And America’s top housing market is…

Luis Alvarez | E+ | Getty Images Malibu, Calif.

Luis Alvarez | E+ | Getty Images
Malibu, Calif.

Apparently, Barbie isn’t just a bodacious beach-comber but a savvy real estate investor. Malibu is one of the nation’s most beautiful housing markets—and the most expensive.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 markets, Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked Malibu the priciest, citing a nearly $2 million divide between it and the least costly market: Cleveland.

“That disparity has always been there, some years greater than others,” said Budge Huskey, CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “It is just a reflection of the significant distinction in values based on the location typically between coastal areas and interior areas, as well as economic conditions within those respective markets.”

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Top 25 List of America’s Most Expensive / Most Affordable Real Estate Markets

Rank 2013 Most Expensive
Markets
Avg. Listing
Price
  2013 Most Affordable
Markets
Avg. Listing
Price
1 Malibu,
Calif.
$2,155,900   Cleveland,
Ohio
$63,729
2 Newport Beach,
Calif.
$1,773,824   Garfield Heights,
Ohio
$66,075
3 Saratoga,
Calif.
$1,684,261   Flint,
Mich.
$84,437
4 Los Gatos,
Calif.
$1,360,497   Saginaw,
Mich.
$87,181
5 San Francisco,
Calif.
$1,309,599   Jackson,
Miss.
$94,155
6 Stone Harbor,
NJ
$1,301,727   Sioux City,
Iowa
$97,969
7 Cupertino,
Calif.
$1,292,400   Jonesboro,
Ga.
$98,332
8 Orono,
Minn.
$1,251,873   Moberly,
Mo.
$99,593
9 Weston,
Mass.
$1,229,000   Buffalo,
NY
$101,631
10 Redwood City,
Calif.
$1,203,357   Kankakee,
Ill.
$103,187
11 Breckenridge,
Colo.
$1,177,795   Utica,
NY
$103,877
12 San Mateo,
Calif.
$1,132,523   Ashland,
Wis.
$104,774
13 Great Neck,
NY
$1,103,364   Hillsdale,
Mich.
$106,384
14 Pasadena,
Calif.
$1,092,087   Johnstown,
Pa.
$107,039
15 Greenwich,
Conn.
$1,087,300   Arcadia,
Fla.
$107,691
16 Wellesley,
Mass.
$1,079,600   McCook,
Neb.
$107,986
17 Sunnyvale,
Calif.
$1,077,025   Park Forest,
Ill.
$109,709
18 Santa Barbara,
Calif.
$1,061,475   Niagara Falls,
NY
$109,809
19 Danville,
Calif.
$1,018,300   Eatonton,
Ga.
$111,108
20 Kailua,
Hawaii
$1,004,567   Lehigh Acres,
Fla.
$111,410
21 Mercer Island,
Wash.
$999,276   Kansas City,
Mo.
$113,718
22 Campbell,
Calif.
$974,212   Dayton,
Ohio
$115,176
23 Larchmont,
NY
$972,150   Camden,
Ark.
$116,072
24 Westport,
Conn.
$966,582   Akron,
Ohio
$116,906
25 Newton,
Mass.
$912,745   Aurora,
Mo.
$117,013
Source: 2013 Coldwell Banker U.S. Home Listing Report

The report identified 20 markets where a four-bedroom, two-bath house costs more than $1 million and eight markets where a similar home lists for less than $100,000. Thirteen of the country’s 25 priciest markets are in California.

In contrast, 15 of the 25 cheapest markets are in the Midwest. New York casts the widest net, with markets ranked on both the most and least expensive lists.

(Read moreCredit cuts out would-be homebuyers)

While the U.S. has always been a wide-ranging real estate market, international investors are playing a bigger role—in high-end trophy properties as well as midrange homes.

“The U.S. is still the safest place to park capital,” Huskey said. “Even in markets that historically you would not perceive to be those magnets—such as Manhattan or California or Florida. We looked at markets like San Antonio, Texas, and you’ll find that 20 percent of the traffic on the website is coming from outside the United States.”

As for the top spot, international moguls and movie stars alike have long considered Malibu a getaway, but that may be changing.

“With its laid-back yet star-studded lifestyle, Malibu is undergoing a transformation from a seasonal destination to a year-round locale,” Madison Hildebrand said in a release. Hildebrand is an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Malibu and one of the stars of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing.”

(Read moreHousing’s top ‘turnaround’ markets)

An average “sample-sized” house in Malibu lists for $2.15 million, according to the Coldwell Banker report. With inventories still on the low side amid rising demand, Barbie’s beach house many just be a gold mine.

By CNBC’s Diana Olick. Follow her on Twitter @Diana_Olick.

Questions?Comments? facebook.com/DianaOlickCNBC

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