When you think of luxury items that are being auctioned, you normally think of art, jewelry or celebrity memorabilia. Luxury homes do get auctioned periodically, but normally it's the result of something legal, like a foreclosure. That's not the case with Villa Firenze, the ultra-luxurious Beverly Hills estate that just set the record for most-expensive home sold at auction in US history. And that's even after selling at a 63% discount to its original listing price!
Villa Firenze is located on 9 acres of the ultra-exclusive Beverly Park neighbor hood, high up in the hills of Beverly Hills. It's truly incredible. And I say that as someone who looks at luxury real estate sales all day long.
Take a moment and watch this video:
In case you didn't count, the 20,000 square-foot main home has 20 bedrooms. There are a number of guest houses scattered throughout the property, any one of which would be a luxury mansion in most cities.
The garage can hold 30 cars.
There's a tennis court, pool and a private jogging trail.
The seller is Hungarian-American airplane leasing billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy.
Steven earned his first fortune thanks to a company called International Lease Finance Corporation. Founded in 1973, he sold the company to insurance giant AIG for $1.2 billion in 1990. His latest company, Air Lease Corporation, is publicly traded and has a market cap of around $5.6 billion. Air Lease owns around 300 planes which are leased to airlines and private customers around the world.
Steven and his wife Christine actually own TWO other mansions in Beverly Park, so they certainly aren't homeless now!
They have owned the land where Villa Firenze was constructed for more than 30 years. They completed Villa Firenze in 1998. It was listed for sale for the first time in 2018 for $165 million.
After not finding a buyer for two years, for some reason they opted to put the property up for auction. Maybe they just wanted it off their hands? The auction commenced at the end of February and just concluded this week.
Interestingly, the MLS has recorded the final sale price at $51 million. That would be a 70% discount to their 2018 price. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the final sale price was "close to $60 million", which would be a 63% discount.
Furthermore, a representative of Concierge Auctions, which held the listing, told the Journal that "the recorded price isn't representative of the entire amount, and that the complex transaction included several additional considerations that wouldn't be recorded publicly."
At $50 million OR $60 million, either way, Villa Firenze is now the most-expensive home ever sold at auction. The sale tops the $42.5 million that was paid at auction for a home in Hillsboro Beach, Florida back in 2018. That home was initially listed for $160 million.
If the state of California uses the MLS price of $51 million, the new owner – whose identity is not known yet – would be on the hook for an annual property tax bill of $510,000. So the new owner has to make (or burn from savings) about a million dollars pre-tax each year to cover this one bill.
How much do you think monthly landscaping and maintenance is at Villa Firenze???