The Classicist: The New World's Most Expensive Estates
Five months ago when Forbes ranked the world's most expensive houses (in terms of current listings) only three of them clocked in at over $100 million. And in fact, one of those, Leona Helmsley's Dunnellen Hall in Greenwich, CT which started out at $125 million had already been reduced to $95 million by the time the list was published (it's currently being offered at $75 million). The other, Fleur de Lys in Beverly Hills listed at $125 million, was therefore the world's most expensive and one of only two $100 million-plus properties officially on the market.
Re-surveying the field now we've decided it's time for a new World's Most Expensive list, mainly because despite the recession - or, perhaps, because of it - there are now seven properties in what we've dubbed the Hundred Million Club (N.B. - those listed at only $100 million don't make the cut), three of which are in the U.S. These are the modern-day equivalents of the magnates' great estates we wrote about back in February.
Some recent market activity which regular Luxist readers will be aware of makes a new ranking imperative. For starters, last month Candy Spelling listed her Holmby Hills mega-mansion at $150 million, making it the world's most expensive estate. Then just last week a mansion at No. 10 Belgrave Square in London hit the market for around the same price - £100 million, or about $149 million (depending on exchange rates), while a second Belgrave Square property finally completed renovations and has been listed at £80 million, or about $120 million.
We also received confirmation this week that an incredible 40-room private mansion in Paris' Place des États Unis (above), built in 1890, has been listed at €105 million, or about $138 million. Fleur de Lys, whose "world's most expensive" status (though not its "legendary estate" status) was also usurped by the $135 million Manaplan Residence in Palm Beach now languishes in 5th place (sorry, Mariah).
Here is our new ranking of the world's most expensive estates (in terms of current verifiable listings), all members of the Hundred Million Club:
1. The Manor - Holmby Hills, CA: $150 million
2. No. 10 Belgrave Square, London, UK: $149 million
3. Place des États Unis, Paris, France: $138 million
4. The Manalapan Residence, Palm Beach, FL: $135 million
5. Fleur de Lys, Beverly Hills, CA: $125 million
6. No. 31 Belgrave Square, London, UK: $120 million
7. Updown Court, Surrey, UK: $110 million
Gallery: $100 Million is Not Enough
Finally, a few points of procedure. The famous $750 million Villa Leopolda in the south of France is no longer in the running, despite the purchaser having backed out of the deal, because owner Lily Safra decided not to re-list it. When and if it does come back on the market it will undoubtedly recapture the top spot. Second, in compiling the list we are following Forbes' sensible method, i.e. it includes only current and public listings of single-family residential properties, not private islands, compounds of several different properties, undeveloped land, or houses that have already been sold.
Estates offered privately overseas for undisclosed prices obviously cannot be quantified. And we are using Forbes' price for Updown Court, which has been variously quoted, as the latest number available. Of course, if anyone has or knows of any other verifiable listings that also make the grade, please let us know via the comments and we'll issue an update.
Jared Paul Stern publishes the culture and style blog Night & Day.