In the final quarter of 2019, luxury real estate in the U.S. rallied both in sale volume and price. The segment posted double-digit sales growth year-over-year for the first time in 2019. The entry price rose by 2.1% to $1.27 million, according to the realtor.com’s latest luxury report.
“The stock market was very strong in the last quarter and we also saw mortgage rates that were lower than they had been a year prior,” says realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale. “That really helps the luxury segment show a lot of strength.”
The new year looked promising. Then, coronavirus gripped the world, disrupting businesses large and small in industries ranging from hospitality to housing.
In early March, Joanne Greene, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens in New York, found herself showing a three-bedroom East Side apartment, priced at around $2 million, to a couple with peculiar requests. The interested buyers, a man and a woman, donned face masks and gloves. They wanted to ride the elevator to and from the unit alone. No one was to speak during the private tour.
“They came through and it was just a little bit strange to be in an apartment and not talk,” says Greene. “Everyone’s doing what feels comfortable to them, making decisions with the information they have. It turns out that she’s pregnant and just being very cautious.”