Silicon Valley, long the leader of the high-tech trade, is now gaining distinction in a new area:  real estate.  High-priced homes, along with a shortage of more reasonably-priced properties, is becoming the norm

According to industry experts, Silicon Valley currently holds the top position in the country for homes that have sold for $1 million or more.  In fact, not only are they top of the list, sales for homes over the $1 million dollar mark have more than doubled in many neighborhoods in the area.  Silicon Valley is quickly replacing tried-and-true luxury real estate heavyweights like Beverly Hills and Miami

Saratoga, CA, tops the list of communities witnessing this trend.  Located in Santa Clara County, Saratoga had 225 homes sell for more than $1 million.  This represents an astounding 162 percent increase over last year

Coming in a close second was the town of Burlingame, CA.  They doubled their rate from last year, with 211 homes selling for over a million.  Third was Cupertino, CA, with 175 sales and fourth was Los Altos with 170 sales over $1 million

Experts agree that Silicon Valley is one of those odd markets that is currently very strong.  Many believe that the growth of the tech industry is driving the demand so high here.  However, it's not the new high-profile, social media companies like Facebook that are driving this growth.  It's coming from the executives at such stalwarts as Google and Apple

Another surprising factor driving this growth is demand from wealthy Chinese buyers.  Large numbers of them have come to the Valley and are purchasing these high-priced homes.  Many say they are looking for a safe haven from the Chinese government, and have turned their sites to America.  They feel their money is safe here in the US, and that it is a good place to raise a family

Many of these new Chinese residents are buying homes to turn them into rental properties, and even more are buying homes for their family members.  These deals are quite attractive to sellers as well because they often pay in cash

As a result, inventory is down in Silicon Valley.  Many communities only have a few weeks worth of real estate on hand, like Los Altos and Palo Alto.  Inventory is down by as much as half since last year

What this means is that $1 million just isn't going to buy what it used to.  For example, a 1,700 square foot home that hasn't been recently updated can go for as much as $1.3 million in some neighborhoods.  Even less in Saratoga, where that money would only buy the land, but not the house