0.35 of an acre).

That leaves them with lots of room to fill. Only a small share of super-affluent luxury consumer homes are equipped with features you'd expect to find in high-end home. Most have fireplaces (65 percent) and home offices (64 percent), but only 34 percent have a whirlpool, spa or Jacuzzi, only 27 percent have a luxury bathroom suite and, fewer, 26 percent have a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances.

On the grounds, only 38 percent having luxury patio furniture; 28 percent have outdoor shelters, like gazebos, tents and awnings, and 22 percent own outdoor garden or landscape water features. In addition to super-affluents, the survey includes "near-affluents", those earning $75,000-$99,999 and "affluents" those earning between $100,000-$149,999. Among all affluents, nearly 20 percent either bought a new or existing home or purchased a second/vacation home.

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