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Bloomberg News
The 5-acre Fleur de Lys mansion in Los Angeles sold for $102 million. Trophy homes are shattering price records as the rich move cash to real estate.

Price records surge as trophy homes top $100 million mark

The U.S. trophy-home market is shattering price records this year as an increasing number of residential properties change hands for more than $100 million.

Barry Rosenstein, founder of hedge fund Jana Partners, has purchased an 18-acre beachfront property in East Hampton, New York, for $147 million, according to the New York Post. That would break the U.S. single-family price record of $120 million set last month with the sale of a Greenwich, Connecticut, waterfront estate on 51 acres.

The world’s richest people are moving cash to real estate as they seek havens for their wealth. In the U.S., an improving economy and stocks at a record are bolstering confidence among the affluent. Home purchases of $2 million or more jumped 33 percent in January and February from a year earlier.

“Last year the stock market broke all kinds of records and when that happens, you’re going to see art and resort real estate break all kinds of records,” said Judi Desiderio, chief executive officer of Town & Country Real Estate in East Hampton.

“It’s sitting on a little stretch of land in East Hampton that has had the who’s who from the beginning of time,” Desiderio said. “You would recognize every name of the oceanfront owners. They are all Googleable.”

The Greenwich property, known as Copper Beech Farm, was originally listed for $190 million. It has a 12-bedroom main house built in 1898, almost a mile of shorefront, two islands, a 75-foot pool with a spa, grass tennis court, stone carriage house and an 1,800-foot driveway. Its buyer hasn’t been disclosed.

Kurt Rappaport, who represented owner Suzanne Saperstein in the $102 million sale of the 5-acre Fleur de Lys mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, said that property sold to a European billionaire who beat out two other bidders.

“The next benchmark will be $200 million,” Rappaport said. “This is a very small segment of the market that very few can afford but they rarely change hands, and when they do, it’s an opportunity.”

Last month, a Beverly Hills compound once owned by William Randolph Hearst went on the market for $135 million, making it the highest-priced residence for sale in California.

The boom in high-end real estate coincides with the slowdown in the broader housing market as tight credit, slow wage growth and higher prices and borrowing costs put homeownership out of reach for many Americans.

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