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Million dollar homes
The luxury home market is booming. Here's what seven figures will get you.
July 28, 2005: 5:15 PM EDT
By Les Christie, CNN/Money staff writer
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NEW YORK(CNN/Money) - The national real estate fascination shows few signs of waning as Americans continue to buy homes at a record pace -- and sales on the high-end are helping to lead the way.

Overall appreciation in real estate is the primary driver in the growth of in the luxury market, according to Laurie Moore-Moore, founder of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

"The rising tide lifts the luxury ships as well as the dinghys," she said, reporting that sales of million-dollar homes increased 500 percent between 1999 and 2004.

However, homeowners have also upgraded like crazy. All those granite countertops, hardwood kitchen cabinets, inground pools and finished basements have helped send values skyward.

Americans spent $133 billion on home remodeling in the past year, according to a recently released study from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

New homes, too, have contributed to the proliferation of seven-figure homes. They've bulked up so much lately that new houses now average more than 2,300 square feet in size, up from 1,900 square feet in 1987, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Lead markets

Homes that go for more than $1 million still make up a small slice of the total housing stock, but their percentage has doubled to more than 1 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

California leads the nation in the number of single-family seven digit homes. The state had a total of 33,107 home sales of $1 million or more in 2004, 65 percent of the U.S. total and 73.5 percent more than in 2003, according to DataQuick.

Million-dollar sales accounted for 5 percent of all California home purchases in 2004.

Other states on the top 10 list for seven-figure, single-family home sales are Florida (4,698 million dollar home sales), New York (2,180), Illinois (1,336), Massachusetts (1,067), Arizona (995), Maryland (915), Connecticut (795), Washington (696), and Nevada (659).

So what does a million-dollar home look like? It varies, according recent listings from Cendant, which includes many real estate brokerages, including Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Sotheby's International Realty, and ERA.

Click here to see the gallery of luxury homes.

We've included one New York City condo apartment in this collection, as well as one really expensive house, a 20 room waterfront mansion in Rhode Island.


New home sales set a record in June. For that story, click here.  Top of page


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