NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Interest in luxury real estate is on the rise with New England leading favored territories, according to a new survey .

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"People choose Northern New England states such as New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine for the lifestyle ," said Christopher Masiello, president and CEO of the Masiello Group with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Realtor.com's Luxury Homebuyer study found that 23% of current luxury home owners live in the North East or South Atlantic states, which include Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

"Northern New England offers great local schools, prestigious higher education institutions, low crime, low unemployment and access to beautiful outdoor recreational opportunities," Masiello told MainStreet.

About 37% mentioned waterfront property as a desirable locale for purchase , 19% said countryside property, 14% would choose a mountainside property and 13% would opt for suburban property.

"There are loads of ski areas in New England , such as Stratton, Okemo and Sunday River Bromley," said Masiello. "There's also the New Hampshire-Maine seacoast and large populations centers, such as Manchester, Nashua, Concord and Greater Portsmouth in NewHampshire and Great Portland, Lewiston-Auburn, Augusta and Bangor in Maine."

About 40% of luxury buyers said the biggest challenge of searching for a high-end luxury home is finding a property that meets their family's needs and 20% cited shortage of luxury inventory. Only 8% are challenged by gaining access to mortgage loans.

"The luxury homebuyer is an important contingent of today's real estate market as luxury homes tend to drive trends throughout the entire balance of the marketplace," said Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist with Realtor.com.

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With an extra million dollars to invest in a home , 28% said they would use it to sell their current home and purchase a new home, 23% would keep their current home and purchase either a new home or vacation home, and 14% equally indicated they would purchase several homes or purchase their first home.

"Real estate is the ultimate expression of success," said Steven Siebold, author of the book and audio series How Rich People Think (London House Press, 2010). "It's a tangible way for the rich to showcase their wealth. It's also a reward they give themselves. They enjoy large luxurious homes but some people get a little carried away. Nobody needs a 25,000 square foot house."

Amenities favored by luxury home owners include a chef's kitchen, an outdoor living area (such as a fire pit), a view of the ocean or mountains, large square footage and a luxury pool (such as an infinity pool, grotto or water slide).

"They are looking for high-end finishes and conveniences as well as granite counters, custom electronics, programmable audio-TV systems with one touch operations from an iPad or the like," said Masiello, whose 33 offices serve New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine only.