I was on the radio this morning with a local real estate broker, Matt Battiata, and we talked a bit about where the market has further to fall. We broached the notion that the slumping market will further affect higher-end neighborhoods, like we found in last month’s Case-Shiller release.

When I got back to the office I found a release from MDA DataQuick with tons of interesting numbers in it along similar lines. Million-dollar home sales in the state registered their lowest totals five years in 2008, the firm reported. Analysts attributed the weakness to buyers finding difficulty getting big mortgages, as well as the fact that a bunch of homes fell under the million-dollar threshold last year.

Statewide there were 24,436 million-dollar-plus sales last year, a drop of 42.5 percent from 2007’s total, and about half as many as there were in 2005 and 2006.

At the same time, sales of all homes (in San Diego County) only dropped 0.01 percent from 2007 to 2008.

Here’s some more:

Of last year’s sub-$1 million sales, at least 2,052 homes had previously sold for more than a million. One in sixteen homes sold for a million dollars or more last year; the year before it was one in nine.

“Discretionary spending in the housing market has pretty much been on hold the past fifteen months. The core of last year’s distress was clearly in affordable areas that had a lot of turnover in 2005 and 2006. That distress could migrate up the price ladder if this recession proves nasty for high-income households,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

That’s sort of what Battiata and I got into this morning, too. Any signs you’ve seen that the distress is migrating “up the price ladder?” Send me an e-mail at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org.

DataQuick included a couple of local points of interest. Rancho Santa Fe was one of three communities in the state where nearly all of the sales were in the million-dollar category. And San Diego County had two of the top-ranked ZIPs for in the state for million-dollar-plus sales — 92130 (Carmel Valley, Del Mar) had 247 million-dollar-plus sales, a 36 percent drop in the number of such sales from 2007. La Jolla’s 92037 had 246. That was a 40 percent drop from 2007’s sales count.

Three percent of all 8.51 million homes in the state — about 255,000 — are assessed for more than a million dollars, according to DataQuick.

I just got the San Diego County version of these numbers from DataQuick: There were 2,216 sales of million-dollar-plus homes in 2008, down 43 percent from the 3,888 such sales in 2007.


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