Million-dollar homes in the U.S. are selling at double their historical average while middle-class property demand stumbles, showing that the housing recovery is mirroring America’s wealth divide.
Purchases costing $1 million or more rose 7.8 percent in March from a year earlier, according to data released last week by the National Association of Realtors. Transactions for $250,000 or less, which represent almost two-thirds of the market, plunged 12 percent in the period as house hunters found few available homes in that price range.
Luxury-home sales are climbing as an improving economy and stocks that have almost tripled from 2009 lows bolster confidence among affluent buyers. At the same time, slow wage growth, tight credit standards and escalating prices are putting homeownership out of reach for many Americans. While investors drain the market of lower-end properties, builders are constructing more expensive houses that generate bigger profits.
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