All that price-chopping at the top, however, has sparked a wave of sales as buyers scoop up deals and sellers accept the new reality of lower prices.
The number of transactions for homes priced at $1 million or more has jumped 18 percent this year, one of the strongest increases since 2008, according to Realtytrac.
Brokers for luxury real estate are already calling 2012 the “The Year of Capitulation” for wealthy sellers.
“I think sellers are now resigned to today’s prices and what’s actually selling,” said Paul Boomsma of the Luxury Portfolio, a marketing group for luxury homes. “ People who are serious about selling are ready to make a deal now, where maybe they weren’t a year ago.”
There are several factors behind the price drops. The high end of the market didn’t fall as much or as early as the broader market, since there weren’t as many distressed sellers that were forced to sell. Those wealthier sellers have hung on to their properties, waiting for prices to approach 2008 levels.
Now that they see that the prices of 2008 aren’t likely to return anytime soon, many are deciding to drop their prices just to get a deal. The increase in sales has itself spurred sales, as wealthy sellers see a larger number homes in their neighborhoods trading at lower prices.
“There is now a critical mass of data so sellers can say, ‘Well, this is the new reality,’” Boomsma said.
Of course, bargains are all relative in the mega-mansion market. And homes priced at $1 million or more represent a tiny slice of the overall market, with high concentrations in New York and California.
Yet some mega-mansions have seen price cuts of 30 percent or more in recent months.