Tuesday, May 19, 2015

High End Home Sales: On The Rise

8/15/14 - Recent housing statistics show that, while the housing market as a whole has been at a bit of an impasse, home sales on the upper end of the spectrum appear to be steadily increasing. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, lenders have become more cautious, preferring to fund mortgages for borrowers with cash on hand and access to credit, as compared to the average American home-buyer. This split between buyers has led to a split in housing sales, thus resulting in this recent trend of increased million-dollar home sales, especially in California. In an L.A. Times article, writer Tim Logan discusses this phenomenon and what it means for attempted rebuilding of California's housing market.

Logan looks into how first-time buyers, what with much stricter loan regulations and a not-so-stable jobs market, are having trouble taking their first step into the realm of home ownership. On the other hand, wealthy investors, with available cash, are more able to benefit from current low interest rates. While average California housing prices are getting toward the high six-figures, it appears that from the San Francisco Bay Area to Southern California, seven-figure home sales have become more common than ever.

Even for older home buyers, of the “Baby Boomer” generation, purchases of homes with seven-figure price tags have become all the more prevalent. For these buyers, looking to downsize, the cash that they gain from selling a large house goes into the purchase of a high-end condominium, such as those produced by City Ventures, which go for around $1.5 million on average. However, while these buyers pay all cash for such properties, Logan presents statistics showing that 70% of recent million-dollar home sales in California were accompanied by a mortgage, illustrating the way in which buyers are taking advantage of historically-low interest rates.

Logan shows throughout this article how beneficial the current housing market is – at least, for wealthy, high-end buyers. Even for the average buyer, although they have more difficulty getting loans, these low interest rates can help them to purchase homes on the upper end of the housing spectrum, since low interest rates mean more affordable monthly payments over the course of a mortgage. Thus, while this article shows that lower interest rates have been helping those with cash on hand, individuals looking for a fancier home or an investment property, perhaps lenders will soon enough loosen their grip, allowing for the average home-buyer to also benefit from these lower interest rates.

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