If you have a little extra cash, there's a $15 million "cabin" on the market in Glenwood, but you'd better run, not walk: Sales of $1 million-plus houses rose sharply last month, with pending sales up 67 percent over last year at this time, according to data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

During February, upper-bracket homes and those priced at less than $120,000 were the only segments of the market to show an increase in pending sales.

Linda Blyth, director for the distinctive homes division at Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty, said there's been a noticeable shift in mood among upper-bracket buyers.

"My agents are very encouraged," she said. "There's a feeling of optimism."

Big discounts are helping, too. Earlier this year, for example, high-end Realtor Barry Berg whacked $500,000 off the price of what had been a $2.5 million downtown condo. And banks are approving huge discounts on short sales.

Though sales in that segment of the market are still down compared with a more normal market, they were up almost every month last year compared with the previous year -- the exception to the otherwise sluggish housing market. Inventory is high -- a 23-month supply -- but even that is down from where it had been.

"We have seen an uptick in activity," said Jeff Hornig of Lakes Sotheby's International Realty. "Unfortunately in the negotiations, buyers and sellers have never been farther apart in their expectations."