Decline in luxury home sales – but few have to buy or sell

Reading this overview of the decline of sales in the luxury housing market, a few quotes stood out to me about a particular aspect of this segment of housing:

Photo by Chris Goodwin on Pexels.com

As for purchasing real estate in all cash, Treasurys seem like a better bet than real estate right now, Ms. Fairweather said. “No investor wants to put their money into an asset that is going down in value,” she said.

Mr. Chan said he believes the slowdown in activity is more severe in the luxury market because high-end homeowners have a greater degree of discretion about when to sell and at what price. Often, sellers face no financial pressure to move, he said; they can just wait it out…

Many sellers, however, haven’t adjusted to the new realities of the market, Mr. Chan said. Some of his buyers have made lowball offers on homes, only to be met with significant resistance. “It’s a stalemate,” he said. “Sellers are living in the past, the buyers are living in the future.”…

One of her listings, a $14.95 million oceanfront mansion in Carlsbad, Calif., has been on the market since June. While the seller received one verbal offer, a sale never materialized. Still, she said, her client is wealthy and isn’t desperate to sell. “They don’t have to ever sell—they can carry these properties in perpetuity,” she said.

If housing has become more of an investment among all Americans, this segment of the market might exemplify this the most. Housing is a commodity that needs to be at the right price to buy or sell. Even as these homes signify status and a certain lifestyle, they are also a commodity with perceptions about what is a “good price.” When wealthy people have money – the economy is good, corporate profits are up, interest rates are relatively low – they want to purchase expensive and exclusive properties. When economic times are not as good – interest rates are higher, there is more uncertainty – luxury housing might be just that: a luxury.

If everyone is trying to get ahead with the best deal, how many people end up profiting compared to the other actors in this market? There are other motivations for moving beyond making money or getting a good return on investment; this helps guarantee there is some real estate activity in more troubled economic times.

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