Home sellers should be concerned about the reports of a tumbling luxury home market, and consider changing their home pricing strategy. The stalwart of the American real estate market since the recession (and possibly skewing home price indices) is showing signs of weakness. Leigh Kamping-Carder of the The Wall Street Journal reported that 50% more homes priced $5 million or more reduced prices during this past January, compared to January 2015 (More Luxury-Home Sellers Drop Their Asking Prices; wsj.com; April 12, 2016). Additionally, Kelsey Ramírez reported for HousingWire about a Redfin home price analysis that indicated weakened luxury home prices; the sector realized a 1.1% annual decrease during the first quarter of 2016 (Luxury home prices decrease for first time since 2012; housingwire.com; May3, 2016).
The apparent luxury home market collapse is most likely due to an increased inventory of luxury homes, and a lack of foreign investors (who were active in the market several years ago). The impact of reduced prices is noticeable in home price indices as well, as there seems to be a consensus that there is a hint of a slowdown of price appreciation.
Corelogic’s May Home Price Insights (corelogic.com) indicated that nationwide home prices during March increased 6.7% year over year; and projects 5.7% appreciation for next March. Additionally, the report highlights twelve states that have reached new home price highs. Month over month average home prices nationwide increased 2.1%; however next month’s projection is for a gain of only 0.7%.
April’s S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (spindices.com) indicted that February home prices increased at an annual rate of 5.3%, which is roughly the same as the previous month’s index. The hot real estate markets of Portland, Seattle, and Denver realized the highest year over year gains, growing at 11.9%, 11% and 9.7% respectively. However, the national 0.2% month over month gain was not as encouraging.
David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, provided commentary about the April S&P/Case-Shiller report, saying “…Home prices continue to rise twice as fast as inflation, but the pace is easing off in the most recent numbers…While financing is not an issue for home buyers, rising prices are a concern in many parts of the country. The visible supply of homes on the market is low at 4.8 months in the last report. Homeowners looking to sell their house and trade up to a larger house or a more desirable location are concerned with finding that new house. Additionally, the pace of new single family home construction and sales has not completely recovered from the recession.”
Although the recent home price indices have not yet established negative trends, they are telling of a housing market under pressure. Local home sellers should take note that the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index for the Washington DC metro area indicates a month over month -0.2% (negative two tenths of a percent) change in the average home price. The Corelogic HPI Market Condition Indicator for the Washington DC-MD-VA-WV metro area is “Overvalued.”
If you are planning a home sale during the latter half of this year, you should be extra aware of the local market trends; paying attention to competition and general inventory. Home pricing strategies that were common last year may not work to your advantage. Over pricing your home could result in driving home buyers to your competition, rather than netting a higher sales price.
Copyright © Dan Krell
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.