Simonini Builders says a tough real estate market has forced it to close. Simonini homes are known for high-ceilings, wide-staircases and multi-million dollar price tags. More than 700 of them have gone up over the past decade and a half in the Charlotte area. But it's no surprise the past two years have been rough going for home builders; "catastrophic" in the words of company founder Alan Simonini. Banks have become less willing to give million dollar mortgages, people who are in the market to buy can find a high-end home in foreclosure at a discount. So the market for Simonini's new homes has steadily shrunk, says UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton. A surplus of foreclosed mansions also keeps prices down, making it more difficult to build new homes, says Connaughton. Couple that with the loss of many high-income banking jobs in the area, and Connaughton says he's surprised more builders haven't gone under or at least merged. Simonini Builders says it will complete the fourteen homes it's currently building for customers and try to sell an existing inventory of twenty-one homes. The communities where those homes are located will remain open, including The Preserve at Robbins Park in Cornelius, which is the site of this year's luxury home showcase for the Charlotte Home Builder's Association. Simonini officials say they're working to make sure that event goes on as planned, despite the company's demise.