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$100 million house listings return with a vengeance

Monday, 15 Jul 2013 | 5:11 PM ET
The 314-acre Homer’s Pond property on Martha’s Vineyard is on the market for $118 million.
Source: Barbara Wagner
The 314-acre Homer’s Pond property on Martha’s Vineyard is on the market for $118 million.

Forget million-dollar listings. The next smash hit real estate TV show could well be "$100 Million Listing."

Brokers and real estate analysts say there are now more than a dozen homes in the U.S. listed or quietly on the market for $100 million or more.

That's believed to top the number of $100 million-plus listings during the peak of the housing boom in 2007.

"It's the most that I've ever seen," said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm. "We're in this special period of time when nine-digit listings may not be commonplace, but they're certainly making their presence known."

The rise of $100 million homes
$1 million listings are back, reports CNBC's Robert Frank. One home on Martha's Vineyard, with a wine cellar that holds 12,000 bottles, is listed for $118 million.

At this price level, it's not designer kitchens and indoor pools that lure buyers. It's land—preferably oceanfront land—and preferably lots of it.

The latest addition to the nine-figure listing club is on Martha's Vineyard. The property, known as Homer's Pond, is a secluded estate with 314 acres off the south shore of the island. The property has more than 1,200 feet of oceanfront and a 35-acre fresh-water pond.

The main house is 5,600 square feet with 180-degree views of the pond and the ocean. It also comes with a one-bedroom beach house steps from the beach as well as a pool house.

The property is on the market for $118 million through South Light Property, a newly formed company created solely to sell and market the property.

(Read more: NY running out of luxury apartments)

The property can also be sold in three pieces for between $31 million and $44 million (though buyers of the house will also have to buy one of the other parcels).

"These really are amazing pieces of land," said Charles Carlson of South Light.

An aerial view of Homer's Pond.
Source: Barbara Wagner
An aerial view of Homer's Pond.

Oceanfront land is also the main selling point for Copper Beech Farm, the 50-acre property for sale in Greenwich, Conn.

The property includes 4,000 feet of ocean frontage and a 12-bedroom Victorian home. The price tag is $190 million, making it the most expensive residential property on the market in the U.S.

Some other nine-figure listings include Steve Cohen's New York penthouse, for sale for $115 million, as well as a mansion in Dallas that's quietly on the market for a reported $135 million.

Yet while the $100 million homes may grab attention, they don't always live up to their price tag. Casa Casuarina, the mansion in Miami once owned by designer Gianni Versace, was listed last year for $125 million, but the price was recently cut to $75 million.

"There's been a perception that pricing over that threshold draws eyeballs to the property and gets it sold," Miller said. "Even though the price may have little to do with its value."

(Read more: Cape Cod mansion? Now even pricier)

Miller said buyers at the very top end of the real estate market are highly sophisticated when it comes to price and value. Buyers are looking for properties that are unique, exclusive and filled with amenities.

Copper Beech Farm in Greenwich, Conn.
Source: Christie’s Real Estate
Copper Beech Farm in Greenwich, Conn.

Indeed, many of the properties that were listed at $100 million or more before the housing crisis ended up selling for much less. Hala Ranch, the 95-acre Aspen, Colo., estate once owned by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was listed in 2006 for $135 million. It sold for $49 million to hedge fund chief John Paulson.

The former Spelling mansion in Holmby Hills, Calif., was once on the market for $150 million but sold for a reported $85 million to heiress Petra Ecclestone.

"Price is just one component, and that's where many of these properties fall short," he said.

—By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank.

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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.