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Million-dollar sales slide in California

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For the fourth straight year, fewer million-dollar homes sold in California last year, according to a report by San Diego-based real estate information service DataQuick. These sales amounted to 18,621 in 2009, down 23.8 percent from 24,436 sold in 2008. Last year's count was the lowest recorded since 2002, when 15,703 sold; the peak was in 2005, when 54,773 such homes sold, according to the report. The number of million-dollar homes finding new owners has fallen each year since then, down 8.6 percent in 2006, down 15.2 percent in 2007, and down a whopping 42.5 percent in 2008. While home sales at all price levels increased 16.9 percent in 2009, the number of those sold for $1 million or more fell to 1 in 25 homes, compared with 1 in 16 in 2008; in 2006, that ratio was 1 in 9, according to the report. The report attributed the decline to "buyer reticence, a difficult mortgage market and several years of price drops that tugged the value of many homes below the million-d...