While the vast majority of the housing market continues to recover in fits and starts, the highest end is in high gear. Sales of million- and multimillion-dollar homes, which account for less than 2 percent of the market, are soaring. Contrary to popular belief, it is not all foreign cash fueling the frenzy.
"Eighty percent of the New York City market is driven by the New York City economy," said Will Zeckendorf, a real estate developer and owner of Halstead Property, a real estate brokerage firm, in a recent interview on CNBC. Zeckendorf is about to list a triplex penthouse in his new building at 520 Park Avenue. Asking price: A record $130 million.
The same could be said of the high end in the land of high tech. Supply-constrained San Francisco boasts a median home price of about a million dollars, five times the national median value. That makes the ultra-high end even more commonplace. Prices are driven entirely by the local economy.
So why is the high end doing so well now nationally? It could be the soaring stock market, or a generally better sentiment about the overall economy. It could also be as simple as more high-end listings.
The number of for-sale listings in the top tier of the market are up 82 percent compared to a year ago, while overall inventory is up just 16 percent, according to a report in November from Zillow, a real estate company.
Whether you're in the market for a multimillion-dollar mansion in the sky and/or on the shore, or whether you just love real estate porn, check out CNBC's latest for its Million Dollar Home Series: Most expensive house edition.