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The Impact of Economic Stress on Luxury Home Sales

The Impact of Economic Stress on Luxury Home Sales

Luxury homes, once the epitome of opulence and exclusivity, are now facing a challenging market. The past year has witnessed a significant decline in sales, with the luxury housing market experiencing its biggest drop on record. This article delves into the factors contributing to this downturn, analyzes the impact on different regions, and explores the potential for recovery.

Economic Stress and the First to Be Cut

During times of economic stress, luxury homes are often among the first to get cut from budgets. With recession fears looming, affluent buyers are becoming more cautious with their investments, leading to a decline in luxury property sales. Additionally, luxury homes are frequently used as investment properties, but the prospect of falling home values and rents in the coming year has dampened investment prospects.

Regional Disparities in Sales Decline

The decline in luxury home sales has not been uniform across all regions. Expensive coastal markets, such as Nassau County in New York and various California metros, have experienced the most significant drops. These markets were already prohibitively expensive for most buyers, making them particularly vulnerable during an economic downturn. For instance, luxury-home sales in Nassau County plummeted by a staggering 65.6% year over year.

Impact of Stock Market on Affluent Buyers

Affluent buyers, often having significant funds invested in the stock market, have felt the impact of the stock market's decline. As stock values decrease, their purchasing power diminishes, leading them to be more cautious in the luxury housing market. The stock market's performance plays a crucial role in shaping the purchasing decisions of high-end buyers.

Mortgage Rates and the Luxury Market

While not all luxury buyers rely on mortgages, higher mortgage rates have affected the luxury housing market indirectly. Volatility in financial markets has led to higher mortgage rates for some luxury buyers. However, the silver lining for those still in the market is the availability of lower mortgage rates for jumbo loans, typically used for high-end home purchases. Lenders often offer additional rate discounts to wealthy buyers who have substantial funds stored with them.

Rising Supply and Falling Demand

The number of luxury homes for sale has seen a significant increase, rising by 5.2% year over year during the three months ending November 30. This marks the largest increase in supply since 2016. The decline in luxury home sales has contributed to the rise in supply, but new listings have also played a role. While luxury home listings fell by only 2.9% year over year, listings of non-luxury homes experienced a more substantial drop of 19.8%.

Slowing Home Price Growth

The overall housing market has witnessed a slowdown in home price growth, impacting both luxury and non-luxury segments. During the three months ending November 30, home prices in both categories rose by 10% year over year, a significant decrease from the 17% growth experienced one year earlier. The median sale price for luxury homes was $1.1 million, while non-luxury homes had a median sale price of $325,000.

In the following sections, we will explore the metro-level highlights, three months ending November 30, to gain further insights into the regional variations in luxury home sales, supply, new listings, and prices.

Metro-Level Highlights: Three Months Ending November 30

Home Sales

Luxury home sales fell across all metros during the three months ending November 30. The most substantial declines were observed in Nassau County (-65.6% YoY), San Diego (-60.4%), San Jose (-58.7%), Riverside (-55.6%), and Anaheim, California (-55.5%). On the other hand, the smallest decreases were seen in Kansas City, Missouri (-20.2%), Cleveland (-21.5%), Virginia Beach, Virginia (-26.2%), Milwaukee (-26.4%), and Charlotte, North Carolina (-28.3%).


Active listings of luxury homes rose in 21 metros, with the most significant increases occurring in Austin, Texas (51% YoY), Denver (50.1%), Nashville (35.7%), Warren, Michigan (29.8%), and Atlanta (25.9%). Conversely, the largest declines were observed in San Jose (-32.2%), Anaheim (-22.5%), Los Angeles (-19.4%), St. Louis (-18.5%), and Miami (-16.6%).

New Listings

New listings of luxury homes fell in 39 metros, with the most substantial declines seen in San Jose (-39.2% YoY), Oakland, California (-37.1%), Anaheim (-29.8%), San Diego (-26.2%), and Orlando, Florida (-25.9%). Conversely, the largest gains were observed in Denver (44%), Warren, Michigan (32.4%), Austin, Texas (20.2%), Detroit (16.3%), and Atlanta (15%).


The median sale price of luxury homes rose in all metros except San Jose (-0.3% YoY). The most substantial increases were observed in Miami (28.1%), Tampa (27.7%), Charlotte, North Carolina (25%), West Palm Beach, Florida (25%), and Orlando (23.7%). Comparatively smaller increases were observed in San Francisco (0.1%), Nassau County (2.1%), Oakland (3.1%), and Portland, Oregon (5.8%).

As we delve deeper into the causes and implications of the luxury housing market crash, it becomes clear that economic stress, stock market performance, rising supply, and falling demand have all played significant roles. While the current market conditions may appear challenging, there are signs of a potential recovery. With falling mortgage rates and increasing buyer demand, the luxury market may find its footing once again. As we move forward, it will be interesting to monitor how these trends evolve and shape the future of the luxury housing market.