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And America's top housing market is...

Apparently, Barbie isn't just a bodacious beach-comber but a savvy real estate investor. Malibu is one of the nation's most beautiful housing markets—and the most expensive.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 markets, Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked Malibu the priciest, citing a nearly $2 million divide between it and the least costly market: Cleveland.

Malibu, Calif.
Luis Alvarez | E+ | Getty Images
Malibu, Calif.

"That disparity has always been there, some years greater than others," said Budge Huskey, CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. "It is just a reflection of the significant distinction in values based on the location typically between coastal areas and interior areas, as well as economic conditions within those respective markets."

(Read more: The housing stat you need to watch)

Top 25 List of America’s Most Expensive / Most Affordable Real Estate Markets

Rank
2013 Most Expensive
Markets
Avg. Listing
Price
2013 Most Affordable
Markets
Avg. Listing
Price
1 Malibu,
Calif.
$2,155,900 Cleveland,
Ohio
$63,729
2 Newport Beach,
Calif.
$1,773,824 Garfield Heights,
Ohio
$66,075
3 Saratoga,
Calif.
$1,684,261 Flint,
Mich.
$84,437
4 Los Gatos,
Calif.
$1,360,497 Saginaw,
Mich.
$87,181
5 San Francisco,
Calif.
$1,309,599 Jackson,
Miss.
$94,155
6 Stone Harbor,
NJ
$1,301,727 Sioux City,
Iowa
$97,969
7 Cupertino,
Calif.
$1,292,400 Jonesboro,
Ga.
$98,332
8 Orono,
Minn.
$1,251,873 Moberly,
Mo.
$99,593
9 Weston,
Mass.
$1,229,000 Buffalo,
NY
$101,631
10 Redwood City,
Calif.
$1,203,357 Kankakee,
Ill.
$103,187
11 Breckenridge,
Colo.
$1,177,795 Utica,
NY
$103,877
12 San Mateo,
Calif.
$1,132,523 Ashland,
Wis.
$104,774
13 Great Neck,
NY
$1,103,364 Hillsdale,
Mich.
$106,384
14 Pasadena,
Calif.
$1,092,087 Johnstown,
Pa.
$107,039
15 Greenwich,
Conn.
$1,087,300 Arcadia,
Fla.
$107,691
16 Wellesley,
Mass.
$1,079,600 McCook,
Neb.
$107,986
17 Sunnyvale,
Calif.
$1,077,025 Park Forest,
Ill.
$109,709
18 Santa Barbara,
Calif.
$1,061,475 Niagara Falls,
NY
$109,809
19 Danville,
Calif.
$1,018,300 Eatonton,
Ga.
$111,108
20 Kailua,
Hawaii
$1,004,567 Lehigh Acres,
Fla.
$111,410
21 Mercer Island,
Wash.
$999,276 Kansas City,
Mo.
$113,718
22 Campbell,
Calif.
$974,212 Dayton,
Ohio
$115,176
23 Larchmont,
NY
$972,150 Camden,
Ark.
$116,072
24 Westport,
Conn.
$966,582 Akron,
Ohio
$116,906
25 Newton,
Mass.
$912,745 Aurora,
Mo.
$117,013
Source: 2013 Coldwell Banker U.S. Home Listing Report

The report identified 20 markets where a four-bedroom, two-bath house costs more than $1 million and eight markets where a similar home lists for less than $100,000. Thirteen of the country's 25 priciest markets are in California.

In contrast, 15 of the 25 cheapest markets are in the Midwest. New York casts the widest net, with markets ranked on both the most and least expensive lists.

(Read more: Credit cuts out would-be homebuyers)

While the U.S. has always been a wide-ranging real estate market, international investors are playing a bigger role—in high-end trophy properties as well as midrange homes.

"The U.S. is still the safest place to park capital," Huskey said. "Even in markets that historically you would not perceive to be those magnets—such as Manhattan or California or Florida. We looked at markets like San Antonio, Texas, and you'll find that 20 percent of the traffic on the website is coming from outside the United States."

As for the top spot, international moguls and movie stars alike have long considered Malibu a getaway, but that may be changing.

"With its laid-back yet star-studded lifestyle, Malibu is undergoing a transformation from a seasonal destination to a year-round locale," Madison Hildebrand said in a release. Hildebrand is an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Malibu and one of the stars of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing."

(Read more: Housing's top 'turnaround' markets)

An average "sample-sized" house in Malibu lists for $2.15 million, according to the Coldwell Banker report. With inventories still on the low side amid rising demand, Barbie's beach house many just be a gold mine.

By CNBC's Diana Olick. Follow her on Twitter @Diana_Olick.

Questions?Comments? facebook.com/DianaOlickCNBC

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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