A BEL AIR megamansion that’s set to smash records for the most expensive house ever sold is causing controversy in LA’s inflated housing market.
The 30,000-square metre palace — which will boast four swimming pools, a casino and a room with jellyfish tanks for its walls and ceiling — is to go on sale for $US500 million ($A650m), destroying the world record of $US221 million ($A228m) for a London penthouse in 2011.
But some real estate experts say it’s all part of the Hollywood fantasy.
“There’s a lot of money coming into LA, a lot of worth,” Aaron Kirman from the John Aroe Group, one of the city’s top luxury real estate agents, told news.com.au
“We have a bunch of people pricing homes at extremely high prices. Where they get these numbers from, I’m not sure.”
Le Palais Royal, a 5574-square-metre Florida megamansion, hit the market with a $US223 million price tag, which would make it the most expensive home sold in the US. That’s less than half of what luxury developer Nile Niami thinks his Bel Air dream house is worth.
Niami, a filmmaker, has remained supremely confident since he announced theambitious asking price for the home, due for completion in 2017, to Bloomberg in May. “The house will have almost every amenity available in the world,” he said, promising a 1500-square-metre master bedroom, 30-car garage, nightclub with waterfall and 360-degree views of the city and Pacific Ocean.
A moat will make it appear the house is floating, while the “sky deck” will offer 360-degree views of the city and ocean from its putting green and bar.Source:Supplied
It is likely to attract multi-billionaires and overseas royalty looking for a home with every amenity in Bel Air, the most elite neighbourhood in the US.Source:Supplied
“I really think that this house is going to do a lot for LA,” Niami told Details.com this week during a tour of the property. “Anybody who lives in the area is going to be proud to be near it.”
But some think differently, with LA’s city council putting restrictions on the booming construction industry, and a powerful alliance of local homeowners last year raising hundreds of thousands to call for tighter controls on the building of massive homes.
Niami’s sprawling main residence will have a spa, gym and 45-seat cinema, flanked by a tennis court and three smaller buildings, including a guesthouse with infinity pool and eight-bedroom staff quarters. A lift will climb to a 1000-square-metre rooftop “sky deck” with a putting green and bar; all within a moat that makes it appear the house is floating.
It’s all about size, status and image. LA-born Niami explained that a four-car garage on a nearby property had attracted complaints for being too small. The double-height, glass-walled library will look fantastic, but the developer explains: “Nobody really reads books, so I’m just going to fill the shelves with white books, for looks.”
So who would buy it? Many of these extravagant estates are not actually lived in for most of the year, with overseas buyers treating them as secure investments.
The home will have a 45-seat cinema, nightclub with waterfall, spa, gym, bowling alley and 30-car garage.Source:Supplied
“LA and New York are the safest markets in the US for real estate,” said Kirman. “Bel Air is one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the world,” adds Kirman. “It’s got billionaires, celebrities, heads of finance, CEOs and a lot of old wealth. A lot of ultra-wealthy people live here.
“It’s such an exclusive, elite neighbourhood, when people from abroad look into looking in the US, they look here.”
Kirman predicts the buyer would have to be “a multi, multi-billionaire or royalty from abroad.” He thinks it could have a chance of selling to someone from Asia who wanted to break Hollywood, rubbing shoulders with neighbours including former first lady Nancy Reagan and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Ultimately, he says, high-end real estate in such a desirable location, with views and privacy, is only likely to appreciate long term.
Kirman says many cashed-up buyers are either knowledgeable about the market, or employ people who are, but occasionally, you get someone who wants what they want, when they want it, and don’t care what it costs.
“Some people want to be king of the hill, they want people to know what they paid. I have a client who wants a trophy, trophy property and is willing to pay the price to get that.”
Niami is a trendsetter who made his name selling properties worth tens of millions, and now wants to “play in the billionaire arena”, says Kirman, but he sees the pricing as a strategic play, aimed at attracting media attention and far from guaranteed to translate into real dollars.
“A lot of listing numbers people do are ‘shock and awe’. Does it work? Time will tell.
“At the end of the day, it sells for what buyers are willing to pay. You never know, it only takes one. Do I think it’s elevated? Absolutely.”