When it comes to the world’s most expensive homes, their owners can be rather mysterious. We’re not talking about houses you can find on a celebrity map in Hollywood, but the mansions and castles owned by the richest people on the planet.
Of course, we all know who lives in Buckingham Palace (we left that one off the list for a number of reasons – one being the royal family doesn’t technically own it, and they don’t pay for it), but do the names Ira Rennert, Olena Pinchuk, Lily Safra, or John Alfred Paulson ring a bell?
Chances are they probably don’t, so in this list, we are going to give you some inside info on 30 of the most expensive homes in the world and the people who can afford them. Real estate is always a smart investment for the world’s super-wealthy, and when you are a billionaire CEO, handing over hundreds of millions of dollars for a place to live doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Some of these people build custom homes, while others purchase historic properties and make them their own. But, one thing is for sure, these are people who definitely know what it means to live luxe.
Without further ado, here is a list of 30 of the most expensive homes in the world and the people who own them. FYI, all home values are in US dollars.
32 Silicon Valley Estate, Los Altos Hills, California: $88 million
They say that something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. So, it is hard to know the true value of some of the homes on this list because their original asking price fell so drastically before it sold. That being said, we thought it was only fair to mention this estate in Los Altos Hills, California.
With the location of this estate being Silicon Valley, it isn’t much of a shock that tech entrepreneur Kumar Malavalli is the owner of this spectacular property. The 20,892 square-foot mansion sits on eight acres of resort-like grounds and includes five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, five half-bathrooms, a home theater, guest suites, an indoor pool and spa, a game room, and 3,000 bottle wine cellar.
It first hit the market in 2015 with an $88 million price tag, but in April 2017 they reduced it to $68 million. However, since it failed to sell before the listing expired, a new brokerage firm recently re-listed the property with another price cut. Now, it has returned to the market, and for the low price of $55 million, it can all be yours.
31 Great Island, Connecticut: $175 million
Located just off the coast of Connecticut, this property – which was put on the market in 2016 for $175 million – is connected to the mainland via a land bridge. Two hundred stonemasons built the six-bedroom main house in 1902, and nearly every room has views of the Long Island Sound. The island, which is less than an hour from Manhattan, also features several smaller houses, a yacht basin, a 20-stall granite stable, and a private beach.
William Ziegler, who got rich thanks to baking powder, bought the property at the turn of the 20th century. But agent David Ogilvy says, “the next generation has moved other places,” so they are selling it. However, Ogilvy says that if you are interested in buying the Great Island, make sure you have some cash for renovations.
30 Shepard Krech House, East Hampton, New York: $140 million
Former Esquire magazine publisher – and current chief executive of The World School – Chris Whittle is the owner of the Shepard Krech House that has an exclusive Briar Patch Road address in East Hampton. When they put it on the market in 2015 for $140 million, the waterfront property was the most expensive listing in the United States at the time.
The six-bedroom main home has 10,300 square feet, four fireplaces, an art gallery, and a three-story great room. There is also a four-bedroom guest house, tennis courts, a pool, and a private beach.
Whittle and his wife, Priscilla Rattazzi bought the home in 1989.
29 il Palmetto, Palm Beach, Florida: $137 million
Netscape co-founder Jim Clark owns Il Palmetto in Palm Beach and put it on the market in 2016 with an asking price of $137 million. The massive compound is a series of pavilions with over 60,000 square feet in total on 5.5 acres. It features ten bedrooms and a wine cellar that can hold 20,000 bottles. It also has an underground tunnel for direct access to the beach.
There is also a two-bedroom beach house, a boathouse, and an infinity pool.
Clark originally purchased the 1930’s Italian Renaissance mansion designed by architect Maurice Fatio for $11 million in 1999 and spent millions on renovations. But apparently, Clark has had a hard time finding a buyer. Last year he dropped the price to $115 million, and just recently he reduced it once again.
Now, Clark is asking just $95 million for Il Palmetto. Who doesn’t love a bargain?
28 Chartwell, Bel Air, California: $350 million
A pop culture nerd’s dream home (I’m not afraid to admit it), Chartwell is the home that was in the opening credits of the classic 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. The 25,000 square foot mansion sits on 10.3 acres and features a ballroom, formal salon, and a temperature-controlled wine cellar.
There is also a tennis court on the grounds, along with a swimming pool (no movie stars), and covered parking for 40 cars.
Built in 1933, A. Jerrold Perenchio – a billionaire producer of TV shows like the Facts of Life and Sanford and Son – bought the property in 1986, and he expanded it over the next thirty years by buying adjacent properties. He died in May 2017 and Chartwell is now on the market.
However, if you have dreams of buying the home and recreating your favorite Beverly Hillbillies moments, you will be disappointed. The home was only in the opening credits, and they shot the show somewhere else.
27 The $400 million Penthouse at the Tour Odéon, Monte Carlo, Monaco
The 49-story Tour Odeon building in Monaco opened back in 2015, and it’s five-story, 35,500 square foot penthouse is thought to be one of the most expensive in the world. The asking price was widely reported to be around $400 million, but we couldn’t find any public listing or a current record of who owns it and how much they paid for it.
It features a 360-degree view of the water, a private terrace, a dance floor, and access to the rooftop infinity pool and water slide.
The building is Monaco’s tallest – 558 feet – and was the principality’s first new skyscraper in decades.
26 Las Varas Ranch, Santa Barbara, California: $108 million
In 2016, this home hit the real estate market for the first time in fifty years, but at first glance, the $108 million price tag might be a bit confusing. It is a modest Spanish-style home in a rural area that doesn’t have a movie theater or wine cellar.
But, if you take a longer look, you will realize it has 1,800 acres, access to two miles of private beach, private canyon trails, and lemon and avocado orchards.
The owner is Anita “Topsy” Doheny, the widow of oil heir Timothy Doheny – the grandson of Edward Laurence Doheny who was a California tycoon implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal and the inspiration for a character in the movie There Will Be Blood.
25 Fifth Avenue Duplex, New York City: $120 million
Located on New York City’s famed Upper East Side, the historic apartment building at 834 Fifth Avenue is a co-op originally listed at $120 million when it first hit the market in 2016. The 12,000 square foot apartment is located on the 7th and 8th floors of the limestone building and features 20 rooms, hardwood floors, soaring ceilings, a grand marble staircase, and a library with leather walls.
One of the most prestigious apartment buildings in New York City, Laurance Rockefeller owned it before it became a co-op and he lived in the penthouse for fifty years. Financier John Gutfreund was the last owner of the 7th/8th floor-unit – and it was in his family for thirty years – but he passed away in early 2016.
Once again, this home may have been a bit overpriced for the current real estate market. Last year they dropped the price to $100 million, and the most recent listing we found had a price tag of $76 million.
24 One Hyde Park Penthouse, Central London: $255 million
In 2014, an anonymous Eastern European buyer purchased an unfurnished 16,000 square foot penthouse in the luxury Knightsbridge apartment building One Hyde Park for $255 million and set a London property record.
The building features a stainless-steel ozone pool, a golf simulator, a Mandarin Oriental spa, and an entertainment suite. Residents of One Hyde Park include Chinese billionaires, Arab sheiks, Russian Oligarchs, London businessmen, and celebrities.
If you are looking for state-of-the-art security, this building should pique your interest. It has bulletproof glass, panic rooms, and British Special Forces trained the security staff.
One Hyde Park was a joint venture between high-end real estate developers the Candy Brothers and the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. And the Sheik got a deal on his triplex, paying just $64 million –which Vanity Fair called “the best apartment of all.”
23 Fairfield Pond, Sagaponack, New York: $249 Million
Billionaire investor Ira Rennert bought this 63-acre Hamptons property in 1999, and it has a value of approximately $248.5 million. But Rennert and his family had to wait five years before they could move into the house they built because the project caused some controversy in the neighborhood.
Rennert’s neighbors complained to the Town of Southampton and said that his 110,000 square-foot home would be a negative for the neighborhood. They eventually sued, but the lawsuit failed, and Rennert was able to complete the project. However, Southampton now has a rule that new homes can’t be more than 20,000 square feet.
Fairfield has its own power plant, and it features 29 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms. There are three swimming pools on the property, plus two courtyards, a bowling alley, a basketball court, a synagogue, and a home theater that seats 164.
22 Mount Nicholson, Hong Kong: $149 Million
In 2017 the world’s most expensive home sale happened in Hong Kong when a 9,000 square-foot, four-bedroom Mount Nicholson property sold for $149 million. The three-story building has a swimming pool, a garden, a two-car basement car park, and an elevator. It also features a master bedroom with two dressing rooms and ensuites, and it has views of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbor.
The kitchen has Gaggenau cooking appliances, and a smartphone controls the home automation system.
No one knows who purchased the property, but they paid $16,242 per square foot for the fully-furnished home designed by the London-based David Collins Studio.
21 Further Lane Estate, East Hampton, New York: $145 million
Back in 2014, Jana Partners hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein bought an 18-acre beachfront estate on Further Lane in East Hampton for $145 million, making it the highest-priced residential sale ever recorded in the U.S.
Before Rosenstein, Tweedy, Browne Company LLC managing director Christopher H. Browne and his partner Andrew Gordon owned the property, but after Browne died in 2009, he left his “dream house” to Gordon. But then Gordon passed away in 2012 after battling cancer, and the Browne family quietly put the house on the market without a broker to avoid the fees.
Some of Rosenstein’s neighbors include Jerry Seinfeld, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé.
20 Rancho San Carlos, Santa Barbara, California: $125 million
This monstrous 237-acre estate is one of the largest properties in star-studded Montecito, and it was put on the market in 2014 for $125 million after the same family has owned it for nearly a century. It includes a 30,000 square foot main house, ten cottages, horse stables, an 11,250 square foot covered riding arena, and 100 acres of avocado and citrus orchards.
Charles H. Jackson, Jr. and his wife Ann bought the property in the late 1920s and then built the Colonial-style house which architect Reginald Johnson designed. Ann died in 1990, and since then the family has maintained the house, but no one has lived in it full-time.
Since they built the home during prohibition, there is an English-style pub in the home that you can only reach through a secret door. The listing agent says the property is “almost like a small city” because of the cottages that employees used to live in. Charles’ grandson Jim Jackson says that the family would love for someone to “buy it and keep it together.”
19 Copper Beech Farm, Greenwich, Connecticut: $190 million
Originally on the market for $190 million, Copper Beech Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut eventually sold in 2014 for $120 million to an anonymous buyer who purchased the home through Conservation Institute LLC. Timber mogul John Rudey sold the property that featured a 12-bedroom home with 15,000 square feet, formal gardens, a grass tennis court, an apple orchard, two greenhouses, two offshore islands, a 75-foot heated pool, a 1,800-foot driveway, and 4,000 feet of water frontage.
The farm dates back more than a century – to the 1890s to be exact – and the Lauder Greenway family used to own it. They made their fortune when they helped Andrew Carnegie start his steel business.
18 Mountain Home Road, Woodside, California: $117.5 million
Japan’s second richest man – billionaire Masayoshi Son – bought the Mountain Home Road estate in 2013 for $117.5 million. Son is the CEO of Softbank Mobile which acquired Sprint Corporation. The Silicon Valley property features a 9,000 square foot home with a massive 1170 square-foot porch, as well as a detached library, tennis court, and swimming pool.
It also located on top of a hill, which gives the property 360-degree views of the Woodside Mountains.
Located in one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States, Son’s neighbors include tech billionaires Jeffrey Skoll, Gordon Moore, John Doerr, and Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison – who we will learn more about later on the list.
17 Beverly House, Beverly Hills, California: $135 million
Located just three blocks from Sunset Boulevard, Beverly House sits on 3.7 acres, and the 17-bedroom, 29-bathroom mansion is on the market for $135 million. Banking executive Milton Getz built the Italian and Spanish style home in the 1920s. It is H-shaped and features a 50-foot entry hall, a famous library with hand-carved woodwork and a second-story wrap-around balcony, an art deco nightclub, two projection rooms, a spa, a billiard room, and a terrace that can seat 400 people.
There is also a pool on the property where they filmed scenes from the movie The Bodyguard. They also shot scenes from The Godfather at the legendary location.
In 1946, actress Marion Davies bought the home for newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, and he lived there until he died in 1951. It was also the honeymoon spot for President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline.
16 Xanadu 2.0, Seattle, Washington: $125.5 million
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates – the world’s second-richest man with a net worth of $79.2 billion – took seven years to custom-build Xanadu 2.0 after buying the lot in 1998 for $14 million. It’s a modern, yet rustic high-tech “smart” complex that features 66,000 square feet and is built into the side of a hill that has a view of Lake Washington.
The residents and visitors of the home wear pins that trigger their personal preferences like lighting, room temperature, and even the art on the walls.
The home has 24 bathrooms, a sauna, a reception hall that holds 200 guests, a swimming pool with an underwater sound system, a 2,500 square-foot gym with men’s and women’s locker rooms, and an underground garage that can hold up to 23 cars.
15 Hala Ranch, Aspen, Colorado: $135 million
This 95-acre estate is located just north of Aspen and was originally purchased by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan. He built the main house – that features 15 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms – in 1991, and it has 56,000 square feet, an elevator, a reflecting pool with waterfall, stained-glass windows, a steam room, and a commercial kitchen. It also has its own wastewater treatment plant, mechanical shop, gasoline pumps, and car wash.
The Prince visited the property frequently until the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He later decided to sell the property to billionaire hedge fund manager John Alfred Paulson.
14 The Playboy Mansion, Los Angeles, California: $100 million
The Playboy Mansion sold for $100 million back in 2016 – which is about half of what Hugh Hefner originally asked for it.
The buyer was Hef’s next door neighbor Daren Metropoulos, the 33-year-old co-owner of Hostess. As part of the deal, Metropoulos allowed Hefner to live in the home until he died last year.
The Playboy Mansion features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a home theater, a gym, tennis court, swimming pool, and wine cellar. And, considering the legendary parties that have taken place in the home since 1971 when Hefner bought it, we can only imagine that the historical value is priceless.
13 17 Upper Phillimore Gardens, London, England: $128 million
This five-story prep school turned mansion has an interior covered in priceless pieces of art along with marble and gold. It features ten bedrooms, a cinema, gym, sauna, an underground swimming pool, and a panic room. The owner of the property is Olena Pinchuk, daughter of Ukraine’s second president Leonard Kuchma. She is also on the supervisory board of Ukraine’s biggest media group, Star Light Media.
Pinchuk has a personal net worth of $1.52 billion and is also the founder of the ANTIAIDS Foundation and is good friends with Sir Elton John. She bought the home in 2008 for $128 million, but according to Yahoo Finance, the property is now valued at $1.58 billion (thanks to the remodeling, plus the art and furnishings) – the most expensive property on the planet.
12 17 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, England: $140 million
This property (which is the former Russian Embassy) is located on the tree-lined Billionaires Row in London, and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is the owner of this five-bedroom, eight-bathroom home. He spent £28 million ($37 million) to modernize the swimming pool and add an underground extension that has a tennis court, health center, and auto museum.
Abramovich owns Millhouse LLC – a private investment firm – and the Chelsea Football Club of the English Premier League. He is the 137th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $7.8 billion, and the 12th richest person in Russia.
11 Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California: $191 million
America’s first newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst built this castle that is now a heritage and tourist site and part of the California Park System. The Hearst family trustees are now the official owners of the home that features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, and 19 sitting rooms. The property also includes 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and the largest private zoo in the world.
Hearst Castle was the inspiration for the Xanadu mansion in the 1941 film Citizen Kane, and the main house is now a museum. However, as a retreat, the family does use an older Victorian home on the property.
10 Seven the Pinnacle, Big Sky, Montana: $155 million
The Yellowstone Club is a private golf and ski community for the uber-rich, and Seven the Pinnacle is the largest property in the neighborhood. The ten-bedroom house features heated floors, a gym, wine cellar, multiple pools, and its own private ski lift.
Real estate developer and timber baron Tim Blixseth owns the property – which he used to share with his ex-wife Edra – and he also co-founded the Yellowstone Club. However, in recent years the club has faced bankruptcy, and he has gone through a divorce, so the former billionaire has seen his wealth seriously reduced in recent years.
9 Ellison Estate, Woodside, California: $200 million
Co-founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, is the owner of this 23-acre Japanese-style compound that has ten buildings, a tea house, a bathhouse, koi pond, and a man-made lake. But wait, there’s more! The main house features five bedrooms and six bathrooms, an outdoor kitchen and multiple fire pits.
Completed in 2004, the estate took nine years to design and build, and Ellison modeled it after a 16th-century Japanese emperor’s palace.
With a net worth of $52 billion, Ellison is the third-richest man in the United States and the eighth richest man in the world. With an extensive real estate portfolio that features properties and islands all over the world, some call him “the nation’s most avid trophy-home buyer.”
8 Fleur de Lys, Beverly Hills, California: $125 million
Former junk bond king Michael Milken paid cash for this 12-bedroom, 15-bathroom mansion originally owned by David and Suzanne Saperstein. The Saperstein’s built the home in 2002 and modeled it after the Vaux le Vicomte – a French castle. Later they renovated the property, but then put it on the market after they divorced and moved out.
The home also has a two-story library, a 3,000 square-foot wine cellar with tasting room, a ballroom, cutlery room, and a commercial kitchen. The property also features tennis courts, a pool, and a spa. Fleur de Lys was part of the film The Green Hornet and the ABC TV show Big Shots. Plus, they used the property for the 2008 Audi Super Bowl commercials.
7 Palazzo di Amore, Beverly Hills, California: $195 million
Real estate entrepreneur Jeff Greene owns Palazzo di Amore, a 53,000 square foot Mediterranean-style home that features 12 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms. There is also a ballroom with a revolving dance floor, a theater, swimming pools, tennis courts, a bowling alley, reflecting pools, waterfalls, and a 27-car garage.
There is also a 3,000-bottle wine cellar with tasting room and vineyards on the property that produces about 400 to 500 cases of wine each year.
The ballroom and dance floor are part of the 15,000 square foot entertainment complex that can accommodate a party for 1,000 guests.
6 The Antilia, Mumbai, India: $1 billion
Mukesh Ambani – India’s richest man with a net worth of $23.6 billion – owns this non-traditional home, which is a 27-story, 400,000 square foot building. Its features include three helicopter pads and six underground parking floors for 168 cars. It is so large that it requires a staff of 600 to maintain it.
The Antilia is a 550-foot skyscraper that has nine elevators and 1,788 rooms, including 257 bathrooms. Other highlights of the property include a temple, gardens, a ballroom, and a home theater for 50 people.
Ambani built his wealth by running the energy and materials company, Reliance Industries.
5 18-19 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, England: $222 million
Also part of billionaire’s row, this 55,000 square-foot, 12-bedroom home has an indoor pool, Turkish baths, and enough parking for 20 cars. Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman, and CEO of the world’s largest steel manufacturer Arcelor Mittal, is the owner of the property and one of India’s 100 richest men.
It is incredibly difficult to find details about the home or to find interior pictures, and the sale to Mittal was kept private. The rumor is that he bought the home for his son, Aditya.
Mittal also owns another property in Kensington Palace Gardens – 9a – his own personal residence.
4 Manalapan Mansion, Manalapan, Florida - $195 million
Built in the 1940s and publicly listed on the market for the first time ever in 2016 by the Ziff publishing family, this home used to belong to 20th century socialite Gloria Guinness. It is located on Florida’s southern tip on an island between Palm Beach and Delray Beach, and it has a 63,000 square foot main house with 33 bedrooms and 47 bathrooms.
The mega-mansion sits on 15 acres and has 1,200 feet of oceanfront. However, after over a year and a half on the market, the Ziff family pulled the listing because they couldn’t find a buyer.
3 Holmby Hills Manor (Spelling Manor), Los Angeles, California: $200 million
Originally built for TV producer Aaron Spelling and his wife Candy back in 1988, this 122-room mansion is now owned by fashion designer and socialite Petra Stunt, daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone.
Stunt paid $85 million cash for the home in 2011 and privately shopped it for $150 million in 2014 with no luck. However, she publicly listed it for $200 million in 2016. The home has 57,000 square feet with 14 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms. It also features a bowling alley, gym, tennis court, pool, and parking for 100 cars.
On a fun note, Candy Spelling used to use one of the rooms in the mansion just for her doll collection that featured over 400 antique figurines.
2 Bel-Air Spec Manor, Bel-Air, California: $250 million
This four-story, 38,000 square foot mansion has 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens, a four-lane bowling alley, and a James Bond-themed movie theater. Luxury developer Bruce Makowsky designed this home “on spec” – which means he didn’t have a buyer, but simply the confidence that he could find the right billionaire who would be interested in the property.
It also comes with a helicopter and a car and art collection, plus a full-time staff of seven.
"People spend over half their lives in their house," said Makowsky. "So, when you're home, it should be the ultimate oasis. You should have every single entertainment aspect you could have in one home."
1 Villa Leopolda, Cote D’Azure, France: $750 million
Brazilian philanthropist Lily Safra – widow of Lebanese banker Edmond Safra – owns this 50-acre estate which includes a swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen, a commercial-sized greenhouse, and a guest house that is larger than most mansions.
Belgium’s King Leopold II built the home in 1902 as a gift for one of his mistresses.
They used the main house as the set for the classic 1955 Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief, and it has 11 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms.
Edmond purchased the estate in 1988, and he left it to his wife Lily after he died in 1999 in an arsonist’s fire at their other home in Monaco.