The world's most expensive homes sell at fantastic prices -- some in excess of US$100 million -- and those prices are rising ever higher.
New wealth is being created around the world, affluent buyers are increasingly willing to cross borders to find the homes they want, and residential real estate investments are outperforming stock and bond portfolios. All of these factors are driving the luxury real estate market to dizzying heights.
For example, new millionaires emerging from China are driving up the prices in Hong Kong and affluent buyers from Dubai have been purchasing homes in London.
"There is lots of money going around the world these days," says Steve Laposa, director of the global real estate research group at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
According to international real estate firm Knight Frank, real estate prices saw particularly strong growth in 2005.
"We saw it about five years ago begin with Russian buyers. The really seriously wealthy buyers came into London and increased prices at the high end," says Liam Bailey, head of residential research for Knight Frank.
"We expect to see the same process coming from China, Brazil, etc., as a new class of wealthy is created," he says. "America dominates in terms of number of millionaires, but you look at the potential of growth from places like India and China, it's absolutely vast."
Forbes Magazine recently compiled profiles and photos of the world's most expensive homes, including a stately mansion in London, a Trump-owned estate in Florida and a virtual palace in Turkey. Check out the list, and feel the envy.