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September 2010

$314 Million Apartment in Monaco Sets New World Record?


An unknown buyer reportedly paid €240 million (about $314 million) for the 17,500-square-foot penthouse known as La Belle Epoque, where financier Edmond Safra died in a mysterious fire in 1999.

The deal would make the apartment the most expensive home in the world, surpassing the $220 million reportedly paid last month for the penthouse in One Hyde Park in London. (Or at least the most expensive home sale that actually closed, since Russian billionaire and New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov backed out of his deal to buy widow Lily Safra’s Villefranche estate, Villa Leopolda, for a reported $531 million.)

Read the full scoop on the International Property Journal

Number of US Millionaires Increasing

According to a new survey from Phoenix Marketing International’s Affluent Market Practice, the number of American households with investible assets of $1 million or more rose 8% in the 12 months ended in June. The survey says there now are 5.55 million U.S. households with investible assets of $1 million or more.

Read the full story on WSJ's The Wealth Report blog.

Luxury market outperforming: a local look

Having just posted the poll, I thought I would take a quick look at our own local market here in the Dallas area. 

Here is the North Texas Real Estate Information System (NTREIS) MLS report for single-family home sales in August:


If you look at the % Change from Year Ago column, you'll see that the market is flat or down slightly at almost every price point below $250k.  Above $250k is another story, with the market above $600k showing great relative strength, with every segment except one up over 20%. 

Here's what is looks like graphically:


It is interesting to note the "soft spot" in the $900,000-$999,999 price segment.  As you can see in the data, the $800,000-$899,999 segment below it is the strongest segment of the market with YOY gains of 48% and the $1M+ segment above it ties for second place with gains of 25%.

Looking at this and the number of sales in these price segments, this would be something to strongly consider, especially when pricing properties that fall close to either end of this segment...

Poll: How strong is your luxury market?

With NAR's recent national numbers showing the luxury segment outperforming the market overall, we thought it would be interesting to get your feedback and see if you think is is true at your local level.  So without further ado, a poll:


Institute President’s home featured in this month‘s Better Homes and Gardens magazine

Page1 Pick up a copy of the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and you’ll find a feature on the home of The Institute’s President!  

A couple of years ago,  Waco and his wife Mila bought a 1950s modern home in Dallas. Built in 1957, the house was a Better Homes and Gardens "Idea Home of the Year."  

Mila is an architect and served as general contractor as they stripped the interior down to the studs and redid the house maintaining the basic floor plan and keeping true to the modern aesthetic, but incorporating "green" features like shredded denim insulation and tankless hot water heaters.  It’s a wonderful, liveable home. 

Note the photo of Waco and daughter Jette on the bike.  He takes her to Montessori school on the bike (generating smiles and waves from the carpool line) and then bikes the 15 or so miles on to our office.  Needless to say, the 1950s house is now in great shape and so is Waco.