California’s Million-Dollar Home Sales Gain Traction


Despite a decline in California home sales last year, the number of homes sold in the Golden State for $1 million or more in 2010 rose for the first time since 2005, according to a study from San Diego-based DataQuick Information Systems.

The research firm notes that California experienced a 9 percent year-over-year drop in total home sales in 2010, including all price levels.

Million-dollar sales peaked in 2005 at 54,773 and then declined each year through 2009. In 2010, 22,529 homes sold for $1 million or more in California, a 21 percent increase from 18,621 in 2009.

DataQuick says about one in 20 homes sold for a million dollars in 2010. It was one in 25 in 2009 and one in 16 in 2008.

“Prestige home buyers respond to a different set of motivations than the rest of us,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “Their decisions are less dependent on jobs, prices, and interest rates and more on how their

portfolio is doing. When the financial world was full of uncertainty a couple of years back and the jumbo loan market dried up, luxury sales plummeted.”

Walsh continued, “As the economy started its top down recovery, some wealthy buyers went looking for a bargain. Additionally, there has always been a safe-haven component in the million-dollar market that attracts wealth.”

The vast majority of California’s million-dollar-plus home sales last year were in San Marino in Los Angeles County, Los Altos in Santa Clara County, Atherton and Hillsborough in San Mateo County, and Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County.

According to DataQuick’s report, statewide 463 homes sold for more than $5 million last year, 304 were in the $4 million to $5 million range, 782 were in the $3 million to $4 million range, 2,333 were in the $2 million to $3 million range, and the rest-nearly 79 percent-sold for between $1 million and $2 million.

Based on public records, the most expensive confirmed purchase in 2010 sold for $50 million. The Bel Air residence was the state’s largest million-dollar home sold last year at 35,378 square feet with 15 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms on about 2.2 acres.

Newly built homes accounted for 5.9 percent of last year’s $1 million-plus sales, down from 6.5 percent in 2009. Condo sales made up 8 percent of the million-dollar category last year, down from 8.3 percent the year before.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies, and industry analysts.

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