Priciest homes on the planet: Paris and London

The Chateau Louis XIV in Louveciennes went for $301M this year

Chateau Louis One Hyde Park
From left: Chateau Louis XIV in Louveciennes and One Hyde Park in London

From the February issue: This month, The Real Deal sifted through land registry records, public listings and news reports and also interviewed experts to find the priciest residential listings and most expensive recent sales on the planet. In the third and final web installment, we look at two European capitals, Paris and London.

Chateau Louis XIV in Louveciennes
$301 million (sale)

Let’s face it. You can’t get more luxurious than 17th-century Versailles.

In December, the Chateau Louis XIV sold for $301 million. That was the priciest residential sale in the world outside of Hong Kong. The 75,350-square-foot newly built mansion sits in a 56-acre park in Louveciennes, a Paris suburb. The home is meant to mirror the grandiose style of the Sun King himself, whose Palace of Versailles embodied the spirit of absolutist power.

The property was sold to an unknown Middle Eastern buyer, according to Bloomberg News.

Christie’s International, which helped broker the deal, declined to comment on the property and the sale.

But what is known is that the home has two master suites, several guest rooms and reception halls, a wine cellar, a movie theater and, most notably, an underground aquarium.

The mansion was built over three years, starting in 2008, by a company called Cogemad. According to the developer’s website, it’s 15 minutes from the tony Le Triangle d’Or shopping and residential district in Paris.

The $301 million sale, however, is a rarity that likely won’t be replicated anytime soon, sources say.

Marie-Hélène Lundgreen, director at Belles Demeures de France, the international department of the Christie’s affiliate Daniel FEAU, said that very few luxury sales in Paris exceed 10 million euros — or roughly $11 million. That’s because the most exclusive location, which overlooks the city center, does not welcome new development. In Paris, unlike New York City these days, the most luxurious properties aren’t modern glass fortresses but historic 18th- and 19th- century buildings, featuring minutely detailed moldings and fireplaces.

“It’s a scarcity market. We don’t build anymore in Paris,” she said. “It’s not a market for overpriced properties at the moment.”

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One Hyde Park
$237 million (sale)

The city’s current record residential sale is at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge. The duplex penthouse in the ultraluxury building made headlines in 2014 when it sold for $237 million. Consider it an oldie but goodie on TRD’s list.

The 86-unit building, which was developed by the Candy brothers, is regarded as one of London’s most exclusive — and secretive, since so few of the owners there are publicly known.

In New York, of course, some of the priciest condos, such as One57, The Plaza and the Time Warner Center, are known for having foreign buyers who don’t use their apartments as primary residences. The same is true in London — but to an even greater extent.

Indeed, there’s long been the perception that homes in some of London’s poshest neighborhoods — such as Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Hyde Park, Kensington and Belgravia — are largely owned by people who don’t live there year-round.

“London is a passing-through city,” said Royce Pinkwater, of the Manhattan-based brokerage Pinkwater Select, which specializes in international luxury real estate. “Many people use it as a base.”

Pinkwater referred to London as the “initiator and dominator in turnkey properties” because as a secondary market, super high-end buyers don’t want to spend time renovating newly acquired property.

A September 2015 report by Savills noted that housing prices in prime London have been hit hard by higher property taxes that were imposed on home sales in December 2014. The changes have tempered price growth in the upper tiers of London’s market, according to the report. That has left the ultraluxury market, at least in the short-term, “fully taxed” and with buyers who are “slower to commit.”

In terms of record-asking prices, a mansion in Knightsbridge initially made headlines in 2012 when it hit the market for a record $453 million. Three years later, the owners of the 45-bedroom room property, 2-8a Rutland Gate, reportedly received a bid for $593 million, but rather than selling they ended up auctioning off the mansion’s contents — reportedly to make way for luxury apartments. The home was not officially on the market last month but is being watched by real estate insiders.

According to Knight Frank, $1 million buys 226 square feet in the city.