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Despite the drop in the housing market, mega mansions are still fetching Millions

Posted by kim carpenter on May 17, 2010
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The Spelling mansion tops the list of the most expensive homes  for sale in America.  Candy Spelling, widow of television giant Aaron, has listed the Manor, Los Angeles’ largest, and arguably most opulent house up for sale at $150 million, out-pricing every other listed home in the country. Just down the street the owner of a sprawling classical style marble mansion is asking for $125 million, making it the second most-expensive home in America. Yet another home for sale is in the triple-digit millions, a massive but secluded $100 million Lake Tahoe ranch.

This year’s top 10 ranges in asking price from $65 million to $150 million, with an average price of $88.5 million.  Five of the homes on our list have been added since we compiled last year’s list, at prices high enough to bump two $60 million homes off.

Two of last year’s homes have been sold — no small feat in a down economy. But neither commanded anything near their sky-high asking prices. The massive Bel Air mansion Le Belvedere, which went on the market in early 2009, was quickly reduced from $85 million to $72 million. The discount worked: It is currently in the escrow stage of a sale for an undisclosed price.  The sellers of Colorado’s Bootjack Ranch, a rambling property replete with natural beauty, were sensitive to a changing market. The home was once listed for $88 million, but in 2008, $20 million was shaved off the price to lure buyers.

Several of last year’s most expensive properties are still for sale. This is because it often takes far longer than a conventional listing for trophy homes to find a buyer, since the universe of people with the assets to purchase them is so small.  Several of these sellers have held firm on price since their appearance on last year’s list, suggesting buoyed seller confidence.

In our market, the most expensive home on the market is the former Hilbert Mansion, listed at $9,900,000 and was originally listed for $20,000,000 in June of 2005.

The most expensive sale in the last year in our market is the home located at 190 Breakwater Drive in Geist’s prestigious gated community of Breakwater.

But the cost of these estates doesn’t serve as much of an economic bellwether — fluctuations of price in this stratosphere have almost no relationship to supply and demand in the broader market. At this price point, the sale of even one home can be a game changer.

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