Top 10 luxury real estate markets around the world

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The priciest real estate in the world is just getting pricier.

According to the 2015 Prime Global Cities Index, recently released by the London-based coco palms showflat real estate consultancy Knight Frank, luxury properties are on average 46 percent more expensive globally than they were back in the second quarter of 2009, when the index hit its lowest point of the Great Recession.

The company defined "luxury" in several different ways, according to Jonathan Miller of the New York-based Miller Samuel Appraisers and Consultants, who provided data for Manhattan, Miami and Los Angeles. He believes luxury is best measured by looking at the top 10 percent of transactions during a given period.

But for Tokyo and other select markets on this list, he said, Knight Frank used different measurement strategies that were better suited to the individual areas.

The top 10 international markets for luxury price growth show relatively strong geographic diversity, with North America, Asia, Europe and Australia all making appearances. However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, North American markets steal the show. San Francisco, Miami and Vancouver were all in the top five, earning double-digit percentages of price growth year-over-year.

California actually made the list twice. San Francisco, largely due to its booming tech industry, came in at No. 1 with price growth over 14 percent. Los Angeles earned the No. 9 spot and was tied with Dublin for price growth at 8 percent.

Knight Frank compared these trends with the findings from its annual Wealth Report and drew a few conclusions about what might affect global luxury real estate markets in the next year.

Luxury buyers are likely to make future purchase decisions, according to the company, by balancing what they perceive is the globalization of markets (based on factors like wealth creation and improved connectivity) with how they perceive the markets' protectionism (based on factors like foreign buyer restrictions and capital controls). That means buyers will be looking for high-end, cosmopolitan locales that won't restrict their purchase power.

Naturally, a city's local job market plays a big role in its globalization and real estate growth. When urban job markets change and grow, their housing markets change and grow, too. Knight Frank recently addressed the potential impact of what it calls emerging "Global Cities" on the economy, large markets where creative, knowledge-based workforces are spurring demand.

Right now, the global economy is starting to favor places where creative knowledge workers, rather than industrial ones, are gathering in droves -- places like San Francisco and Sydney, Australia, which experienced over 7 percent housing price growth this year.

"San Francisco in particular has benefited from the tech boom in a very extreme way," Miller said. "It has some of the highest purchase prices in the country on this index."

Here are 10 soaring housing markets around the world where luxury real estate is reaching new heights.