Monday, February 23, 2009

Let's Talk Mega-Mansions

Is it just Your Mama or does it seem to everyone like more and more mega-mansions and insanely priced apartments are making their way to the market? Just this this week, two unbelievably lavish residences hit the market with elephantine asking prices of $53,000,000 and $85,000,000. And that was just in Los Angeles. Exceedingly high priced properties are, in fact, popping up all over. We thought about making a list of the 10 most expensive residences in the country, but it seems that the folks at Forbes already do that on a pretty regular basis. So we thought we'd narrow our focus a bit and have a look-see at 10 of the most expensive properties on the market in the Los Angeles area.

Before we begin, keep in mind that as far as we know–and we could be wrong–only one single family property has ever traded hands in the Los Angeles area for more than $50,000,000. that was when former Global Crossing chairman Gary Winnick paid a mind numbing $94,000,000 (approx.) for the Weber Mansion in Bel Air which records show has at least 20 terlits and several acres of manicured grounds that jut out on a promontory overlooking the Bel Air Country Club. That transaction, however, involved a complex asset trade rather than a straight trade of cash for property.

There are a number of instances when properties in the L.A. area have come close to breaking through the fifty million dollar ceiling including when Billionaire David Geffen paid a reported $47,500,000 (and some say more) for the 10-acre Jack Warner estate on Angelo Drive in Beverly Hills and tool tycoon Eric Smidt paid a reported $46,000,000 (some say $42,000,000) for The Knoll, the long time estate of billionaire biznessman Marvin Davis that sits on its own hilltop above Schuyler Road in Beverly Hills. In late 2008, records (and our sources) reveal that billionaire Tom Gores parted with $56,000,000 for two adjacent properties on super swank Siena Way in Bel Air, including the massive mansion that once belonged to Verna Harrah, the widow of casino magnate Bill Harrah, as in the Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. But that doesn't really count since that deal involved two single family homes rather than just one.

What all that means, of course, is that any L.A. area property priced over fifty million clams is a bit of a tough sell, particularly in the crappy economy with which we're currently coping.

Now children, please, Before y'all get to sending Your Mama a slew of nasty and hateful email berating us for not including this mansion or that chateau on our little list, keep in mind that we are aware our list of prodigiously priced properties is incomplete. Okaaay? If you want to be helpful, which is always nicer than being an angry, seething asshole, send us a nice little note pointing us towards one of the outrageously priced properties we did not include.

Okay, here we go...

1. The Beverly House / Owned by attorney/financier Leonard Ross, the historic N. Beverly Drive estate was listed in late 2007 with a coma inducing asking price of $165,000,000. Surely there were some looky-loos but no one willing to cough up that kind of cash because the 6.25 acre estate which was once owned by William Randolph Hearst was yanked from the open market in Sept. of 2008 and remains unsold. The property is no longer advertised on the open market, but we understand from a very successful property pusher in the Platinum Triangle that the 20,000+ square foot monster is "always for sale at unheard of prices."

2. The Manor / It has long been whispered and speculated that tee-vee titan Aaron Spelling's not always talked nicely about widow Candy was interested in selling her 56,000+ square foot behemoth on S. Mapleton Drive in the Holmby Hills. In fact, at one point it was widely rumored and even reported that she unloaded her architectural white elephant to an Arab prince for $130,000,000. She didn't. However, now that's she's reportedly forked over a reported $47,000,000 so that she can "downsize" to an (approx.) 16,000 square foot doo-plex penthouse at the yet to be completed The Century building in Century City, it's no surprise she's finally getting serious about selling. According to a source we call Nelly Knowsitall, the 11 bedroom and 16 bathroom hotel-sized house is going on the market very soon with a heart stopping asking price in the $140-150,000,000 range. When asked who was going to be listing the property, the usually in the know Ms. Knowsitall would not name names but did say she heard there will be two listing agents, one obvious choice and one much less obvious choice who "has never sold a house over $10,000,000 in her life." Ouch.

3. Fleur de Lys / Owned by Swedish born philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein, who was granted the outlandish extravagance known as Fleur de Lys in her bitter dee-vorce from Texas tycoon David Saperstein, the 35,000 square foot mega-manse (some reports say 45,000) has been on the open market since July of 2007 with a sky-high asking price of $125,000,000. We understand from someone who would know that the property has been toured by many magnates and foreign born billionaires, but after more than 18 months on the market, the 12 bedroom and 15 bathroom faux-French pile remains the biggest jewel in the couture-luving glamazon's real estate portfolio. The dee-lishusly catty Kenny Kissintell, a man who loves dishing real estate dirt even more than Your Mama, recently whispered in our big ear that he heard from his bean spilling peeps that Miz Saperstein did received an offer of $88,000,000 from a "Chinese gentleman," but turned it down. We imagine she's probably using one of her many Louboutin stilettos to beat her own ass for not running with that ball when she had a chance.

4. The Singleton Estate / Designed by noted architect Wallace Neff and built on a 7-acre spread in the Homlby Hills, the 15,000+ square foot Southern Colonial style residence was built by Teledyne tycoon Henry Singleton and was listed for sale in January of 2008 with an asking price of $85,000,000. Shortly after being listed to pomp and press, the 10 bedroom and 11.5 bathroom house on dee-luxe Delfern Drive disappeared from the MLS prompting some to speculate that a deep pocketed buyer was pushing forward with a sale. That, as it turns out, was not the case as no transfer records appear in public records. However, according to the always knowledgeable Nelly Knowsitall, the property is currently leased by hi-tech tycoon Halsey Minor who, according to Ms. Knowsitall, also has an option to purchase the place for a whopping $65,000,000. Given Mister Minor's alleged option to purchase, it's unclear to Your Mama whether this property is still, technically, for sale. However, should Mister Minor and family end up walking away from their purchase option and choose to move on to a home of their own, we're sure this property will land back on the open market with an asking price well in excess of $50,000,000.

5. Le Belvedere / The newest member of the mega-manse club to arrive on the open market belongs to real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and carries a porcine asking price of $85,000,000. The Nimes Road residence measures in at approximately 48,000 square feet and, as far as we're concerned, if this hotel-sized house were a person it would wear Versace head to toe, drive, a white Rolls Royce and go around screaming, "I have so much more money than you!" The 10 bedroom and 14 bathroom house sits on a 2.2 acre parcel in a choice section of Bel Air and the owner claims to have spent a jaw dropping $59,000,000 building the behemoth.

6. The Chadwick Beach House / Ever since July of 2008, real estate investment magnate William Chadwick has been trying to dump his ocean front spread in Malee-boo for the swollen sum of $65,000,000. According to listing information, the Cape Cod-ish style mansion on covetable Carbon Beach measures approximately 10,500 square feet and contains 6 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms including a sprawling 2,100 square foot ocean view master suite. The property spans an almost unheard of 150 feet on Malee-boo's most exclusive and expensive stretch of sand and includes over 4,500 square feet of decking and a 75-foot long beach side swimming pool and spa.

7. The Robert Taylor Ranch / Also listed at a staggering $65,000,000 is the Robert Taylor Ranch in the Mandeville Canyon area of Brentwood. Currently owned by former radio station owner Ken Roberts, the secluded 112-acre spread includes a main residence designed by renowned California architect Robert Byrd that includes 6 principle bedrooms, a three-apartment staff wing, four fireplaces, a screening room, wine cellar and a private casino/game room. Additionally there are four guest houses, a total of 17 full and 5 partial bathrooms, equestrian facilities, swimming pool and tennis court. The property has been for sale since the dawn of time with several different asking prices ranging from $35,000,000 to its current $65,000,000. At one point, the property was scheduled to be auctioned off to the hightest bidder and, at another point not too long ago, Our Fairy Godmother in Brentwood whispered in our big ear that the property was sliding into foreclosure, although it does not appear to be the situation now.

8. PickFair (or what used to be PickFair) / Once upon a time legendary architect Wallace Neff turned a humble hunting lodge into a legendary house on Summit Drive in Beverly Hills for legendary silver screen icons Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford which they called PickFair. The 22-room sprawler was later owned by L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss who sold it to much maligned singer/ack-tress Pia Zadora and her much older huzand Mishulam Riklis. Much to the chagrin of just about everybody, Zadora and Riklis tore down the original residence and replaced it with a 25,000+square foot monstrosity with 17 bedrooms and an incomprehensible 30 bathrooms. Now owned by Korean born bizness baron Corry Hong, the hill topping house has been listed since September of 2008 as a $60,000,000 fixer upper. That's right puppies, a sixty million dollar fixer upper.

9. La Belle Vie / Also new to the suddenly over-populated Los Angeles area mega-mansion market is philanthropist Iris Cantor's palatial Platinum Triangle mansion known as La Belle Vie that recently appeared on the open market with a staggering asking price of $53,000,000. Measuring in at around 35,000 square feet with 9 bedrooms and a total of 21 bathrooms, the 18th-century style pile was built in the 1990s with what would appear to be a limitless budget.

10. The Hutton House Estate / Located on a 5.2+ acre promontory high above Benedict Canyon and (according to listing information) modeled after Le Petit Trianon at Versailles, The Hutton House Estate was recently put on the market with an asking price of $49,000,000. It's unclear to Your Mama why it's called The Hutton House Estate and it's our understanding it's owned by a Korean woman whose money comes from hospitals or commercial real estate or something like that. The property records are a bit murky on this one so although we would not recommend repeating this like it's the gospel, it appears the unfinished property was purchased at auction in January of 2007 for just under $17,000,000, then finished by the new owners and flipped back on the market with a stupefying $32,000,000 price increase. Records on file with the County of Los Angeles show the house measures just over 22,000 square feet with 8 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, however listing information indicates the chunky chateau has 7 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms.

Our little list of ten mega-mansions on the market in Los Angeles does not even begin to include the large number of estates that occupy the next rung down own the property price ladder that are being shopped both on and off market. Houses in that still hatefully and largely prohibitively expensive $20-45,000,000 category include Cher's Italian Renaissance style extravaganza in Malibu listed at $45,000,000 and a 10 bedroom and 13 bathroom spec built house high above Mandeville Canyon on Chalon Road that happens to sit just up the hill from California Governator Arnold Scwharzenegger's house and carries an asking price of $34,900,000. About a month ago, big biznessman Lou Gonda, who reportedly lost big with the collapse of insurance giant AIG, quietly floated his 1.5 acre Beverly Hills estate on Lexington Road with an off-market asking price of $42,000,000 which was just days later reduced to $35,000,000; Although we can not swear by the veracity of the rumor, we also hear from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills that Steven Udvar-Házy, another billionaire who apparently did not dump enough of his massive stake in AIG before it went kaplooey, is quietly shopping his vast estate in the 24/7 guard gated Beverly Park community for God only knows how much.

And that's just in Los Angeles. There are plenty of properties priced well above $50,000,000 all over the United States (and the world) including (but certainly not limited to) Robert Friedland's $65,000,000 estate in beautiful Belvedere, CA and car dealer Terry Taylor's Addison Mizner designed digs in Palm Beach, FL which carries an astonishing asking price of $72,500,000. There are also, of course, any number of monumentally expensive properties in New York City such as retail mogul Les Wexner's sprawling Fifth Avenue aerie which is "discreetly available" off-market with a reported asking price of $60,000,000, and skin-care guru Sandie Tillotson's off-market Time Warner Center penthouse which is rumored and reported to have a butt clenching $80,000,000 asking price.

One of Your Mama's better connected sources, a ladee who well understands both uber high end real estate and the tangled machinations of Wall Street, told us recently that she's not at all surprised so many properties at the very tippy-top of the market are popping up for sale. Not only have many very rich people lost considerable sums of money due to the economic tsunami that has hit the United States (and the world), the days of being able to borrow forty bucks for every dollar in your pocket are long gone. See puppies, like so many Americans, many filthy rich folks also used the equity in their homes like bottomless piggy banks in order to finance an even more lavish life than they could otherwise afford and have now been caught with their financial pants around their ankles. Not to worry, most will never go hungry, but they may none the less be forced to scale back their lifestyle and shed some of their excess and expensive to maintain real estate baggage.

We will all have to wait and see what happens to all these mansions and apartments with twenty, forty and $50,000,000+ price tags. No doubt, there are still plenty of unfathomably rich people who can well afford them. However, the question seems to be, how many of these freakishly rich people still want to buy these shockingly expensive trophy homes not to mention take on all the attendant hassles and crippling costs that go hand in hand with owning, running and maintaining such large scale properties?


StPaulSnowman said...

As usual, a very thoughtful, enjoyable and complete post from the mater. In the absence of any recent completed sales in this price bracket, it is interesting to consider whether all of these listings are fishing expeditions by the rich an famous. The buyer pool must be exceedingly small and the assumption is that none of these is the only home these people own. And, of course, they don't have to accept any offer. They can easily afford the cost of putting the line in the water and hoping for a nibble from some corner of the world where real fear about affording upkeep, let alone the purchase price, has not yet surfaced. The excitement over these enormous prices and huge mansions is only fantasy until one actually sells........and then we will all learn a great deal about the true value of these enormous piles.

Anonymous said...

The same dynamic is probably at work in a lot cheaper homes. I hear Jeff Lewis has developed a huge zit on his nose and can't stop crying.

Anonymous said...

I'll agree with Snowman, but let's not forget, a lot of the major houses were bought with money borrowed against their "on paper" wealth. Meaning they borrowed against portfolios that may now be worth a fraction of what they were a year or 2 or 4 ago.

Just because these houses were bought with "cash" does not mean the money wasn't "borrowed" for somewhere.

The lucky ones are, of course, those like that Orman woman who only buys with cash, real cash, not cash borrowed against a portfolio.

Anonymous said...

Smart lady, our society could use more of that approach!

Madam Pince said...

In the wake of the Madoff fiasco, I'm not surprised to see a lot of high-dollar properties on the market. These folks have to recoup their dollars somehow.

Not that I'm defending Pia Zadora and her former hubby, but when they bought PickFair wasn't it in such bad shape it couldn't be repaired? Had I been them, I would have rebuilt it according to the original plans.

Anonymous said...

well well here we are

trillions have been lost in the stock market

trillions more are most likely

the DOW is going down to 3000 maybe more ?

and real estate in LA still has to drop by 90%

so with that said the 100MM palaces will sell for 10MM

10MM homes will sell for 1MM and so on

and the trillions in losses from these RE scams ?

they will be bailed out

through these so called bailout programs

we will have to pay for it

no way around that

Anonymous said...

Joe had a sex change? Jackie??

Mama, Wallace Neff didn't design Pickfair. He did a remodel.

Anonymous said...

Great and fun post, Mama. Your recap was terrrrrrific!!!! Thanks.

The home I'm most surprised at is the Spelling manze. It's big, yes, but just not that special; crammed on the old Bing Crosby lot and the architecture is really very pedestrian. 130mm.... well, I think she'll be lucky to get 45 like the Knoll which, BTW, has a wonderful site and is really an estate.

Thanks again for the up-date.

Anonymous said...

One of the best posts you have ever done in the history of this blog.

Anonymous said...

wow Mama. you really shot your load, so to speak. Good work! And regarding that Sapperstien hell hole, y'all best not be messing with talk trashing Texas, okay? Come down here and me and my brother WhiteChocolateMess will show you some properties that would knock your viking range cooking plasma tv watching infinity pool swimming asses out! Mama knows what i'm talkin' about!

Anonymous said...

is hotsauce and white chocolate mess texas talk for sperm?

Anonymous said...

that's nasty, honey. Get your mind out the gutter! I'm gonna tell AMam on you!

Anonymous said...

This would be mine Californian estate of choice be:

Anonymous said...

More robbing Peter to pay Paul...

Anonymous said...

Like any EBayer knows, something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

An appraisal is fine for getting an insurance replacement value, but shouldn't be relied on for "worth". These bozos can stroke their egos with any asking price they want, however the market will ultimately determine what they receive. I think there are people & institutions (mostly foreign) out there with large sums ready to invest, but these home owners are due for a reality check on prices.

Of course we all know that land is a finite resource and a great view or large lot is a nice neighborhood will always draw buyers; But if I personally had this kind of coin to drop on a place, I'd want my own taste reflected in the architecture instead of buying someone else's high maintenance pile o' crap.

Anonymous said...


Sometime you need to write a post in the most valuable homes in L.A., regardless of whether they've ever been on the market or not. You'd need to interview some of the top agents to unearth some of these.

They would include Dennis Tito's mountaintop manse in the Palisades that was featured as Hoffman's house in "Wag the Dog."

Eisner's Malibu spread.

What else?

Anonymous said...


contrary to popular belief

THE MONEY IS ALL GONE, there are no more angel investors, no more potential investors, it is all air

even billionaires can only get 40MM together on a moments notice,

do the math

the money was not REAL in the real estate market, it was an illusion

for example, lets say you sold me a home for 2MM, now it is only worth 600k but I say okay I will give you 2MM

I lie on the loan application, forge documents,

you use that 2MM to buy another estate, you are in the clear

the bank that gave me the loan is not,

the 2MM you made from me ? you have it safetly deposited in a bank or so you think....

through numerous complicated wall street shenanigans your bank bought my loan

I no pay the loan and

poof !!!!!!!

your 20MM is gone

the bank sends the police after me and I leave back to my country, now times me by millions.......

and that my friends is what is currently going on.

the US is about the only country on the planet that lets illegals buy homes, 99% of the other countries do not, end of story

Anonymous said...


"your 2MM is gone"

Anonymous said...

David Geffen's home, the former Jack Warner estate, is NOT on Green Acres Drive. It's on 1801 Angelo Drive in 90210.

Your Mama said...

Yer right baby. I originally had Ron Burkle's place in the text (which is on Green Acres) and removed it because I could not figure out how much he paid for the place. thanks for the respectful correction.

Anonymous said...

RE: The Manor vs. The Knoll, I'm pretty sure The Knoll has twice the acreage of The Manor. The Crosby estate was around 6 acres, I don't know if Spelling added some surrounding land? The 27,000 s.f. Knoll was originally built/owned by Lucy Doheny-Battson on 10-12 acres when she "downsized" from the 46,000s.f. Greystone Mansion next door.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:48 you are so stupid. Stop making blanket statements like you know everything cuz you do not!!! Alot alot of rich people are hurting yes, but there are still alot of people with a whole shit pile of cash that could buy whatever they wanted, doesn't mean they will... but they could!

Anonymous said...


You missed one. There was a huge like 16k sq ft house on 10 acres in Malibu within the last year in Malibu for $75m ( I believe it was ). I believe it was listed with one of the pricilples of the Westside Estate Agency. it was also featured on a HGTV show about the most expensive Beach homes.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Re the Knoll: since it was bought for $47M or so, the buyer has been regrading and adding extensively. I was told the house is now up to 80,000 sf. from the original (i.e. Marvin Davis era) 35,000 sf. Can only imagine what that one would list for if it's intended for resale.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:17 AM

yes there are those that have plenty of cash, they are the same ones that will hit thousands of you up for little chunks of it for their large chunk via scams of all kinds

oh wait

you don't have any cash to give out, I certainly do not have any cash to give out, banks do not have any to loan out
so who is the idiot ?

Anonymous said...

11:38 - Besides gutting the entire house, they took down all the out buildings (probably those made up the 8k difference between 27k & 35k), dug down and built what appears to be a two story half underground bunker behind the old house. There is an opening that looks tall enough to drive a tractor trailer under the house. I was guessing it was an additonal 30k but I'd believe 50k too. Who knew there was so much money in selling tools to auto parts stores?

The owners do get props for returning a huge metal planter that Doheny-Battson took with her when she moved out of Greystone. It will be restored and returned to the Greystone gardens for the public to enjoy.

PS. For any So Cal folks who want to see this RE porn up close, Greystone (the grounds) are open to the public and The Knoll project is visible from the west side of the property. Completely legally so Mama doesn't have to get out the wooden spoon.

Anonymous said...

"I certainly do not have any cash"

Joe finally tells the truth?

Anonymous said...

Anon !0:22...

The house you are referring to that Mama did miss is Blue Heaven. Former producer / CEO of United Artists Jerry Weintraub.

Mama talked about the house awhile back, but did omitt it front this list for whatever reason. The house has bounced on and off the market from $65m-75m a couple of times.

Anonymous said...

Blue Heaven

Anonymous said...

Blue Haven #2

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, there is plenty of money in L.A./B.H./Malibu/Bel-Air etc. No matter how bad the economy looks, somebody will always pay big bucks for the best Real Estate. Somebody will eventually buy all of those homes, maybe not at the price they would like to sell for.....but they will sell.

Anonymous said...


How much is theSteven Udvar-Házy shopping his place for? His compound is insane in Beverly Park.

Hazy bought lot 47, 50, 51 (50 & 51 were combined by the developer) & 52 in Beverly Park and took over Beverly Park Court turning it into his own driveway. It ends up being about 12 acres, thats a LOT of land in Beverly Hills.

The house is one of the biggest in Beverly Park according to tax records, 28,660 sq ft in the main house plus a 2,980 sq ft guest house plus pool pavillions and several other out-buildings. There is a tennis court, separate half basketball court, loads of gardens

Anonymous said...

Beverly House doesn't really fit because like Tom Gores Siena Way purchase, it is a compound consisting of multiple estates combined into one property. Realistically, I doubt he'll find a buyer who keeps it as is, someone will pick it up durning this down market for a deal and divy it up as the market comes back.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Weber mansion, it is my understanding that the Winnick's had archival photos of the home in its glory days and spent quite a few bucks buying back the original furnishing from antique and auction dealers throughout the world. What they couldn't find, they had reproduced according to the photographic records. The house and interior is truly amazing, even more amazing is the grounds, just gorgeous.

Hutton House Estate was a spec house that was bought new and lived in for a couple of years. During this time the home was almost completely finished; the only part of the house that was left unfinished was the HUGE basement – it has almost the same foot print as the upper floors. So out of a total of 22,000 square feet roughly 7,000+ square feet is the basement area. That’s when a contractor “flipper” bought it for the 17M. Who then went on to build out the “indoor spa with both wet and dry saunas, and gym with meditation area. Boasting a theatre with hand-carved wall inlays and concession area, as well as a wine tasting room with walk-in temperature-controlled storage racks” into the 7,000+ basement. After which point (I think) it was sold to the current owner, who’s trying to unload it for the $49M. Which is unlikely due to the fact that this home sits at the end of a cul-de-sac on a rather plain tract of upper middle class homes from the 70’s and 80’s. The street is more Sherman Oaks than Beverly Hills.

Anonymous said...

didn't owlwood sell for nearly $50 million some seven years ago? pretty please mama, tell the children all about the owlwood estate! she's an old crush of mine.

about the udvar-házy village in beverly park, you can see some photos of her on the architect's website, hablinski-manion dot com. beautiful and massive.

Anonymous said...

Anything over 30 million is way too much for Los Angeles.

If I had that kind of money, I would be on the next plane to the French Riviera.

Why would anybody waste money on this?

Anonymous said...

4:05 - Owlwood is another combining of estates. Owlwood had reportely already been combined with the property to the southeast (a former home of Esther Williams). That combined property sold for the mid-30m range. Then "The Pink Palace" was purchased from Englebert Humperdink for around 10m.

Owlwood has been home of Joseph M. Schenck (20th Century Fox), Tony Curtis, and Sonny & Cher.

Rudy Vallee, Ringo Starr, & (Mama) Cass Elliot were all owners/residents of The Pink Palace but the most famous owners were Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay (Mr. Universe & father of actress Mariska Hargitay). They painted it the signature pink.

Roland Arnall (CEO of Ameriquest and later US Ambassador to the Netherlands) was the buyer.

He tore down the Williams house & Pink Palace and closed South Carolwood.

Arnall died in March 2008. I'm sure the children are anxious to start ranting, raving, and tearing their hair about his company's part in the subprime mortgage crisis so I'll be moving on now.....

Anonymous said...

I have to hand it to winnick

he goes out there, makes up a bs company with bs in the books

the investors fall for his bs

he gets billions to buy whatever he wants

he pay 94MM for a estate that he will live in until the day he dies

the investors are in the meantime homeless, moneyless, basically fucked which is why brokers should always follow that golden rule

only take on multi millionaires

only take 10% of their wealth to invest

they of course do not do that, creating an illusion of wealth

who is to blame here ?

I say the stockbrokers, their managers, chiefs of the many firms that conned many potiental millionairs out of existence

I wonder if there is a special hell for all of these greedy bastards ?

Anonymous said...

anon 7:25 - I agree with the gist of your statement, though you might have a bit more sympathy.

when we bought my house in 1989, the interest rates were near 10%, and since we only had 17% cash down we were required to purchase mortgage insurance and pay on the policy until my mortgage was under 80% of appraised value. Our credit was checked and monthly expenses were analyzed to make sure the mortgage amount was do-able with our income.

In the last few years lenders have been selling NEGATIVE worth loans by backing a first mortgage with a 2nd and the total of both less than the (inflated) value of the house. Then the loan is sold so there's no default fallout to the original lenders/appraisers/escrow companies involved.

Or people will get a variable rate mortgage for an inflated amount thinking they'll flip a property for a profit before the balloon is due. (thank you HGTV for letting EVERYBODY think they're a fucking architect, designer, or Martha Stewart clone!)

Sorry, but I stopped believing in Santa & the Easter Bunny long ago. Where the fuck did people think all the cash was coming from? Yes, people are gullible, but ultimately I think a most of this mess is the fault of the lenders that loaned to unqualified buyers and the regulators that let them bundle shitty loans and call them 'securities'.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is a special hell for average joe ?

Oh - it's called "life".

Anonymous said...

You have uncovered the conundrum of real estate Mama.

Who do the wealthiest people in the world sell their homes to? Especially when they want multiples of what they paid for it?


Let's crunch some numbers on the 'ol abacus together.

We hear about "cash" on the sidelines.

There are 7 trillion in deposits in banks around the country.

If we take the bottom 99.9% of the roughly 100 million households and give them 10% of the cash (700 billion) each household has an average balance of approximately $7000.

Of course, many live in poverty and paycheck to paycheck. Regardless...what are people's bottom lines? Not stock, 401k's, pensions etc. Cash. FDIC insured cash in the bank.

So I guess there are plenty of that 99.9 percent that have a few hundred thousand in cash. Perhaps even a million. Not enough to afford the plethora of even $10 million+ homes for sale let alone $50 million.

On the flip side, how much cash does that top .1% have? Well, take away the top .01 percent and they probably control about $5Trillion.

$4Trillion divided by the other 90,000 households (the top .1%) is approximately $45M per household.

Not enough to get into this top bracket of course. I'm sure they have debt also.

Then there is the top .01%. 1000 households. We'll give them $2.3T of the cash. Remember...most of their paper "wealth" went "poof".

2.3 Trillion divided by that would be 2.2 Billion. Of course, that's wrong. There is probably more in the lower brackets. Still not enough however.

So, the question is. How many houses of this caliber are there compared to how much CASH is actually out there right now.

The "rich" have plenty of debt also.

Must be getting uncomfortable for some of them.

I'd love to see a post of HELOC's of the "Rich and Famous"...or just their debt levels.

We already know that there really isn't much "Cash on the sidelines"

Sellers...welcome to reality.

hello gorgeous said...

Yep. None of the emperors have any clothes...

Anon, it's a good thing you're not being charged per inch of column space.

Anonymous said...

This is why I hate it when people get on Mama about the frequency of her posts.

When Mama posts, she really posts! No blurbs, nothing sloppy.

Tons of details and lots of original thoughts.

Trust me, it takes a lot of time and energy to turn out a blog post like this one right here.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link with good pictures of the inside/outside of the Chadwick Beach House

Anonymous said...

Why would a person with a net worth of less than 500 million buy a 94 million dollar home?

That's a little extreme. He is not even a billionaire.


Anonymous said...

12:01 How is that any different than a person with a net worth of less than 500 thousand wanting to buy a 94 thousand dollar home?

Rick said...

The Malibu bluff estate that has had a $75 million price tag is owned by Jerry Weintraub.

On Paradise Cove bluffs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick, that had already been said.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post and summary of where the high end RE market currently stands.

It will drop a lot more if they start to nationalize the banks. Also, the credit card mess is coming next and that will keep the high prices on the run.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mama, for this fascinating review. I enjoyed it very much.

When you have discussed historic properties in the past, I spent time looking for early photographs. One was the old Harold Lloyd estate now owned by Burkle. It is on the street behind David Geffen's property and from studying the early maps and photos, it appears as if part of Geffen's Angelo Dr. property may have been Lloyd's. That estate was just huge. Early Hollywood paradise.


Kieran said...

Thank you for this article!
Personally my interest is in the elite market and I have no interest whether the owners are "celebrities" or not. It just dsnt matter. So this is an article I have long been waiting for, so thank you momma! Xx

Anonymous said...

I am french and i not suprise of this kind of information and specialy for Mister Lou Gonda who allready lost 200.000.000 $ in a strange business in France 2 years ago with a company named OFUP / Firsrtream. The problem is that this kind of biznessman make many people unemployment with their way of doing business and speculation.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, rumor is work has been stopped on the Knoll. Ran out of money, lost it all to Madoff, who knows. Should have stopped at 50,000sf and just enjoyed living in the place!

Anonymous said...

The Chadwick Mansion has been removed from the WEA website

Anonymous said...

No borrowed funds for Iris Cantors real estate Portfolio..

Outside the office, though, Mr. Cantor, whose net worth was estimated at more than $400 million in 1992 by Forbes magazine, moved in a very different world. A genial and generous benefactor of medical institutions and museums since the late 1960's, he and Mrs. Cantor have made major gifts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum and the Los Angeles County Art Museum. Driven by a single-minded passion for Auguste Rodin, he helped polish the reputation of the turn-of-the-century French sculptor through study grants and exhibitions.

Unknown said...

you said that one of the agents selling 'The Manor' has not sold a property above $10,000,000.
is it possible for you to tell us the agent or possible give us a few hints.