Villa Leopolda in Cap Ferrat (above), once the world's most expensive estate with a $750 million pricetag, may now only be worth $40 - $50 million thanks to plunging prices in the wake of the global recession, according to Sotheby's International Realty CEO Alexander V. G. Kraft. "For trophy properties it used to be a question of how much someone was willing to pay," Kraft tells the London Telegraph. "They would come quietly onto the market – they would be marketed under the table. This system really has totally collapsed. Buyers willing to pay anything like those sums just don't exist anymore." The paper says "panic sales" are on the rise in the ritzy area.
As we wrote about back in February, Russia's richest man Mikhail Prokhorov had reportedly agreed to purchase the Villa for $750 million but later backed out of the deal, forfeiting a $55 million deposit. The estate has not been re-listed. "Prices are coming more in line with the rest of the market," Kraft declares. "Trophy properties will be more in line with 'normal luxury properties' – about 20 to 30 million [euros]." Peter Ilovsky, director of Sotheby's International Realty in Cap Ferrat, says they're still good investments however. "Owning a property in Cap Ferrat is like having a Picasso," he tells the paper. "It's certainly better than placing the money in a Swiss bank."