Million-dollar home sales in the Golden State soared to record levels last year, the result of strong appreciation rates and a robust real estate market, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

A total of 19,080 homes sold for $1 million or more last year, up 37.6 percent from 13,871 in 2002, DataQuick reported.

Sales in Southern California were up 48.7 percent from 7,611 in 2002 to 11,316 last year. Bay Area sales were up 21.1 percent from 5,477 to 6,598.

“Home sales overall were up last year by 7.6 percent. Additionally, the market as a whole saw a 16.2 percent rise in value and a lot of homes that were near the million-dollar price point have appreciated up past that threshold,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

Statewide, there were 107 sales for more than $5 million last year, 126 sales were in the $4-$5 million range, 414 in the $3 million range, 1,517 sales in the $2 million range, and the rest between $1 million and $2 million.

The most expensive confirmed purchase was a 2,760-square-foot, 8-bedroom, 4-bathroom Atherton house on a large lot, which went for $12.9 million in November. The largest was a 7-bedroom, 10-bathroom, 15,272-square-foot house in Rolling Hills, which went for $7 million in August.

Ross in Marin County and Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County were communities where virtually all home sales were in the million-dollar category.

Newly built homes accounted for 2,159 of the sales, up 34.5 percent from 1,605 for 2002. San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties were the most active million-dollar new-home markets, DataQuick reported.

There were 879 condo sales in the million-dollar category, up 42.5 percent from 617 a year ago. Most were sold in West Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

The median million-dollar home was 2,860 square feet in size with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The median price per square foot for all million-dollar homes was $464, virtually unchanged from $463 a year ago, DataQuick reported.

Around 12 percent of the buyers paid cash, down from 17 percent in 2002. Of those who financed their purchase, the median down payment was 30 percent of the purchase price. Lending institutions most willing to provide mortgage financing were Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Countrywide Home Loans.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

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