High Times Roll On For High-End Condo Market
Senior Features Editor
Berndt says he’s seen a dramatic increase in the past 100 days. Inventory levels are down sharply from a year ago, when they were running at four years or more.
On elite Fisher Island –- three miles off the coast of Miami Beach, volume is holding and prices are up. Through June, 16 transactions averaged $3.8 million, versus 32 at $2.7 million in 2006.
In another generally hard hit area of the country, king condo is also alive and well.
In the Los Angeles market, for instance, volume is definitely down, but the “market is still healthy with a slight appreciation in some areas and a slight decrease in others," according to Steve Heiferman, who co-founded the Luxury Condominium Group in 1978 and works the so-called Wilshire Corridor, or Golden Mile, where the segment starts at about $2 million.
In California’s two other big condo markets, prices in the $1 million-and-over category are clearly outperforming the broader market.
In the San Francisco Bay area, the median price for that segment rose 7.1 percent in the first half of 2008. Overall, prices fell 18.5 percent, according the California Association of Realtors.
“It’s the top area for people who have large cash reserves, strong balance sheets and the largest activity in luxury in condos,” says the group’s deputy chief economist Robert Kleinhenz.
Orange County’s luxury condo market has posted a median price gain of 9.4 percent, compared to a 23.1 percent decline overall.
“The wealthy are somewhat impervious to all this,” says Heiferman of the credit crunch and economic downturn.