Saturday, February 23, 2008

Luxury Housing Booms On

Christie's Great Estates says the high-end home market continues to boom during the housing downturn because, like priceless art, luxury homes are put on a pedestal.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - If you've forgotten what a housing boom looks like, check out the luxury home market.

The luxury home market includes the vacation home getaways of the rich and famous and continues, for the most part, to enjoy record-level sales and prices in many locations.

That's according to a survey by high-end real estate brokerage Christie's Great Estates.

Whether it's a $50 million, 30,000-square-foot, Italian villa in Beverly Hills or the $70 million Penthouse at The Pierre, with a 360-degree view of Manhattan, high-end homes are hot.

Christie's says the same desires that drive demand for fine art also put luxury homes on a pedestal. The emotional rush that comes with heightened visual appeal is simply priceless. Toss in a stellar location and luxury homes are the stuff of dreams.

In the fourth quarter 2007 survey of its regional markets Christies found

Manhattan apartments achieved a record average price of more than $1.4 million for a 34 percent gain over the same period the previous year.

• Single-family luxury homes in Palm Beach, FL rose in price by nearly 16 percent to $5.3 million.

• And in California's Beverly Hills, properties that sell for $10 million or more are selling for more than they would a year ago, according to Jeffery Hyland of the Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills.

Hyland said that's because there's lots of cash, but too few luxury homes.

But all is not well in Tinsel Town.

Some celebrities are having problems unloading multi-million dollar estates.

Young Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne; former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash (Saul Hudson), Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon and Vidal Sassoon all have or had homes on the hard-to-sell list.

The toughest sell has been one of the nation's most expensive residential listings, Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar's 56,000 square foot, 96 acre Hala Ranch in Aspen, CO. Listed for a cool $135 million, it's been on the market for a year.

The New York Times recently featured the sprawling estate in a recent story.

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© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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