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5 Ways to Get a Piece of the Luxury Housing Boom, Even If You're Not a Billionaire


The record sale price for real estate was broken four times this year. Can you get in on the luxury housing boom?

The record selling price for a luxury home has been smashed each consecutive month this year

In February, it was a $102 million home in Los Angeles. In April, it was a $120 million single-family home in Greenwich, Connecticut. Just yesterday, both records were blown out of the water by a $147 million sale of beachfront property in East Hampton, New York. 

Housing markets, while fragile enough to concern Fed Chair Janet Yellen, are going through the roof on the top end. High-end housing markets, also known as "gateway" markets, have been consistent high performers. In London, one of the most expensive gateway markets, one in 15 homes sells for a million pounds or more

This often happens after a boom year in the stock market. Skeptical that the market will repeat its performance, the very wealthy liquidate and move their cash into reliable havens like real estate. At least that's what some analysts are saying.

It got us thinking about ways for nonbillionaire investors to capitalize on the trend.

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of REITs (real estate investment trusts) that focus on gateway markets. New York City alone has three REITs that focus on the Big Apple and its surrounding areas. We decided to build a list of gateway-focused REITs by looking for companies that focus on these coveted regions. 

In essence, REIT funds operate like mutual funds, except instead of buying stocks or bonds, they build property portfolios.

We built a list of REITs -- plus Sotheby's (NYSE:BID), which isn't a REIT but is still heavily leveraged on the luxury housing market -- with a focus on these regions and a market cap of $2 billion or more. 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

1. Kilroy Realty Corp. (NYSE:KRC): A privately owned real estate investment trust. The firm engages in investment, development, and management of properties. Market cap at $4.96 billion, most recent closing price at $60.17. Focuses on Southern California. 
2. Sotheby's (NYSE:BID): An auctioneer of various properties, including fine art, antiques, decorative art, jewelry, and collectibles. Market cap at $2.91 billion, most recent closing price at $43.60. Coordinates the sale of goods on the luxury market. 
3. Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESRT): A real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses on owning, managing, operating, and acquiring office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area. Market cap at $1.52 billion, most recent closing price at $15.38. Focuses on New York City. 
4. Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE:BXP): A real estate investment trust (REIT) that engages with its subsidiaries in the ownership and development of office properties. Market cap at $18.14 billion, most recent closing price at $117.06. Focuses on Boston. 
5. SL Green Realty Corp. (NYSE:SLG): Engages in property management, acquisitions, financing, development, construction, and leasing. Market cap at $10.22 billion, most recent closing price at $106.07. Focuses on New York City. 

Editor's note: This story by James Dennin originally appeared on Kapitall.

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