Recently, we did a list of the most expensive celebrity cars ever, saying that cars were a good indicator of personal wealth. Another such indicator, perhaps more than anything else, is the home a person lives in (or, in some cases, just keeps in the background because they can afford to have several.) The general rule is: the bigger the house, the bigger the wallet.
The owners of these houses are some of the richest people in the world, people whose cleverness, acumen, and very hard work has gotten them more money than most of us could ever imagine - a $1,000,000 house seems impossibly extravagant in this day and age!
But big doesn’t always mean tasteful (re: Flo Rida’s $1.7 million GOLD Bugatti Veyron, which someone called, “Like putting a moustache on the Mona Lisa”), and some of these houses are as garish as a gilded paint job. However, some of them are beautiful, the designers and architects having created a coherent little universe where the homeowners can seek solace.
Get ready, here come the 15 most expensive homes in the world, listed in backwards order to preserve suspense.
15 Penthouse at 15 Central Park West - $45 million
People call the building at 15 Central Park West the “Limestone Jesus,” because it’s full of New York City’s most powerful and influential residents. Daniel Loeb, a very wealthy hedge fund boss, bought the apartment at the top floor in 2008, right at the beginning of the recession.
During the recession, housing prices in the United States suffered. It was a buyer’s market. In other words, Loeb bought an apartment for $45 million at a time when selling your house for more than you paid for it was a struggle. In 2012, Loeb was trying to sell the property for $100 million, just to give you an idea.
14 Maison de l’Amitie - $95 million
This house, located in Palm Beach, Florida, was purchased by the boss himself, Donald Trump, in 2008. Unfortunately for him, if he’s elected President, he’ll have to leave this luxurious dwelling for the much more modest white house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington D.C.
Until then, he can continue taking advantage of the Maison de l’Amitie, translation "House of Friendships", which features 60,000 square feet of elegance, diamond and gold fixtures, and nearly 50 car garage (someone call Jerry Seinfeld, he’s going to freak out).
13 Shakespeare Ranch, Glenbrook, Nevada - $98 million
When one thinks “pricey property,” one doesn’t generally imagine open sky country in the flyovers. There, it seems like a person can get hundreds and hundreds of acres of land for like, a buffalo nickel and a pack of Malboro Reds. Well, apparently that isn’t true.
The Shakespeare Ranch in Nevada, so named because one of the rocks apparently resembles the bard, sells for $98 million dollars. With 133 acres of shorefront, 17 guest cabins, a barn, an indoor pool in a separate building, and a nearly 400-foot dock, we can see why it might cost someone a bit of money to acquire it.
12 Fleur de Lys Mansion - $102 million
The Fleur de Lys Mansion, which sold for $102 million in March of 2014, is the most expensive house ever sold in Los Angeles county, California. The anonymous buyer, who acquired it from David and Suzanne Saperstein, paid entirely in cash and insisted on remaining anonymous.
There are rumors, but no one knows for sure who the masked man is… The 12-bedroom, 15-bathroom home, modeled after the French castle Vaux le Vicomte, has a 3,000-square-foot wine cellar, a two-story library, a commercial kitchen, and a spacious ballroom. How fabulous and mysterious. We’re dying to know more.
11 Xanadu 2.0 – $123 million
You’d think that the second richest man in the world would live in a bit more of an opulent house, wouldn’t you? Well, looks like Bill and Melinda Gates are more selfless rather than selfish billionaires. That being the case, they aren’t going to live in the Brewster Projects of Detroit, Michigan.
In fact, they live in a house in Medina Washington named after Citizen Kane’s Charles Foster Kane’s home. The house is souped up with geekiness, featuring such amenities as artwork displayed on mounted computer screens that change according to a person’s tastes and an underwater music system in the pool.
10 Beverly House - $135 million
The Beverly House is pretty reputed among the rich and famous. The Kennedys, Rihanna and the Prince of Monaco are among the property's illustrious roster of guests. It's a 30 bedroom estate just a few blocks from Sunset Boulevard that's currently for sale, and if it goes, it will pass the Fleur de Lys mansion for most expensive house ever sold in Los Angeles county.
The current owner, Leonard Ross, who bought the mansion in 1976 when he was just 31, said it takes two hours to give interested buyers the grand tour. But, given the visual mastery of the backyard, with columns, color-coordinated hedges, and a fountain-like swimming pool, it wouldn’t take much to convince people to go in for the kill.
9 Shepard Krech House - $140 million
As of July 27th, 2015, this property, whose main residence is called the Shepard Krech house, is the most expensive property for sale in America. Located in the East Hamptons, this property extends over 11.2 acres of some of the most expensive land in, well, the land.
The house itself is 10,300 square feet, or big enough to have 10 bedrooms, four fireplaces, a workout room, an art gallery, a conservatory, and a guest-house. In other words, if you can afford to buy this house, then you can afford to literally never leave again, and never get bored because your house is like basically a mini city. All you would need is friends.
8 Spelling Manor - $150 million
Everyone remembers Aaron Spelling, arguably one of the most successful TV magnates of all time. He was the executive producer of Beverly Hills, 90210, Summerland, Wanted, 7th Heaven, and Charmed, among others. With a televised reputation like that, it’s no wonder that Spelling could afford one of the most expensive pieces of property in the world.
The 57,000 square foot home sold for an undisclosed price in 2012, but it was listed at $150 million. Specs on the home show that it has fourteen bedrooms and twenty-seven bathrooms, along with certain highly specialized activity rooms, such as a wrapping room and a silverware-storage room.
7 Hearst Mansion - 165 million
In 2014, Lady Gaga released her “G.U.Y. – An Artpop Film,” a music video including several of her songs from Artpop. It was a music video of stunning opulence, like the lavishness CGI’ed into the background in the Baz Luhrmann version of Great Gastby.
The difference is, in the music video, the set was real: it was filmed in the Heart Mansion in California, valued at $165 million dollars. With three swimming pools, a massive wine cellar and its own zoo, it’s understandable why the property would cost that much. But, owned as it is by the Hearst estate, one of history’s most renown newspaper magnates, it’s understandable.
6 Palazzo di Amore – $195 million
The last house in the list under 2 million dollars, this one barely makes the cut. At $195 million dollars, this home is in the top tier of expensive homes in the world. Its title, Italian for “Palace of Love,” really does it justice: this place would seduce you immediately.
The Palazzo di Amore is a 53,000 square foot Mediterranean-style villa. 15,000, or roughly ¼ of that, is an entertainment complex containing a ballroom with a revolving dance floor. The house also has amenities such as 12 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, a bowling alley, a theater, tennis courts, swimming pools, reflecting pools, waterfalls and a garage that can fit 27 cars. If you lived in this California mansion, you would never have to leave.
5 The Penthouse – $200 million
This apartment in London costs more than six-thousand pounds, or $9,500, per square foot. That’s absurdly expensive, considering that a square foot can hold like, a $1 jug of distilled water. But it comes with some good add-ons, including floor-to-ceiling windows, a panic room, SAS trained security guards, bullet-proof windows, 24-hour room service from celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, an access to luxurious spas and squash courts.
Even with all that, it would hard to justify blowing one-fifth of a billion dollars on an apartment; like, why not buy the entire state of Montana instead? But hey, to each his own.
4 Fair Field – $250 million dollars
Fair Field is a 63-acre oceanfront property in the Hamptons, in New York. The house has 29 bedrooms, 39 bathrooms, a power plant, three swimming pools, a synagogue, two courtyards, an orangery, a 164-seat home theater, a basketball court, and a bowling alley. In short, it’s an agriculture, entertainment, religious worship, workout, bowel movement (39 bathrooms?!) and sleep complex all in one.
The house is so gigantic that the nearby residents in the Hamptons filed a lawsuit against the owner. They lost, but local legislators ratified a law after the house went up saying that from then on, Southampton homes couldn’t exceed 20,000 feet (Fair Field is 110,000.)
3 Penthouse at Tour de Odeon, Monaco – $400 million
Monaco, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is known for its extreme, sun-soaked luxury. The penthouse at the Tour de Odeon there has been called the most expensive apartment in the world.
It’s in the second tallest building on the Mediterranean skyline, and it has fun hookups like a 360° view of the water, and access to a rooftop infinity pool with a waterslide that goes into it. Plus, the apartment is in Monaco, a tax haven that attracts high-rollers, so life in general is pretty glitzy.
2 Villa Leopolda, Villefrance-Sur-Mer, France - $750 million
Most of the properties on this list are relatively new. If they were not, chances are people wouldn’t pay that much money to get them. Expensive old homes either become part of the cultural patrimony or are bulldozed to make space for something new. The Villa Leopolda has been around for quite some time, though. King Leopold of Belgium had it built in 1902 as a gift to one of his mistresses (mustn’t she have been charming?).
In 2008, a Russian billionaire named Mikhail Prokhorov tried to buy the house and it was valued at 500 million euros, or roughly 750 million USD. Despite not having all the cool stuff the rest of these homes do, the Villa Leopolda is a monument to aristocratic good taste, and does, after all, occupy 50 acres of desirable land.
1 Antilia, Mumbai, India - $1 billion
By far the most expensive house on this list - to give you an idea, you could afford to buy multiple houses on this list for the price of the Antilia - this thing is definitely not worth its price tag. Although it was designed by forward-thinking Chicagoan architects Perkins & Will, and features a temple, a health-level, a home-theatre, three helipads, and a garage with space for 168 cars, it’s unimaginable that any house could ever be worth one billion dollars.
The house is 400,000 square feet, but rather than being flat and wide, like say a ranch, it’s a 27-story skyscraper. To compare to the Penthouse in London, here square feet are only $2.50 apiece – considerably more bang for your buck (or pound for your pound!)