All month long in July, we’ll survey the changing luxury real estate market, talk to top producers and offer advice on how to level up — all leading to the gathering of the year, Inman Luxury Connect, Aug. 2-3 at the Aria in Las Vegas. Make plans now to join us there.
The luxury real estate market has had a pretty good run so far, especially considering inflation, climbing mortgage rates and shrinking inventory.
To be sure, rising rates and prices have created a new threshold for luxury in the first half of 2022. But that hasn’t dissuaded luxury homebuyers, real estate agents told Inman. What has given some buyers pause, however, is a fluctuating stock market and uncertainty in the economy.
But all told, agents agree the luxury sector exceeded expectations in the first two quarters of 2022.
“The market is normalizing and it is coming out of a — again — record-breaking year,” Stan Ponte at Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhattan told Inman. “So the idea that 2022 may not be on the same pace as 2021, when more real estate was sold than any time in the history of New York City and the country, is news because it appears newsworthy, but … the market is healthy. If anything, [it’s] just normalizing in terms of the pacing.”
“It is not normal, nor is it enjoyable, to be a buyer and have 20 offers on a property,” he continued. “Just because now there’s only two offers, or four, or however many, does not mean … it simply means the market is normalizing.”
The luxury market may be headed toward a correction, but some sizable sales took place over the past six months. Three deals this year went under contract above $120 million and four at or above $100 million. That’s not bad considering at least six properties sold above $120 million over the entirety of 2021. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached U.S. soil, just one sale surpassed $100 million.
Traditionally hot luxury markets like Manhattan, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, the Hamptons and Aspen all made the cut this year, with Manhattan, L.A., and Palm Beach netting the three priciest deals.
L.A and other surrounding markets in Southern California comprised the bulk of the top deals, notching seven out of 20 transactions. From there, four of the top 20 deals were in Manhattan and three landed in and around Palm Beach and Aspen.
As always, drafting a comprehensive list is difficult, due to secrecy surrounding upper-echelon deals. But Inman believes what follows is the most accurate list of the top 20 residential real estate deals over the first half of 2022.
New York, New York
Billionaire investor Daniel Och made a hefty profit when he sold his penthouse at 220 Central Park South in January for $190 million, about twice the amount he paid for the property in 2019. The buyer was not identified and the sale was completed off-market. Deborah Kern from The Corcoran Group represented the seller.
The deal was just another gasp-inducing transaction to occur in the building in recent years. In 2021 Ali Baba founder and Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai made headlines for paying $157 million for two units in the building, while the building broke a record for the most expensive home sale in America in 2019 when hedge fund titan Ken Griffin paid $238 million for an apartment there.
Palm Beach, Florida
In an encore appearance one of the Palm Beach properties that made Inman’s most recent top beach deals list has shown up again just over one year later. Billionaire internet entrepreneur Jim Clark purchased the sweeping 15-acre property in March 2021 from the Ziff publishing family for $94.2 million, only to turn around and get it under contract in mid-June 2022 for $173 million, The Wall Street Journal first reported.
Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates represented both sides of the deal.
Clark told The Journal the purchase of the property, with roughly 1,200 feet of ocean frontage, was a spontaneous one he and his wife Kristy made when they believed they’d transition to living in Florida more often. But as 2021 drew on turning into 2022 the couple decided to stay in New York and remembered there was another interested buyer at the time they purchased the property, realizing they could sell. The buyer was recently revealed as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Los Angeles, California
After 10 years of construction and mounting debts Nile Niami’s “The One” finally sold at a no-reserve auction for $126 million in March. The mammoth 21-bedroom, 49-bathroom Bel Air home had been plagued by construction delays and skyrocketing costs to satiate Niami’s dreams of creating the largest, most expensive home in the world. Before it could be sold, however, chapter 11 bankruptcy found Niami and his development company.
Still, the property did set one record (though it fell far short of aspirations) — it became the most expensive U.S. home to sell at auction, Concierge Auctions which handled the sale was proud to report. Aaron Kirman of Compass and Brandon and Rayni Williams of The Beverly Hills Estates represented the listing. Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian was subsequently revealed as the buyer.
After unsuccessfully being put on the market multiple times starting in 2016, Great Island failed to sell until Douglas Elliman’s Jennifer Leahy snagged the listing late in 2021. She closed the deal with the town of Darien, Connecticut for $100 million by late May 2022.
The 60-acre property located on the Long Island Sound that was once owned by baking powder entrepreneur William Ziegler includes a Gilded Age mansion, a colonial farmhouse and an equestrian building with an arched tile ceiling designed by Rafael Guastavino, the engineer who created Grand Central Terminal.
Golden Beach, Florida
Tech company InterSystems founder Phillip Ragon swept up three properties in a single $93 million transaction in Golden Beach, Florida at the beginning of June setting a price record for the area. According to one pair of seller’s agents involved in the transaction — Danny Hertzberg and Jon Mann of the Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker Realty — Ragon has plans to demolish the modest homes located on just under two acres with 275 feet of ocean frontage and construct one single-family home on the combined properties.
Pablo Alfaro of Douglas Elliman and Silverlane Realty Inc. also represented separate sellers involved in the transaction. Eloy Carmenate and Mick Duchon of the Corcoran Group collaborated with Hertzberg and Mann on the deal as well.
Previously the highest-priced home sold in Miami-Dade County was $75 million, a home on Star Island purchased by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin in 2021.
East Hampton, New York
In an effort at simplifying his life, New York financier Ronald Perelman offloaded his Hamptons beachfront mansion in February for $84 million after first listing it for $115 million in September 2021. The 11,000-square-foot-plus home sits on just over nine acres and offers 385 feet of ocean frontage. Herald Grant of Sotheby’s International Realty held the listing.
The sale came amidst Perelman’s declining net worth in recent years in tandem with factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic and his company, makeup giant Revlon, facing serious financial difficulties.
Beverly Hills, California
Canadian rapper Drake made real estate headlines in recent months for doling out a cool $75 million for the Tuscan-style Beverly Hills estate of British pop singer Robbie Williams.
Drake may have thought he snagged a deal since the 24,000-square-foot property was listed for $85 million. But Williams earned a nice profit having bought the home in 2015 for just $32.7 million. The secluded property sits behind a long, private driveway on over 20 acres of land that features canyon and city views.
Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency represented the listing and Marc Bretter of Maywood Property Group represented the buyer.
East Hampton, New York
Designer and artist Helmut Lang sold his oceanfront Hamptons property in separate parcels to his neighbors for a total of about $70 million in May. Two years prior Lang had sold part of the property to his neighbor John B. Hess, CEO of Hess Corp, for $9 million. This time around Hess paid about $30 million for 1.1 acres of the property, while Lang’s other neighbor investor Howard Marks paid about $40 million for approximately 1.6 acres.
Lang originally purchased the 3.5-acre property in 1999 for about $15.5 million. It includes the main house, swimming pool, guest house, garage and an artist’s studio. The deal was conducted off-market and terms of the deal stipulated that Lang could stay in his home for two more years.
New York, New York
The purchase is somewhat baffling since the building, though originally hyped as a sleek luxury tower in a prime location of the city, ultimately faced a series of complaints from residents who coughed up some serious money to live the high life only to learn as time went on that the tower had significant construction defects. The astronomical height of the tower contributed to intense swaying that left elevators inoperable, broken pipes, flooding and loud creaking noises. As a result, the condo board has an outstanding lawsuit against the developer CIM Group and Macklowe Properties.
Ryan Stenta of Douglas Elliman and Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group represented the seller, a limited partnership called Blessings Investments which is linked to the British pharmaceutical magnate Meeta Patel. Jason Haber of Compass represented the buyers.
Beverly Hills, California
In an off-market deal at the end of March, billionaire businessman Alec Gores offloaded his Beverly Park Circle estate for $70 million to Titan Golden Capital, an Irvine, California-based limited liability company tied to Chi Fai Ben Wong and Hao Tang, according to records.
The massive 40,000-square-foot, French Normandy-style home has 11 bedrooms and sits on over two acres of land. The exclusive gated community of Beverly Park is well-known as a coveted one that’s drawn celebrities, such as Denzel Washington and Sylvester Stallone.
Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Realty and Samira Gores, Christine Martin and Tiffany Martin of The Agency represented the sale.
A waterfront home in Naples, Florida, broke price records in the area when it went under contract for $62 million at the end of June. The buyer was the industrialist Randal Bellestri, who was sentenced to one year in prison in 2014 for filing false tax returns and conspiracy to file false tax returns with the IRS after not reporting proceeds from the sale of scrap metal associated with his aviation business.
The sellers were Domenic and Molly Ferrante, according to records. Mr. Ferrante previously was the managing director of Bain Capital, and today is managing partner of a family investment office called The Ferrante Group. Both the buyer and the sellers were represented by Paul Arpin of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.
The 16,000-square-foot home has six bedrooms and sits on 1.5 acres of land overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The home includes a built-in glass wine room, a game room, a club room and two outdoor pools. Previously, the priciest home ever sold in Naples went for $52 million.
Without previously thinking about putting her home on the market Christy Thompson, daughter of late Texas oil exec J. Cleo Thompson, sold her mansion in Aspen for $60 million marking one of the most expensive mountain sales of the year. Liz Leeds of Slifer, Smith and Frampton & REALM represented Thompson in the deal which took place at the end of May and told The Wall Street Journal that the sellers simply received an unsolicited offer that they couldn’t turn down.
Todd Lemkin, chief investment officer at Dallas-based investment firm Canyon Partners, and his wife Kasey Lemkin purchased the property following the $32.25 million sale of a historic home the couple owned in Aspen earlier that same month.
The nearly 17,000-square-foot property that sits at the base of Aspen mountain features seven bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a spa, a wine cellar, a garage with a car turntable and a 40-foot high foyer that displays a 30-foot waterfall wall. The property is also known for serving as a rental to celebrities including singer Rihanna.
Beverly Hills, California
“Easy on Me” singer Adele made her mark on the top recent real estate deals with the purchase of actor Sylvester Stallone’s custom-built Beverly Hills estate for $58 million. Unfortunately for Stallone, he didn’t make out as well as he had hoped. The actor originally listed the property for $110 million in January 2021, then again for $80 million in October — but $58 million isn’t too bad either.
Stallone purchased the land for $2.35 million in 1994 and built the Mediterranean-style estate from the ground up. It’s one of the more secluded homes in sought-after Beverly Park located at the end of a cul-de-sac and down a long, gated driveway.
Tomer Fridman of Compass, Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker and Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency represented the listing.
New York, New York
An apartment covering the entire 22nd floor of the Aman New York Crown Building sold for $55 million at the end of May, The Wall Street Journal reported, marking another significant sale in New York in recent months. The 6,300-square-foot condo with four bedrooms and views overlooking Central Park originally asked $62.5 million.
Tal Alexander of the Alexander Team at Douglas Elliman represented the anonymous buyer. Construction of Aman New York began in 2017. The building was developed by the Miami-based OKO Group and London-based developer and real estate investor Cain International.
New York, New York
Just last week a Vanderbilt family mansion in Manhattan went under contract for $52.5 million in an off-market deal, The Wall Street Journal reported. The 57-foot-wide, 23,000-square-foot limestone townhouse was built around 1930 for Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt, wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt II, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
The seller English antique dealer Carlton Hobbs purchased the property in 2002 for $10.6 million from Lycée Francais de New York, a French-English school. Before that, the building served as the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations. Most recently Hobbs reportedly occupied about 30 percent of the townhouse for his living space and used the remainder for commercial space, however, the property has the potential to be converted back into a single-family home.
Adam Modlin of Modlin Group represented the seller and the buyer, who remained anonymous.
Maroon 5’s lead vocalist Adam Levine and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, purchased a $52 million mansion in the celebrity hot spot of Montecito, California beneath the Santa Ynez mountains at the end of March. The 10,000-square-foot mansion in the Virginia countryside style was previously owned by actor Rob Lowe and his wife, makeup artist and jewelry designer Sheryl, who purchased the land for the home in 2005 and constructed the property.
Levine and Prinsloo bought the estate known as “Oakview” from healthcare private equity executive Jack McGinley and his wife Julie, who took ownership of the property in 2020. The deal was conducted off-market so limited details were available including what, if any, kinds of upgrades were made to the home in the brief time it was owned by the McGinleys.
The purchase by Levine and Prinsloo was just another in the couple’s pattern of buying high-end homes and flipping them for a profit in a relatively short period. In 2018 they bought a Beverly Hills mansion for $33.9 million then sold it one year later for $42.5 million, in 2021 they purchased a Montecito estate for $22.7 million then sold it three months later for $28.5 million, and then in May the couple sold their Pacific Palisades estate for $1 million up from the $31.95 million they paid for it in 2018.
Pacific Palisades, California
Only about one month after purchasing their new Montecito home Levine and Prinsloo sold their Los Angeles mansion in Pacific Palisades for $51 million. The sales price brought the couple a $19 million profit, after purchasing the home for about $31.95 million from Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in 2018.
Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency represented the listing. The buyer could not be immediately identified.
The unique property includes a five-bedroom main house, a four-bedroom guest cottage, a wellness building, a swimming pool and spa, an outdoor kitchen, and city-to-ocean views on over three acres of land.
As Texas oil heir Thompson sold her aforementioned Aspen mansion for $60 million to the Lemkins, she went ahead and purchased another mountain home with a hefty price tag a few miles outside of downtown Aspen for $51 million, allowing her name to appear twice on this list.
Thompson bought her new home from venture capitalist Lawrence F. De George who built the property about 16 years ago. Listing agent Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse represented De George.
The De George House spans about 15,000 square feet and includes an Old Hollywood-style movie theater, a pair of glass elevators and a system that pumps oxygen into the primary bedroom to combat the effects of the high altitude.
This Aspen home flip project by fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger shows just how hot the mountain resort town has become in the last few years. Hilfiger first purchased his ski chalet for $31.9 million in December and then sold it at the end of March for $50 million to net a profit of $18.1 million in about three months.
The home is located on the slope side of Aspen Mountain’s Little Nell ski trail and was built in 2003. Encompassing more than 7,100 square feet, the home has four bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
The property was sold off-market and represented by Steven Shane of Compass.
Los Angeles, California
British pop star Robbie Williams made news yet again at the end of March when he doled out $49.5 million for the historic Faring Estate in Holmby Hills, a property built in the 1930s and once owned by comedian Fanny Brice.
The 19,000-square-foot European-style property that includes both the main house and two guesthouses was mostly rebuilt in the early 2000s and sits on about two acres.
The estate has been on and off the market several times over the last 10 years or so and has been listed for as much as $70 million, according to Zillow. The seller was a trust associated with Lauren King, wife of late TV syndicate magnate Richard King, according to records.
Linda May and Rick Hilton of Hilton & Hyland, Aaron Kirman of Compass and Rayni and Branden Williams of The Beverly Hills Estates represented the seller. Kirman also represented the buyer.
Email Lillian Dickerson