home salesSomething really amazing is happening in Florida’s Palm Beach County. In this year alone, the number of homes purchased for $1 million and more in the first quarter rose by 16%, and that is from the same quarter a year ago. This more than anything, is the proof of a real change in the real estate market of Florida.

As if that is not enough, this is the second consecutive year in which the county’s extremely wealthy would snap up more luxurious residences than they did the year before. In the first quarter of last year, a whopping 69% more residences in the $1-million-and-above range were sold in the Palm Beach County than in the same period in 2012. The sales of those homes had been constant throughout the 2011-2012 period. In the first quarter of this year, a total of 245 single-family homes were snapped up for over $1 million or more in Palm Beach.

That revelation was disclosed, based on the figures sourced from the public records and the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. The most mouth-watering of these homes was bought for a tear-inducing $30 million. It was a waterside palace located at 101 El Bravo Way in the county. That majestic residence has a total of seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, three half-baths, two living rooms and an underground space that could used as a wine cellar or a corner for games. Of the two rooms, one is perched above the pool while the other is looking out to the ocean.

But residents are surely shelling out hard cash to buy these palatial residences. Just last month, philanthropist Lois Pope dropped the sum of $16.2 million for an ocean-to-Intracoastal mansion situated at 1720 S. Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan. Richard DeVos, the rich founder of Amway, sold the edifice and this particular transaction did not enter the data collated for the first quarter. Not far away in Highland Beach, the massive 6,788-square-foot beachfront residence of former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was sold for $4.7 million. Also within the same vicinity, a water view pad owned by Jeff Gordon, a NASCAR driver was purchased for $12.5 million. It has seven bedrooms and an underground garage that could contain up to 12 cars.

But the drama is still going on even as the million-dollar sales are increasing. For example, some buyers can still be very discriminating or just decide to be indecisive or slash the amount, just like Pope paid almost $ 4 million less than what the Amway founder asked for earlier in the year. Factors responsible for this huge leap in sales are the increased confidence in the price rates, steady low mortgage rates and an absence of inventory. But that is not all that is fueling the incredible purchase of these ultra-expensive homes. The major gains in the stock market and the relatively low valuation of the real estate market in South Florida compared with what obtains globally. These factors have converged to create a very unique real estate market in Florida.