by James Tarmy , bloomberg
In 2021, at least 40 residential properties in the US sold for more than $50 million, according to data compiled by appraiser Miller Samuel.
This is an increase of about 35% compared to 2020, which was also a record year. “The jump in this level is unprecedented,” says Jonathan Miller, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “We’ve never seen growth like this.”
Prices of luxury homes have soared to stratospheric heights across the country, fueled by a booming stock market, low interest rates, and an emphasis on home life during the pandemic.
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“It’s a national phenomenon,” Miller says. “Not enough words have been written on the effect of low rates, even on the über-rich. And a big takeaway in housing is this: the lower the rates, the higher the prices. And this phenomenon Which is on steroids.”
According to data from Miller Samuel, the eight most expensive homes in the country, each sold for $100 million or more, and the Los Angeles metro area, New York metro area, Palm Beach, Fla. and are spread evenly among farmlands in Montana.
“Since 2014, a new class of property has been established,” says Miller, referring to these more than $100 million homes. “Initially, it sounded comical or whimsical; these numbers we were seeing came out as a flash in the pan. But now we’re in its seventh year.”
One caveat: Miller says his tally is provisional, as financial advisors race to complete deals before 2022 begins, he predicts a flurry of closings at the end of the year.
“I don’t think anyone is saying that in 2022, taxes are going to be cut,” he says, “so it’s just hedging.”
New York vs Florida
For all the chatter about wealthy people leaving high-tax states, New York still tops the list for sales of more than $50 million, with 13; 11 in Florida.
Sales at 220 Central Park South for $157.5 million were number 3 on Miller’s list, while the most expensive sale in Florida, 535 North County Road in Palm Beach, sold for $122.7 million.
New York real estate on Miller’s list was valued at about $931 million, while Florida was valued at about $941 million.
The Hamptons of New York did some of the heavy lifting.
More than a third of sales in New York State occurred in the Long Island enclave, including the former Ford family property in Southampton, which sold for $105 million; Two East Hampton beachfront parcels on West End Road for a total of $85 million, reportedly sold by Calvin Klein; A spacious home at 840 Meadow Lane in Southampton that sold for $70 million; and a six-acre oceanfront parcel at 30 Spaeth Lane, East Hampton, which sold for $60 million.
In Florida, the action was mostly in Palm Beach and Manalapan, the area to its south.
6 on Miller’s list, the sprawling estate at 1840 S. Ocean Boulevard, known as Billionaire’s Row, sold for $109.6 million. Then there’s the 33-bedroom, 15-acre complex in Manalapan, which the Ziff family sold for $94.2 million. Another Manalapan home on its heels, 1020 South Ocean Blvd., was reportedly sold by hedge funder Paul Saunders for $90 million.
Some of the biggest prices paid this year were for large tracts of land.
Rupert Murdoch’s $200 million purchase of a 340,000-acre ranch in Montana tops the list. 4 on the list is Climbing Arrow Ranch, an 80,000-acre working ranch near Bozeman, Mont., that sold for about $136 million.
Even if other properties did not match the sweep and scale of county-sized farmland, they were at least adjacent to open spaces. “It’s not surprising,” Miller says. “It’s proximity to water and views.”
Indeed, the second most expensive home on Miller’s list, a 7-acre complex purchased by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen in Malibu, sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Every Palm Beach home on the list has a waterfront, as does every Hampton home included.
The Carter Estate in Maui, Hawaii, which Jeff Bezos reportedly bought off-market for $78 million, is on the water, as is the $70 million Laguna Beach mansion that was reportedly purchased by hedge fund manager Joseph Edelman. . So is a $50 million mansion in Greenwich, Conn., with 340 feet of frontage on Long Island Sound.
go big and go home
Only homes in New York and Los Angeles bucked a trend that emphasized square footage rather than square footage.
Los Angeles homes were particularly massive. The musician, known as The Weeknd, bought a 33,000-square-foot home in Bel Air for $70 million. A newly constructed mansion in Brentwood’s Tony Mandeville Canyon spans 19,000 square feet and has sold for $62.6 million.
Meanwhile, billionaire Nicholas Berggren acquired the 29,000-square-foot Hearst Estate in Beverly Hills for $63.1 million; Not far behind, the Hilton family sold their 15,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion on 2.5 acres for $61.5 million.
The lowest-priced entry on the list, the nearly 29,000-square-foot home at 67 Beverly Court, was initially listed for $165 million. After not finding a buyer, it sold at auction for $51 million.
Miller cautions against extrapolating from these sales to the broader market.
“This explains – or illustrates – the growing asset gap,” he says. “In many ways, it is a circus performance. It has nothing to do with local markets, and nothing to do with a global perspective and investing in tangible assets rather than financial instruments.”