Housing faces a tenuous recovery thanks to a looming fiscal cliff and lurking shadow inventory but that hasn’t stopped the world’s rich and famous from plunking down millions on mansions in America’s most coveted neighborhoods.
A new report from Coldwell Banker Previews International highlights a handful of ZIP codes across the U.S. where the $10 million-plus market has been ablaze with buyer-seller activity. The luxury real estate firm tracked listings and completed sales from June 2011 through June 2012, in every U.S. market that Coldwell Banker Previews International has a presence, using data from both in-house agents and local Multiple Listing services.
Starting with California. The Beverly Hills 90210 ZIP code touted 56 listings asking $10 million or more, as of June. The pricey postal code touts several of America’s most expensive homes for sale, including the $95 million Beverly House and celebrity developer Mohamed Hadid’s $58 million Crescent Palace.
But any seller can set a stratospheric listing price. The real surprise comes from the number of completed sales in Beverly Hills: 21 sales priced $10 million or higher transpired in 90210 in the 12 months ending in June. Among them, the Wehba Mansion on Sunset Boulevard that fetched $34.5 million in May and the celebrity compound sold by Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi to Ryan Seacrest for $37 million.
Other Southern California neighborhoods populated with $10 million-plus mansions are Malibu (90265), Bel Air (90077), and Santa Barbara (93108). Santa Barbara racked up 12 sales as of June, taking nearly a third of the 41 homes asking eight figures off the market. Bel Air, a swank Los Angeles neighborhood in the so-called Platinum Triangle, also had 41 homes listed for sale, including the $125 million Fleur de Lys mansion. Ten homes found buyers there. Malibu touts a hefty 66 listings, including the $54 million La Villa Contenta and the $43 million Rocky Oaks Estate, though sales have been slower to materialize.
Aspen, Colo. has also enjoyed a renewed uptick in wealthy buyer activity. The 81611 ZIP code boasted 42 listings at or above $10 million as of June. Nine found buyers, including hedge fund billionaire John Paulson. He purchased Hala Ranch from a Saudi Prince for $49 million in June.
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Perhaps the most surprising locale to land on the Coldwell Banker list, though, is Florida’s Miami Beach. The 33139 ZIP code alone had seven sales priced above $10 million as of June — and activity has surged since then. Coldwell Banker’s Miami-based power broker team The Jills count a staggering 25 sales of $10 million or more from Fisher Island to Golden Beach from June 2011 through the first week of September 2012, plus several sales at the St. Regis in Bal Harbour and six in Coral Gables to the south. The duo recently closed on a $47 million mansion on Indian Creek Island in Miami’s most expensive sale ever and hold the listing for the $125 million Versace Mansion.
So why are wealthy buyers shelling out tens of millions on property now? “I think there has been an influx of foreign buyers and they want to put their money in hard assets in our country,” says Jill Eber of The Jills, adding that wealthy domestic buyers have been house hunting as well. Betty Graham, president of Coldwell Banker Previews International, seconds this sentiment in a statement: “The luxury real estate market is becoming more global and interconnected than ever before. In the U.S., we are seeing an influx of international buyers from across the world, including Asia, Russia and Brazil, especially in coastal markets in the Los Angeles and Miami areas.”
Other neighborhoods wooing moneyed buyers to closing tables lie in New York City’s Manhattan borough. The Upper West Side’s 10023 ZIP code welcomed 24 sales, most notably in billionaire-centric 15 Central Park West, and the Upper East Side’s 10021 ZIP code had 59 super luxury listings as of June, including the $90 million Woolworth Mansion that recently de-listed and returned to market as a $150,000-per-month rental.
Neighborhoods Where $10 Million Homes Are The Norm -Of Course Beverly Hills 90210 is at the top! Forbes