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msnbc.com contributor

Explainer: Open House: Foreclosed dream homes

  • Image: Aspen home

    Does buying a foreclosure mean buying cheap? Not if you shop for million-dollar mansions. There are far more expensive foreclosures to choose from these days, as even the wealthiest homeowners get hit by financial hard times. Here’s a look at foreclosures on the market if you’ve got a cool million (more actually) burning a hole in your pocket.

  • 112 Caribbean Rd., Palm Beach, Fla.

    Image: Palm Beach home

    Price: $2.325 million

    Features: Surrounded by palm trees on a corner lot, the 4,388-square-foot home has five bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, travertine flooring, crown molding, a stone patio area, a garden pool and two separate apartments in the garage.

    Neighborhood: The home is located on the north end of Palm Beach Island, which is the former neighborhood of Bernie Madoff. The real estate market there has been hard hit. Foreclosures of expensive homes in Palm Beach continue to steadily hit the market. Home prices in parts of Palm Beach County have dropped by as much as 50 percent, says realtor Deborah McGraw, who sells bank-owned properties in Palm Beach. Buyers are quickly snapping up those pricey properties.

    Selling point: It's half a block from the beach and a virtual deal considering a neighboring home sold for $47 million.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • 10974 E Mountain Spring Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Image: Scottsdale home

    Price: $3.999 million

    Features: The 5,000-square-foot custom home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a La Cornue stove, Italian limestone fireplaces, walnut and mahogany floors, custom tile and a swimming pool.

    Neighborhood: The home sits in an upscale, gated community called Silverleaf in Scottsdale, one of the Phoenix area's priciest neighborhoods. Sellers are listing their multi-million dollar homes for 30 percent to 50 percent less than their loan prices. The Phoenix area has the eighth-highest metro foreclosure rate in the nation.

    Selling point: Sunshine more than 300 days a year. Plus, the previous buyer paid $5 million.

    View listing here (new window).

  • 16 Olympia Fields Ct., Las Vegas, Nev.

    Image: Las Vegas home

    Price: $1.24 million

    Features: The 7,589-square-foot home has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, woodwork, custom cabinets, stone fireplace, a wrought iron and wood stairway and walk-in closets. The home was originally valued at $2.63 million.

    Neighborhood: The home is located in Southern Highlands, an upscale golf course neighborhood of Las Vegas. The city, which had one of the nation’s busiest home markets several years ago, continues to lead the nation in foreclosures, with it happening to one in every 25 homes.

    Selling point: You’ve got plenty to choose from in your high-end bargain hunting. There are 22 other $1 million-plus homes in the same zip code in foreclosure.

    View listing here (new window).

  • 1773 Via Di Salerno, Pleasanton, Calif.

    Image: Pleasanton home

    Price: $1.958 million

    Features: The 6,162-square-foot Mediterranean style home sits on a half acre and has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, marble flooring, hardwood floors, a four-car garage, a wine cellar and a backyard cabana with grill, fireplace and television.

    Neighborhood: Pleasanton is in the East San Francisco Bay suburbs, and this home sits inside Ruby Hill, an exclusive, gated community with golf course and country club. The foreclosure rate in neighboring San Francisco County is about half the national average, but still there have been five foreclosures in the pricey Ruby Hill neighborhood just this year.

    Selling point: The quaint and family-oriented Pleasanton was picked by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live in the country.

    View listing here (new window).

  • 214 W. Cooper Ave., Aspen, Colo.

    Image: Aspen home

    Price: $6 million

    Features: Back in 2008, the previous owner of the 4,849-square-foot home attempted to sell it for $11.5 million before filing for foreclosure. The contemporary-style home has an elevator, floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views, a billiards room, five bedrooms and five bathrooms.

    Neighborhood: The home sits in the middle of downtown Aspen, the glitzy ski town that has drawn rich and famous residents like Charlie Sheen, Lance Armstrong, Goldie Hawn and Mariah Carey. While the rest of the nation’s housing markets tumbled, Aspen remained resilient — until recently. One the priciest places to live in the country, Aspen's average single-family home price dipped this year by 13 percent to $4.285 million. This Cooper Avenue home is the most expensive bank-owned listing to hit the market, says Kim McKinley, an Aspen real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures.

    Selling point: Walk to the gondola and ride the elevator to bed.

    View the listing here (new window).

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