Rich Default on Luxury Homes Like Subprime Victims (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
California is hardest hit by luxury-home foreclosures. More than 1,500 borrowers with properties in the state that once sold for more than $1 million defaulted on their mortgages in February, said Mark Hanson, managing director of the Field Check Group, a real estate company in Palo Alto, California.
About 3 percent, or 254,745, of the state’s 8.5 million houses are assessed for more than $1 million by county assessors, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick, a real estate monitoring company.
While sales for all homes in the state increased 2.5 percent last year from 2007, sales of homes valued at more than $1 million declined 43 percent to the lowest since 2003, MDA DataQuick reported. Part of the reason is falling prices as California’s median home price dropped 41 percent in February to $247,590, according to the state’s Association of Realtors.
Another explanation may be stricter lending guidelines, Hanson said.
“You have to have income of $250,000, a 20 percent down payment and near perfect credit to buy a $1 million home now, so the number of buyers isn’t what it was,” Hanson said. “There just aren’t enough buyers to sop up supply. We’re seeing the collapse of the high-end market.”