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New York apartment prices hit four-year high

Windows span the length of a living room of a full-floor, four-bedroom penthouse apartment located in the Alfred building in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.
Stephen Hilger | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Windows span the length of a living room of a full-floor, four-bedroom penthouse apartment located in the Alfred building in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

The super rich don't seem to be losing their appetite for trophy properties—especially in New York.

Sales of apartments priced at $10 million or more surged 75 percent in the third quarter, according to Brown Harris Stevens. The surge in super-expensive properties pushed up the average sales price 8 percent from the third quarter of 2012, to $1.45 million.

(Read more: Apartment demand keeps climbing)

The median sales price was less affected by the boom at the top, rising a more modest 3 percent to $870,000. But the median price is now the highest in four years.

More broadly, inventories are starting to rise in Manhattan, leading some to call for a slowdown in prices. But Brown Harris said average selling time is now 77 days—down 29 percent from a year ago.

"Scarcity remains an important issue," said Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales. "When apartments are properly and justifiably priced, they are selling quickly."

(Read more: Top 10 landowners in America)

The biggest increases were for the largest apartments. The average price for condos with three bedrooms or more shot up 26 percent in the quarter to $3.8 million.

The quarter saw several big sales of trophy properties. A duplex apartment in Gramercy Park South sold for $42 million—its full asking price. The buyer was Leslie Alexander, the billionaire owner of the Houston Rockets.

(Read more: New York is running out of luxury apartments)

A floor-through apartment, which covers the entire depth of the building, at 640 Park Avenue sold for $23 million and a 4,489-square-foot penthouse in the Trump International Hotel and Tower went for $21.85 million.

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

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