What makes a house cost $50 million -- or more? It's not the cost of the materials, or the labor, or even the square footage or acreage, though those are certainly all factors. Greed, ego and status also play a big part. But, whether it's a $50 million home or a $500,000 one, the most important variable is, as always, location, location, location.
That is why this year Forbes.com has decided to examine America's most expensive homes by region. And we discovered that while some places just cost more than others, it seems that when it comes to eye-popping real estate prices, extravagance has no boundaries.
Every year, when we set out to determine the most expensive homes in America, the list is often sprinkled with Northeastern properties, mainly on Long Island and in Manhattan. But it also includes a healthy dose of properties in California, Palm Beach or Dallas. As a bit of an academic exercise, this year we decided to break down our list regionally, in addition to compiling our national list, which will be released in October.
The Most Expensive Homes in the Northeast is the first in our series of regional lists. Over the next month we will also report on the most expensive homes in the South, the Midwest and the West. This week's list looks at the highest-priced publicly listed (as opposed to privately listed) properties in the Northeastern U.S. -- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
We found the Northeast region has more than its fair share of $20 million-plus homes, and the average price on our list is $47.45 million (by comparison, the national average from our 2003 Most Expensive Homes in America list was $49.05 million). Also, the Northeastern list is entirely dominated by properties in Manhattan, Long Island and Greenwich, Conn.
Some of the properties have made previous years' lists of the most expensive homes in America -- including Three Ponds, a $75 million single-family home in Long Island's Bridgehampton, as well as Burnt Point, the $50 million Wainscott, Long Island, mansion owned by commodities trader David Campbell, which earned a spot on our list in 2003. There are a fair number of newcomers, though.
One of the new properties is the duplex penthouse at Donald Trump's Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza -- one of the tallest residential towers in the world. The apartment had been bought by Cem and Hakan Uzan for what was supposed to be a record price of $38 million in 1999, but the Uzan brothers backed out after Sept. 11, 2001. They were subsequently accused of misappropriating billions of dollars in loans from Nokia and Motorola, and despite the fact that they never closed on the apartment, a New York appeals court recently ruled that Trump was legally allowed to keep their $8 million deposit.
In the meantime, the 89th and 90th floors of the building have been sitting vacant, patiently awaiting a new buyer. The price for the duplex is $58 million, but anyone interested in buying a single floor should expect to pony up at least $28 million for the 89th floor, or $30 million for the 90th.
Another newcomer is a massive estate located at Conyers Farm, an ultra-exclusive gated community in Greenwich, formerly home to Rosie O'Donnell and currently home to director Ron Howard and newswoman Paula Zahn. The community has polo facilities, riding trails and 24-hour security. The $53 million property, which is on the market, is also every equestrian's dream. Among its many perks are 80 rolling acres, a 22-stall stable, two efficiency apartments for grooms, a tack room and a commercial laundry facility.