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A drop in luxury housing inventory and increased buyer demand drove the high-end real estate market to record prices in 2021, with several sales in the United States eclipsing the $100-million mark. As the pandemic continued, the ultra-wealthy sought second (and third) homes to add to their portfolios and were willing to spend a fortune to make their residences more comfortable for extended periods.

Oceanfront estates in Malibu, Palm Beach and the Hamptons claimed most of the highest sales last year, but a condominium tower in New York also ranked among the most expensive. Home buyers weren’t simply paying for glamorous locations and vast amounts of square footage. Among the luxurious amenities included in these mega-purchases were a retinal scanner for master bedroom access and a funicular that leads to the beach.