A front page article in today’s WSJ divides the residential real estate market into two halves: low/moderate priced homes, and the upper end. The Journal observes:

Housing is fast dividing into two markets: Sales of low- and moderately priced homes are picking up and values have stopped falling in some parts of the nation. But on the upper end, sales remain mired in a deep slump and price declines are expected to accelerate.

“We’re in a ‘trade-down’ environment for the first time since the 1930s.”

-Kenneth Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

The article also stated that: “Sales of existing homes priced over $750,000 accounted for 2.3% of all sales in the first quarter of this year, compared to 4.4% of the housing market in 2007”

There is, however, little doubt that the upper end of the market has not seen improvement here in Boston. Sales at the high end of the real estate market are soft to say the least. That is partially a function of limited availability of credit and buyer concern over employment.

Comparing the first 6 months of 2008 to 2009 on Boston condos priced $750,000.00 and up.

Number of sales from January 1, 2009 thru June 30, 2009
Boston luxury condos sold – 195
Average price per sq ft – $779.00
Avg days on the market – 134

Number of sales from January 1, 2008 thru June 30, 2008
Boston luxury condos sold – 382
Average price per sq ft – $827.00
Avg days on the market – 103

So what are your thoughts? Do you think Boston is in a trade down market?

File Under: “Look honey, formica counter tops”

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