Sales of million-dollar homes soar in California

SAN DIEGO — Sales of million-dollar homes in California hit a five-year high in 2012, with sales of multimillion-dollar homes showing even bigger gains, a research firm said Wednesday.

There were 697 homes sold for more than $5 million last year, up 42 percent from 2011 and the highest since DataQuick began tracking sales in 1988. There were 460 homes sold between $4 million and $5 million, up 34 percent from the previous year and also the highest on record.

The most expensive sale was a Silicon Valley home in the community of Woodside that changed hands for $117.5 million in November. Public records identify SV Projects LLC as the buyer of the 8,930-square-foot, four-bedroom home that sits on nearly nine acres. The Los Angeles Times has identified the seller as Tully Friedman, chief executive of Friedman, Fleischer and Lowe, a San Francisco-based private equity firm.

There were 26,993 houses and condominiums sold for at least $1 million last year, up 26.9 percent from 21,267 in 2011 and the highest since 42,502 sold in 2007, DataQuick said. The all-time high was 2005, when 54,773 homes sold for at least $1 million.

The increase far outpaced an 8.2 increase in all sales of California homes.

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