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Even as the broader real estate market softened, luxury home sales surged in the third quarter.
Sales of homes priced at $1 million or more were up 9 percent in the quarter over the same period in 2013, according to quarterly data from Redfin, the real estate research and brokerage firm. The high-end of the high-end did even better, with sales of homes priced at $5 million or more increasing 18 percent over last year.
By comparison, sales of all homes in the major markets tracked by Redfin declined by 1.2 percent.
"The luxury housing market was the first to recover after the crisis and has been growing strong ever since," said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin.
Inventory at the high end remains tight in many parts of the country. The number of homes for sale in luxury ZIP codes for $1 million or more has dropped by 13 percent from last year. Inventory is down even more for more expensive homes: The number of $5 million-plus homes for sale in luxury ZIP codes is down 47 percent from last year.
The three most expensive sales of the quarter were all above $25 million. A home in Malibu, California, was the top seller, at $33.5 million. The runner up was a home in Indian Creek, Florida, which sold for $28 million; a home in Armonk, New York, sold for $27.5 million, according to Redfin.
Redfin's results don't include Manhattan, which doesn't have a conventional multiple listing service, and which tends to have its own market dynamics. According to Douglas Elliman, sales in Manhattan were down 13 percent in the quarter over the same period a year ago, while prices were up 17 percent. Inventory was up 27 percent in the quarter.
Redfin also tracked the biggest-discounted sale among luxury homes. The top bargain was a home in Millbrook, New York, that was on the market for $9.5 million but sold for $5 million.