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The new entry point for US luxury homes: US$1m

Boston

GOT a million bucks to spend on a new home? Good. Just don't expect a palace for that amount.

The starting price for the most expensive 5 per cent of US residential properties sold in April was at least US$1 million in more than half the luxury markets that Realtor.com analysed for its latest report.

Sales of million-dollar-plus real estate jumped 25 per cent from April of last year, even as prices at the top of the market rose 4.6 per cent, according to the listings-and-research site.

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That's the biggest sales increase in high-end homes since January 2014 and more than twice this January's pace.

April is the most recent period for which Realtor.com has crunched the numbers. High wages in the tech sector and other industries are fuelling demand for properties in Silicon Valley and the Seattle and Denver areas, among those with the biggest high-end price increases.

In New York, sticker shock in Manhattan and Brooklyn is pushing even well-heeled buyers into neighbouring Queens, where the price of entry-level luxury rose 15.9 per cent.

Wealthy retirees are flocking to Sarasota, Florida. There the jump was almost 20 per cent, the most in Realtor.com's ranking.

"Continued growth in high-paying jobs and stock market inertia have reignited many luxury markets this year," Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com, said in a statement.

"We've seen a substantial increase in buyer demand for high-end homes, even with prices and costs of ownership swiftly on the rise. Today, US$1 million won't get you a luxury home in most major markets."

That's today - tomorrow could be worse. In 17 of the 91 markets Realtor.com has been tracking, price growth now exceeds 10 per cent. BLOOMBERG