Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on May 30, 2014 at 1:04 PM, updated May 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM
Home sales in general are off to an unsteady start in 2014, with little growth in sales volume despite a competitive market.
But sales are surging among the top 1 percent of homes by price. According to the real estate brokerage Redfin, sales are up 52.6 percent this year among those 1-percent homes in the Portland area, while sales among the other 99 percent are down.
“It really is a tale of two markets,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “Among the top 1 percent of homes you’re seeing a very robust, healthy housing market. But the other 99 percent are struggling.”
That reflects the uneven economic recovery unfolding across much of the country. The economic recovery hasn’t brought much wage growth, and credit standards for financing home purchases are still strict. But the recovery has brought improvement in the stock market, which tends to bring more benefit to the wealthy.
That’s good news for homeowners like Bud Lindstrand, the former CEO of the health insurance company that’s now called Moda Health. His home off Skyline Boulevard in Northwest Portland will hit the market in the next few weeks at a price point around $1 million. He and his wife were looking to downsize, but didn’t seriously consider selling until they saw another house down the street sell in a matter of days.
“I thought, OK, the market must be open again,” Lindstrand said. “I knew for a long time you just don’t sell houses of this nature very well.”
In Portland, the 1 percent looks a little different than much of the country. The threshold for the top 1 percent of home prices lies at $975,000, about 3.9 times higher than the area’s median home price. That’s the smallest ratio among the major cities included in the report.