Half the story of real estate prices in Boston is well-known --- we're one of the coastal markets where prices are skyrocketing. The other half is not so well-known. One of the most active segments of the market -- and one of the ones most active in driving up prices on the whole -- is the luxury segment. And while those lower down on the totem pole are resorting to increasingly desperate stratagems (variable-rate mortgages, interest-only loans) in order to afford the initial payment on an increasingly unaffordable shack or condo, how does the upper class do it? The headline on a week-old edition of the Back Bay Courant (the silkened rag for one of the city's toniest neighborhoods) tells the tale:
Luxury Home Buyers are Paying in Cash
Of the $300 million in condo purchases at the new Ritz, for example, $270 million came in cash over the barrelhead. The same goes for 61 of 104 units in Trinity Place, the downtown building where a single-bedroom condo sells for the same price as an entire French countryside chateau.
One might point out the implications of this for the shape of the larger society -- but one wouldn't want to engage in class warfare, now would one?