So much attention has been paid on the softness in California housing, and here at BusinessWeek, two of my colleagues have an article in the current issue talking about the weakness in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. But if you want to talk about a market in freefall, look at Boston. This article in the Boston Globe (registration required, but it’s free) quotes a Realtor who dropped the price of one luxury home by $550,000, or 22%. And it quotes a couple who originally listed their home at $899,000, reduced it four times to $800,000 — and sold it for a price that they won’t disclose (think, much lower). The sellers all complain about “vultures” who are making what they consider ridiculous low ball offers. But they weren’t complaining at the top, when buyers were having to pay above asking just to get a hearing. That’s the free market isn’t it?
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.