Luxury

Sales of Luxury Homes Soar as Low Rates, Stay-at-Home Shoppers Fuel Market

Sales of high-end homes climbed 41.5% year over year in the third quarter, according to online real estate broker Redfin (NASDAQ:RDFN), the largest year-over-year jump since at least 2013.

In a news release Monday, Redfin said that sales of luxury homes, defined as the top 5% of market values, as well as sales of second- and third-tier houses climbed year over year, while sales in the bottom two buckets fell by 4% each. The median sale price of a top-tier luxury home in the U.S. in the quarter was $862,700, up 6.5% year over year, while the median price of a house in the bottom tier was $90,000.

A for sale sign in front of a house.

Image source: Getty Images.

In a typical downturn, it is the luxury market that takes the biggest hit, but as Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather noted, “This isn’t a normal recession.” Changes in behavior driven by the coronavirus pandemic are pushing more high-end buyers into the market, while keeping first-time buyers away.

“Remote work, record-low mortgage rates, and strong stock prices during the pandemic are allowing America’s wealthy families to gobble up expensive houses with home offices and big backyards in the suburbs,” Fairweather said. “Meanwhile, scores of lower- and middle-class Americans have lost their jobs or are still renting in the city because they’re essential workers and have to commute into work, so they’re unable to reap the benefits of homeownership.”

The number of homes for sale in the luxury bracket climbed 8.4% year over year, while the inventory of homes available for sale in the bottom three tiers fell by 7.9%, 7.6%, and 4.8 %, respectively.

Houses across the spectrum are selling faster than ever, with the median days on the market falling for every price tier.

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Coppell man charged with scamming $17 million in PPP money to buy luxury cars and homes

Federal investigators say a Coppell man fraudulently applied for dozens of federal stimulus PPP grants and received more than $17 million that he spent buying real estate and luxury cars such as a Bentley and a Corvette.



Government prosecutors have now charged dozens of people with fraudulently receiving grants from the Payroll Protection Program.


© Brian Elledge/Staff Photographer/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
Government prosecutors have now charged dozens of people with fraudulently receiving grants from the Payroll Protection Program.

A coalition of federal agencies charged Dinesh Sah, 55, of Coppell, with applying for $24.8 million in PPP loans for 15 businesses that claimed to have more than 500 employees, but in fact, many of the businesses were registered after the CARES Act was passed and did not have any employees, according to court documents detailing the indictment.

“Mr. Sah exploited this terrible pandemic for personal gain – and he should be held accountable to the American people for that behavior,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox in a statement. “COVID-19 has devastated the finances of hardworking business owners across the nation. PPP funds should be reserved for those who really need them to keep their companies afloat.”

Sah was arrested Sept. 16 and remains in custody, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas.

Sah is one of dozens indicted by government prosecutors for fraudulently applying for forgivable loans through the Payroll Protection Program, the $650 billion slice of the CARES Act designed to help small businesses cover costs for wages, rent and utilities. Among those charged with fraud were a former NFL football player and a former reality television star.

More than 5.2 million loans were approved nationwide. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Texas businesses were approved for more than $41 billion in grants that were intended to go to businesses with 500 employees or fewer.

The indictment said

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London Luxury Homes Suffer Worst Rental Slump in Over a Decade

(Bloomberg) — It’s a pretty good time to be renting a posh London pad.

The price to lease a home in the capital’s wealthiest areas slumped by an annual 8.1% in September, the steepest in more than 10 years, according to broker Knight Frank. Landlords are flooding the market with short-term rentals as tourists stay away from the capital, and more owners are opting to rent out properties amid the pandemic uncertainty.

The pain for owners in London’s priciest districts will likely continue into the current quarter, with Knight Frank forecasting a 9% decline for the whole year. Step outside the capital, though, and it’s a different story: nationwide rents are going in the other direction as renters search for homes with more space and larger gardens.



chart, histogram: London's Falling


© Bloomberg
London’s Falling

Rents also slipped as international students snubbed high-end properties in central London, the report said. Less interest from corporate clients also contributed, as the resurgent virus keeps white-collar workers at home.

There’s a bit of good news for central city landlords. Knight Frank sees prices starting to recover in 2021, as knock-down prices bring tenants back to the capital.

Read more: Manhattan Apartments Haven’t Been This Cheap to Rent Since 2013

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Pandemic boosts sales of luxury homes in resort communities

Wealthy Americans are snapping up multimillion-dollar homes in exclusive resort communities as the coronavirus pandemic continues to fuel a work-from-home lifestyle that no longer tethers workers to the office five days a week. 

Sales of expensive homes in places like Aspen, Colorado; the Hamptons; and Palm Beach, Florida have been booming since May, when it became clear the pandemic would upend Americans’ lifestyles indefinitely, according to real estate agents and appraisers across the country. 

“We are seeing greater sales gains in more expensive properties in areas people consider to be retirement destinations and resorts,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a trade association representing real estate professionals. “I think this new economy and working from home can also mean working from a vacation home — that is, a larger size home with more elbow room that is in more of a vacation destination.”

For July, home sales in resort regions across the country were up nearly 29% compared to last year, according to NAR’s data. 

Indeed, the COVID-induced remote work phenomenon is fueling much of the uptick in high-end property sales in vacation destinations, according to New York City real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel.

In Aspen, there’s been what Miller called an “unusual surge” in home sales above $5 million in recent months.

Last month, nine new sales contracts were signed for homes between $10 million and $20 million in the upscale ski town, versus one in September last year, according to Douglas Elliman’s report of signed residential contracts authored by Miller.

“Inventory is flying off the shelf,” he said of the 800% increase in signed contracts for Aspen homes. 

Sales are rising in other high end communities as well. In Palm Beach County in September, ninety new contracts were signed

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Bellevue homes designed for top-tier luxury living

The future is rising over Northeast Eighth Street in Bellevue in a pair of high-rise towers that will soon be home 85,000 square feet of retail and fine dining, the first InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in the Pacific Northwest, and 365 condominium homes that span a variety of price points while elevating the standard of urban living to heights never before seen in the city.

The colossal project known as Avenue Bellevue is more than just a collection of dwellings. It was conceived and designed be the new center of Bellevue energy and a premier downtown destination — the focal point of a new lifestyle and a new brand of luxury urban living.

“I can’t think of many places in the world that offer as good a quality of life as Bellevue,” says Andy Lakha, CEO of Fortress Development, the company behind the development. “As a Bellevue resident for more than 20 years, I am deeply committed to the future success of the community — and Avenue Bellevue is the biggest and most important project of my life. We are creating something that will set a new standard for hospitality and residential design in the Pacific Northwest.”

Lakha says the project is on target to begin occupancy in spring 2023.

For buyers seeking top-tier luxury living in a class by itself, exclusive Estate Homes are planned in the south tower at Avenue Bellevue.

With the InterContinental Bellevue at Avenue serving as a podium, Estate Homes come in one-, two- or three-bedroom designs up to 2,997 square feet.

Each Estate Home is designed to deliver a state-of-the-art experience of custom comfort that exudes sophisticated synergy and chic urban elegance. Luxurious open layouts feature custom-made Italian Ernestomeda cabinetry; integrated Gaggenau kitchen appliances; Gessi bathroom fixtures and showers that evoke a spa experience;

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