DALLAS, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Luxury home prices climbed and closings on some of the world's most beautiful properties picked up in the second quarter, bringing good news to those offering premium real estate in the U.S. and abroad.
"The luxury real estate market appears to be vibrant in many places domestically and internationally," said Robbie Briggs, president and CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty in Dallas. "In my experience, buyers are coming in with strong offers of cash or heavy down payments. For the first time in a long time, I see homeowners with renewed confidence in the second quarter, thanks to lower interest rates."
The improvements in the luxury home market kept pace with reported gains in the domestic real estate market overall in recent months. Sales of existing homes of more than $1 million improved by nearly 17 percent in some regions in April over the same period in 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. And new home sales at the high end of the market remained strong through May, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Briggs' association with Sotheby's International Realty and its Global Partnership network gives him an opportunity to gather first-hand reports about luxury home sales from around the world, and he's hearing about an uptick in sales of premium properties everywhere:
- In Manhattan, people are buying co-ops and condos at top prices, and a penthouse on 57th Street just sold for more than $90 million - a record sale for New York City, according to Royce Pinkwater.
- Attracting buyers from around the U.S., Brazil and other countries, the Miami market has seen price per square foot rise 18 percent over the past year, and sales were up 66 percent in the first quarter, said Mayi de Ia Vega.
- Michael Rankin reported the demand for luxury homes has grown so much in Washington, D.C., that many are being offered as "private exclusives," and kept off of the multiple listing service.
- Even with the uncertainty in the stock market and a teetering global economy making buyers nervous, Gloria Smith in San Francisco said homes in the $5 million range continue to sell quickly.
And that's just the domestic luxury real estate report.
"In talking to many associates in Europe, I'm hearing about record-setting sales prices in Sweden and increased interest from Americans and Russians looking at villas in Italy," Briggs said. "On top of that, the European debt crisis has driven the world's super-rich to seek stable investments in high-end properties in London.
"It all tells me that global prospects for luxury home sales are gradually strengthening."
CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty located in Dallas, Texas.
SOURCE Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty