The most expensive homes on the planet
One of the biggest houses in the United States is taking shape on a Los Angeles hilltop – a 100,000 sq ft residence complete with a 5,000 sq ft master bedroom and a “jellyfish room” with tanks on three walls. With an outrageous asking price of $500million (£327million), its developer, Hollywood producer Nile Niami, hopes it will be the most expensive home ever sold. But actually, it has some competition.
Antilia in Mumbai may be a 27-storey skyscraper, but the world’s fifth richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and his family call it home. Should they ever decide to sell, it’s said it will fetch $2billion.
Until then, the prize for the world’s priciest home on the market could (the super-prime market is notoriously secretive) be Waggoner Ranch in Dallas. At first glance, the Texan house may lack LA-style bling, but it has a few other features to explain its $725million (£475million) price tag. The 510,000-acre estate comes with 500 American Quarter horses, 7,500 Hereford cows and – a luxury you don’t get in Kensington – 20 cowboy camps. But crucially, there’s what lies beneath – oil. The estate – which has never been on the market before, having been owned by the Waggoner family for 160 years – sits on one of Texas’s first oilfields and 450,000 of its acres have yet to be drilled. “It’s the largest ranch in the US under one fence,” says Bernard Uechtritz, an adviser to estate agents Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty (001 214 876 1321; sothebysrealty.com).
For those Texas tycoons who miss out, there’s Walnut Place, a short drive from downtown Dallas, priced at $100million (£65million). The Thirties-built estate has been remodelled to include a four-storey house with a “recreation centre”, home cinema and guesthouse.
Back in LA, the Mediterraneanstyle Palazzo di Amore – a 35,000 sq ft house on a 25-acre Beverly Hills estate – is one of the most expensive properties in the US. Its owner, billionaire investor Jeff Greene, whose property empire includes 3,500 apartments, bought it from its previous owners for $35million in 2007 and has carried out a lavish building project. The house now has 12 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, parking for 150 cars and a vineyard. It’s priced at £128million through Hamptons International (020 3151 7276; hamptons-international.com).
Also appealing to Beverly Hills billionaires is “The Legendary Beverly House” – publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst’s home on North Beverly Drive. Priced at $135million (001 972 380 7750; christiesrealestate. com), it has one of LA’s longest drives, which leads to a mansion with waterfalls and intricately carved ceilings.
In Europe, the place to look for trophy homes is the Cote d’Azur, where a villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer is being marketed for €395million while farther along the coast in Theoule-sur-Mer another estate is discreetly on sale for €200million. Both figure in the world’s top five $100million-plus listings revealed by Christie’s International Real Estate.
In London, there are a number of £100million+ properties on the market – but you’d never know. Luxury buying agents such as Rupert Collingwood from The London Search Company do though. He points to Park House, which sits on half an acre in South Kensington, priced at £105million. Or there’s Cambridge House – better known as the In and Out Club in Piccadilly – available for a reputed £200million. “I don’t think it will get that, though. It’s in a high-profile location on a busy road,” says Collingwood. Trumping the lot, however, is a Regency mansion designed by John Nash on Carlton House Terrace in London, available for £250million. For security reasons, the current owner isn’t keen on having photos taken, so any interested parties will have to make do with the 1890s originals and be prepared to add mod cons. But when you’re spending quarter of a billion pounds on a home, what’s a few million on its refurb?
Super-prime: Walnut Place, Dallas, on the market for $100m