Top 10 Most Expensive Houses in the World

The vermillion sunset brilliantly illuminates the path home as you ride horseback along the beach. The gleaming glass and steel of your 50,000-square-foot mansion cut through the baby blues and bubblegum pinks of the twilit sky. Handing over the horse to the stableboy, you pass through the lush gardens and stroll past the swimming pools into the vast expanse of your back foyer. Inside, the sauna awaits.

You can open your eyes now. Don't feel embarrassed; we all daydream. It's an exceedingly select few who may live this kind of life that the rest of us fantasize about. While even homes on the market for a few million dollars are out of grasp for most of us -- especially after the sub-prime mortgage fallout -- there are some people for whom a home of a few million dollars simply wouldn't do. The very wealthy have spent what amounts to the gross domestic product of some countries on their homes. And their elaborate nests have inspired a competition of sorts: What are the most expensive homes in the world? We settle the issue here, taking a glimpse at the top 10.

 Maison de l'Amitie

The kitchen at Donald Trump's Maison l'Amitie house. There's a gargantuan fountain in the driveway out front and 475 feet of oceanfront out back. Perhaps the biggest thing about the home, however, is its price tag: $125 million.

Believe it or not, the famous business tycoon also known as "The Donald" ranks lowest on this list. But Trump's beachfront property has skyrocketed in value over the years. He purchased the estate in 2004 from a bankruptcy court for $41.25 million. Maison de l'Amitie is the former home of Abe Gosman, an executive in the health care industry.

Trump's keen eye for real estate is about to pay off: He reportedly put the home up for sale in 2007 for $125 million. The 80,000-square-feet of Maison de l'Amitie feature a ballroom and a conservatory, 15 full bathrooms and eight half-baths . And including the main house, guest cottage and tennis house, it has 15 bedrooms. If the ocean is simply too salty for your taste, you can even take a dip in the 100-foot long swimming pool.

 Aaron Spelling's Manor

Legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling's 56,000-square-foot mansion outside Los Angeles, called "The Manor," was sold in 2006 for $130 million. The home was built for Spelling in 1991, with all the bells and whistles the family demanded. The 123-room home, which covers 56,500 square feet of living space, spans 6 acres of prime Los Angeles real estate .

In addition to the home's 123 rooms, you'll find an indoor skating rink, swimming pools, tennis court and bowling alley on the grounds. It also has some more unusual features, like a doll museum, a room used exclusively for wrapping presents and an entire floor dedicated to closet space . The grounds even include a private orchard, which might just keep the home's three kitchens fully stocked

Hala Ranch

A Saudi Arabian prince boasts one of the most expensive homes in the United States. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, a former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., owns the 95-acre Hala Ranch (Hala means "welcome" in Arabic), located in Aspen, Colo. The estate seems fit for Abdulaziz, who's been called an "Arab Gatsby" . The property is located in the Starwood Ranch community. It's replete with 15 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms tucked within 56,000 square feet of living space -- that's larger than the White House .

The ranch features heated stables, an indoor pool, a tennis court, private ski trails, a gas station, car wash and sewage treatment plant. The master bedroom even has its own salon. In 2006, the prince put the property on the market with an asking price of $135 million . In December 2007, he sold just the 14,395-square-foot guesthouse of his estate for $36.5 million, the highest price ever paid in for a single-family home in Aspen .

Dracula's Castle

Thanks to visits paid by the infamous Vlad Tepes (better known as Vlad the Impaler, or Count Dracula), Bran Castle -- built on 20 acres of a mountaintop in Brasov, Romania -- became a museum in the 1980s. In 2009, it will become available on the market. There's a catch, though -- the castle's current owner, Archduke Dominic Habsburg, is being quite selective about the person to whom he sells it . The asking price is projected to be $140 million .

The castle was built in the late 14th century as a fortress to ward off invading Turks . The castle boasts 57 rooms, 17 of which are bedrooms, decorated with handcrafted Old World antiques and furniture . The property does have its drawbacks, however. There are the 450,000 tourists that visit the castle each year to consider: One may assume it could take a little while before word got out that it was no longer open for visitors. Plus, the castle has no central heat and gets quite cold. But you'd get to live in the same place where Dracula stayed, which would be pretty cool


With the views that surround the site of timber and real estate mogul Tim Blixseth's soon-to-be-completed estate, it's easy to understand why Montana's called big sky country. Blixseth is building a $155 million ski lodge -- called "The Pinnacle" -- in the billionaires-only Yellowstone Club he developed. It will be the largest property in the community.

To protect against chilly feet, the home's flagstone floors will be heated, and its bathrooms will include fireplaces beside the tubs . While it has only 10 bedrooms, the 53,000-square-foot home includes an extensive wine cellar and a heated driveway to guard against the Montana winters. The home's indoor/outdoor pool is conveniently located near the gym and massage room

 Elena Franchuk's Victorian Villa

Elena Franchuk, a businesswoman and HIV/AIDS philanthropist from Ukraine, is reported to be the undisclosed buyer who purchased a newly upgraded home in southwest London for 80 million pounds (approximately $161 million). The home is a freestanding, five-story, 10-bedroom Victorian villa, and has recently undergone 10 million pounds (approximately $20 million) of upgrades, including the additions of an underground indoor swimming pool, movie theater, panic room, sauna and gym .

The home served as a girl's prep school until 1997. In 2006, it was purchased by developers for 20 million pounds. The company put in the 10 million pounds of upgrades and reputedly sold it to Franchuk for 80 million pounds. The selling price breaks the former English record for home sales of 67 million pounds (approximately $135 million)

William Randolph Hearst's Mansion

Fans of the epic movie "The Godfather" may be interested to know that the estate where the infamous scene in which a severed racehorse's head shows up in its owner's bed is for sale. The mansion, formerly owned by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (the inspiration for the main character in "Citizen Kane"), features 29 bedrooms, three pools and comes complete with its own disco and theater. President John F. Kennedy stayed at the mansion during his honeymoon .

The Hearst Mansion shouldn't be confused with Hearst Castle of Sunset Boulevard, located a little farther north along the coast. The castle contains 165 rooms, while the mansion has only a mere 29 bedrooms. However, the castle is an established museum, not a home.

In 1947, Hearst bought the 1920s mansion and its 6-acre estate for $120,000 . In 2007, the estate's current owner, who bought it in 1976, put the home on the market for $165 million. The home's buyer will have some notable neighbors, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and David and Victoria Beckham

Updown Court

Billed by the developers as "the most important private residence to be built in England since the 19th century," newly-built Updown Court is bigger than Buckingham Palace . And it's probably a lot more fun, too. The 103-room mansion includes a bowling alley, squash court, 50-seat movie theater and five swimming pools . The mansion totals 40,000 square feet and features a 24-carat gold leaf mosaic floor among its 22 bedrooms and 27 baths .

A heated marble driveway winds up to the mansion, through part of the estate's 60 acres. The staircase in the foyer is said to be modeled after the one found in Gianni Versace's old mansion in Miami. "If Elton John were a house, he'd be Updown Court," said one of the property's developers. He goes on to express doubt that Elton John could afford the $85 million pound estate. Don't feel bad for Mr. John, however. He has his own mansion around the corner, as does the Queen of England

The Penthouses at One Hyde Park

Technically, the world's second-most most expensive home doesn't exist yet. It's being built and is planned to be completed and ready for sale by 2010 -- at the staggering price tag of 100 million pounds (more than $200 million). The penthouse will sit atop the swanky flats of One Hyde Park, a skyscraper development in London's richest quarter. This posh penthouse will be the upstairs-neighbor to 82 other apartments in the building, half of which have been sold for an average of around 20 million pounds (about $40 million), or approximately 6,000 pounds (about $12,000) per square foot .

To protect against unwanted intruders, residents of the building will be protected by watchmen from the British SAS (Special Forces) members and security features such as bullet-proof windows and iris scanners . The building itself has emergency exits leading to an underground tunnel to the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel, but the penthouse's residents could simply mosey to their panic rooms. During less stressful times, One Hyde Park dwellers can bathe in communal spas, play on the squash courts or drink wine in tasting rooms . Reports of the pending penthouse also include floor-to-ceiling refrigerators and 24-hour room service for when residents don't feel like cooking.


The record for most expensive house in the world will be set officially in 2009, when Indian trillionaire Mukesh Ambani and his family move into their newly built home: Antilla. This record could stand for a very long time. At a cost of $1 billion, Ambani's 27-story tower -- complete with helipad on top -- dwarfs the next most expensive home, both financially and in stature. Forget going to the gym -- the Ambanis will have their own health club. And their friends can drop by in droves because the six-floor garage will hold 168 cars . The tower will be 570 feet tall, and mostly glass. The ultra-modern mansion will feature panic rooms, a movie theater and a staff of 600 servants .

Ambani is the head of a global conglomerate and the richest man in the emerging Indian economy, which explains why his new home will have more floor space than Louis XIV's palace at Versailles. And because each floor is double the average height, Antilla will technically be 60 stories tall. The towering house isn't too disconnected from nature: Each level will have lush gardens. It seems a refuge fit for a shy man referred to as "a modern-day Howard Hughes" 

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