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Most Expensive Home Sales 2006
July 5, 2007
The trend just continues upward; and it's not just the beautiful people who are buying
For the fourth consecutive year, Forbes.com has compiled a list of the yearís residential real estate deals. In the face of a general housing market slowdown, 2006 was a banner year for those that deal in high-end homes. The average price of a home on the list was $40 million, up more than 10% from 2005ís $36 million average, and more than 55% from the 2003 average.
It should come as no surprise that the priciest properties were clustered in California, Florida and New York, but after a yearís absence Colorado returned to our list.
In July, Sony (nyse: SNE - news - people ) Records Chief Tommy Mottola bought a sprawling 900 acre Carbondale, Colo., ranch for $47 million. Equipped with an 18-acre lake and situated at the base of Mt. Sopris, the 12,000-square-foot main house has four bedrooms and four baths.
Florida maintained its presence on the mega luxury list with developer Ugo Columboís $31-$35 million purchase of Carl Fisherís Miami Beach villa. ďIíve been in high end luxury real estate in Miami Beach the last 20 years and this was by far the best year ever.Ē
The information was compliled by tracking media reports, talking to real-estate brokers and consultants around the country and examining public property records. Since confidentiality clauses are common in the rarified high-end market, there are most likely additional deals that did not make the Forbes list. For example, the New York Post reported Schlumberger heiress Adelaide de Menil Carpenter sold her East Hampton mansion for $90 million, but based on property records it is not clear such a sale ever took place.
The New York City metro area was again a leading contender, with three of the five top spots. In Alpine, N.J., about five miles from Manhattan, real-estate investor Richard Kurtz paid $58 million to Henry Clay Frick II for his 10,000-square-foot English style mansion. The property 63-acre property includes two guest cottages, a swimming pool and tennis courts as well as green houses and more open space than imaginable so close to New York.
Other Gotham buyers included cab driver turned oil and real-estate billionaire Tamir Sapir, who paid $40 million for the Duke Semans mansion, owned by relatives of the late tobacco heiress Doris Duke. The seven-story Beaux-Arts property, built in 1901, faces the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has an elegant mansard roof. Over on 75th street, investment banker J. Christopher Flowers dropped $53 million on the 50-foot wide Harkness mansion, located between Fifth and Madison Avenues. The 1896 neo-French renaissance property is the most expensive townhouse ever sold in New York. The mansion is designed around a central, skylight-lit atrium which previous owner, Woody Allen producer Jacqui Safra, used as a ping-pong room. Both homes are expected to require millions in renovation.
In California, the movie stars, directors, financiers and attorneys who live in Malibu have a new neighbor with a different sort of clout. Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang, dropped $35 million on an eight-bedroom ocean front mansion despite a job in his fatherís government with an on the books salary of $5,000 a month. The 15,000-square-foot estate, just off the Pacific Coast Highway, has a four-hole golf course, tennis court and pools.
Further up the coast, the Hollywood crowd made their presence felt in Kevin Costnerís acquisition of a $28.5 million beach house in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. The five-bedroom mansion is perched on a bluff with nearly 1000 feet of ocean frontage. Built on 17-acres, the five-bedroom, three-bath property also boasts equestrian facilities and a polo field.
Whatís driving the marketís top tier? High-end luxury sales can remain out of synch with market trends because the sector of the market is volume volatile and not price volatile. This means that sales are less affected by general market forces--because potential buyers always have enough money--but more by whether or not rare properties are available.
Greg Moesser, an Estates Director at the firm of Hilton & Hyland Co, Beverly Hills, reports that 2006 was a banner year for the Los Angeles Westside mega luxury market. There was an almost 80% increase in the number of sales of properties over $10 million and the number of reported sales over $20 million doubled.
Expect 2007 to be another blow out year, with a continued increase in the demand for these properties that remain in very limited supply.
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