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Well-to-do Americans moving on up into pricier homes

Sales of luxury homes are up, as well-to-do take advantage of low real estate prices.

Sales of luxury homes are up, as well-to-do take advantage of low real estate prices.

Wealthy Americans are taking advantage of low real estate prices by moving into pricier primary residences, according to a recently released survey from the Luxury Institute and the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Among Americans with a yearly income of $150,000 or more, one in four has bought a residential property in the last three years, according to the survey. Of these properties, 83 percent have been single-family homes. The median purchase price of $509,000 is 3.2 percent greater than the median price for comparable homes between 2005-2007.

Laurie Moore-Moore, CEO of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, said luxury housing is outperforming other types of real estate. She pointed to the National Association of Realtors' numbers showing year-over-year home sales of $1 million or more have gone up nearly 20 percent since 2010.

The National Association of Home Builders recently warned the luxury real estate market could be negatively impacted by the potential expiration of certain stimulus act provisions. According to NAHB, if the upper dollar limit on loans eligible to be securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac goes down as scheduled in October, it will become harder to find financing to buy expensive real estate.