In the luxury real estate market this year, the headlines have been dour if not outright grim, with the message unmistakable: High end homes prices are clearly losing altitude all around the country.
Last month, the National Association of Realtors reported thathomes priced above $1 million dipped four percent from the previous month. While far from being a correction, the downturn has been noticed by more than a few real estate market observers. In certain markets such as New York, Miami and San Francisco, frothy prices are beginning to give way to gravity.
That said, not all real estate professionals are in a panic about the current state of the market. There's a definitive chill in the segment of the ultra high-end market priced for homes above $10 million, yet there is still a "great deal of activity" in others, Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates, told CNBC in a recent interview.
"Some markets are seeing a slowdown in the high end but some aren't," White said, whose company cranked out $80 billion in U.S. sales volume in 2015. "It is sort of a mixed bag and obviously there is some slowing," he said, even as he cautioned that ultra-high end sales were a much smaller slice of overall real estate turnover in the U.S.
White explained that several macro and behavioral trends were impacting the market, including a flood of foreign buyers and shifting tastes among key demographics, particularly younger buyers like millennials.
"Estates and farms in the country are a little out of favor because the migration is into the city," White said. In wealthy enclaves like Silicon Valley and New York City, low interest rates and rich buyers have sent median home prices skyrocketing.
Meanwhile, "on the other end, the larger houses that were of great appeal in the last decades" have seen a downward price adjustment, he added.