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– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 30, Monday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
One of the latest symbols of the overinflated luxury housing market is a global pileup of homes listed for $100 million or more.
A record 27 properties with nine-figure prices are officially for sale, according to Christie's International Real Estate. That is up from 19 last year and about a dozen in 2014.
If you add in high-priced "whisper listings" that are offered privately, brokers say the actual number of nine-figure listings worldwide could easily top 40 or 50.
The rise in nine-figure real estate listings comes just as sales of luxury real estate have cooled. Many say the sudden surge in hyperprice homes - often built and sold by speculative investors - is the ultimate bubble signal.
The last time a sudden pop in $100 million-plus listings occurred was in 2007 and 2008, just before the housing crash.
Last year, only two homes in the world sold for over $100 million, according to Christie's. One was a 9,455-square-foot house in Hong Kong purchased for $193 million by Jack Ma, the chief of Alibaba. The other was a townhouse in London that sold for $132 million. This year, a ranch in Texas went on the market for $700 million and a home in Dallas listed for $100 million. Both sold, but the actual sale prices have not been disclosed.
Of course, anyone can slap a $100 million price tag on a home to get attention. Yet actual sales of nine-figure homes are rare, even in good times. Between 2011 and 2016, only 15 homes in the world have sold for $100 million or more, according to Christies, and five of those were in 2014.
Brokers promoting the listings say their properties are one-of-a-kind masterpieces - like Picassos or Modiglianis - that rarely come on the market. They add that the more than 1,800 billionaires in the world see property as a safer store of wealth than stocks or art.
"I don't think it's a sign of a bubble," said Dan Conn, chief executive of Christie's International Real Estate. "It's a sign of growing wealth in the world and the quality of some of the new construction."
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.
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