Significant Luxury Real Estate Sales of 2022
Despite lingering limitations brought on by the Covid pandemic—including limited luxury real estate stock, fewer international buyers and increased migration out of major cities—2022 saw several bright spots when it comes to significant luxury real estate property sales.
Significant Sale: Change of Heart in Telluride
THE WHO: TD Smith of Telluride Real Estate Corp. in Telluride, Colorado.
THE WHAT: The seller of Berman Buckskin Ranch—a rustic 1,400-acre ranch set in Placerville, Colorado in the foothills of the San Miguel Mountains—was Lyle Berman, a professional poker player and business executive. The US $24.5 million listing included a 32,000-square-foot equestrian center, a three-acre trout pond, and an eight-bedroom house built originally for Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone. Months after listing the property, Berman decided to retain the home and 35 acres for his grandchildren and sell the remainder for US $15 million. The transaction included a log cabin, a bunkhouse, and a vet hospital.
THE HOW: Berman’s decision to keep a piece of the property delayed the closing by six months, said Smith. “There was a lot of complex documentation. Because he was carving out 35 acres, that all had to be surveyed, subdivided, and approved.” In addition to the house and land, a considerable amenities package was also agreed upon by both parties, allowing the family to continue accessing the property’s various facilities. Smith added that the deal hinged on the rapport between buyer and seller. “It never would have worked unless the buyer loved Lyle. Thankfully, they got along well.”
Surrounded by federally controlled property, the Telluride Region is limited to roughly 14,000 private acres, making sizable parcels such as Berman Buckskin Ranch, an increasingly rare commodity, according to Smith. “It’s this assurance of future controlled growth that positively drives the marketplace, both with regard to volume and value.”
Significant Sale: New York City Penthouse Five Years in the Making
THE WHO: Chris Fry of Elegran in New York City
THE WHAT: After seeing a pandemic-fueled exodus from many city-dwellers, Manhattan real estate bounced back with a smattering of landmark sales, including the purchase of two newly developed residences at the recently renovated Steinway Tower. Located in NYC’s ‘Billionaire’s Row’ near the southern end of Central Park, 111 West 57th Street underwent a renovation that included the addition of 60 luxury condominiums and 68 floors, making it the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. An international buyer purchased two of these luxury residences for a combined US $33.75 million.
THE HOW: Thanks to a connection with a developer, Fry was able to get his client, a wealthy Chinese venture capitalist, early access to purchase before the general brokerage community and the public in 2017. When the pandemic hit, construction came to a halt, beginning a string of obstacles that set the completion date back a few years. Despite these setbacks, Fry says his client was ultimately satisfied with their new homes. “It was a difficult process, but I was just trying to keep him pumped up about the properties because he knew that this was going to be one of the nicest buildings in Manhattan. Now that it’s all done, he loves it.”
A recent market report from Elegran noted that Manhattan’s prices remained at prepandemic averages and that “NYC residential real estate would appear to be the new gold standard” as a method for capital appreciation by many of the world’s wealthiest individuals.
Significant Sale: L.A.’s Most Publicized Property
THE WHO: Stuart Vetterick of Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, California
THE WHAT: Headlines surrounding the mega-mansion known as ‘The One’ started appearing years ago when developer Nile Niami began marketing the property at an astounding US $500 million. Fast forward to March 2022, after consistent delays, construction challenges and a bankruptcy proceeding, the saga of “The One” ended when Fashion Nova founder Richard Saghian placed the winning bid of US $126 million. At 105,000 square feet, the residence is considered the largest in Los Angeles and includes a 4,000 square foot guesthouse, a sky deck with cabanas, a nightclub, outdoor running track, and a moat.
THE HOW: Having spent time in investment banking, Vetterick was well-equipped to represent Saghian in this high-profile sale, which required sound analysis of risk and reward. In addition to his own expertise, Vetterick also credits Saghian’s, who, over the course of his four-and-a-half year home-search, morphed into something of a luxury real estate expert. “We visited over 75 properties and, in that time, I would say Richard has become one of the most educated high-end buyers out there.”
The sale, along with several other US $50 million-plus transactions in the area, underscores the continued appetite for ultraluxe properties in Los Angeles. Looking to 2023, Vetterick says that prices should continue to crawl higher as city and county building regulations as well as the newly passed ULA Transfer Tax dwindle an already starved inventory. “The low inventory should push the market prices slightly up in 2023.”
Significant Sale: Record-Breaking Deal in Aspen
THE WHO: Liz Leeds of Slifer, Slifer Smith & Frampton in Aspen, Colorado
THE WHAT: With one client, Liz Leeds was able to facilitate the sale and purchase of two of Aspen’s most expensive homes. The first, a 16,700-square-foot mansion at the base of Aspen Mountain, was sold for US $60 million. The seven-bedroom home, which features a golf simulator, a bowling alley and a turnstile garage, was initially not on the market. For their new home, Leeds’ client purchased a 15,000-square-foot residence for US $51 million just a few miles away.
THE HOW: The sale of the mountainside estate was only considered after an unsolicited offer aligned with the owner’s minimum price. “It was definitely not a negotiation situation,” said Leeds. “My client said she would sell it for a certain amount and wasn’t interested in selling it for anything less. And so, we got a full-price offer.” The search and purchase of a new home for her client was done in congruence with the sale, a process that required thoughtful multitasking. “It was a juggling act. Everything was happening simultaneously and, in the end, they both closed within a day of each other.”
The two transactions that make up the US$111 million trade are among several unsolicited offers in the tens of millions seen in Aspen over recent years. Opposing supply and demand factors will continue to fuel a seller’s market in 2023, noted Leeds. “Demand is still high so I expect to see the higher-end homes selling. Days on market may be longer but, ultimately, these properties will trade. While some sellers may be more motivated to sell, we are not at a point where a buyer is getting a real deal.”