Million-Dollar California Home Sales Reach Five-Year High

Million-Dollar Home Sales Reach Five-Year High in California
The Golden Gate Bridge and the city of San Francisco are seen from a 15,000 square-foot custom built home on Belvedere Island in Marin County, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The number of California homes that sold for at least $1 million reached a five-year high in 2012, fueled by a recovering economy and a record number of cash purchases, DataQuick said today.

A total of 26,993 homes sold for at least $1 million last year, up 27 percent from 21,267 in 2011, the San Diego-based data provider said in a statement. It was the most since 2007, when 42,502 homes crossed the threshold, DataQuick said.

High-end sales were buoyed by a record number of cash purchases, according to DataQuick. Last year, 7,791 buyers of million-dollar homes paid in cash, up from 5,802 in 2011. In areas such as Santa Monica, Ross in Marin County and Los Altos in Santa Clara County, “virtually all home sales” were for $1 million or more, the firm said.

“Buyers and sellers in the prestige market tend to respond to different motivations and incentives than the rest of the market,” John Walsh, DataQuick’s president, said in the statement. “Job security, down-payment sizes and mortgage interest rates don’t play the same role. Returns on investments in a low-interest-rate financial environment and safe-haven investing do play a role.”

The number of California homes sold for more than $5 million rose to a record last year, climbing to 697 from 491 in 2011, DataQuick said. In the $4 million-to-$5 million range, a record 460 homes sold, up from 344 in 2011.

The most expensive confirmed purchase last year in California was an 8,930-square-foot (830-square-meter) Woodside home with four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms. It sold for $117.5 million in November, DataQuick said.

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