Movin’ On Up in Seattle, Miami

Photograph by Mark Elias/Bloomberg

The prices of the most expensive homes in Miami are increasing at a faster pace than the rest of the market there.

Trying to buy a piece of the pie in Miami or Seattle is becoming more expensive at a faster pace than the rest of the market.

The prices of the most expensive homes in Seattle and Miami are increasing at a faster pace than the rest of the market there, according the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities. The data is broken down into thirds. The highest-priced third in those two cities increased more than both of the lower-cost thirds — the only two areas of the country where that is true, according to the data.

Home prices in the “high tier” market, which start at $268,363 in Miami, grew 8.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 6.9 percent rise for low-tier homes. One reason is that wealthy people from other markets are looking for sunny weather and are snatching up luxury vacation homes in the Miami area.

Still, homes in the highest tier in Miami are still 40.4 percent below the peak level for luxury homes, reached in May 2006. They have rebounded 9.0 percent since a post-recession low reached 11 months ago in Nov. 2011.

In Seattle, luxury home prices increased 6.2 percent, compared with a rise of 2.2 percent for homes in the least expensive third of the market.

A “high tier” home in Seattle starts at $404,428. The peak level for luxury homes in Seattle was July 2007, and “high tier” home prices are still 22.5% below the peak. Luxury home prices bottomed a year ago and have since risen 6.2 percent.

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