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Real Estate Watch: An Emerging Class Divide on Home Prices?

As most of you already know, I like to read The Register’s real estate columnist, Jon Lansner, as often as I can. And today, he wrote about something that just can’t be ignored. Apparently, there’s an emerging divide on home prices.

Check out what Lansner discovered when he looked at HousingTrack’s OC data:

This online price tracker’s twist on pricing trends is watching the typical local asking price for the 25th percentile (median of bottom half) and 75th percentile (median of the top.) Here’s what I see O.C. sellers are seeking … At the 25th percentile, coming in at $385,000 as of April 7, sellers ask 23% less in a year. This marker for the market’s less-expensive housing has fallen month-to-month every month since May ‘07.

Compare that to the 75th percentile, at $825,000 as of April 7. This marker for O.C. upper crust is off 10.5% in a year and rose in February and March and is up again in early April. That followed 10 straight months of decline.

So what does this mean? Can this be a hint that wealthier home buyers are willing to pay a little more for luxury? Or that the high-end sector of the OC housing market is starting to recover while the less affluent side continues to tumble? Or is it something else?

What are you seeing in your area right now? Are more expensive homes in your community selling more quickly than the less expensive homes? Are you not seeing as many “Price Reduced!” signs on top of the “For Sale” signs at the luxury developments as opposed to the more affordable neighborhoods?

How do you explain this possible emerging divide on home prices in OC?