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Copper Beech Farm, Greenwich, CT | Sale Price $120 Million in April 2014


What a weird year it’s been in housing. On the ultra-luxury side, 2014 brought with it several new records. Two nine-figure sales each shattered the previously-held record for America’s most expensive home sale before mid-year. By the end of 2014, a whopping 16 sales had closed at the $50 million price point or higher–a heretofore unheard of volume at this price level.

Meanwhile, as the luxury housing market is clearly on fire, the overall housing market has experienced a dramatic slow-down. Gone are the double-digit, year-over-year monthly price increases of late 2013 and early 2014. In their place: slower price appreciation, declining home sales volume, and new construction down. Economists say the numbers mean that we’ve left the rapid recovery phase and entered a new housing normal (expected to continue in 2015.)

If it seems bizarre that price growth would be slowing down for most of the American housing market while rapidly accelerating on the ultra-high end, perhaps it shouldn’t, given what we know about income levels for average Americans (stagnant) compared to the global ultra-rich (getting richer).

“This super high-end market–$50 million and above–is the circus sideshow,” says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a New York real estate appraisal firm and consultancy. “It’s a global phenomenon, a phenomenon of the wealthy preserving capital. It’s a long-term investment play that has nothing to do with the traditional housing market as we know it.”

The 16 sales at $50 million or higher stand as proof positive that the American housing market has become a major target for the global (as well as for the domestic) ultra-rich.

“New York, Miami, and Los Angeles are now seen as the key safe havens in the U.S. for investments in property,” says Royce Pinkwater, founder and CEO of Pinkwater Select, a global real estate firm that works with investors. “The deals have grown exponentially in part because of how expensive Europe is, and London.”

Record-setting Sales, Sprawling East Coast Spreads

In April, timber tycoon John Rudey sold his 50-acre Copper Beech Farm in Greenwich, Conn., for $120 million, breaking the record for the nation’s most expensive home purchase. Prior to the Copper Beech sale, the record was held by Softbank billionaire Masayoshi Son, who paid $117.5 million for a Woodside, Calif., estate in late 2012.

To read the full article, click here.

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties, click here.

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