Time to Get In: Wealthy Like the Housing Market

Nearly 80% of the wealthiest Americans think prices in the current real estate market have created a real buying opportunity and 40% are actively looking to buy into it this year. That's according to a survey of high-income Americans by American Express and Harrison Group, a market research

“I’d rather be at home on my farm than be emperor of the world.”—George Washington

Nearly 80% of the wealthiest Americans think prices in the current real estate market have created a real buying opportunity and 40% are actively looking to buy into it this year. That’s according to a survey of high-income Americans by American Express and Harrison Group, a market research and consulting firm.

The survey designated those with more than $500,000 in annual income as the wealthiest. Other categories in the survey were “upper middle class,” with incomes between $100,000 and $149,000; “affluent,” with incomes between $150,000 and $249,000; and “super-affluent,” with income between $250,000 and $499,000.

Although those below the wealthiest in income were not quite as bullish on real estate, they were still overwhelmingly positive, with two-thirds of the upper middle class and 72% of the affluent and super-affluent seeing buying opportunities in the current market. This slightly less optimistic outlook was reflected in the number in each group who were in the market to buy—just 17% of the upper middle class, 24% of the affluent, and 26% of the super-affluent. Most of the wealthiest who are in the market are looking for second and even third homes, according to the survey, and the researchers believe that many of these buyers see the purchase as an investment rather than as a place to actually live in.

On the negative side, almost 80% of those responding to the survey think the country is in a recession, although almost 90% think that housing prices will eventually recover. Still, about one out of five report that the equity in their home is less than what they owe on it and many are worried about the impact of the recession, especially among the upper middle class and the affluent groups.

$296,400Average price of a new US home in 2008.

$73,800Average price of a new US home in 1983.(US Census Bureau)

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