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RISMEDIA, July 12, 2007—The cloud over the current residential real estate market has a silver lining.  The upper-tier market continues to boom, as evidenced by the record-breaking sale of a residential property in East Hampton (NY) for $103 million.  The race is already on to top this new record with four other homes currently on the market from $165 million to $125 million.

Although the sale in the Hampton’s is a new U.S. record, the world record residential sale was set earlier this year in London with the purchase of a flat across from Hyde Park for nearly $200 million  (in U.S. dollars) by Sheikh Hamad of Qatar.   

The new U.S. record sale was supposed to be hush-hush; but, the news was quickly out that Schlumberger Oil fortune heiress Adelaide de Menil and her husband Ted Carpenter had sold the ocean front property to Ron Baron, founder of Baron Funds Investment Company.  The transaction breaks the previous record for the most expensive home sold in the U.S. which was set in 2001 when former telecom mogul Gary Winnick paid $94 million for a Bel-Air estate. 

“At least five U.S. sellers are so optimistic that the luxury home market will stay strong that they’ve priced their homes at more than the $103 million record,” said Laurie Moore-Moore, founder of the Dallas-based Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “The chances are good that the buyer in the Hamptons won’t be king of the residential hill for long, we may see a new record in the next 18 months or so.”

Leading the pack as the priciest residence on the U.S. market is “Beverly House,” a Los Angeles (CA) compound previously owned by William Randolph Hearst and recently listed at $165 million.  Second on the list of high priced homes is “The Pinnacle,” currently under construction at the members-only Yellowstone Club in Montana, and offered for sale by the club’s developer, Tim Blixseth, for $155 million.  The three other highest priced homes include Saudi Prince Bandar’s ‘Halva Ranch” in Aspen (CO), priced at $135 million; “Fleur De Lys,” a Los Angeles (CA) property priced at $125 million; and Donald Trump’s $125 million Palm Beach (FL) re-do.  The $100 million estate known as “Tranquility,” at Lake Tahoe (NV) rounds out the list of homes priced with nine digits. 

“Although the U.S. housing market slipped overall in 2006, the luxury market has continued to boom, as a result of rising wealth at the top of the demographic pyramid,” said Moore-Moore. “Sales of homes priced at $5 million and above jumped 18% last year and rose a staggering 31% in the first quarter of 2007, according to new research by DataQuick.”

 “One interesting fact about the record-setting New York sale,” added Moore-Moore, “is that Baron didn’t want the existing homes on the property.  So, they were removed for his convenience, leaving him with a fabulous site for building his custom home.” The houses were donated to the nearby community for use as city buildings.

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