The pandemic economy pushed Southern California’s competitive housing market into such overdrive that a defining marker of wealth — the million-dollar home — has become the norm in a growing number of places.
Homes worth $1 million or more now dominate communities from Altadena at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains to West Adams in South L.A. As bidding wars send prices even higher, more people are being priced out of communities where they grew up and homeownership is becoming more out of reach for low- and middle-income Californians.
At the same time, the proliferation of million-dollar homes shows that the price point is not a stretch for a growing share of Californians. It still requires financial strength to purchase such a home, but a surging stock market, rising incomes and historically low borrowing costs have made the $1-million house more common than ever.
That convergence of factors during the pandemic has reinforced the inequality of life in America: High earners are making, or at least saving, more money while grounded and working from home as millions of households are behind on rent.
With homes selling at a record pace, many to buyers paying well over the asking price, The Times set out to understand more about the forces shaping the pandemic real estate market: Who are the buyers behind these frenzied sales, and what is motivating and enabling them?
A data analysis showed the spread of homes valued at or …….