Million-Dollar Home Sales Up Again in the Golden State
July 31, 2014

La Jolla, CA.—-The number of California homes that sold for a million dollars or more rose to its highest level in seven years last quarter, the result of rising home prices and an improving economy. The luxury market’s high end continues to do best, with record sales above the $2 million mark, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 12,826 homes sold for a million dollars or more during the April-through-June period. That was up 60.4 percent from 7,994 during this year’s first quarter, and up 9.1 percent from 11,758 in second-quarter 2013. Last quarter’s $1 million-plus sales were the highest for any quarter since 13,681 homes sold for $1 million or more in second-quarter 2007, according to CoreLogic DataQuick.

The all-time high was third-quarter 2005, when 15,898 Golden State homes sold for a million dollars or more.

The nine-county San Francisco Bay Area stood out last quarter: The 5,734 sales there of $1 million or more represented an all-time high. The previous peak was 5,699 in second-quarter 2005.

While statewide $1 million-plus home sales rose 9.1 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, total sales across all price categories fell 7.4 percent.

Two of the main reasons for the increase in $1 million-plus sales are increased demand, and robust price appreciation that over the past year has pushed more homes up over the million-dollar threshold.

“It’s always fascinating to watch this part of the real estate market. It behaves differently, responds to its own set of criteria. These buyers, especially those in the multi-million-dollar market, are less likely to agonize over credit scores, income and job security, down payments and mortgage interest rates,” said Andrew LePage, CoreLogic DataQuick analyst.

“While we can only speculate, it seems self-evident that luxury home buyers have substantial assets, and they’re constantly evaluating where to park those assets. Right now it’s interesting that there appears to be enough inventory to meet the demand for luxury homes. That’s not always the case in many mid-priced and lower-cost housing markets, where demand continues to outweigh supply,” LePage said.

A total of 265 homes sold for more than $5 million last quarter, an all-time high. In the $4-$5 million range, a record 213 homes sold. In the $3-$4 million range, 469 homes sold, also a record. In the $2-$3 million range, 1,595 homes sold, another high.

In the $1-$2 million range, 8,381 sold last quarter, still behind the record 9,885 sold in second-quarter 2005.

There were 1,923 sales where the price was unavailable, but where it could be determined that the price exceeded $1 million because of the size of the mortgage.

San Diego-based DataQuick was acquired in March by Irvine-based CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider. CoreLogic DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The million-dollar transactions include home sales where it could be determined from public records that there was a buyer, a seller, that money changed hands, and that there was a legal transfer of property ownership. Not included were property swaps, sales of multiple lots, sales where no price or loan amount was available, teardowns, and large farm or ranch properties. Sales to companies and trusts were included.

Last quarter 3,882 of the homes that sold for $1 million or more were purchased with cash. In the luxury market, the higher the price, the more frequently cash was used. Of those who did finance their purchase last quarter, the median down payment was 30.0 percent of the purchase price.

The lending institutions most willing to provide mortgage financing for homes that sold for $1 million-plus were Wells Fargo, Union Bank and Bank of America.

The most expensive confirmed purchase last quarter was a 11,637-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 6-bathroom Westwood mansion built in 1931 which sold for $45,000,000 in May. The largest was a 16,840 sq.ft. 6-bedroom, 13-bathroom mansion in Indian Wells that sold for $4.5 million.

In some communities virtually all home sales were in the million-dollar category. Among them: Hillsborough, Rancho Santa Fe, Atherton and Los Altos.

Newly-built homes accounted for 8.8 percent of last quarter’s $1 million-plus sales. Condo sales made up 10.1 percent. Most $1 million-plus condos were sold in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego counties.

The median-sized $1 million-plus home was 2,400 sq.ft. with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The median price paid per square foot for all million-dollar homes last quarter was $729, up 7.6 percent from $678 in second-quarter 2013. For the overall California market, the square-foot median was $226 last quarter, up 13.0 percent from $200 in second-quarter 2013, CoreLogic DataQuick reported.

There are 8.85 million houses and condos in California. Of those, 277,666 are assessed for more than a million dollars by county assessor offices, CoreLogic DataQuick reported.

To view the ranking of cities by the number of million dollar home sales, please visit

Source: DataQuick;

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