In downtown Los Angeles, King’s Jewelry & Loan began seeing luxury business pick up about 18 months ago when variable-rate mortgages started resetting to higher payments, said owner Sam Shocket, 54, a member of the national association’s board.

“Instead of construction workers, we’d see major contractors,” Shocket said of his customers. “Instead of real estate agents, we’d see brokers. Instead of actors who played bit parts, we’d see someone you might recognize from `The Tonight Show.’ ”