The world`s most Expensive and Luxurious Homes
Along Australia’s Gold Coast and across the French Riviera, they sit above the beach offering extraordinary views of the sea. In the U.K. they are palaces that humble the Queen’s Belgravia mansions. Others range from landed estates throughout continental Europe to nature preserves in Zambia. These are some of the world’s most expensive properties, and the prices are as unique as the homes. Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s Aspen ski lodge lists for $135 million, while 6,000 miles away, a 64-room Istanbul waterfront mansion asks $100 million.
“The net worth of the buyers and the sellers is such that they can do whatever they want.” says Joshua Saslove of Joshua & Co., an Aspen, Colo.-based affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates.
Feeling a little less flush? A modest $18 million will get you South Africa’s priciest pad. But you’d better act quick; with international real estate company Knight Frank calling the country one of the quickest growing real estate markets, that affordability could soon change. For something a little more “Old World,” a Romanian castle, built in 1212 and once home to Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Count Dracula), can be had for $140 million. Whether they’re plunking down $20 million or close to $200 million, in Hong Kong, New York or Rio de Janeiro, potential buyers are generally cut from the same cloth.
They are wealthy globetrotters looking for a second, third or fourth home, and don’t mind gassing up the jet if it means owning a beautiful property. Americans, Arabs and Europeans have long bought getaways across the globe, but increasingly the rising wealth in China, India and Russia is raising the world’s luxury watermark. And while no one besides Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has ever shelled out more than $100 million for a home (he did so in 2005, when he snapped up a Kensington townhouse for $127 million ), there are plenty available.
Homes In The U.S.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Once the home of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, this 6.5-acre mega-mansion in Beverly Hills was built in 1926 and was featured in the film The Godfather. The compound comprises six buildings that have a total of 29 bedrooms. There are three swimming pools and a movie theater.
Owned by Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., this 95-acre estate boasts a 56,000-square-foot, 15-bedroom, 16-bathroom mansion. Several smaller buildings, including stables, a tennis court and an indoor swimming pool, complete the property.
Maison de L’Amitie
Palm Beach, Fla.
In 2004 Donald Trump bought former health care executive Abe Gosman’s palace, Maison de L’Amitie, center, at a bankruptcy auction for $41.25 million. The refurbished version comes complete with a ballroom, conservatory, 100-foot-long ballroom and 475 feet of oceanfront.
London’s Most Expensive Flats
There’s no denying that London is Europe’s real estate capital of eye-watering cost.
And rightly so. Though America’s property market is being shaken by the current lending crisis, London’s so-called super-prime property arena, made up primarily of high-end, high-cost flats, is skyrocketing.
From wealthy bankers in London’s financial district to old-money aristocrats, the range of buyers reaches far and wide. But a growing international clientele, in particular, is helping drive up prices. They’re attracted by London’s favorable tax system (foreign residents are taxed only on their overseas earnings), fashionable schools and good living. Of the 19 billionaires living in London, only 11 are British citizens.
One Hyde Park
£100 million ($201 million)
Four penthouses, all already sold with one reportedly commanding £100 million, take up the top floors of this complex, overlooking Hyde Park and due to be completed in 2010. Funded by Shiekh Hamad of Qatar, the complex includes a spa, movie theater, golf simulator and wine cellar, along with art, antiques and furniture from around the world.
£13.4 million ($27.1 million)
This apartment complex was designed by Lord Foster, the architect behind London’s iconic Gherkin Building and Millennium Bridge, and is owned by Candy & Candy, the developers of One Hyde Park. The most expensive apartment here has four bedrooms, two reception rooms and five bathrooms, along with a private leisure suite and terrace.
Eastern Europe’s Priciest Properties
In Eastern Europe, where home prices are exploding, developers aren’t simply transforming decades-old apartment buildings into luxurious condominiums.
Here, taking advantage of the residential real estate boom means gutting a historic property for flats or trying to sell a castle to casino operators.
Bran Castle, Brasov, Romania
ROM 2.7 billion
$140 million U.S.
Once home to 15th-century Romanian prince Vlad the Impaler, and the setting for Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula,” this castle, built in 1212, sits on 20 acres of countryside with the main castle perched on a hillside. The estate is being sold by Baytree Capital on behalf of Archduke Dominic von Hapsburg, whose family regained ownership of the castle from the Romanian government in 2006.
RUB 2.49 billion
$100 million U.S.
This property consists of an 11,700-square-foot manor house, two 4,000-square-foot guest houses and a 91,000-square-foot recreation center with a pool, Turkish and Russian baths, a gym, sauna and lounges. There is also an administration building and a reception center, the latter of which houses a movie theater and a Japanese garden. The property, listed through Usadba Moscow Residences, is just 15 miles from the Moscow city center.
Canada’s Most Expensive Homes
While the subprime problem south of the border continues to eat away at America’s housing markets, homeowners across Canada are enjoying strong sales.
Those in cities like Calgary, which boasts a robust local economy thanks to the oil and gas sectors situated there, and Toronto, the country’s financial headquarters, in particular, are reaping the rewards of a luxury housing boom.
The Uplands, Victoria, British Columbia
$28.5 million Canadian (approximately $28.9 million U.S.)
This seven-bedroom, five-bath oceanfront estate called “Sweet Pea” sits on 2.4 acres of gated property with over 1,400 feet of ocean frontage and its own private pond. For more information, contact Robert Milloy of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Victoria, British Columbia.
Carmarthen Lake Farms, Simcoe, Ontario
$24 million Canadian (approximately $24.3 million U.S.)
This massive farm estate, made up of six buildings, is for the true nature lover. It’s surrounded by miles of trails for riding and hiking, and at 1,778 feet, looks out over Ontario. The property is surrounded by English gardens and features a lap pool and a terrace leading to a private lake with its own sandy beachfront. For more information, contact Mark McLean of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Toronto.
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