LUXURY IS BACK IN DEMAND

According to the Palm Beach Post, sales of $10 million-plus homes in Palm Beach County, Fla., hit a staggering $311.5 million in 2004 -- up 63 percent from the previous year. The improving economy and efforts by the Securities and Exchange Commission to stamp out corporate fraud prompted wealthy executives to step up purchases of showcase estates, which were shelved by many high-level officials seeking to avoid being labeled as greedy in the wake of the Enron scandal. The largest transaction was the purchase of Revlon CEO Ron Perelman's Casa Apava for $70 million by NVR Inc. Chairman Dwight Schar. Local realty firms set up new offices and hired new staff to handle the demand for trophy properties; and in some instances, demand greatly outpaced supply.

Source: Palm Beach Post (FL) (01/10/05) Rawls, Linda
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