Number of bedrooms, location, public transport connections, price. When looking for a home, the list of factors doesn’t tend to change. What if, though, you could spend as much as you wanted on a property? Get a taste of how the world’s top 1 per cent live with a look at the most expensive homes on sale this year.
While quality of nearby schools and the proximity of the nearest supermarket are the kind of things that influence an average property’s value, at the apex of the global prime market, it’s a different ball game altogether: prices are determined by rarity, uniqueness, and quality. In 2016, the number of property listings around the world priced over $100 million increased, despite the global backdrop of uncertainty and volatility. Indeed, the safe haven appeal of prime real estate remains as strong as ever.
A bank loan was used to secure New York’s highest sale of 2016 — the buyer of a $88 million Park Avenue penthouse financed a large portion of his purchase with a sizeable $56 million loan, the kind of super-sized financing that didn’t even exist a few years ago. In Hong Kong, meanwhile, buyers have demonstrated that they are more than willing to pay up the substantially increased stamp duty rates to get on the luxury housing ladder.
Indeed, Hong Kong is now the number one prime property market in the world, according to Christie’s, with a sale at The Peak for $270.6 million topping the biggest transactions of 2016. The same location has seen a $360 million sale take place in 2017 already.
This is the first time that Hong Kong has seized the top slot, with four residential sales above $100 million in the annual top 10, setting new sales price records for the region. One fact is continued demand from mainland Chinese buyers seeking to hedge against yuan depreciation.
Toronto, meanwhile, has soared up Christie’s Luxury Thermometer chart ot become the hottest luxury market of the year, surpassing last year’s Auckland with almost double the number of million-dollar-plus sales recorded versus the previous year. The Canadian city recorded the shortest time to sell a luxury property (17 days on the market, down from 28 days the year prior), fuelled by incredibly low inventory and rapid price increases that prompted both buyers and sellers to act. In 2017, Toronto has heated up so much that the local authorities have introduced a 15 per cent tax on overseas buyer purchases, which may begin to cool the city’s real estate over the coming year.
What is in store for the luxury real estate world in 2017? A new benchmark may yet be looming. In the South of France, rumours suggest one palatial estate comes with a price tag as high as $1.1 billion. Based on Christie’s Luxury Defined 2017 report, here at some of the year’s most expensive houses for sale around the world.
1. Villa Leopolda – $1.1 billion
Villa Leopolda, located on the French Riviera, was built in 1902 by King Leopold II of Belgium. Since then, it has been remodelled and rebuilt and caught the media’s eye when Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov bought it in 2008. The sale eventually fell through and Prokhorov lost his deposit two years later, but not before the price of the villa was revealed to be around $500 million, making it the most expensive villa in the world.
2. Nile Niami Bel Air Spec Home – $500 million
Mega developer Nile Niami has made even more of a name for himself in recent years thanks to his spec home built in California’s Bel Air neighbourhood. The development has grown from an initial 85,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet, with a price tag of $500 million making it one of the most expensive homes ever listed in the USA.
3. The Bubble Palace – $381 million
Located in Theoule Sur Mer in France’s Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur, this stunning palace, assembled by a bubble cluster, offers a panoramic lounge, a reception room and 10 suites decorated by contemporary artists. Bubble by name, bubble by nature: in addition to the bobbly architecture, the home boasts an eye-popping array of water ponds, gardens and pools – and a 500-seat outdoor auditorium overlooking the sea and the breathtaking bay of Cannes. The only of 2016’s five most popular listings to still be at the top of the charts, the price tag has been trimmed from last year’s $455 million.
4. 18 Carlton House Terrace – $330 million
Having Buckingham Palace as one of your closest neighbours is enough to put any property in the map, and this Grade I-listed Regency mansion certainly is, with a price tag of $330 million, interiors that are a closely kept secret and an owner that is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
5. Odeon Tower Sky Penthouse – $330 million
The first skyscraper to be built in Monaco since the 1980s, Odeon Tower is not just notable for that: the 560-foot tower boasts a five-floor penthouse at its top, which stuns with its super-sized living space and, most eye-grabbing of all, an infinity pool with its own slide.