A chart of area homes sold for $1 million or more


Why high-end sales have leveled off

Over the past ten years, the number of houses that sold for $1 million or more went up with the boom economy and, not surprisingly, dropped down in its aftermath. After notching slightly more than 1,000 $1 million–plus sales in 2002, the local housing market took just three years to surpass the 2,000 mark. The biggest upticks came in 2004 and 2005; in both of those years, high-end home sales surged by nearly 30 percent over the previous year.

The decline has not been quite as dramatic. While 2006—the peak year locally for $1 million–plus sales—saw 1,405 more sales than 2002, the sales tally in 2011 was down only 1,045 from the peak. The biggest drop occurred in 2008, with 677—or 29.3 percent—fewer sales than in 2007. In the past two years, the market vacillated: up 3.2 percent in 2010 but down 3.9 percent this year. The question to be answered going forward: Which of those years indicated a trend?