Wall Street Bankers Still Buying Luxury Homes Despite Lower Bonuses

Wall Street kicked off its 2015 bonus season with less fanfare this year due to lackluster fourth quarter profits. But that hasn’t stopped Wall Street elites from purchasing luxury homes at a time when most Americans are struggling to make a living wage and keep a roof over their heads.

The New York Times reported that while Wall Street bonuses have been in decline overall since the recession, real estate brokers like Cindy Scholz who deal with Wall Street high-rollers looking at two-bedroom properties in the $2 million range are upping their budgets after receiving their Wall Street bonuses.

“They took off for the holidays and came back and said their budget was $4 million to $5 million,” Scholz said.

Despite Wall Street taking in lower bonuses from London to New York in 2014 compared to the previous year, Reuters reported that Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs are still shelling out hefty compensation packages amounting to $12.69 billion to its 34,000 employees. It’s a 2.6 percent dip from 2013, but the average bonus still netted $373,000 per employee.

Wall Street CEOs are virtually guaranteed multi-million dollar bonus packages regardless of bank profits, job cuts, and risky investments gone sour. Wall Street darling Jamie Dimon saw his bonus cut in 2013 but still cleared $10.5 million after a disastrous year for JPMorgan, largely due to the $6 billion “London Whale” loss in bad trading of credit derivatives.

The political will to harness Wall Street crimes – which often lead to excessive bonuses when profits are up – has lead to little action in Washington. Since coming to office, Obama has yet to prosecute and jail a single Wall Street banker responsible for the worst recession since the stock market crash of 1929. In fact, as reported by the Inquisitr back in 2012, the Obama administration has utilized the Department of Homeland Security and FBI in corroboration with Wall Street banks to violently crack-down on the Occupy Wall Street movement, a non-politically-aligned force relying on grass-roots organizing to bring attention to economic inequality and Wall Street crimes.

Wall Street bonuses may be down for 2014, but the net worth of many Wall Street CEOs and brokers are on the rise. Plush with cash, investments in real estate become an obvious choice.

Ziel Feldman of HFZ Capital Group thinks that the Wall Street bonus bump is responsible for three recent sales at the full asking price.

“We have seen a big surge after a lull during the summer months,” Feldman said.

Wall Street bonuses are typically doled out when companies release their year-end earnings or soon after. European banks generally pay less than their Wall Street counterparts. Bonuses are sent out between late January and March.

[Image via Vlad Lazarenko/Wikipedia Commons]