Overseas travel made a welcome return in 2022, as countries’ borders opened up and staycations were swapped for vacations. But spiralling living and mortgage costs are having a widespread effect on people’s finances and have dampened international property markets.
Still, it’s not stopped the planet’s top 1% from trophy home hunting, as this list shows. We’ve put together 2022’s most significant property purchases (in US dollars) across the globe, drawn from various news sources. Plus, some are still up for grabs.
Megamansion in Palm Beach County, Florida
Sold for $173m
A pandemic property purchase turned out to be seriously lucrative for septuagenarian tech billionaire James H Clark and his wife. They bagged a huge 45% profit after selling their 62,000 sq ft waterfront Florida property this summer for $173m to another tech magnate – Larry Ellison. The couple paid $94.2m in 2021 for the megamansion, which is tucked within 16 acres on a barrier island called Manalapan, just south of Palm Beach. Of the sale, Clark told The Wall Street Journal, ‘I’ve never made money on real estate until now.’ The house previously belonged to the Ziff publishing family.
House on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Sold for $82m
Dubai is a city of superlatives, but a recent sale pushes that to new levels with the sale of the Emirate city’s most expensive home. According to Bloomberg, a property on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah has sold for record-busting $82m to an undisclosed buyer, citing its developer Alpago Properties. Casa Del Sole lies on Frond G of the Palm Jumeirah – an artificial island shaped like a palm tree that’s home to many luxury hotels and mansions. The yet-to-be-completed villa is said to include eight bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, a 15-car basement, a bowling alley and a home cinema.
Hôtel Lambert in Paris
Sold for $212m
When telecom billionaire and art collector Xavier Niel bought Hôtel Lambert in February 2022, he acquired a Seine-side mansion and a slice of Paris history. The $212m property deal is reportedly the biggest in the French capital. The glamourous building, which was owned by Qatar’s Prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, has attracted a roll call of famous names and features 1600s frescos and a design by Versailles architect Louis le Vau. In the 19th century, it was owned by a Polish prince who hosted the likes of Voltaire, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac and Eugène Delacroix at the 4th arrondissement mansion on Île Saint-Louis. Fast forward a century to 1975, when it was bought by the Rothschild family, who entertained Elizabeth Taylor and Yves St Laurent. Niels reportedly has plans to turn it into a cultural centre – watch this space.
The One– a ‘mega mansion flop’ in Bel Air
Sold for $141m
Big is not always better, as is the case of this Bel Air mansion, which sold at a bankruptcy auction in March 2022 for less than half its $295m original asking price, the UK’s Guardian reports. Billed as America’s most expensive home, it boasted being twice the size of the White House, with selling agents dubbing it ‘The One’. But after it failed to meet its asking price, some have called it a giant white elephant’. The controversial 100,000sq ft property ended up selling for about $141m, including commissions and fees, per the newspaper. It has an extraordinary number of bathrooms (42 full and seven half), a nightclub, a private running track, 40-seat cinema, a juice bar, a cigar lounge, and a so-called ‘philanthropy pavilion’. It also boasts a 30-plus car garage with two car-display turntables, a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, and five swimming pools. And its construction still needs to be completed.
Forest-shrouded Hong Kong mansion
Sold for $111m
In Hong Kong, on a forested hillside above the city, a new build house has sold for $111m, becoming the city’s priciest home sale in 2022. It is part of the super affluent Shouson Hill neighbourhood on the coast of Deep Water Bay in the city’s Southern District. Shouson Hill has just 15 homes and is where billionaire Li Ka-shing (nicknamed Superman) lives along with the co-founders of Alibaba, according to Forbes. House 7 is one of only two houses in the development, spanning 8,000 sq ft with six bedrooms, a private garden, and a swimming pool. Its price tag affords it a lush, intimate setting and elevated mountain views.
And here are 5 of the most expensive homes currently for sale
Central Park Tower Penthouse, $250m
If supertall living is your thing and you’ve got the Rockefeller-sized trust fund to match, consider the penthouse at New York’s Central Park Tower, now on sale for $250m. Picked by Robb Report as the priciest home for sale, it’s humbly dubbed The One Above All Else, the triplex sits atop the 131-storey skyscraper overlooking Central Park and claims to be the world’s highest residence. Like a vertical version of a stately home, it has a grand salon, a ballroom, an observatory, a dining room, and a library with soaring 27-ft-high ceilings. It also brags 1,433 sq ft of outside space – if you’re brave enough to use it, that is.
Malibu compound, $225m
Former CEO of the Walt Disney Company Michael Eisner has put his Malibu compound on sale for $225m – and it’s poised to break price records for the state of California and the city. The ocean-facing clifftop property sprawls across five acres above Watkins Cove beach and was designed by Robert AM Stern – best known for his buildings in New York. The compound has 16 bedrooms, 28 bathrooms, several guest houses, a home cinema connected to the pool area by an underground tunnel and a cliffside elevator giving access to a beach cabana.
Knightsbridge mansion, $221m
Located in London’s well-heeled Knightsbridge neighbourhood, the UK’s most expensive home is back on the market for $221m, per the Guardian. The 45-bedroom Rutland Gate mansion was listed in October 2022 – just two years after Chinese billionaire Cheung Chung-kiu of CC Land Holdings bought it. The neoclassical stucco mansion was built in the 1830s as four separate homes and converted into a single mega-home in the 1980s, with interiors by Alberto Pinto that are dripping with gilding and ornate cornicing. But there’s a big problem: the new owner will need extra cash for renovations as it’s reportedly dilapidated.
Palm Beach island home in Florida, $218m
A rectangular private island in Palm Beach’s Billionaire’s Row has been re-listed for $218 million after undergoing an expensive upgrade. The 1930s manse was originally designed by architect Howard Major, who was known for his ‘suave’ tropical houses in Florida, and it sits on the artificially made Tarpon Island. Prior to its revamp by developer Todd Michael Glaser, it was listed in 2021 for $210m (per the Robb Report) and has since doubled its floor plan, with 11 bedrooms, two pools and an illuminated tennis court. Christian Angle Real Estate has the listing.
Beachfront Southampton mansion in New York, $175 million
The Mylestone at Meadow Lane is a rare waterfront 8-acre estate in Southampton, with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Shinnecock Bay. Built in a modern Tudor style, the 15,000-plus-sq ft house listed for $175m in January 2021, according to The Daily Mail, but it’s yet to find a buyer. Its asking price far eclipses its next-door neighbour, 650 Meadow Lane, which was bought by Kevin Griffin from Calvin Klein last year for a headline-grabbing $84.4 million, according to the real estate blog Hamptons Hot Sheet.
[Sources: Robb Report, Guardian, New York Post, Bloomberg, WSJ, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, The Daily Mail, 56Paris, Hamptons Hot Sheet]