The 5 Most Expensive Homes Ever Sold In The United States
What Are the Richest Homes Ever Sold In The U.S?
Recently, I came across some YouTube videos of an English man wearing a Richard Mille watch wandering through a home that was so mind-bendingly enormous, it had not one, but two art galleries inside of it. Nicknamed "The One," I couldn't believe the size and scope of the home, and I certainly couldn't believe the $500 million asking price.
Turns out, no one else could believe it either. The developer of The One ended up declaring bankruptcy, and the house went into auction where it sold for $141 million, a U.S record for a home that was auctioned off. This got me thinking: what are the most expensive homes ever sold in the U.S? And who is buying these things?
Today, let's discuss the most expensive homes ever sold in the United States, and the (usually) billionaires that are buying them, starting with number five:
5. The Chartwell Estate (Bought by Lachlan Murdoch) - $150 million
The first of many Bel-Air estates on this list, the Chartwell Estate was most famously the long-time home of Jerry Perenchio, who was the founder of Spanish-language television empire, Univision, after he purchased the estate in 1986 for $14 million. After Perenchio died, his family listed the home for an eye-watering $350 million. However, experiencing a remarkably dry market, the price was then cut nearly in half, to $195 million, before Lachlan Murdoch came in and bought the property for $150 million, a then record in the Bel-Air area.
If the name "Lachlan Murdoch" doesn't ring a bell, it's likely that the dramatized version of him will. Lachlan is reportedly the creative inspiration for the character Kendall Roy on HBO's Succession. Lachlan is the oldest child of long-time media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the founder of Fox Entertainment. The family is estimated to be worth around $19 billion, with Rupert clocking in as the 96th richest person in the world according to Forbes.
As for the 25,000 square foot home itself, it sits on 10 acres in Bel-Air and was originally built in the 1930's for Chicago hotelier Arnold Kirkeby. The neighboring home (also included in the sale) was the one-time home of former president Ronald Reagan during his acting days in Hollywood. As a final, amazingly fun easter egg on this house, it was also the house featured in the credits of The Beverly Hillbilly's! Here's a full walkthrough of the home that aired on CNBC in 2019:
4. The Warner Estate (Bought by Jeff Bezos) - $165 million
Hot off the heels of his high-profile divorce from ex-wife and mega-philanthropist McKenzie, online book seller Jeff Bezos went on a spender bender the likes of which have rarely been seen outside of Marie Antoinette.
In February 2020, Bezos slapped down $165 million for the grand Jack Warner Estate in Beverly Hills, as well as another $90 million on an undeveloped parcel of land in the same city that used to belong to Microsoft founder Paul Allen.
The home has a history of being passed from rich person to rich person, with the home originally built for Jack L. Warner, the founder of Warner Brothers. It was then sold to record mogul David Geffen in 1990, before heading Bezos's way in 2020. At the time of the sale, it was the most expensive home sale in the state of California, and was allegedly brokered directly between Geffen and Bezos while the two partied on Geffen's yacht with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, model Karlie Kloss and her husband Josh Kushner.
Crazy shit inside the house includes the MASSIVE collection of Salvador Dali paintings that Warner had amassed that stayed with the house, as well as a floor previously owned by French general Napoleon Bonaparte. The home also includes two guest houses, two tennis courts, an enormous pool and a 1.2 mile-long driveway. Bezos also purchased the home adjacent to this one for $10 million one year previous, which would indicate he's building his own little billionaire's paradise.
3. The Gemini Estate (Anonymous Buyer) - $175 million
We all know that, thanks to inflation, supply chain issues and general fervor in the housing market, that house prices are at all time highs and soaring. But are you ready for the single most impressive home equity appreciation story in history?
Related: What Exactly Is Inflation?
In 2021, Netscape founder Jim Clark and his wife purchased a home in Manalapan, Florida, for $94.2 million. The home, situated on an inlet that basically created their own private peninsula, sports guest homes and a PGA-approved three hole golf course, in addition to the 60,000 square foot mansion.
Well, being stuck inside during COVID must have really bored the shit out of the Clark's, who decided it was time to move on. After a little over 460 days of ownership, they listed and sold the property to an anonymous buyer for $175 million, That means that this home appreciated by $176,000 PER DAY of ownership. That's hall-of-fame, Mt. Rushmore shit, and it also obliterated the home-price record in the state of Florida.
2. Seven Acre Malibu (Bought by Marc Andreessen) - $177 million
Heading back to Malibu, we have our first fund manager on the list! Yes, while the other buyers on this list were busy building something to get rich, Mr. Andreessen was building something to invest in others building something to get rich.
The famous, enigmatic founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen isn't shy about his home purchases. Over five months in 2022, Andreessen reportedly spent over $250 million on homes in the Malibu area, including the incredible Seven Acre Estate that set him back $177 million, breaking Bezos's record by $12 million to become the most expensive home sold in the history of California. I know I keep saying "Andreessen," but it's also worth mentioning that his wife assisted in the purchase. Her name? Laura Arrillaga, the heir to the multi-billion dollar Arrillaga real estate fortune.
Originally built by film producer Jerry Weintraub in 1978, the home was then sold to fashion bigwig Serge Azria in 2013, before making its way to Andreessen and Arrillaga.
The home contains 13 total structures on the property, including a 10,000 main mansion, two guest homes, two barns (???), a home theater and even a house for the help. Basically, if you're picturing the ultimate California luxury, this house is it.
1. 220 Central Park South (Bought by Ken Griffin) - $238 million
We now arrive at the first New York sale on this list, which surprised me. I would have thought the penthouses at Billionaire's Row and Central Park would have dominated this list, but this is somehow the only entry. It also belongs to likely the most hated buyer on this list to my audience. That's right! We're talking memestocks and hedge funds.
Related: The Beginner's Guide to Hedge Funds
Ken Griffin is the CEO of Citadel Securities. If that name sounds familiar, Citadel was at the center of the GameStop, AMC stock trading frenzy after they pressured online brokerage Robinhood to suspend trading of the companies. Retail investors could no longer buy securities in GameStop or AMC, and they lost millions while Citadel skipped out of the situation like DiCaprio after finishing filming Inception.
Prior to all of this, however, Griffin was just your friendly neighborhood billionaire hedge fund manager, and he flexed that financial muscle like Bobby Axelrod in The Hamptons. In 2019, Griffin purchased the yet-to-be-finished top four floors of 220 Central Park South. This $238 million purchase for these floors is an American record for the most expensive home sale, and keep in mind that this is just for the actual real estate. This doesn't include actually finishing the home,
Griffin followed up this purchase with another small outlay, dropping an additional $4 million for two more apartments in the same building and officially confusing the hell out of me as to what he's actually doing up there. I never know what he's doing up there.
I wanted to keep this one short and sweet, focusing on the truly outrageous amount of money spent on real estate by billionaires across the country, but there are some really fun ones that didn't make the list. Here are not necessarily the most expensive home sales, but some really interesting or notable ones that just missed out:
"The One" - $141.1 million
This is the one (intended) that I opened this piece with, but it's worth mentioning thanks to its strangely tragic journey. This house popped up on my radar after a video posted in 2020 by real estate YouTuber Erik Conover that covered the insane property directly across the street. From that initial exposure, I started to hear more and more about the ludicrous nature of The One, until it was fully built in 2021.
A different YouTuber, ProducerMichael, got an exclusive tour of the house with the developer, Nile Niami. Turns out, Niami is a bit of a weird guy who puts shit like two art galleries and a nightclub inside the home, almost picturing it as a promotional stunt more than a house. He also tried to use the publicity of the home as a jumping off point for a credit card/pseudo-bank he attempted to launch, and all of it came crumbling down.
There was 0 market for this house. None. The venn diagram of people that can afford a $500 million home that also want a nightclub inside of it was non-existent, so the house's list price started to tumble. It dropped to $300 million, then lower, then lower, before it was eventually sold at auction for $141.1 million in 2022. Niami took a bath on the property, despite it setting the record for the most expensive real estate auction in U.S history.
The Bill Simmons "Sports Guy" Real Estate Portfolio - $30 million
From his humble beginnings as a bartender in Boston to essentially starting the sports blogging and podcasting market, Bill Simmons has had quite the career. "The Sports Guy," as he was known in the early internet days, quickly built up an online following with his extensive sports blogs that talked to sports fans like they were buddies, rather than walking, talking advertising impressions.
This took him to ESPN where he started the Grantland publication, as well as the 30 For 30 documentary series. He also basically invented the podcast format, recording conversations with friends in an ESPN broom closet. After a series of high-profile fallings out with ESPN, he took his talents and created his own company: The Ringer.
In 2020, The Ringer sold to Spotify for $250 million, most of which went straight into Simmons's pocket. Then he took some of that cash straight out of his pocket, along with the many millions he made at ESPN, and started amassing a sizeable real estate empire.
In 2015, Simmons purchased a $7.5 million beach house on Carbon Beach, home to billionaires like Larry Ellison and Eli Broad. He also purchased a $3.1 million home in Hancock Park back in 2007. According to The Big Lead, Simmons also purchased a condo in Westwood, a Spanish-style villa in Larchmont Village and a $4.7 million converted barn in Malibu.
All of this for talking into a mic three times per week and pissing off Draymond Green. Good work if you can get it.
Are there any houses that you wanted to see that didn't make the list? Let me know by contacting me on the Contact page!