Million Dollar Housing Markets


Montecito, Calif. (93108)

Sales of $5 million or more: 28
Price of this home: $6.7 million
This Connecticut suburb has long been the zip code of choice for corporate titans, professional athletes and hedge fund managers, thanks to its proximity to Manhattan.

While this house was built in 2008, its solid, stonewall look lends it an air of permanence and quality. That’s enhanced by the broad lawns, foundation plants and tall trees on the two-and-a-half acre property.

Inside, there are antique wood and limestone floors, beamed ceilings, French doors and arched, multi-paned windows. There’s also a large kitchen with breakfast nook, a rustic family room with stone floors and a brick fireplace, and a formal dining room.


New York (10013)
Sales of $5 million or more: 45
Price of this home: $5.4 million
Where else but in Manhattan would a three-bedroom 3,100 square-foot home cost $5 million?

In fact, several neighborhoods — including the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village — had many, multi-million dollar sales, according to Coldwell Banker.

In this zip code, which includes parts of the swanky neighborhoods of Tribeca and Soho, 45 homes sold for $5 million or more during the year ended June 30. Six of those sales were for $10 million plus.

This home is a “true artist’s loft” with 13.5-foot ceilings and cast iron columns and wood beams, said agent Danny Davis. Yet, at this price, the buyers are mostly hailing from Wall Street.


Miami Beach, Fla. (33139)
Sales of $5 million or more: 42
Price of this home: $5.9 million
Prices for prime waterfront properties in Miami Beach have doubled over the past couple of years as buyers from all over the world flock to this Florida hotspot for its exciting mix of cultures, nightlife and great weather, according to agent Jill Hertzberg.

One of the most exclusive neighborhoods in town, this zip code recorded 42 sales of $5 million or more and 11 sales of $10 million or more during the 12 months ended June 30, 2013.

This house is in a gated island community located a few minutes from the restaurants, clubs and shopping on South Beach. The living room features 20-foot-plus ceilings and a window wall with views of Biscayne Bay.

There’s 60 feet of waterfront and a 300-square-foot dock. Tall trees and lush plantings keep the quarter-acre lot cool and comfortable. There’s also a poolside patio.


Naples, Fla. (34102)

Sales of $5 million or more: 31

Price of this home: $4 million
A prosperous tourist hub on Florida’s West Coast, Naples is known for its art galleries, pristine white sand beaches and nearby wildlife sanctuaries.
This romantic Mediterranean style home, which is a relative bargain at under $4 million, is in a private enclave near the shore in the town’s best zip code. It has three levels of outdoor living spaces — deep balconies with arched and columned openings — that are great spots to entertain guests.
There’s a grand stone entryway into a foyer decorated with a large, round fountain. The formal living room features wood paneling, a fireplace and a wet bar. A master suite, complete with office, occupies the third floor.


Aspen, Colo. (81611)
Sales of $5 million or more: 44
Price of this home: $5.5 million
Once a small silver mining town, Aspen is now a premiere mountain retreat for the rich and famous.
In the 12 months ended June 2013, 44 homes priced at more than $5 million were sold, 16 of which carried prices that surpassed $10 million.
Residents not only get to enjoy winter sports on the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the winter, but there is also a championship golf course to play once the snow thaws.
This 5,300 square-foot condo comes with five bedrooms and baths and features wood-beamed vaulted ceilings, several fireplaces, a large family room, home theater and wine room.


Beverly Hills (90210)
Sales of $5 million or more: 80
Price of this home: $6 million
Beverly Hills’ 90210 had its own television show for a reason: When it comes to multi-million dollar homes, it’s got more than almost every other zip code in the nation.
The median home price is about $2 million, according to Trulia. Over the 12 months ended June 30, there were 18 sales of $10 million or more, the most out of any U.S. zip code.



Swim in a luxurious quarry-turned-pool

A beautiful 50-acre estate in the heart of the Berkshires has one unique feature: a luxurious, heated, self-cleaning pool that was converted from an old limestone rock quarry.

Maintenance musts for winter

Check for peeling paint – Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. According to Carl Minchew, Director, Benjamin Moore Paints, “Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future.”
Check for peeling paint – Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. According to Carl Minchew, Director, Benjamin Moore Paints, “Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future.”
Inspect the roof – Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. “Ice, rain, snow, and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs,” says Jay Butch, director, contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing. “Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.”
Cover air conditioners – Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover, like this one from Frontgate, to prevent rusting of vital parts.
Clean yard equipment – Prepare your yard equipment for storage. This includes draining fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws. Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls. Organize your snow clearing gear. When snow arrives you’ll want to have shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers where you can get to them.
Prepare deck for winter – Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.


Being thankful can save money and achieve goals, so why wait until Thanksgiving Day to adopt a proactive attitude?

At Thanksgiving, we stop whining about what we don’t have and stop obsessing about what others have to consciously acknowledge things we’re thankful for. The shift to appreciation from envy turns this popular holiday into a feel-good celebration of what has been accomplished.

Those who honestly assess their genuine lifestyle needs and what they have actually accomplished, specifically regarding real estate, usually discover they are better off than they thought. Often they discover that the push to spend more money and acquire more stuff is driven, not by real need, but by the marketing deluge that hits us almost 24-7 on every screen and device we give our attention to. For instance, how did you discover you had to have granite counters, stainless-steel appliances, and +12-foot ceilings? Was it through experience or because of marketing? Have you stopped to consider the expensive down-side of these and other “must haves”? As well as paying more for these features, you’re taking on high-maintenance trimmings that may eventually become as dated as avocado appliances and popcorn ceilings.

Just as we often do when considering ourselves, we obsess on apparent flaws and shortcomings in our property. “The grass is always greener” thinking has us comparing what may or may not make sense financially for our home to what’s standard in over-the-top celebrity homes and price-is-no-object, made-for-TV renovations.

Start being thankful now, especially if you are in the process of buying or selling real estate, and you may discover how to save money and achieve financial goals that are yours, not those marketing campaigns have convinced you to adopt.

  • Media emphasis on “underwater mortgages”- where the outstanding mortgage balance is at or above the property value – can make owners personally devalue the real estate that would otherwise give them pleasure and comfort. Mortgages represent the cost of borrowing money not the cost of real estate since those who don’t need financing escape this cost. In hindsight, you might not want to buy what you did or at least the way that you did, but don’t let how you bought your home taint your appreciation of this roof over your head and place of belonging for you and your family. Make attacking that mortgage a separate issue.
  • You’ll save money on a few levels at once by buying real estate within a realistic budget, which includes making do with some less-than-perfect aspects of the property, instead of diving into “go for broke” renovations. For instance, many of the “must-change” reactions buyers have to their new home disappear once they live in the space a while. This live-with-it-for-now experience reveals to these new homeowners how to achieve more with less.
  • Black Friday is just the beginning of the “make shoppers shop” season. Listen to the siren call of shopping malls and online click-here sales and you’ve got some expensive weeks ahead. Take stock of how much debt you built up last year between Thanksgiving and early January and you’ll begin to see how much money you could apply to mortgage debt or put toward the down payment on a new home if you just rein in spending. Be thankful for debt you have avoided and you’ll get creative about how to enjoy the holidays and achieve real estate goals in the process. You may also discover more space and storage in your home if you decide to stop buying new things until you de-clutter. Maybe your condo or house is not too small, you just need a lesson in letting go and spending wisely.
  • Learn to separate what you genuinely need from what you think you want. When confronted with a buying decision stop and consider, “Do I really need it?”Take charge by being thankful for what you have. This makes it easy to take a close look at what you think you still need to spend on. If you don’t take an active role in how effectively your money is spent and on what, you’re letting marketers decide what you buy and how much you pay for everything, including real estate.

Keep your home safe from winter damage

De-icing walkways and driveways – Negotiating icy paths is a big winter concern. Owners of houses with traditional paving may wonder how best to de-ice a walkway, driveway or front stoop to make it less treacherous after a winter storm. It is important to note that frequent use of chemical de-icers can damage historic brick paving, and even more durable surfaces such as slate and granite will suffer if de-icers are overused.
The trick here is to use de-icers sparingly, perhaps de-icing only to the entrance you use most frequently. For other pathways, consider using sand or sawdust for traction. And shoveling early and often is a good way to prevent snow and ice from accumulating on historic masonry paths and drives.
Preventing ice dams – Ice dams — accumulations of ice at the roof line or in gutters — form when heated air escapes into the attic and warms the roof sheathing, melting snow that sits on top. Melted snow runs down the roof and refreezes when it contacts an overhanging, unheated eave. The weight of an ice dam can pull gutter and trim woodwork off the house.
Check for the likelihood of ice dams on your roof by inspecting the roof during the first light snowfall or heavy frost. You want to see an uninterrupted blanket of snow on the roof. If you don’t, follow the tips below. To keep ice dams from forming, keep the attic cold. Homeowners should make sure that the attic floor is well-insulated and that any gaps to heated areas below are sealed off. Penetrations into the attic from plumbing vents or electrical work should be sealed with caulk, expanding foam, or foam and backer rod. Replacing old, damp or compressed insulation with new loose-fill or dense-pack cellulose or fiberglass insulation helps to combat ice dams and reduce the costs of winter heating and summer cooling. Once the floor is air-sealed and insulated, make sure the attic is vented to move any warm air outside before it can heat the roof.
Removing snow and ice from the roof – Homeowners have only a few options for removing ice and snow from the roof of a historic home. Where ice dams recur, homeowners can install de-icing tape or cables along the bottom of the gutter, through downspouts and into drain pipes, or at problematic roof valleys or eaves.
These cables carry a heating element through an insulated wire to warm targeted areas. A homeowner can use a long-handled roof rake to reduce the volume of snow, but this is recommended only for low-pitched roofs and can be dangerous to attempt on a two-story building.
Keep melting snow out – The last thing a homeowner wants is for an ice dam to force meltwater into the house. To keep this from happening, it may be necessary to add an impervious roofing underlayment to a width of at least 3 feet along the eave line when the house gets a new roof. These installations may not keep ice dams from forming, but they can help reduce the damage caused from heavy accumulations.