U.S. market sees traction in luxury sales

<i>Extell President Gary Barnett's apartment makes list of top nationwide penthouses</i>

Penthouses tend to appeal to a tiny pool of potential buyers, and can take years to sell as a result of their lofty asking prices. Still, according to Forbes, sales of luxury residential real estate have been picking up even as the economy remains unsteady.

“Relative to everybody else, the higher-end market is where we’re seeing record purchases and where we’re seeing traction,” says Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “It’s not that we’re seeing prices rise, it’s that we’re seeing more activity.”

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Cash purchases account for much of this traction. While sales of less expensive homes limp along as a result ever-tightening mortgage lending practices, the luxury end is comprised of home buyers with cold hard cash to spend, said Miller.

In honor of this uptick in luxury sales, Forbes has compiled a list of the country’s most luxurious penthouses. The list includes — in Manhattan — Gary Barnett of Extell Development’s Upper West Side, 13,800-square-foot penthouse at 535 West End Avenue, a $51 million duplex on the Upper East Side, and a $44.95 million, 76th floor apartment in the Time Warner Center. [Forbes]

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