Fleur de Lys Mansion in Los Angeles is America’s most expensive residential listing at $125 million. Photo: Forbes.com

 

It’s difficult to decide where to look first when stepping out of the private elevator that leads into shoe heiress-turned-songwriter Denise Rich’s New York City penthouse apartment. A multimillion dollar art collection that includes an Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe and a Roy Lichtenstein sculpture grace the grand parlor, while the floor-to-ceiling windows offer surreal views of Central Park below.

Occupying the top two floors of Fifth Avenue’s white-glove Parc Cinq cooperative, the 12,000-square foot penthouse boasts seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, three kitchens, a wood-paneled library with wet bar and staff quarters. The master bedroom suite has a movie projector, a fireplace, and his-and-hers bathroom suites. The huge “hers” closet has jewelry safes tucked behind mirrors and a wall equipped for shoes that opens to expose a second hidden space storing more Manolo Blahniks. On the lower level lies an air-conditioned recording studio bedecked with platinum albums and pictures of Jessica Simpson and Mary J. Blige. There’s a private rooftop garden and once for a party, the wraparound terraces were iced over for skating.

All of these outrageous amenities, in the biggest Fifth Ave apartment to ever come to market, help justify an asking price of $65 million, making it the most expensive co-op for sale in the U.S. and one of the most expensive homes currently on offer in general.

To compile our list of the most expensive homes on the market in America right now, we sorted through listings on Realtor.com, Sotheby’s International Realty, the Corcoran Group, Christie’s International Real Estate (and its affiliates), Coldwell Banker Previews International and others. By sticking to MLS listings we may be missing out on some mega-mansions: Some ultra-expensive homes never officially hit the market — their owners choose to shop quietly for wealthy buyers through well-connected brokers.

The One57 Penthouses list for $115 million and $105 million with views of Central Park. Photo: One57

 

While the $65 million Denise Rich is asking for her pad may seem steep, compared to luxury condos in the Big Apple, which lack restrictions notoriously associated with co-ops, it’s somewhat of a deal. Nearby on the south side of Central Park, a grand ballroom-turned-penthouse condo at the Ritz Carlton is listed for $77.5 million. The 10,882-square-foot apartment includes four bedrooms, a library, a media room, a museum-quality display room and terraces overlooking the park. It’s the personal residence of Christopher Jeffries of Millennium Partners, the real estate developer who converted part of the Ritz to condos.

Both apartments came to market shortly after former Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill’s 15 Central Park West penthouse sold to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $88 million, a record for a condo, raising the confidence of high-end home sellers and developers.

The former Beverly Hills estate of William Randolph Hearst is listed for $95 million. Photo: Hilton & Hyland | L.M. Ross

 

“That has had an immediate effect on the value of other very high-end condos in the area,” says Hall Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens. His firm represented the Weills in that deal and currently represents Jeffries’ apartment as well as the $90 million Woolworth Mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He says several trophy apartments listed by the firm are enjoying bidding wars right now.

Luxury real estate agents in Palm Beach, Fla., are hoping that the upturn in New York means better times are on the way for them. “It’s just a matter of time until New York’s robust home buying trickles into Palm Beach since this is the secondary market for those buyers,” asserts Kathleen Coumou, a senior vice president at Christie’s International Real Estate.

The Woolworth Mansion in NYC lists for $90 million and includes 20,000-square-feet of space. Photo: Brown Harris Stevens

 

In Los Angeles, uber-expensive mansions abound. And opulence atop more than an acre of land will really cost you. Take Fleur de Lys, the 4-acre, 35,000-square foot faux French chateaux down the street in Holmby Hills from the Manor (the home formerly known as America’s most expensive for sale) is the most expensive on the West Coast, with an asking price of $125 million. Owned by Suzanne Saperstein, the ex-wife of former billionaire David Saperstein, the extravagant palace boasts 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a ballroom that fits 200 guests, two kitchens, a 50-seat theater, a 9-car garage – even a three-quarter-mile jogging track.

Rancho Dos Pueblos in Santa Barbara, CA lists for $84 million and includes 2,175 acres of property. Photo: Realtor.com

 

But is it worth $125 million? With the exception of the Beverly House, the bankruptcy-addled William Randolph Hearst estate that’s listed for $95 million, it certainly out-prices its local competition, which includes four Los Angeles County spreads priced between $50 million and $65 million.

Many pricey properties on our list used to have higher price tags. Versailles, a humongous 90,000-square foot, unfinished Windermere, Fla., estate fashioned after the palace of Versailles, was listed for $100 million upon completion, but it now can be had for $65 million as is, or two-thirds complete, or $90 million finished.  In some cases, pricey properties of years past have simply vanished from the sale block, with their owners perhaps waiting for a more opportune time to sell.

http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/americas-most-expensive-homes-for-sale-2012.html

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