Photo: Courtesy of Hall and Hall
The real estate market over the past two decades has been full of surprises, twists, and turns. From the dramatic rise in property values and the house-flipping trend of the 2000’s to the spectacular crash and fall of the market from 2007 to now, the market has never failed to surprise and astound.Now, according to Forbes.com, the real estate market in the U.S. has a new prize in the category of most expensive property: a $175 million ranch located outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The property – a sprawling 1,750-acre ranch that features three fishing ponds, nearby forest-clad mountains, irrigated meadows for livestock, and a world-class, 52-stall equestrian centre – has been placed on the market for $175 million, eclipsing the previous asking price of $150 million tendered for the Spelling Manor (which sold last week for a mere $85 million).
While the location is ideal for reclusive billionaires – Jackson Hole is a popular watering hole for celebrities and politicians like Harrison Ford and Dick Cheney – it is hard to fathom why anyone would want to spend such a gargantuan sum of money on a ranch, much less one in which the main residence is a restored barn.
Despite the curiosity, the luxury real estate market is booming in America and elsewhere in the world, leading one to consider what other high-dollar properties are currently on the market and how they are fairing in this economic climate.
One does not have to venture far from Jackson Hole to find another high-priced luxury estate. The neighbouring Walton Ranch is listed for $100 million. The famed Hearst estate – once listed for $165 million in 2007 – was still up for grabs at $95 million at the end of 2010. John Kluge’s former 21,000 sq. ft. estate in Florida is on the market for $59 million.
Of course, high prices do not guarantee purchases. Even though the Spelling Manor sold, and another lush Silicon Valley residence sold for $100 million in March, there is no guarantee that the owner will even make it to a sale, much less find a buyer willing to pay a hefty fee. Updown Court, at one time billed as the most expensive private home in the world, is now facing foreclosure because the owner failed to make good on an $80 million mortgage. Originally listed for $143.5 million in 2005, the massive 24-bedroom mansion has languished since the onset of the recession and has cost an estimated $1 million in upkeep per year.
The takeaway? The luxury real estate market is strong, but nearly every single high-priced estate sold in the last four years has had significant markdowns from the original listing price – evidence that even billionaires are feeling the pinch (somewhat).
The rustic ranch in Jackson Hole may be the most expensive residence in the country for now, but that $175 million price tag won’t stay that way for long.
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