March 3rd, 2016 8:51 AM by Cat Moe
Rampant volatility in the U.S.
stock market is showing up in the high-end housing market. But as with
all things real estate, the impact depends entirely on location.
started with a severe stock swoon, and that had an outsized impact on
homebuyers with a higher net worth. Historically, high-end housing
suffers most in a market downturn.
"As you go up the income
quintile, into the top 10 percent, 5 percent, 1 percent by income, their
stock exposure increases," said Sam Khater, chief economist at
CoreLogic. "For the typical family, the bulk of their equity is tied up
in home equity not stock equity. It's the reverse for high income."
Source: Sam Khater/CoreLogic
compared the share of million-dollar home sales to the S&P 500 and
found a distinct correlation. While the share of $1 million or more
homes is very small, just 1.2 percent of all home sales historically, it
can move dramatically depending on stock market gains or losses. From
the worst of the financial crisis in 2008 to the peak of the equity
markets in May 2015, the share of million dollar and more home sales
nearly doubled, according to Khater.
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its peak in May 2015, the S&P index declined 10 percent as of
mid-February. This decline in the S&P index was matched by a 30
basis point or 15 percent decline in the $1 million or more share,"
The correlation, however, is far more acute in certain locations.
New York City and San Francisco, where the local economies are tied
most to financial markets, sales of high-end homes have weakened, and
supply is rising. That jump in inventory will likely affect prices down
the road, as supply outstrips demand. Nationally there was a 9.3-month
supply of homes listed at $1 million or above in December 2014, but that
increased to 13 months by December 2015, according to CoreLogic.
"With more than a year's supply of inventory, prices, for the most part, won't be increasing," Khater said.
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Washington, D.C., however, the stock effect is far more muted.
Government, and the high-priced lawyers and lobbyists that surround it,
are a steady denominator.
is higher, even though the stock market has gotten in the way and the
snowstorm has gotten in the way, but demand is there, people are feeling
very good about the economy," said Nancy Taylor Bubes, a 30-year
veteran of high-end D.C. real estate and currently an agent with
Washington Fine Properties.
She was standing in a $5.75 million
listing that received a solid offer in just 10 days. Taylor Bubes, who
specializes in the area's high-end neighborhoods, says she has sold six
million-dollar-plus listings year to date, three times what she did last
year. Her buyers, mostly domestic and local, are not swayed by Wall
"I actually think the stock market is good for my
business. I think people are going to really think about divesting a
little bit and putting it into something they would really enjoy,"
Taylor Bubes said.
In southwest Florida, however, where real
estate is primarily driven by wealthy retirees from the Northeast and
Midwest, the story is very different. Sales have slowed dramatically.
stock market volatility has definitely impacted the luxury homebuyer in
Florida, particularly in Naples and Sarasota," said Kristine Smale, a
senior consultant with John Burns Real Estate Consulting who is based in
Florida. "Seasonal traffic is still strong, but would-be buyers are
slow to commit this year due to the significant hits to their
portfolios. Builders are disappointed, and some are increasing
incentives to generate sales,"
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direction of the luxury real estate market now depends entirely on both
the trajectory of the stock market and on inventory levels. Supply of
less-expensive homes is extremely tight, and homebuilders are leery of
building to that market, as it is harder to meet margins at lower price
points. Early last year, before the stock market began its fall, the CEO
of Pulte Group, Richard Dugas, said the company would focus more on
high-end product, because that is where the demand is.
stock market settles, the spring housing market could see a resurgence
on the high end. If not, supply will surely increase, and prices will