California is the Golden State with Luxury Home Sales Booming

Information just in from DataQuick confirms that owning luxury real estate in California is getting more expensive! The number of homes sold at $1 million and above statewide last year was up 45.1% to 39,175 — the most since 2007, according to real estate information service DataQuick.

And the slice of the luxury market for homes sold at $2 million and up set new records at the state, Southern California and L.A. County levels last year. Meanwhile, overall sales across the state were essentially the same as 2012 levels, down 0.6%.

Is this boom in California’s luxury home sale market another example of the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor in the Golden State?

The most expensive sale last year went to Oaktree Capital Management Chairman Howard Marks who sold his 9.5-acre estate in Malibu in an off-market deal for $74.5 million. The beachfront property includes a 15,000-square-foot main house, two guesthouses, a gym and a swimming pool.

“Karate Kid” producer Jerry Weintraub clocked in with the next highest 2013 sale for L.A. County, based on public records searches conducted by and Coldwell Banker. His bluff-top, seven-acre compound with two guesthouses, swimming, tennis and a guardhouse, sold for $41 million.

There are several reasons why the luxury market is booming now.

Lucrative investing left some looking for a place to park their gains.

Gains in home equity allowed many who had been waiting on the sidelines to move up to bigger and better digs.

“Our market has finally caught up with what is happening globally,” said Coldwell Banker’s Bobby Syed, who brokered an off-market deal last year of a 12,000-square-foot Beverly Hills estate priced in the $37 million to $39 million range. “A lot of foreign money is coming in, particularly to Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, which are still very cheap by comparison” to other major cities.

High-end home flipping also raised the bar as retired actor Kristoffer Winters, who renovates homes with actor Jeremy Renner, raked in $24 million for a mansion on two acres in Holmby Hills. The Roaring ’20s Art Deco-style house, reached by a cobblestone driveway, includes five fireplaces, six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and 10,005 square feet of living space.

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