While recent home prices and sales haven’t been strong, the top and the bottom of the housing market is doing just fine according to Builder’s Pulse. Those with a decent income are keeping the upper market afloat, paying large down-payments — about 40 percent — since they know that large home loans are hard to come by. In fact, many buyers see the low prices of homes as an opportunity to buy up, according to Florida International University’s real estate program director Bill Hardin.
Proof of the improving luxury market is in the numbers. In 2011, most states have seen an increase of houses sold that are priced at more than one-million. In fact, those homes make up 1.5 percent of the homes sold in today’s market. Paula Liebman, chief exectuive of The Corcoran Group, says this new trend is a result of a surge in confidence, and claims that there’s not enough houses priced in this range to fulfill the needs of luxury buyers.
On the other side of the market, purchases of foreclosed homes is keeping the housing market going, according to Builder’s Pulse. Often, buyers are investors looking to rent out their new purchases.
With the top and bottom of the housing market improving, it’s the middle of the market that continues to struggle. Sales of homes in the $100,000 to $500,000 range continue to steadily decrease, despite making up 60 percent of the market. Analysts attribute this struggling middle market to the difficulties now in accessing credit. With tougher underwriting standards now, buyers also need to put 20 percent down in order to receive a mortgage.