Thursday, August 17, 2023

House Hunting: "The 20 biggest residential transactions of 2023 — so far"

From the real estate gurus at Inman, July 31:

In July, Inman gazes at the glitter and glam of the luxury real estate market. Snapshots of the country’s top luxury markets, advice from leading agents, features on what affluent homeowners want now and a breakdown of the top sales of 2023 (so far) are all in the cards leading up to Inman Luxury Connect, Aug. 7-8 at the Aria in Las Vegas. Make plans to join us now.

August is around the corner and, with the passage of July, another page will be ripped from the calendar, leaving just five months until real estate analysts pore over the tea leaves for deeper meanings in the metrics.

But as Luxury Month comes to a close at Inman, it’s never too soon to dig into the year’s biggest real estate transactions — so far — in search of tell-tale signs of economic recovery or ruptures in the housing market, or both.

“[Buyers are] seeing really, really interesting, unique and significant properties — private islands, homes in Aspen, penthouses,” @properties Christie’s International Real Estate Co-CEO Thad Wong told Inman last month. “And I think there’s a desire to own these really one-of-a-kind trophy properties.”

With Beyonce, Jay-Z, the fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford and The Estée Lauder Companies Chairman William Lauder all dropping in excess of $50 million each for new homes this year, many of the biggest deals to close in 2023 have been by notable celebrities and executives. What any of that says about the state of the housing market, or health of the economy, is difficult to say, but it’s clear from the data that as mortgage rates rose last year, many typical American homebuyers fell away, leaving only luxury buyers to press on — not always at the most rapid clip but no doubt with the power of cash behind them.

The luxury market has no doubt felt the effects of a fluctuating economy and low inventory so far this year, with nationwide luxury sales down by 24.13 percent year over year during the second quarter of 2023, according to a report released this week by Redfin. But while inventory declined 2.39 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2023, the median sale price of luxury homes in the U.S. has soared 4.6 percent, to a record $1.2 million.

For this study, Redfin defined “luxury” as properties in the top 5 percent of the market.

That annual price increase also reflected in the price tag of the most expensive deal on the list below — $200 million — which exceeds the sales price of 2022’s most expensive residential transaction by $27 million.

Those luxury buyers who have remained active in the market this year seem to be coaxed into wielding their buying power by the most unique properties available. From Florida to Virginia to Chicago and L.A., luxury agents have been telling Inman for months that rare, trophy properties are not staying on the market, even when other properties are.

And, indeed, from Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s desire to own one of renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s designs to the buyer who coveted Mark Wahlberg’s mammoth chateau-style Beverly Park mansion and to those buyers who snatched up penthouses on Billionaires’ Row and beyond, the priciest deals transacted in the U.S. so far this year show off a desire by the wealthy to own a piece of property unmatched by any other.

Meanwhile, luxury buyers in 2023 have been hot on Palm Beach, where 7 out of the top 20 deals of the year have been transacted. Following Palm Beach, L.A. and surrounding areas had the greatest number of top deals at five, and New York City came in third, with four of the year’s top deals so far. After that, the Hamptons, Miami and Aspen saw two and one each top deal, respectively — but the year isn’t over.

Due to the extreme discretion often practiced with some high-end transactions, the following list is likely not comprehensive, but what follows are the priciest residential real estate transactions in the U.S. made public in 2023 as of July 30.

27712 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, California

The power couple of the music industry made a huge power move in real estate this spring when the duo laid down a staggering $200 million for a mansion in Malibu, shattering previous California state price records and marking the most an African American buyer has ever paid for a home in the U.S.

Kurt Rappaport, of Westside Estate Agency, represented both the buyers and the seller.

Bey and Jay bought the six-acre estate from Bill Bell Jr., an art collector and son of Bill Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, creators of soap operas Bold and Beautiful and The Young and The Restless. Prior to the sale, the most expensive home ever sold in California was venture capital investor and software engineer Marc Andreessen’s $177 million purchase of a seven-acre Malibu estate in 2021.

The 40,000-square-foot, concrete mansion was designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who has become a favorite of other elite celebrities in recent years, including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Ando’s projects are generally characterized by his use of reinforced architectural concrete, which racks up quite the price tag and therefore is only available to the ultra-wealthy.

589 N. County Road
Palm Beach, Florida

A new price record was also made this year in the luxury enclave of Palm Beach during an off-market deal for $170 million.

Luxury car dealer Michael Cantanucci was the buyer, according to The Journal, and records show the sellers were Green Mountain Coffee Roasters founder Robert Stiller and his wife, Christine Stiller.

Lawrence Moens, of Lawrence A. Moens Associates, represented the seller and Christian Angle, of Christian Angle Real Estate, represented the buyer.

The waterfront mansion spans more than 20,000 square feet and sits on approximately 1.6 acres with about 150 feet of ocean frontage. The property is a Mediterranean-style home and was built in 2006, then expanded in 2015. The Stillers originally purchased the home for just $25 million in 2014....