Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison just dropped $80 million on a Palm Beach mansion, 4 months after he said he’d moved to Hawaii

larry ellison palm beach mansion
A Google Maps satellite view of Ellison’s new mansion.

Palm Beach has gained yet another billionaire resident.

Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in the southeast Florida county, Katherine Clarke reported for The Wall Street Journal.

Ellison, who has an $89.1 billion fortune and is the world’s 10th-richest person, said in December that he had relocated from California to the island he owns in Hawaii. The tech billionaire’s massive real-estate portfolio also includes properties in Malibu, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Rhode Island, and Japan.

His newest purchase is the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to the listing, which was held by Douglas Elliman. The Tuscan-style estate sits in a gated community and sprawls over more than 15,000 square feet, with 520 feet of ocean frontage. It features a home movie theater, a wine room, a large private pool terrace, and a tennis court.

It’s one of “only a handful of properties in Florida where someone could land and take off in a helicopter from the estate,” according to the listing.

larry ellison palm beach mansion
The home has 520 feet of ocean frontage.

Ellison bought the 7.35-acre property from hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, who put it on the market in June 2020, asking $79.5 million.

With his newest purchase, Ellison joins an affluent community that’s added even more billionaires to its ranks in the past year.

Billionaire private-equity executive Robert F. Smith bought two homes in Palm Beach for about $48 million in November. In February, hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper went into contract on a $73 million Palm Beach mansion. And casino mogul Steve Wynn, who’s worth $3.2 billion, has bought two Palm Beach homes since December – one for $18.4 million and one for $49 million. He’s already flipped the former for $23.68 million.

These new ultra-wealthy Palm Beach residents may rub shoulders with longtime billionaire denizens like Stephen Ross, the chairman and owner of Related Cos., which owns Equinox and SoulCycle.

Hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who heads Citadel, has spent nearly $250 million over the years on real-estate along Palm Beach’s “Billionaires Row” with reported intentions of building a massive mansion.

Goodbye, Silicon Valley. Hello Texas, Florida, and Hawaii.

Ellison’s Palm Beach purchase is not the only big move the tech billionaire has made during the pandemic.

In December, he announced he’d be relocating Oracle’s headquarters from Redwood Shores, California, to Austin, Texas. A few days later, the Oracle executive chairman told his employees that he himself had moved to Lanai, the Hawaiian island of which he owns 98%, as Recode first reported.

“I’ve moved to the state of Hawaii and I’ll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai,” Ellison wrote in an email to staffers.

larry ellison
Ellison told his employees in December that he had moved to Hawaii.

It’s unclear whether Ellison plans to make Palm Beach his new home base or simply add it to his collection of homes. He also owns a 23-acre estate in Woodside, California, and a home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, multiple homes on Malibu’s “Billionaire’s Beach,” and several properties in Lake Tahoe.

An Oracle spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

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A 42-acre estate in the Hamptons is set to sell at a record-breaking price after nearly 4 years on the market

jule pond
The 42-acre Southampton estate has nearly a quarter-mile of private beach.

A 42-acre estate in the Hamptons that was asking $145 million is in contract to sell for a record-breaking price, Jennifer Gould reported for the New York Post.

jule pond
The borders of the property are outlined in white.

Bespoke Real Estate, the brokerage handling the deal, did not disclose a final sale price but said on Facebook that it would be “the highest price achieved for a single property in the Hamptons’ history.”

The identity of the buyer is unknown, but Zach and Cody Vichinsky of Bespoke Real Estate told the Post that the buyer is from an “American real-estate family” that’s not based in New York. The brokerage did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Jule Pond’s current owner is portfolio manager Brenda Earl, who bought the property in 2002.

The Jule Pond estate in Southampton hit the market in August 2017 for $175 million, but after nearly four years and several price chops, it was most recently listed for $145 million.

jule pond estate

The record for the most expensive home sold in the Hamptons is held by hedge-fund billionaire Barry Rosenstein, who bought an East Hampton property for $147 million in 2014. 

Jule Pond would have to sell over its asking price to break that record. But Zach and Cody Vichinsky told the Post that the East Hampton estate was a combination of multiple adjacent properties and that Jule Pond would be the priciest single parcel ever sold.

Either way, Jule Pond would likely be the priciest home ever sold in Southampton. Last year, billionaire Ken Griffin paid $84.4 million for fashion designer Calvin Klein’s modern compound on Southampton’s “Billionaire Lane.”

Jule Pond, which was once part of a larger property called “Fordune,” was originally built for Henry Ford’s grandson.

jule pond

The home was built in 1960, and many of its original architectural details have been maintained.

It boasts a stretch of beach that spans nearly a quarter mile, the largest ocean frontage in the Hamptons, according to the listing.

most expensive home hamptons

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

It also fronts several ponds, including its namesake Jule Pond.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

A stately driveway lined with manicured hedges leads to the main house.

jule pond estate

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

Inside, you’ll see ornate chandeliers and Italian marble fireplaces.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

The main home has 20,000 square feet of living space with 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

Large windows show off panoramic views of the grounds.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

A massive kitchen leaves plenty of space for cooking and entertaining.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

There’s also a library that opens onto a koi pond with a waterfall.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

Hedges surround the 20-foot pool …

jule pond estate

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

… and a path leads down to the beach.

jule pond

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

To the northeast, the property borders a swath of reserved land, which adds another quarter mile of unobstructed views.

jule pond estate

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

In addition to the main house, the estate includes a garage that can hold at least six cars, a greenhouse, a tennis court, a basketball court, and a three-bedroom carriage house.

jule pond estate

Source: Bespoke Real Estate

The pending Jule Pond sale comes as the Hamptons real-estate market has exploded during the pandemic.

jule pond

While the Hamptons have long been home to coveted property, demand has surged over the past year as affluent New Yorkers have left the city for the seaside villages in New York’s Long Island.

As Juliana Kaplan reported for Insider, buyers have been snapping up luxury homes left and right, leading to bidding wars and the median sales price soaring to $8.8 million in the third quarter of 2020.

According to the Real Deal, at least 11 Hamptons homes sold for more than $30 million last year.

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The iconic mansion from ‘The Godfather’ is back on the market at a $105 million discount. Look inside the Beverly Hills estate.

godfather mansion hearst estate
  • The iconic mansion seen in 1972 classic film “The Godfather” is back on the market for $89.75 million.
  • That’s a roughly $105 million discount from its $195 million asking price in 2016.
  • In the movie, the mansion was the home of movie producer Jack Woltz, who woke up with a severed horse head in his bed after crossing the Corleone family.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The historic Los Angeles mansion where the classic 1972 film “The Godfather” filmed scenes is back on the market for $89.75 million – a $105 million discount from its original asking price – after the owner declared bankruptcy on the property.

godfather mansion

The estate’s owner, attorney and real-estate investor Leonard Ross, put the property on the market in 2016 for $195 million. Over the past several years, it’s seen price cut after price cut, down to $135 million in 2018 and $125 million in 2020

Now, the Mediterranean-inspired estate is listed at a 54% discount from its original asking price.

The new price comes after Ross was recently ordered to sell the property by a bankruptcy court following a petition from Fortress Investment Group, which said it’s owed more than $52 million in unpaid loans and interest, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ross had placed the LLC that owns the estate into chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019.

Ross and his attorney did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment for this story.

The nearly 30,000-square-foot mansion, built in 1927, sits on 3.5 acres of prime Los Angeles real estate in Beverly Hills.

godfather mansion

Once owned by media titan William Randolph Hearst, the property was formerly known as “the Beverly House” but is now being rebranded as “the Hearst Estate,” according to a spokesperson for colisting agent Marguleas of Amalfi Estates.

In 2013, the property was available for rent for $600,000 a month, per The New York Daily News.

With its latest foray onto the market, the estate is now colisted by three brokers: Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates, Gary Gold of Hilton & Hyland, and Zizi Pak of Rodeo Realty.

The Hearst Estate was used in several scenes from “The Godfather,” where it portrayed the home of the character Jack Woltz, a movie producer who makes the mistake of crossing the Corleone family.

the godfather woltz mansion

Source: IMDb

It’s been widely reported that the mansion was the setting for one of the film’s most iconic scenes in which Woltz wakes up to a bloody, severed horse head in his bed.

the godfather horse head

But Marguleas’ spokesperson told Insider that scene was in fact filmed inside an estate on Long Island in New York.

Paramount Pictures, which produced the movie, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for confirmation on the filming location of the scene.

The mansion was also seen in Beyonce’s 2020 visual album “Black Is King.”

beyonce black is king

The Hearst Estate is first shown when Jay-Z rolls up in a vintage Rolls Royce, and the film features multiple additional shots of the interior and exterior of the property.

Visitors to the estate will have to go through a wrought-iron gate and up the 800-foot driveway.

godfather mansion

Source: Amalfi Estates

The home was designed by Gordon Kaufmann, an architect who designed many other lavish mansions in the Beverly Hills area.

godfather mansion

Several additions were made to the home in the 1990s, expanding it significantly, according to a former listing.

Source: Amalfi Estates

The home, which has two swimming pools, once belonged to publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst.

godfather mansion

In addition to the pools, the home also has a private tennis court.

Source: Amalfi Estates

It’s surrounded by pristine, manicured gardens and hedges. Landscape architect Paul Thiene designed the gardens.

godfather mansion

Source: The Beverly House

Before it was listed for $195 million in 2016, the property was up for rent for $600,000 a month in 2013.

godfather mansion

Source: New York Daily News

The interior of the mansion is just as impressive as the exterior. Like the outside, it’s mostly decorated in warm, natural tones.

godfather mansion beverly hills

Source: Amalfi Estates

It includes a two-story library with hand-carved paneling and a detailed ceiling.

godfather mansion beverly hills

Source: Amalfi Estates

The furnishings are opulent, with gold tones and touches throughout many of the rooms.

godfather mansion

Source: Amalfi Estates

The living room, with its 22-foot-high arched ceiling, was sometimes used as a ballroom.

godfather mansion beverly hills

Source: Amalfi Estates

The mansion was well known even before its appearance in “The Godfather” – Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy spent part of their honeymoon there in 1953.

godfather mansion

SourceNew York Daily News

A stroll through the house would take you through its grand hallways, one of which is 82 feet long and the other more than 102 feet with a 40-foot wide mural.

godfather mansion los angeles

Source: Amalfi Estates

The 32-foot billiards room is open to the main hallway.

godfather mansion

Source: Amalfi Estates

The pool area was also used in scenes from “The Godfather.”

godfather mansion

Source: IMDb

In the film, it doesn’t look too different from today.

the godfather woltz mansion

Source: IMDb

If the 19 bedrooms in the main house aren’t enough, there’s also a separate five-bedroom house on the property near the entry gate.

godfather mansion guest house

Source: Amalfi Estates

The terrace can reportedly seat up to 400 guests.

godfather mansion

Source: Amalfi Estates

The Hearst Estate is not the only sprawling Los Angeles estate that’s gotten a massive price chop recently.

godfather mansion california

Another Beverly Hills estate, known as Villa Firenze, once listed for $165 million, just sold at auction for roughly $60 million.

And in December, a contemporary Bel Air home that was once asking $180 million dropped its price to $99 million. 

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A tech founder’s wife just paid $96 million for a house in Singapore’s most exclusive neighborhood, marking the priciest home sale of the year

30 nassim road house singapore ladyvale
A Google Maps street view of the home’s entrance on Nassim Road.

The wife of a Singapore tech founder paid 128.8 million Singapore dollars, about $95.6 million, for a house on exclusive Nassim Road, according to property website EdgeProp.

The home sits on a 32,160-square-foot lot next to the British High Commission on Nassim Road, Singapore’s most prestigious road that’s lined with embassies and multimillion-dollar mansions. Jin Xiao Qun, who’s married to Shi Xu, the founder of Nanofilm Technologies International, bought the property from businesswoman Oei Siu Hoa, who’s also known as Sukmawati Widjaja, per the report.

Jin’s purchase is the priciest single home sale of the year, according to property records. The highest overall residential sale came earlier this month when a buyer paid SG$293 million – about $217.5 million – for all 20 units of an ultra-luxury condo building.

nassim road singapore
Nassim Road is a lush, quiet neighborhood full of mansions and embassies. Jin’s home not pictured.

Sunita Gill, CEO and founder of real-estate firm Singapore Luxury Homes, said she was surprised by the high purchase price of the Nassim Road property, noting that it’s “not ready for move-in.”

“Usually purchases like that are influenced either by a potential feng shui decision or external advice on why she was willing to pay this kind of a price,” Gill told Insider.

Known as Ladyvale Bungalow, the house was built in 1964 and sold by the British High Commission in 2000 for SG$19.3 million, according to Tatler Singapore. Oei, the most recent owner, bought the home for SG$25.5 million in 2003.

Although the home is designated as a “good class bungalow” – the most rare and coveted type of housing in Singapore – it will likely require a full renovation that could cost from SG$500 to SG$1,000 per square foot, Gill said.

“So if you calculate that into size of the property, she is potentially looking at another 20 to 30 million [Singapore dollars] just on rebuild cost,” she said.

Jin could not immediately be reached for comment for this story.

The Nassim Road home sale also breaks Singapore’s price-per-square-foot record, which was set in 2019 when vacuum billionaire James Dyson paid SG$50 million for a home on a 15,101-square-foot lot on nearby Cluny Road.

james dyson singapore house
James Dyson’s bungalow in Singapore.

Bruce Lye, cofounder and managing partner at Singapore Realtors Inc, said he thought the price was fair for the location, even considering the cost of potential renovations.

“A piece of regular land in Nassim is like fine art or wine,” Lye told Insider, adding that the prices of such properties “keep reaching new highs all the time.”

The deal hints that 2021 could be another banner year for Singapore real estate after home prices recently reached a two-year high as Singaporeans and foreign nationals snap up homes during the pandemic.

“Our high-end market is very resilient,” Lye said. “Singapore is much sought after due to our safe haven status for ultra-high-net-worth individuals. With amendments to the Global Investor Program and benefits of setting up family offices in Singapore, we will see many more eye-popping deals being inked in the near future.”

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Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle just sold their Hamptons house for $8 million – nearly double what they paid for it in 2019. Look inside the 7-bedroom home.

donald trump jr hamptons house
The Bridgehampton home sits on 3.9 acres in a gated community.

Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, just sold their house in the Hamptons for $8.14 million, a source close to Guilfoyle confirmed to Insider.

donald trump jr hamptons house
Trump and Guilfoyle’s bought the Bridgehampton home almost two years ago.

The couple nearly doubled the return on their investment in the Bridgehampton home, which they purchased for $4.4 million in the summer of 2019.

The home was not publicly listed, according to Page Six, who first reported the deal. James Giugliano and Shawn Egan of Nestseekers brokered the deal, per the Page Six report. The agents didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle, who have been together since at least June 2018, are now looking for a home in Florida as the rest of the Trump family relocates to the Sunshine State, the source close to Guilfoyle said.

Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr.
Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. at a Ted Cruz Rally in Texas in October 2018.

In January, virtually the entire Trump family made moves to Florida.

Former president Donald Trump and Melania Trump left Washington, DC hours before Biden’s inauguration and took up residence in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. 

The day before, The Wall Street Journal reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner signed a lease for a “large, unfurnished unit” in a Miami Beach condominium building for at least a year. This move came after the couple bought a $32 million lot in December on a high-security private island in Miami that’s known as the “Billionaire Bunker.” 

Page Six reported at the time that Tiffany Trump was also looking for property in Miami. 

Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle’s sale of their Bridgehampton pad comes as the Hamptons real-estate market has boomed during the pandemic.

donald trump jr hamptons house

The exclusive strip of villages on New York’s Long Island has seen bidding wars and homes flying off the market at record prices, Insider’s Juliana Kaplan recently reported.

The 9,200-square-foot Bridgehampton home sits on nearly four acres in a private gated community, according to a former listing.

donald trump jr hamptons house

The living room features a fireplace and high ceilings.

A formal dining room seats at least eight people.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

Another dining area is just off the kitchen.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

The spacious, farmhouse-style kitchen is divided by a large island.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

The kitchen leads out to a screened patio overlooking the pool.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

The home’s master suite has its own sitting area and private deck.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

There are six other bedrooms in addition to the master suite.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

And they each come with an en-suite bathroom.

donald trump jr hamptons house

In total, the home has 10.5 full bathrooms and one half-bathroom.

The listing photos show multiple sitting areas throughout the house.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

A game room with a billiards table opens up to one of the decks.

donald trump jr hamptons house

Source: Corcoran

The house is minutes from the beach and includes large mahogany and stone patios, a heated pool and spa with a waterfall, and waterfront access to a 25-acre pond.

donald trump jr hamptons house
The Bridgehampton home sits on 3.9 acres in a gated community.

Source: Corcoran

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Silicon Valley’s most expensive property, a 74-acre compound with 7 homes, just listed for $135 million. Take a look at the sprawling estate.

silicon valley estate green gables
There’s plenty of patio space for al fresco dining and entertaining.

Green Gables, a sprawling 74-acre estate in Woodside, California, has hit the market for $135 million.

silicon valley estate green gables
An aerial view of Green Gables’ main residence.

It’s the most expensive and one of the largest private homes for sale in the Silicon Valley area, according to reports from Bloomberg and the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 1907, Mortimer Fleishhacker Sr., the founder of Anglo California Bank and the Great Western Power Co., started assembling adjacent swaths of land in Woodside with the goal of building a family compound, according to Christie’s International Listing, which holds the listing along with Compass.

The home has remained in the family ever since — until a few weeks ago when the Fleishhacker family put it on the market for $135 million.

Fleishhacker Sr.’s great-grandson, Marc Fleishhacker, who lives in Florence, Italy, told Bloomberg that he and the nine other cousins who own shares of the home decided to sell it as the family grew and the question of who would inherit the property became too complicated.

Zackary Wright of Christie’s International Real Estate and Brad Miller and Helen Miller of Compass are the listing agents.

Woodside, where Fleishhacker Sr. amassed his sprawling estate, is a wealthy suburb of about 5,500 people near San Jose.

woodside california
Filoli, an historic country estate in Woodside.

Woodside’s median household income is more than $250,000 and the typical home value is nearly $3.6 million.

Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison owns a 23-acre estate in Woodside, and multiple other tech billionaires have been known to own homes there.

Green Gables comprises seven houses with a total of 32 bedrooms, three swimming pools, tennis courts, a barn structure, and expansive grounds that include orchards, formal gardens, and woodlands.

silicon valley estate green gables

Each of the estate’s six other homes are in their own secluded areas, according to the listing.

The main home overlooks a 60-by-300-foot Roman pool with an aqueduct-like stone edifice.

silicon valley estate green gables

Source: Christie’s International Real Estate

Wildlife like deer and great blue herons can be spotted roaming the property, according to the Millers, the Compass listing agents.

silicon valley estate green gables

And it takes more than two hours to walk around the estate’s vast acreage, the Millers told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Green Gables’ main 10,000-square-foot residence was the first structure to be completed in 1911.

silicon valley estate green gables
There’s plenty of patio space for al fresco dining and entertaining.

It features plenty of patio space for al fresco dining and entertaining. 

Inside, many of the furnishings were chosen and designed by Elsie de Wolfe, a New York interior designer whose high-profile clients included the Duchess of Windsor.

silicon valley estate green gables

The mansion itself was designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene.

The estate’s expansive grounds have both formal gardens and woodlands with native California shrubs and flowers.

silicon valley estate green gables

Source: Christie’s International Real Estate

Flowering wisteria plants can be seen on some parts of the property.

silicon valley estate green gables

Source: Christie’s International Real Estate

In one quiet corner of the grounds sits a rustic two-story teahouse that has a kitchen and a covered patio area.

silicon valley estate green gables

Source: Christie’s International Real Estate

Green Gables may be the priciest current listing in Woodside, but the area is full of other astronomical real-estate prices.

silicon valley estate green gables

About 2.5 miles away, a nearly 13-acre estate with an equestrian arena and horse stables is on the market for $50 million.

Woodside’s real-estate record was set in 2013, when Softbank founder Masayoshi Son dropped $118 million on a nine-acre estate that was never publicly listed.

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NYC landlords are sitting on apartments because rent is getting too cheap. They’d rather keep them empty.

New York City
New York City landlords are keeping some apartments off the market.

New York City real estate is a finicky game: Apartment-hunting New Yorkers have been scoring deals left and right, but some landlords are trying to beat the discounts by holding empty apartments until prices rebound.

They’ve been yanking empty apartments off the market while demand and rent are low, a practice known as “warehousing,” The Wall Street Journal’s Will Parker reported. While warehousing is a typical approach when demand is down, Parker wrote, it’s reached new heights amid the work-from-home economy and stronger tenant eviction protections.

Parker cited data from real-estate analytics company UrbanDigs: During peak warehousing in August, landlords pulled 5,563 unrented apartments off the market. That dropped to 1,814 unrented apartments off the market in February, but the latter number was still triple the amount of apartments taken off the market in February 2020.

Landlords are likely holding these units in hopes of higher rental prices come spring and summer as the vaccine rollout continues, John Walkup, cofounder of UrbanDigs, told Parker, preventing more New Yorkers from locking in long-term deals.

New Yorkers are scoring deals on rent drops and concessions

“The pressures COVID placed on the marketplace created a unique opportunity to secure leases in prime locations and great buildings for significant discounts,” agent Ryan Kaplan, of Douglas Elliman, previously told Insider.

Rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens all had the largest year-over-year declines on record over the last year, dropping a whopping 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, per StreetEasy’s January Rental Report. The median asking rent in Manhattan was $2,750 – the lowest it’s been since March 2010, when rents dropped during the Great Recession.

Some buildings are even offering concessions of two to three months free on leases, which lowers a tenant’s net rent and can allow them to rent out a nicer building with more amenities.

Chris Schmidt, senior vice president of Related Companies, which owns luxurious rentals at buildings including The Strathmore on the Upper East Side and One Hudson Yards, where one-bedrooms can go for as much as $7,453 a month, told Insider in February that Related’s rents were trending down about 15% to 25% depending on the unit type.

Millennials in particular have been taking advantage of falling rents and discounts, upgrading to luxury apartments that suddenly fit within their budget in pursuit of more amenities, space, and the solo life.

But how long these deals will last depends on when the city fully reopens, Schmidt said, and he anticipates more real-estate momentum as vaccinations continue. “That’s going to force a lot of people seeing these steeper discounts to make a quicker decision,” he said, adding that as soon as there’s a better indication of when the workforce will return to offices, rents will start to go back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Nancy Wu, a StreetEasy economist, recently told Insider’s Libertina Brandt she doesn’t think that will happen in 2021.

“Rent will continue to be lower than they were a year ago for the full year,” she said. “Even with the vaccine coming, it’s not going to magically make the huge glut of inventory go away. Prices will continue to fall until the inventory settles a bit, more people come back to the city, more jobs are recreated from the loss of small businesses, and the city returns, somewhat, back to where it was before the pandemic started.”

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A billionaire has been trying to sell his Versailles-inspired mansion for nearly 8 years – and it’s finally set to sell at a 47% discount. Look inside the Manhattan townhouse.

ues mansion
The home was originally listed for $114 million.

After nearly eight years on and off the market, one of New York City’s most opulent homes is finally in contract to sell for nearly $60 million, Katherine Clarke reported for the Wall Street Journal.

If the deal closes at that amount, it would be a roughly 47% discount from the home’s original price.

The 20,000-square-foot mansion with a panic room and a Versailles-inspired dining room was originally asking $114 million in 2013, making it the most expensive home listed in the city. But it has seen price chop after price chop and was most recently listed for $79 million.

The home’s billionaire owner, Vincent Viola, who owns the Florida Panthers, nearly sold the home once before. In 2017, a buyer was in contract to buy the home from Viola for $80 million, The Real Deal reported. But the deal fell through, so the house went up for rent for $175,000 a month before being relisted for $88 million.

Listing agent Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

Here’s what the Manhattan mansion, now set to sell for around $60 million, looks like.

Vincent Viola’s Upper East Side townhouse was once the most expensive home publicly listed for sale in New York City.

ues mansion

Since it was first listed for $114 million in 2013, the home has seen several price reductions. Even its most recent listing price of $79 million made it the second-priciest public listing in the city, according to Trulia and Zillow.

Vincent Viola, who founded Virtu Financial and has a net worth of $2.8 billion, bought the house in 2005 for $20 million, according to The Real Deal.

In December, Viola sold his home in Brooklyn Heights for $25.5 million, breaking the record for Brooklyn’s priciest home sale ever, Mansion Global reported.

The townhouse is half a block from Central Park.

12 e 69th st

The six-bedroom Upper East Side townhouse is 40 feet wide and “totally renovated,” the listing agent, Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens, told Insider in 2019.

ues mansion

The opulent six-level home spans more than 20,000 square feet. The floors in the entry hall are heated onyx marble.

Four windows span both the front and the rear facades, providing “remarkable light at all times,” according to the listing.

The formal entry hall has 14-foot ceilings.

ues mansion

The house has a water filtration system, a security system with cameras, and a heated sidewalk for automatic snow removal.

The entry hall opens to a rotunda with 28.5-foot ceilings.

ues mansion

The home’s interior design style is “typical of the great mansions of Europe and of Stanford White in America,” Del Nunzio told Insider in 2019.

“The original architect of this mansion, William Bosworth, worked on the Rockefeller family estate, Kykuit in Tarrytown, and under the auspices of John D. Rockefeller Jr., Bosworth was commissioned to restore the Palace of Versailles, France,” she said.

A hidden door off the main hallway leads to the double-height library and office with 24-foot ceilings.

ues mansion

The house was commissioned for an international silk trader in 1883 and renovated into its neoclassical style in 1913.

A colorful mural is painted on the library’s ceiling.

ues mansion

On the garden level, an additional entrance to the library offers private access to the office.

Del Nunzio described the scale of the interior rooms as “without compare” in any New York mansion.

ues mansion

Viola, the owner, collected art, furnishings, and decoration ideas during his world travels that were used in the home, per the listing. 

In 2017, the home almost sold to a Chinese buyer for $80 million, but the deal fell through, The Real Deal reported.

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The house then went up for rent for $175,000 a month before being relisted for $88 million.

The home’s third floor includes a 40-foot-wide kitchen.

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Four windows bring in bright natural light.

On the same level is the formal dining room, which was inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France and can accommodate more than 40 people.

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Bosworth, the home’s architect, was also commissioned to restore Versailles, according to Del Nunzio.

The house includes two bedrooms on the fourth level and a master-bedroom suite with a large sitting room and two full baths on the fifth level.

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The two 40-foot-wide bedrooms on the fourth floor could be converted to four or more bedrooms, according to the listing.

The fifth-floor master bedroom also includes two dressing rooms and a separate guest suite.

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One of the master bedroom’s dressing rooms is wired as a panic room, the listing says.

The bathroom pictured in the listing looks like it belongs in a palace.

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Like much of the apartment, it’s decorated opulently. The apartment has a total of nine bathrooms.

On the home’s lower level is the saline swimming pool, as well as two saunas and a full bath.

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In the rear of the pool is the lower entrance to the split-level home movie theater.

The movie theater spans two levels and includes 12 velvet chairs.

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In total, the apartment is spread across six floors, culminating in a 2,650-foot rooftop that has a garden — and views of Central Park.

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Millennial New Yorkers are ditching basements and roommates for luxury apartments at $1,000-plus discounts

New York City skyline
Plunging rents have put luxury living within the budgets of young professional New Yorkers.

  • Millennial New Yorkers are piling into luxury apartments amid plunging rents and concessions.
  • They’re upgrading their living situation in pursuit of more amenities, space, and the solo life.
  • As of January, rents were down 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, per StreetEasy
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

$3,200. $3,000. $2,900.

Over the past several months, Brett Vergara had been watching rent fall like dominoes for apartments at The Brooklyner, a residential skyscraper that briefly had the title of Brooklyn’s tallest building around a decade ago.

Replete with a rooftop deck, floor-to-ceiling views of The Empire State Building, and an in-building fitness center, The Brooklyner was a far cry from the Park Slope basement he lived in when he first moved to New York, where bars blocked the view out of his lone window. 

“I was playing chicken with the fallen rent prices,” Vergara told Insider. 

Vergara, a 28-year-old who works as a UX program manager, said he shared his last Brooklyn apartment with three roommates, with his share of rent coming to $825 a month. He had been flirting with the idea of solo living for the past two years. 

“Part of me was torn between riding out really low rent for as long as I could and trying to figure out when was the right time to make the jump,” Vergara said.

The pandemic just so happened to be that time.

When a corner one-bedroom, which he said was priced around $4,000 when last listed in October 2019, hit $2,650 in February, Vergara said he decided to “strike while the iron was hot” and signed a lease for 66% off its pre-pandemic price.

In a city notorious for its unaffordability, the pandemic era has sent once sky-high rents plummeting, making luxury living by New York City standards attainable for those once priced out of such a lifestyle. Millennial New Yorkers like Vergara are jumping on deals they know won’t last indefinitely, upgrading to luxury apartments that suddenly fit with their budgets.     

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Brett Vergara scored a corner unit in a luxury apartment for over $1,000 below its pre-pandemic price.

Rents have plunged amid a surplus of supply

When the city that never sleeps finally got some shut-eye, many wrote off the slumber as a city dying and traded in fast-racing taxis and towering apartments for sedans and picket fences. But for some of the young urban professionals who stayed, it was the beginning of a whole new life.

“The pressures COVID placed on the marketplace created a unique opportunity to secure leases in prime locations and great buildings for significant discounts,” agent Ryan Kaplan, of Douglas Elliman, told Insider. New Yorkers fleeing for the suburbs sent rental vacancies climbing, prompting landlords to lower rents in an attempt to attract new residents and propel revenue.

Rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens all had the largest year-over-year declines on record, dropping a whopping 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, per StreetEasy’s January Rental Report. The median asking rent in Manhattan was $2,750 – the lowest it’s been since March 2010, when rents dropped during The Great Recession. Insider’s Libertina Brandt reported that rents are likely to continue falling throughout 2021.

While “luxury” can mean many things to different people, StreetEasy defines it as the top 20% of the market. Luxury rental prices dropped the most in Manhattan, falling by 11.9% to $5,642 from the second quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, according to data StreetEasy provided Insider. Prices fell by 9.7% to $2,935 in Queens during the same period and 7.5% to $3,937 in Brooklyn.

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Units at Level BK range from $2,495 for a studio to $9,000 for a three-bedroom, per Street Easy.

In NYC, a golden standard of climbing up the apartment ladder is snagging an apartment in a doorman building. In January 2020, the average rent for Manhattan one-bedrooms in doorman buildings were $4,514, data from real estate agency MNS revealed. By January 2021, they had dropped to $3,718. 

Iliana Acevedo, senior vice president of new development at MNS, told Insider that they’ve been seeing millennials “not only upgrading to more amenitized buildings but also upgrading in unit size and neighborhoods that they were priced out of pre-COVID.”

Compass has done about 900 rental deals, the majority of which have been with millennials, since last March, Compass agent Ori Goldman told Insider. But he said he wouldn’t classify it as “millennials going luxury for the first time as much as just an extreme market drop, which means anyone who used to afford Manhattan can now afford the luxury.” 

A building with amenities provides a much-needed community

On top, or sometimes instead of, lower rents, many luxury buildings are offering concessions of two or three months free. 

Consider Vergara, who negotiated an 18-month lease with two-and-a-half months free, putting his net rent at $2,250 a month.

“Increased concessions and suppressed pricing allows somebody to rent out a nicer, more luxurious building, with more amenities and a better location,” said Joshua Young, vice president of market-rate operations at the Douglaston Companies. His firm owns luxury buildings The Ohm In Chelsea as well as Level BK and 1N4th on the Williamsburg waterfront, where rents range from $2,500 for a studio to $8,300 for a one-bedroom and amenities include an outdoor pool with skyline views of Manhattan.

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Vergara has a panoramic view from his Peloton.

Many of the experts Insider spoke with said the millennials who are upgrading covet amenities like an in-unit laundry, 24-hour doormen, pools, and gyms.  Air quality is also high on the list.

“The younger demographic is looking for service,” Young told Insider. “It’s really about the whole amenity package.”

That’s something millennials may have traded previously for location in a walk-up building, said Chris Schmidt, senior vice president of Related Companies, which owns luxurious rentals at buildings including The Strathmore on the Upper East Side, which has its own squash court, and One Hudson Yards, which features a penthouse longe and bowling alley. At the latter, one bedrooms can go for as much as $7,453 a month. In February, he said, Related’s rents were trending down about 15% to 25% depending on the unit type. 

Now, he said, a building filled with amenities provides a sense of community millennials feel has been missing in New York’s partially shut-down neighborhoods.

It’s what lured Vergara to The Brooklyner, but he said he hasn’t yet taken full advantage of the amenities because he’s staying cautious indoors, even with masked strangers, until he’s vaccinated. “It’s funny because those things aren’t even really revealing their hands yet,” he said.

Space: the most important amenity in a WFH economy

Both Kaplan and Schmidt said the search for an upgrade has seduced some millennial Brooklynites back to Manhattan, where they’re now finding the space and affordability they once left the island in pursuit of. Schmidt noted that Related’s buildings in Chelsea and Hudson Yards have been the most popular.

But Brooklyn isn’t losing its luster. Young said he’s seeing the trend the most in Douglaston’s two Williamsburg buildings, where there’s a feeling of more space by the water and nearby parks.

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Juliana Goldman upgraded from a Manhattan studio to a Brooklyn one-bedroom.

Last June, Juliana Goldman decided to prioritize her living space. She was living in a large railroad-style studio in lower Manhattan “with zero light and super thin walls,” she told Insider. It was time to hightail it to Brooklyn, where she always envisioned herself for its community feel.

Her non-negotiables: an in-unit washer dryer and floor-to-ceiling windows with lots of natural light. “I’m a plant parent,” the 34-year-old founder of lifestyle and beauty public relations agency TGN explained.

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Goldman wanted more space and light.

She found it all at Level BK, Douglaston’s 41-story glass tower that shimmers over Williamsburg and the East River, complete with an outdoor space, steam room, and direct ferry service to Manhattan. At the time, apartment deals were just starting to come in, she said. While she declined to share monthly rent, she said she signed a two-year-lease with two months free. 

Trading up to a larger one-bedroom and brighter space was a game-changer, Goldman said: “It’s really helped having extra space and being able to create that working from home environment where it doesn’t feel like I’m literally working out of my bedroom.”

Space has always been a rare commodity in NYC, but the work-from-home economy has cast it in a whole new light. 

Many millennials like Goldman have been seeking an office space or a large living room that can accommodate a work zone, broker Isaiah Dunn of Compass told Insider. Common outdoor space, like a sun deck, also tops the list.

“People want to be able to have friends over when they want and not feel confined when at home all hours of the day, compared to pre-COVID, when you could just meet friends at a local spot,” he added.

Goldman said her space has become an oasis, as she spends her downtime vintage furniture shopping and decorating. “The energy here is better,” she said. “I just wake up exponentially happier every day because of my living environment.”

Entry into adulthood

Some millennials are opting for two-bedrooms with a roommate to further cut the cost of luxury, and some millennial couples are upgrading from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom for an office space.

But three experts noted a big push toward entry-level studios and one-bedrooms. Schmidt of Related said most millennials upgrading, like Vergara, are doing so to have their own apartment for the first time.

Take Lauren Mennen, a 31-year-old news writer, who was living on the Upper West Side with three roommates before the pandemic. “I’ve never actually lived alone,” she told Insider. “I took the dropping rent prices as an opportunity to start looking.”

In October, she found the studio of her “dreams” in a luxury doorman building in the Financial District with an “amazing view” of 1 World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and the Hudson River. The building itself has a gym and a sun deck.

Lauren Mennen roof deck
Lauren Mennen found a luxury apartment in Manhattan’s Financial District with a roof deck.

She was previously paying $1,500 a month for a four-bedroom flex unit (meaning the unit was originally two bedrooms with walls added later on to create four). Now she’s paying $1,700 – a big drop from the typical $2,800 monthly rent the place normally goes for. 

Even millennials already living by themselves are getting upgrades. For some, it’s the first time they’ve had a wall between their bed and their couch.

Both Goldman and Ai Nguyen, a 30-year-old behavioral specialist, fall into that category. In February, Nguyen moved from a 300-square-foot studio on the north side of the Upper West Side to a 500-square-foot one-bedroom farther south in the neighborhood in a newly renovated 14-story doorman building called the Parc Coliseum.

It was the new hardwood floors, in-unit laundry, and price that sealed the deal for her.

She told Insider her rent increased from $1,730 to $2,043 for the bigger place, but she scored a deal with two months free. That puts her net rent at $1,700 – less than her studio. A StreetEasy listing of a one-bedroom of similar size in the same building came to $3,704 in September 2019.

A rebounding market

Developers and real estate agents alike agreed that winter, typically slow in NYC real estate, has been millennial primetime.

“We’ve seen a particular spike in absorption since Thanksgiving, and millennials are a large percentage of renters rushing back to the city looking to snag a good deal before the spring rush,” MNS’ Acevedo said.

But just how long millennials will be able to cash in on an upgraded NYC lifestyle remains to be seen. 

Schmidt said it’ll be contingent upon when the city fully reopens, and he anticipates more real-estate momentum as vaccinations continue. “That’s going to force a lot of people seeing these steeper discounts to make a quicker decision,” he said, adding that as soon as there’s a better indication of when the workforce will return to offices, rents will start to go back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Ai Ngyuen
Ai Nguyen now has enough space for her own dance and workout studio in her Upper West Side one-bedroom, which costs less than her old studio.

NYC is the only major US city that still saw price drops in the last month, according to Apartment List. But it’s slowing down – rent only declined 0.1% compared to the average 2.4% over the last nine months.

Young said he’s already seeing strength in the market, and has begun pulling back on offering “month-free” discounts last week. There’s also the cyclical nature of leases, he explained: Since many jumped on deals in the middle of winter, fewer people will be vacating at the end of March. Less supply gives buildings an opportunity to pull back on prices and incentives.

Some of those who nabbed a deal at what appears to be the bottom of the market said they’re also concerned about what their rent will look like after their lease is up. Nguyen, the Upper West Sider, said she’d likely stay if it only goes up by $200 a month. Any more than that, she said, and she’d be okay with leaving the city. 

Regardless, they all said they feel extremely lucky to have been able to move during the pandemic. “There’s a sense of guilty gratitude,” Vergara said. “I feel like I got away with something.” 

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A Hong Kong penthouse just sold for $59 million – or $17,542 per square foot – making it the priciest apartment ever sold in Asia

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The five-bedroom penthouse comes with a private rooftop, a swimming pool, and three parking spots.

A five-bedroom penthouse in Hong Kong just sold to an unidentified buyer for about $59 million, breaking the record for the most expensive condo ever sold in Asia by square footage, Shawna Kwan reported for Bloomberg.

The residence sold for a whopping $17,542 per square foot.

The seller was developer Victor Li, the chairman of CK Asset Holdings, a Hong Kong property developer valued at about $23 billion. He’s the son of Hong Kong’s second-richest man, Li Ka-shing, who has a net worth of $36.7 billion, according to Forbes.

The 3,378-square-foot apartment sits on the top floor of a 23-story luxury residential building at 21 Borrett Road in Mid-Levels, an affluent residential neighborhood that’s surrounded by upscale restaurants and offers panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, according to Luxe Living Asia. 

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21 Borrett Road is a luxury residential complex of five buildings.

21 Borrett Road, completed in 2020, is a complex of five residential buildings with 181 units, according to Homewise Realty, which markets the property. Only a few of its apartments have been put on the market.

The developer delayed the sales launch of the Road residences in August 2019 because of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, according to Hong Kong publication The Standard.

The penthouse is the development’s largest unit and comes with a ​​2,131-square-foot private rooftop as well as a 717-square-foot terrace.

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Sales of 21 Borrett Road’s residences were delayed in August 2019 amid social unrest in Hong Kong.

Li of CK Asset Holdings declined to comment for this story.

The priciest apartment in Asia

The Borrett Road penthouse broke Asia’s record for price per square footage, but it’s not the most expensive apartment ever sold on the continent.

In 2017, two apartments in Hong Kong’s Mount Nicholson development sold for a combined $149 million. The price per square foot in that deal, however, was $16,897 – about $645 cheaper per square foot than the Borrett Road residence.

Singapore, another one of Asia’s priciest cities for real estate, is also known for condos that sell at exorbitant prices.

In 2019, Dyson vacuum billionaire James Dyson paid $54 million for a three-story penthouse in Singapore’s Guoco Tower. That residence, however, was massive – 21,000 square feet – meaning he paid only about $2,571 per square foot. A little over a year later, he sold it at a loss for $47 million.

Singapore’s largest penthouse, a 28,000-square-foot spread of five combined residences, hit the market earlier this month for $104 million.

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Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, several standalone mansions have sold at much higher prices than the Borrett Road penthouse. In the exclusive enclave of the Peak, where billionaires and business moguls live in secluded mansions, homes can sell for hundreds of millions.

In 2016, real-estate developer Chen Hongtian paid $270 million for a 9,212-square-foot mansion at 15 Gough Hill Road. In January 2017, iPhone screen manufacturing billionaire Yeung Kin-man paid $361 million for a 51,000-square-foot mansion on Pollock’s Path. Alibaba founder Jack Ma was rumored to have bought a $191 million mansion in the Peak in 2015, but it’s never been confirmed.

Just last week, a group of investors paid about $935 million for a 1.25-acre parcel of land in the Peak that was previously used as housing for Hong Kong civil servants. It was the highest price ever paid per-square-foot for a government-owned parcel of land.

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