Super-Luxury Home Sales Surge Across U.S., Rising 35% in 2021

What You Need to Know

  • Fueled by a booming stock market, low interest rates and a pandemic-era’s heightened emphasis on home life, prices for luxury houses have risen to stratospheric heights.
  • For all the chatter about rich people leaving high-tax states, New York still topped the list for the number of sales over $50 million, with 13; Florida had 11.
  • Some of the biggest prices paid this year were for huge tracts of land.

In 2021, at least 40 residential properties sold for more than $50 million in the U.S., according to data compiled by the appraiser Miller Samuel.

That’s about a 35% increase over 2020, which was also a record year. “The surge in this tier is unprecedented,” says Jonathan Miller, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “We’ve never seen this kind of growth.”

Fueled by a booming stock market, low interest rates, and a pandemic-era’s heightened emphasis on home life, prices for luxury houses have risen to stratospheric heights across the country.

“It’s a national phenomenon,” says Miller. “Not enough words have been written on the impact of low rates, even on the über-wealthy. And one big takeaway in housing is: The lower the rates, the higher the prices. And this is that phenomenon on steroids.”

The country’s eight most expensive homes, according to Miller Samuel’s data, each sold for $100 million or more and are spread equally between the Los Angeles metro area, the New York metro area, Palm Beach, Fla., and ranches in Montana.

“Since 2014, there’s been the establishment of a new class of property,” says Miller, referring to these $100 million-plus houses. “Initially,  it seemed comical or whimsical; these numbers we were seeing came across as a flash in the pan. But now we’re in our seventh year of it.”

A caveat: Miller says his tally is provisional, because, as financial advisors rush to line up deals before 2022 begins, he predicts a flurry of closings at the very end of the year.

“I don’t think anyone is saying that in 2022, taxes are going to be cut,” he says, “so it’s just hedging.”

New York vs. Florida

For all the chatter about rich people leaving high-tax states, New York still topped the list for the number of sales over $50 million, with 13; Florida had 11.

The $157.5 million sale of a duplex at 220 Central Park South was No. 3 on Miller’s list, while the most expensive sale in Florida, 535 North County Road in Palm Beach, sold for $122.7 million.

The value of New York real estate on Miller’s list totaled around $931 million, whereas Florida’s added up to roughly $941 million.

New York’s Hamptons did some heavy lifting.

More than a third of the sales in New York state occurred in the Long Island enclave, including the former Ford family estate in Southampton, which sold for $105 million; two East Hampton beachfront parcels totaling $85 million on West End Road, reportedly sold by Calvin Klein; a humongous house at 840 Meadow Lane in Southampton that sold for $70 million; and 30 Spaeth Lane, a six-acre oceanfront parcel in East Hampton, which sold for $60 million.

In Florida, the action was mostly in Palm Beach and Manalapan, the area to its south.

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