Morning Briefing: Is the high-end property boom about to end in this market?

by Steve Randall16 Feb 2016
Is the high-end property boom about to end in this market?
The tech sector has helped drive sales of property in San Francisco and the luxury market is becoming a tougher sell according to realtors. Nina Hatvany has been speaking to CNBC with the benefit of a quarter of a century in the Bay Area realty business and says buyers of high-end homes are becoming “more hesitant” due to losses incurred from falling equity markets. Pacific Union realtor Josh McAdam added that the high-end homes that do sell have to be something special, although there is still demand for the lower-end of the 7-figure listings. Fitch recently warned that it estimates that the San Francisco market is 16 per cent overvalued.
Houston market near January-record
Sales of homes in the Houston market were just 2 per cent off the January record as 2016 got underway. Despite the slowdown in the energy sector single-family homes priced between $150,000 and $250,000 saw year-over-year sales increase by nearly 9 percent while total property sales remained unchanged. The Houston Association of Realtors reports that 4,024 single-family homes sold in the month, down 2.1 per cent from a year earlier. The luxury market slowed more though with homes priced above $500,000 declining 9.3 per cent.
Become Woody Allen’s neighbor for $27 million
A Manhattan townhouse next door to Woody Allen is on the market for $27 million. The New York Post says that the current owner, an Arizona investor, bought the home in 2014 for $31 million and was originally asking $33 million for the five-bedroom, 1869-built home. He then dropped the price to $28 million and has now cut a further million. The home is 19 feet wide, which is a foot narrower than a standard townhouse in the area.
Consumer sentiment is lower this month
The Index of Consumer Sentiment is set to reveal that Americans are slightly less confident in the economy. Estimates from the University of Michigan suggest a drop to 90.7, down from 93.3 in January and below analysts’ expectations. Although there are positive signs for the US economy, including strong retail and labor market data, consumers are concerned that low inflation will subdue growth and wages. That said, low inflation is also cited by respondents as having a positive influence on their personal finances due to the lower cost of living.