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Collier County, and specifically Naples, saw another year of massive mansion sales in 2019, with prices for higher-end homes nearing $30 million. 

And transactions of this caliber will continue going forward, experts said.

In 2019 in Collier County, 22 homes were sold at $10 million and over, according to the Southwest Florida Multiple Listing Service. This is a slight increase from last year's reported numbers of 20 sales. 

Also: Top 10 sales of 2019 in Collier, Lee counties display apartment boom, demand for housing

"I don't see any indications of any kind of a downturn," said Bill Earls, an agent with John R. Wood Properties that was involved in four of the 10 priciest Collier home sales of 2019. "Everything seems to be pretty positive here in Southwest Florida."

"Naples is the epicenter of luxury for the west coast of Florida," said Phil Wood, the president and CEO of John R. Wood. 

Wood said that Naples is appealing to upscale home buyers due to the wealth of amenities available to residents living in areas such Port Royal and Old Naples. He mentioned "great beachfronts," shopping and restaurant options and "a huge number" of golf courses. 

Earls added that Southwest Florida as a whole is an enticing area for wealthy individuals migrating from many northern states. 

"One of the trends that I have to tell you is the 'tax refugees' are very evident in this marketplace," he said. "They’re being driven out of these northern states for tax relief."

In 2019: Third highest-priced home listing in SWFL history hits market at $65M

And: T-Mobile CEO buys home in Naples for $16.7 million

Of the top 10 sales, seven of those were homes in the Port Royal area, which features some of the priciest sales year after year. The exclusive Port Royal neighborhood is consistently alluring to wealthy buyers in Florida, experts said. 

"There's really nothing like Port Royal." said Budge Huskey, the CEO of Premier Sotheby's International Realty. "The reality is that Port Royal offers an enclave unlike any other in terms of the quality and feel of the neighborhood. It is home after home after home on waterfront. It's the prestige of living in the south part of Naples near historic downtown and Fifth Avenue. It's a lifestyle you don't find anywhere else." 

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Tear-down trend continues in 2019

Another trend real estate professionals noticed was the continuation of upscale tear-downs.

High-end buyers are motivated by location, even if the current building doesn't fit their needs. When this occurs, buyers will have no problem paying more for land in a prime location and simply bulldozing the home.

Some of the highest priced sales of the last year followed this trend in Collier County, with homes such as 325 Gulf Shore Blvd. N. in Old Naples and 2440 Gordon Drive in Port Royal selling for big numbers and then promptly being demolished.

"As you climb the price-point, they just want what they want," Earls said. "They want to be in Naples, so they’ll pay up for the land."

He said that modern buyers are often seeking new homes with modern architectural styles.

"That coastal strip is near and dear to many people," he said. "A new subdivision in Old Naples doesn't exist. You either buy something that has been there or tear down because you want to live there." 

Huskey added that current buyers have moved away from the traditional architectural styles with "Tuscan and Mediterranean-heavy" emphasis to more "coastal modern" construction.

"There are certain iconic properties on the market that will sell regardless of architectural style because of their location," Huskey said. "Because of that, you are seeing more and more tear-downs and new construction built."

The priciest home ever to sell in Collier sold in 2018 at 2500 Gordon Drive for $48.8 million and was torn down five months later.

See below for 2019's top 10 sales in Collier County, according to the Southwest Florida Multiple Listing Service.

Top 10 sales 

1. 1832 Galleon Drive - $28,000,000

This 12,781-square-foot, five-bedroom property topped the Collier County list this year at almost $30 million. Initially listed at $29,900,000, the price was eventually dropped to $28 million, and the home was sold in August. Like the majority of the biggest sales of Collier County last year, the home sits among other mansions in the exclusive Port Royal neighborhood.

2. 325 Gulf Shore Boulevard North - $25,500,000

The No. 2 sale in Collier last year followed the tear-down trend, with an outdated, 70-year-old beach house selling in Old Naples and then being torn down. The 4,261-square-foot home sold for $25.5 million in April after being listed for $26,995,000. 

Photos: House on Gulf Shore Blvd N sells for $25.5 million

3. 1100 Spyglass Lane - $25,350,000

This 9,225-square-foot home sold for $25,350,000 in June after being listed for $26.9 million. The Port Royal mansion came complete with features such as a private dock.

4. 2440 Gordon Drive - $22,500,000

Another pricey Collier home met its end months after it was purchased. This Port Royal mansion was sold for $22.5 million in January 2019 and was later demolished to make way for something new. The 6,209-square-foot home was built in 1986 and featured three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Photos: This Port Royal mansion just sold for $22.5M — and then it was torn down

5. 3430 Gordon Drive - $19,750,000

This Port Royal home sold for $19,750,000 in May 2019 after being listed for $23,900,000. The 7,002-square-foot, six-bedroom home came with 166 feet of Gulf beach frontage.

6. 7417 Bay Colony Drive - $19,000,000

This home sold in April 2019 for $19 million after being listed at $21 million in the Strand at Bay Colony, an exclusive neighborhood of Naples homes fronting the Gulf of Mexico.

7. 1672 Galleon Drive - $16,700,000

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This 6,240-square-foot Port Royal home was purchased in October 2019 by T-Mobile CEO John Legere for $16.7 million. The sale came shortly before Legere sold his $17.5 million Central Park West penthouse to fashion designer Giorgio Armani, according to Forbes.

Photos: T-Mobile CEO John Legere purchases Naples home for $16.7 million

8. 7607 Bay Colony Drive - $14,900,000

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This 9,775-square-foot home sold in February 2019 for $14.9 million, making it the third highest priced sale in Pelican Bay history. The four-story, beachfront mansion featured four bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Photos: Beachfront mansion sells for $14.9 million

9. 3753 Fort Charles Drive - $13,075,000

A mansion on Fort Charles Drive made the list at over $13 million in January 2019. With over 7,055 square feet of living space, the home featured five bedrooms and five bathrooms.

10. 1901 Galleon Drive - $12,375,000

This Port Royal mansion sold for over $12 million in July 2019 after being listed for $13,250,000. The 7,230-square-foot home featured five bedrooms and five full bathrooms.

Reach Andrew Wigdor at awigdor@gannett.com and on Twitter @andrew_wigdor

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