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A real gold rush in California

California flexed its millionaire muscle last year in the number of houses sold for $1-million or more. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the number of California houses with a seven-digit price tag increased 51 percent and accounted for more than two-thirds of the nationwide total.

A statewide record 11,364 homes sold for $1-million or more, and for the first time San Francisco edged out Beverly Hills, Southern California's premier luxury home market.

A twist on "super-sizing'

In New York suburbs such as Scarsdale, Rye and Larchmont, residents have come up with a new term to describe their latest problem: "McMansions."

Middle-class homeowners there are upset that people are buying houses, tearing them down and building large luxury homes in their place. Many people think the new homes, which often are 5,000 square feet or larger, are built with too much emphasis on size and not enough on taste or the appropriateness for the neighborhood.

Many areas are limiting the size of houses in relation to the lot or using a planning board to make sure new homes blend in with existing ones.