Upstairs, downstairs

Mr. Gorbachev, build this  wall

Mr. Gorbachev, build this  wall

Two master bedrooms? It's what the smart set now demands

Or so says the WSJ. 

Homeowners with a hankering for extra elbow room are driving a small but lucrative market for homes with multiple master bedroom suites. At the top 10% of the market nationwide, active listings for homes with multiple master bedrooms were priced about 9% higher on average than those with just one master, according to analysts at 
Luxury home builders are taking notice.... Nearly one out of three people who were looking for a home in the $2 million-and-above price range expressed interest in the option of dual master bedrooms, according to a 2016 survey...which drew on data from builders and about 25,000 home shoppers nationwide.
Master bedrooms may be multiplying in response to a broader demographic trend, as the last crop of baby boomers hits middle age. Developers say that more homeowners are embracing multigenerational living, and want to create comfortable living spaces in their homes for elderly parents or boomerang offspring. Empty nesters building homes in resort areas often request an extra master bedroom to use as a VIP suite for guests.
Less outspoken are those couples who want separate-but-equally luxurious bedroom suites for themselves.

Post-divorce, Pal Nancy and I eventually ended up living two doors apart in Riverside, and I used to boast that we were the happiest couple in Greenwich. Which we probably were: when  my obnoxiousness rose to a level that reminded Nancy why we'd gotten divorced in the first place, there was a handy, nearby space each of us could return to, and why fight when you can just leave?  

More practically, a lot of buyers I've worked with over the years have wanted two master bedrooms, mostly because they had elderly parents who liked to visit from overseas, and a ground floor, luxurious bedroom provided a great space to accommodate them (I always warn buyers like that not to make the space too luxurious, or someone's mother in law is going to end up staying for six months, and won't that be fun?). And, as the Journal article mentions, buyers who intend to stay in a house past their middle age like the idea of avoiding stairs in their dottage.

But, as the Journal also makes clear, plenty of buyers want separate bedrooms for immediate use: one partner snores, or likes to stay up late, or just wants his or her own space. Given the size of our average high-end houses here in town, there should be plenty of room to accommodate that.

One caveat: a single master bedroom on the ground floor with the rest of the bedrooms upstairs is a tough sell. It sounds appealing, especially when there are teenaged children still living at home, but parents of younger children, as a rule, want to be on the same floor with them. You'd think that the sophisticated monitors available today would ease those fears (or you could ask the NSA to do it for you) but not so. I'm speaking in generalities here, but if I were buying with an eye towards resale, I'd concentrate on homes with the master on the same floor as the other bedrooms; however, if there's space for a second on the ground floor, or two on the upper, so much the better.