Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Buyer's Market for Luxury Homes?

“Inman Connect” is a semi-annual national conference for real estate agents. At the most recent gathering in June of this year, held in the beautiful city by the bay (San Francisco), we heard a lot of discussion about the luxury home market.

What is a luxury home? Are different strategies required when you are buying and selling in this market segment? Is it a good time to make a move into or out of this part of the market?

A common definition of “luxury” is that it is the top 10% of any market. It got us wondering about what that looks like in Denver. What is your guess – what is the home price that puts you in the top 10% of the market?

You’ll find the answer below, but make your guess first.

Don’t peek!

Do you have your answer?

The answer for metro Denver is $525,000. Ten percent of the residential properties in metro Denver that sold from October 2013 through September 2014 had an asking price that was above $525,000.

Does that surprise you? It surprised us. We thought the number would be higher.

Here are some additional facts. The cutoff for the top 5% is $600,000. Move up to $1,001,000 and you are in the top 2%. If you lay your head down at night in a place that has a price tag of $1.5 million, then 99% of the properties in the metro area are less expensive than yours.

The supply and demand pattern is different also. While houses with a price at $525,000 or above make up only 10% of the closed transactions over the last 12 months, they represent 37% of the currently available inventory.

In other words, almost 2 out of every 5 houses on the market right now have an asking price over $525,000. This represents 7.8 months of supply, meaning that it would take 7.8 months to sell all these homes if no more came on the market. In contrast, there is only 1.5 months of supply for homes under that price point.

Traditional wisdom says that inventory of less than 3 months indicates a seller’s market while inventory greater than 6 months indicates a buyer’s market.

We see the effect of this large inventory in the time it takes to sell upper end homes, which is 80 days on average. In contrast, half of the homes under $525,000 that come on the market will find a buyer within 11 days.

What does it all mean if you are in that “luxury” market of $525,000 and above? If you are a seller, you are in a buyer’s market. You have to be more accurate with pricing and you’re very unlikely to have the multiple offer feeding frenzy you hear so much about these days.

If you are a buyer … well, it is a buyer’s market. It is an excellent time to make a move up into this range, especially if the house you have to sell is in that heart of the market at $350,000 and below. You get to sell in a seller’s market and buy in a buyer’s market. In other words – it’s pretty much real estate heaven.

Courtesy of Mike Cooke of Colorado Home Realty (c)