Prices and sales may be down nationwide, but the country’s costliest spreads still command top dollar.
There’s been a lot of denial among luxury homeowners. In 2006, it was thought that the luxury market wouldn’t suffer the same fate as the broader market. A year later, high-end home buyers were thought to have endless, deep pockets, further insulating the top-tier from the cratering economy. As the nation’s markets in 2008 went from bad to worse, some in the industry claimed that the dearth of trophy properties outstripped supply.
This year, reality set in. No one is buying $100 million homes. Few are buying $30 million homes. Properties in that range are either being reduced by amounts similar to the national debts of small countries–Dunellen Hall, reduced by $50 million from $125 million to $75 million, and BootJack Ranch to $68 million, a reduction of $20 million from last year’s asking–or are being pulled from the market entirely. It’s been a bad year for America’s Most Expensive Homes, our annual list of the nation’s priciest oceanfront mansions, urban townhouses, monumental ski lodges and country estates. Mainstays like the $125 million Fleur de Lys in Beverly Hills, a 45,000-square-foot re-creation of Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles, and the $100 million Tranquility, a Lake Tahoe 20,000-square-foot mountain home on 210 acres, are still at the top of our list, two and three years after they came on the market, respectively.