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Sales of million-dollar homes climb

  • Vanette Soldis is the owner of the home at 4440 La Paz Lane, which is on market for 1.768 million. Photo taken on Thursday, February 17, 2011. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

"There's active buyers looking for homes that can't find homes that fit what they want," said Ross Liscum, a broker associate with Century 21 North Bay Alliance in Santa Rosa.

To help in this effort, a group of nearly 20 agents and brokers from different companies have met for the last few years as a luxury marketing group. Each month they view one another's listings to see firsthand what's available. They also offer one another advice on everything from setting prices to marketing and staging the homes.

According to DataQuick, the typical million dollar home last year was 2,840 square feet in size with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The median sales price for this segment last year amounted to $601 per square foot, compared to $164 for the overall market.

But prices of million-dollar homes have tumbled over the past five years, just like they have for their entry-level brethren.

In its study, DataQuick examined nearly 3,400 homes that at one time had sold for $1 million or more, but last year sold below that magic mark. The median decline — $416,500 — amounted to a decrease of almost 35 percent on a home that previously was sold in 2006.

Although sales bounced back last year, the latest numbers remain well below the boom years.

Last year, buyers purchased 22,529 homes for $1 million or more across the state, compared to 54,773 at the peak in 2005.

Craig Sikes, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Santa Rosa, predicted that county sales for the million-plus segment will increase at least 20 percent in 2011.

"It's really picked up in the last 30 to 60 days," he said.

Harry Fogel, a broker associate with Artisan Sotheby's International Realty in Santa Rosa, said it's worth noting when the wealthy decide to make home purchases.

"The reason they have the ability to make these happen is they have a history of making good business moves," Fogel said.


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