PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Donald Trump’s property for sale here has all the big-time extras one might expect. Pricey marble and 24-karat gold fixtures decorate bathrooms. There’s a gargantuan fountain in the driveway and 145 metres of ocean front out back.
Perhaps the biggest thing about the home, however, is its price tag: US$125 million. And (sorry Donald) that price has already been trumped. A home in Aspen, Colo., is now listed at $135 million. Another home in Lake Tahoe, Nev., was recently listed at a flat $100 million.
The listings represent a monetary milestone in American real estate: the first time U.S. homes have broken into a whopping nine figures, according to real estate experts, and they’ve done so in quick succession. A May survey of the country’s most expensive homes by Forbes.com put Trump’s home at the most expensive and the first to break the $100 million mark. At the time, the next highest listing was a $75 million estate in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Now, the trio has market followers wondering: Will they sell? And what do you really get for $100 million?
"I’m surprised it took so long for people to realize value," Trump said of the listings. "I’m the one that did it, started the trend, and I’m surprised that people haven’t done it sooner."
Usually the top 10 per cent of any marketplace is considered the luxury market, but these properties are a tier above.
"They’re super luxury properties," said Trump, the real estate mogul and reality TV star.
Shari Chase, whose company Chase International has the Lake Tahoe listing, acknowledged the shock value of the recent prices.
"This is stratospheric for offering prices, but I think we’re going in that direction," Chase said. "I think these three properties, they are really the Super Bowl of real estate."
And the listings are extreme. At these prices, bedrooms, bathrooms and square-footage are almost irrelevant. The homes, like their price tags, are gigantic. At the Aspen property, owned by Saudi Prince Bandar, the main residence, finished in 1990, has over 5,200 square metres (about 90 square metres bigger than the White House). That’s set on a 38.5-hectare site. Think roughly twice the size of Boston Common. It even has its own car wash and gas pumps.
Need more space? The recently listed Lake Tahoe home, owned by Tommy Hilfiger Corp. co-founder Joel Horowitz, comes with 3,530 square metres of livable space on 85 hectares. That includes a private trout-stocked lake and two par-three golf courses. Features also include a grand staircase replicating one built on the doomed ocean liner Titanic.
Smaller on hectares but bigger in square footage is Trump’s property, called Maison de L’Amitie, which he bought for about $41 million in 2004. He assigned renovations to "Apprentice" winner Kendra Todd. The home’s approximately 7,430 square metres are spread over several buildings. Separate coat closets and bathrooms for men and women off the main entryway make entertaining easy, and the large pool overlooking the ocean seems like a given.
Sara Clemence, an editor for Forbes.com who wrote its listing report, said properties at the top end of the market have been moving upward for years, but the recent 100-million-plus listings are significant.
"One of the things that surprises me is that all this is happening all at once," Clemence said. "I’m not sure if all these sellers and Realtors are looking at each other or if they’re just coming to the same conclusion all at the same time … you can price a property for $100 million and up.
"That said just because you ask for it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it," Clemence said.
The price tags on the homes don’t seem to have deterred a small cadre of buyers. The Lake Tahoe property, called "Tranquility," and the Aspen property called "Hala Ranch," have both already entertained buyers according to agents. The interested parties are confidential, but they include business people from the U.S. and overseas.
Owning properties like these requires a large bank account. Taxes alone on the Palm Beach property if sold at its current asking price would amount to more than $2 million annually, according to the Palm Beach County property appraiser Web site. Trump, for his part, was surprised to hear his property had competition for the top spot in the U.S. "Who’s at 135?" he asked. He didn’t seem sore, though.
"I think my property is worth more than $125 million," he said. "It’s a bargain."