In some elite zip codes, $1 million homes now count as affordable housing.
A new report from Coldwell Banker shows that sales and listings of homes priced at $10 million or more have more than doubled in some communities in the past year. While the market for these mega-mansions remains tiny nationally, they are becoming downright common in a select few towns favored by the super-rich.
The top zip code for homes sold for $10 million or more is Beverly Hills, with 19 mega-homes sold between November 2011 and October of 2012. Tied for second place was Aspen, Colo., and Santa Barbara, both with 13 homes sold for $10 million or more.
Beverly Hills and Aspen also led the list of zip codes for sales of homes priced at $5 million or more, with Beverly Hills reporting 70 homes in that category, and Aspen 33. (Read more: The Five Largest Landowners in America)
Granted, the list leaves out New York, since several Manhattan zip codes would otherwise overwhelm the top of the list. In its previous report, Coldwell Banker said Manhattan had 100 sales of $10 million or more, with many zip codes around Central Park reporting 20 or more sales.
The rankings show that the so-called "ultra-luxury" sector of the real estate market had a strong year in 2012 and is poised for an even better year in 2013 – fueled in part by a stronger stock market and rising real-estate values.
The number of homes priced at $10 million or more – a good indicator for next year – also continues to grow. Topping the list of $10 million-plus listings is Malibu, Calif., with 63 listings priced in the eight digits or higher. (Call if the Ellison Premium?) Beverly Hills ranked second, with 62 listings followed by Aspen with 41 listings. (Read more: Next Battle on the 'Cliff' Edge Is Estate Taxes)
"One area where we have seen tremendous growth in the past few years is the ultra-luxury sector," Coldwell Banker said in the report. "For example, in the Miami area, a luxury market that has ignited this year, the number of new listings hitting the market at $10 million dollars or higher jumped by 176 percent from January 2012 through October 31,2012."
The report found that 72 percent of those buying or listing $10-million-plus homes are local – contradicting the widely held perception that the top of the real-estate market is now being driven by foreigners. Nearly half of the buyers or listers are entrepreneurs and more than 60% are betweenthe ages of 45 and 54.
Of the buyers who are from overseas, 39 percent are from Asia.
When it comes to the most important feature for $10 million properties, the golden rule of real-estate still holds true. It's "location,location, location," Coldwell said.