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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    moving furniture yard

    As graduation season approaches, many new grads will be returning home to mom and dad or searching for an apartment in a new city.

    Rent may be one of their largest reoccurring expenses, so choosing the wrong apartment can be an expensive mistake.

    Here's a look at how new and seasoned tenants can navigate the sometimes confusing rental process.

    1. Renting sight unseen. If you're moving to a new city, it might be tempting to peruse online listings and mail a check to the landlord without actually visiting the unit in person. However, it's best to spend a few days or a long weekend visiting potential rentals, as photos can be outdated or downright deceiving. "A lot of times pictures look great, and you get there and see everything that's wrong with [the unit]," says Mia Melle, president of the Southern California-based property management firm Renttoday.us. "Smell is one thing you cannot detect from a photo. You just can't get rid of some odors if [the former tenant] smoked or had a cat."

    Visiting your new home can also give you a feel for the neighborhood – an important consideration you can't gauge from photos. "Check out the unit during the day and at night," suggests Bill Deegan, CEO of RenterNation.com, a website and advocate for renters. "Is the neighborhood quiet? Are the neighbors quiet? Are the surroundings and common areas well-maintained?"

    Another important reason to check out the apartment in person is that scammers sometimes prey on renters who don't do their due diligence, according to Jennifer Chiongbian, an associate broker with Rutenberg Realty in New York City. "The person will say, 'I'm kind of out right now, but if you send me a check, I'll mail you keys,'" she says. "When it's time to get the keys and move in, these guys are gone. Get into the apartment and meet the person who's supposedly renting it or their agent."

    [See: 6 Tips for Boomers Leaving Big Homes Behind.]

    2. Forgetting to check the details. In the excitement of finding an apartment you love, it's easy to gloss over the details. But factors like a long commute or a shortage of laundry machines can frustrate you on a daily basis. Chiongbian mentions a nice building in Manhattan that didn't have enough elevators to keep up with residents returning to the building during rush hour, so they had to line up and wait for the elevators after work. If you just went to the building for a 15-minute showing, you might not know about this detail, but talking to residents or making multiple trips to the building can help you make a more informed decision.

    Also do a test run of your morning commute before you sign a lease. Melle says some renters assume that a closer location means a shorter commute, but that's not necessarily the case if Monday morning or Friday afternoon traffic in the area leads to gridlock. And if you have a larger vehicle, be sure to check out the parking garage. "We've had tenants in condos or communities where they've had cars that don't even fit in the garage, and they've tried to get out of leases because of that," Melle says. The same goes for furniture. Melle says some tenants who are downsizing from a house may not realize that their furniture is too big to fit an apartment they're renting. Unfortunately, neither scenario is grounds for terminating a lease.

    3. Failing to document the apartment's condition. Most landlords or management companies will walk you through the unit and document any pre-existing damage. Melle says most renters don't take their own photos or video, but this can help later if there are any disputes over the apartment's condition. "The landlord has their own photos, but unless the tenant has their own pictures or documentation, there's nothing to go off of and they may end up being liable for damages that were already there," she says. Note any holes or stains in the carpet, dings or scratches on the walls, issues with appliances or cracks in the windows.

    "Upon move-out, fix anything minor like holes in the walls from hanging pictures, repaint walls if necessary, clean appliances and floors," Deegan says. "Don't give the landlord any reason to withhold your security deposit."

    [Read: 4 Common Myths About Renters Insurance.]

    4. Skipping renters insurance. Your management company or landlord should have insurance to cover their losses in case of fire or other issues. But their policy won't cover your belongings if they're stolen or destroyed in a fire, for instance. Renters insurance can cost as little as a few hundred dollars per year, yet only about a third of renters have renters insurance, according to data released by the Insurance Information Institute last August. Deegan says renters insurance is important, and some landlords are beginning to require it of their tenants. Many policies will cover liability if someone is injured in your apartment and decides to sue you or additional living expenses if your apartment is damaged to the point that it's uninhabitable and you need to stay elsewhere.

    5. Not communicating with your landlord or management company. Before you sign a lease and move in, you and your landlord should have an understanding about who is responsible for shoveling snow or mowing the grass. In larger complexes, the management company will usually take care of this, but with single-family homes, the landlord sometimes adds a rider to the lease stating that the tenant is responsible for these areas.

    You also want to check policies about living with other tenants. "Clarify with the landlord if it's OK to have other roommates and that you can substitute roommates if it comes to that," Deegan says. Chiongbian says subletting can be a major point of contention between tenants and landlords. In some cases of illegal subletting, landlords can "slap you with fees or fines, or you can lose your security deposit," she says. "You're going to see some buildings that don't allow shares and some buildings that don't care. I always think that it's better that [tenants] speak to the management company."

    Also alert your management company if your rent is going to be late. "[Renters] end up going to collections or potentially get three-day notices when they could have just called and created some type of payment arrangement," Melle says. "If payment doesn't come in and we're calling and emailing and there's no response, that's not good."

    [Read: What You Should Know Before Becoming a Landlord.]

    SEE ALSO: How To Know If You're Saving Enough Money

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    In 2008, developer Harry Macklowe was faced with $7 billion in debt and was forced to give up his crown jewel, the 50-story, 1.82 million-square-foot GM Building at 767 Fifth Avenue. A group led by Boston Properties’ Mort Zuckerman paid $2.8 billion for the tower, about twice what Macklowe had paid just five years earlier.

    But last year, when the families of two billionaires, Soho China’s Zhang Xin and Brazilian banking magnate Moise Safra, bought a 40 percent stake in the building, its value had shot up to $3.4 billion, making it the most expensive office tower in the country.

    “It’s probably one of the most recognizable assets in the world,” said Greg Kraut, a principal at commercial brokerage Avison Young. Kraut added that the property was one of the only buildings in the Plaza District with floor plates large enough to support the bigger hedge funds. “Once you manage more than a couple billion dollars worth of assets, you can’t be on 10,000-square-foot floor plates,” he said.

    This month, The Real Deal broke down just which companies occupy the trophy tower. Hint: billionaire bold-faced names abound.

    CoStar Group data shows that there are currently over 90 tenants at the property, which is anchored by the white-shoe law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and cosmetics giant Estée Lauder. But the building is also home to some of the world’s most high-profile private equity firms, with founders including billionaires Carl Icahn and J. Christopher Flowers. And according to website Hedge Tracker, the address was home to eight of the world’s top 100 hedge funds in 2012.

    CBRE Group, which handles leasing at the property, referred questions to Boston Properties, which did not respond to requests for comment.

    On the following page is a look at some of the building’s most noteworthy tenants.

    SEE ALSO: Meet The Big Shots Who Live At The World's Most Powerful Address

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    robin williams home

    Robin Williams has relisted his 653-acre estate in Napa Valley for $29.9 million, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    The actor had previously tried and failed to sell the estate, nicknamed Villa Sorriso, for $35 million in 2012.

    The 20,000-square-foot home has five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and six half-bathrooms. Amenities included a library, theater, elevator, a wine cellar, and an art gallery.

    The vast property, which has both vineyards and olive trees, is crisscrossed with roads and trails.

    Meredith Galante contributed to this story.

    Welcome to Villa Sorriso.



    The property is 80 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge.



    Williams built the home himself in the early 2000s, according to The Wall Street Journal.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    If you can't decide whether you want to spend warm summer days at the beach, in the forest, or strolling around a different city, you can choose them all by taking your own portable micro-home on holidays with you.

    From an eco-lux camper trailer or self-sufficient walking house to a tricycle home complete with its own garden, check out our five favorite designs for the best nomadic summer imaginable.

    1. N55's Walking House

    N55 Walking Micro HouseDanish experimental studio N55 designed a modular, self-sufficient home that can walk. The Walking House is a sustainable living unit complete with solar panels, micro windmills, and a composting toilet.

    2. Green Mountain College Student's OTIS

    Green Mountain Otis Micro HouseA group of students at Green Mountain College created a brilliant mobile shelter for the Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class. They called it OTIS (Optimal Traveling Independent Space) and its 70 square feet hold a sleeping area and a rainwater collector, all powered by the sun and made from reclaimed materials.

    3. Architecture and Vision's MercuryHouseOne

    MercuryHouseOne Micro HouseItalian studio Architecture and Vision designed a futuristic mobile lounge, which was unveiled at the Venice Biennale. Dubbed "MercuryHouseOne", it's equipped with all the latest sound and lighting equipment and is totally powered by the sun.

    4. Timeless Travel Trailers' Renovated '50s Airstream

    Airstream Micro houseAmerica’s outdoors company Timeless Travel Trailers discovered a 1954 Flying Cloud Airstream in mint condition. Originally used as an old hunting and fishing lodge near a lake in Oregon, the restored vehicle now offers the perfect luxury shelter for outdoorsy adventurers.

    5. Moby1's XTR

    Moby1 XTR Micro HouseMoby1's stylish camping micro-home is a modern spin on the classic 50s Teardrop Trailer. Dubbed XTR, it includes a rooftop tent, space for a real mattress, running water, and solar panels for a comfortable stay out in the wild.

    SEE ALSO: 23 Ridiculously Small Houses For Sale Right Now

    MORE DESIGN NEWS: On Business Insider's Pinterest

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    greenpoint brooklyn new york

    With May right around the corner, U.S. college graduates will be migrating to the nation's biggest cities to try to find jobs and apartments and to start life on their own.

    Niche Ink, a website dedicated to education analysis, put together a list of the best metro areas for millennials. They ranked the metro areas in the U.S. using a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and Niche Ink user opinions on the best places for life after graduation. They then calculated the best neighborhood for young people in each of those cities. (You can read the full methodology here.)

    Keep reading to see the top 25 cities and neighborhoods in the U.S. for millennials.

    #25 Ardmore in Atlanta

    Ardmore, a residential neighborhood that’s friendly and dog-oriented, is known for its gorgeous park.

    14% of its population is aged 25 to 34, and it has a median rent of $937. The average income is $29,863.

    The Niche Ink ranked metro areas in the United States using a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and its users opinions on the best places to life after graduation. You can read the full methodology here.



    #24 Lake Eola Heights in Orlando, Fla.

    Lake Eola Heights is a safe community in downtown Orlando with a selection of condos as well as historic homes.

    The median rent in Lake Eola Heights is $1,018 with residents averaging a median income of $25,330; 14% of residents are 25 to 34 years old.

    The Niche Ink ranked metro areas in the United States using a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and its users opinions on the best places to life after graduation. You can read the full methodology here.



    #23 Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Va.

    Shockoe Bottom is east of downtown Richmond along the James River, and it's become a major destination in nightlife, dining, and entertainment.

    13% of its population is aged 25 to 34, and it has a median rent of $921. The average income is $30,324.

    The Niche Ink ranked metro areas in the United States using a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and its users opinions on the best places to life after graduation. You can read the full methodology here.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Thames Town, ShanghaiA Shanghai suburb that is forever England.

    Oxford Street is a quiet cobbled lane, with Tudor-style shop fronts and lights supposed to look like gas lamps. At one end it opens out onto a small square. A bronze statue of Winston Churchill stands in front of the open-air colonnade of Thames Bar, looking towards an elderly man sitting on a bench on the other side of the plaza.

    He is petting his two pugs, one dressed in a yellow jacket and the other in blue. It is so much cheaper here than in central Shanghai, he says--and, traffic permitting, it is only an hour away by car.

    President Xi Jinping may be having a Chinese dream, but the country's city planners are often inspired by foreign examples. Thames Town has Victorian- and Georgian-style housing for 10,000 people, red phone booths and, perhaps oddest of all, a church (pictured) with a spire closely modelled on a mid-19th century Anglican one in Bristol. A columnist in Global Times, an English-language newspaper in Beijing, accused Shanghai officials of being "unconcerned about cultural affinity or national ethos", succumbing to "the appeal of the foreign".

    Thames Town is often scoffed at as one of China's most peculiar "ghost towns". For years most of its houses remained empty. Its town centre attracted far more people in search of a novel background for wedding photographs than for suburban homes. (Cashing in on this, many of Thames Town's shops offer photographic services and wedding regalia for hire.)

    But in the environs of a city like Shanghai, one of China's most prosperous, building the town was probably a good long-term bet. Soaring property prices in the city centre are forcing buyers ever farther out.

    Shanghai has a record of proving doomsayers wrong. Thames Town and other European-themed suburbs like it are but tiny specks compared with the vast endeavour that the city undertook in the 1990s, clearing a semi-industrial, semi-rural area of tens of thousands of people to make way for a new financial centre on the east side of the Huangpu river. In 2000 this newspaper called the new Pudong zone a "ghost town of a business district". It is now a skyscrapered icon of Chinese economic power.

    New shops are opening in Thames Town, and residents say occupancy is picking up. Three years ago even the church acquired a congregration--though that was just transplanted from a Catholic church nearby, demolished to make way for yet more urban growth.

    Click here to subscribe to The Economist.

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    Poveglia

    The Italian government is auctioning off Poveglia Island, formerly home to medieval plague victims and 20th century asylum patients, as part of a continued effort to raise money to cover the country's national debt

    Italy is offering a 99-year lease on the island in the Venetian Lagoon for a price that will be determined by online bidders next month, according to The Telegraph, citing a state sale's agent who noted that barracks on the island had previously sold for 3.8 million euro ($5.25 million).

    The country reportedly hopes Poveglia's buyer will transform the former mental hospital, which operated between 1922 and 1968, into a luxury hotel.

    The small island's other structures include a 17th-century fort, a church, a prison and a bell tower. Legend has it a doctor who routinely performed lobotomies at the asylum threw himself from the tower after having been driven mad by ghosts of the plague victims. Estimates allege tens of thousands of people died and were burned or buried on the island.

    The stories and history of Poveglia helped earn it the title of "The Most Haunted Place in the World." The television shows "Ghost Adventures" and "Scariest Places on Earth" also filmed episodes there.

    Citizens of Venice are organizing to stop Italy's private sale of Poveglia. They want to keep ownership local and open the island to the public.

    Take a look at the island as it stands today:

    SEE ALSO: Vintage Photos Show How Idyllic Italy Was In The 1980s

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    Sunset Cove

    If you're looking for a vacation home, or at least a home that feels like a vacation, it's worth looking in to this Lake Tahoe lakefront estate.

    Located on the north shore of Tahoe's "Billionaires' Row," the house includes some serious amenities like your own private pier and beach. 

    Listed by Chase International for $11.9 million, it was originally built in 1949 with large windows in almost every room to soak in the view.

    And aside from the three bedrooms, the home includes a library, office, family room, and separate guesthouse.

    The $11.9 million home sits on a secluded one-acre lot.



    The expansive property consists of a 4,386-square-foot main house including a private patio in the back.



    And there's the 785-square-foot guesthouse.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    This week, Gallup released the latest edition of an annual survey asking Americans what they considered to be the best long-term investment.

    The No. 1 answer? Real estate!

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    This chart doesn't go back that far, sadly, but you can see that just a few years ago, the percentage of Americans who thought real estate was the best investment was MUCH lower, a fact obviously attributable to the trauma of the housing crash.

    After the housing crash, numerous pundits predicted that America's love affair with homeownership would be doomed for good and that it might take generations for people to be into the idea of owning real estate again.

    Nope.

    One problem here is that Americans are wrong: Crash aside, real estate isn't historically that great of an investment.

    Cullen Roche, who brought the survey to our attention, writes that the long-term performance of real estate as an investment is actually quite pathetic:

     According to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Construction single family real estate generates a 0.74% annual return over the last 30 years (this includes multiple housing booms, mind you, so the data is probably much lower if we go further back in time).  So there appears to be some recency bias here despite the housing bust.

    And this doesn’t even account for many of the miscellaneous costs involved in real estate.  As I’ve shown previously, a house is basically a depreciating asset that comes with an appreciating piece of land.  But that depreciating asset is extremely expensive over its lifetime.  When you calculate the total costs that go into maintaining this asset the returns are very likely to be negative over long periods of time.  So that 0.74% figure is probably higher than you should really expect.   In fact, the returns from stocks and bonds trump real estate by a healthy margin so Americans have this one totally backwards – the American Dream isn’t quite the dream we have been sold.

    People may have excellent reasons for buyin a home, as opposed to renting. And right now in many cities, the math indicates that buying is preferable. But as a long-term investment, it's wild to see real estate retain its perch as the clear favorite among Americans.

    SEE ALSO: In so many cities, buying is much cheaper than renting

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    One Madison ParkThis story first appeared in the May 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

    When Rupert Murdoch purchased the triplex penthouse unit at One Madison in NYC's Flatiron District in February, the media mogul acquired a sprawling 7,000-square-foot home located on the top three floors.

    But for Murdoch, it wasn't enough: He also bought floor 57, the one directly below his aerie, adding another 3,300 square feet of space. Total price? $57.25 million.

    One Madison Park"That Rupert bought the triplex wasn't a surprise," says Leslie Wilson, director of sales at The Related Cos. building. "And the fourth floor purchase wasn't exactly a surprise, either. We purposefully put an open floor directly under, anticipating that a buyer might possibly combine it all for a four-story, 10,000-square-foot palace in the sky."

    PHOTOS: Bela Lugosi's Former Estate Returns to the Market for $4.2 Million

    In Manhattan's heady real estate market, which is being driven by record-breaking sales to 1 percenters, the craze for combining is reaching new heights. In January, Lauren Bush and husband David Lauren (son of Ralph Lauren) purchased Annie Leibovitz's three connected West Village townhouses for $28.5 million. Leonardo DiCaprio nearly doubled his living quarters at the eco-chic 2 River Terrace in Battery Park in March when he snapped up his neighbor's 2,300-square-foot unit for $8 million.

    When a second brownstone became available next door to Michael Feinstein's Upper East Side residence in 2005, the singer purchased the four-story home, which he connected with his original structure to create an 8,000-square-foot residence. "We realized the only way to find what we were looking for was to create it ourselves -- it's an extraordinary feat of engineering," Feinstein tells THR. The home, with its double-sized back garden, is on the market for $17.9 million.

    "We're in the middle of a gold rush where developers are seeing how people are combining homes to make even bigger ones, and they're building big," says Raphael De Niro, a real estate agent at Douglas Elliman and son of Robert De Niro. "For most of the projects that are in the pipeline right now, we're talking about units north of 3,000 square feet on up to 7,000 square feet. That's mansion-size square footage here."

    STORY: Cuba Gooding Jr. Sells Pacific Palisades Estate; Celine Dion Lists Florida Spread

    So do megasize homes lead to equally large returns? Definitely, says Stribling's James Cox Jr., who has three units at Tribeca high-rise One York on the market for $18 million. "Instead of selling them individually, it's a much better opportunity to sell them as one combinable residence."

    hrCorcoran's Carlin Wright, who has two apartments being marketed as a combinable home on Riverside Drive for $5.5 million, agrees: "It's a case where the whole is much more than the sum of the parts."

    For broker Vickey Barron of Douglas Elliman, the real estate equation turned into a $50.9 million sale in January at Walker Tower, a 1929 art deco conversion in Chelsea (Cameron Diaz purchased a unit in the building for $9 million in 2013).

    "When I walked through with developers, the top floor was originally designed to be two units. We convinced them to turn it into one and even ripped out one of the kitchens to make it happen," says Barron.

    The result? The 5,955-square-foot, five-bedroom penthouse on the top floor with three wood-burning fireplaces was the most expensive condominium sale ever in downtown Manhattan.

    "The good news is that new inventory coming onto the market is big," says Barron. "But often, it isn't big enough."

    SEE ALSO: 10 Secret Restaurants In New York City

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    Monaco

    When it comes to luxury real estate, a million dollars goes a lot farther in Monaco than it does in Dubai.

    According to the latest Wealth Report from real estate consulting firm Knight Frank, Monaco has the most expensive luxury real estate in the world, with $1 million buying just 15 square meters (161 square feet) of prime property  about the size of California's smallest legal apartment.

    In Cape Town, on the other hand, $1 million will buy more than 14 times that much space.

    The chart below, via Knight Frank, gives a great visualization of what $1 million buys in various luxury housing markets around the globe.

    Screen Shot 2014 04 22 at 11.29.41 AM

    At the high end of the spectrum, luxury real estate in Monaco costs as much as $6,800 per square foot. In Cape Town, it's as low as $470 per square foot. See the full range of prices in the table below.

    Untitled 3Now check out how much square footage $1 million buys in cities around the U.S.

    SEE ALSO: The Most Important Cities In The World

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    Champagne House

    If you've dreamed of living like a Chinese Emperor, Hong Kong's "Champagne House" might just be for you.

    The 10,955-square-foot estate exudes a certain sophistication that is ideal for parties and entertaining, with an open layout, oversized kitchen, and four different terraces.

    The four-bedroom, four-bathroom colonial-style residence costs an exorbitant $38.7 million (via Homes of the Rich).

    The price tag not only includes the modern amenities and luxuries of the home, but its expansive private park containing traditional Chinese architecture.

    The mansion comes with two guarded entrance gates and driveways that lead toward the residence. 

    This is Hong Kong's 'Champagne House.' Situated only 45 minutes from the center of the city, the property includes the main residence, a guest house with three en suite bedrooms, and domestic servants' quarters.



    Inside, there's a "Grand Atrium Reception Hall" with a crystal chandelier, floor-to-ceiling windows, and marble flooring.



    Its formal dining room looks out to the home's courtyard and features mosaic floors.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Downtown Manhattan

    NEW YORK/SYDNEY (Reuters) - For the first time, the Chinese have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, real estate brokers estimate, taking the mantle from the Russians - whose activity has dropped off since the unrest in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia by the United States.

    Wealthy Chinese are pouring money into real estate in New York and some other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and also establish a base for their children to get an education in the West.

    Reuters asked five of the top real estate brokerages for their ranking of foreign buyers in New York City. The Chinese ranked first in both volume and value of sales in all their estimates. Opinions differed on just how the Russians, Europeans and South Americans stacked up next.

    There are no official figures collected on the national and ethnic backgrounds of home buyers because of U.S. fair housing laws, designed to protect against discrimination.

    The Chinese interest is mainly a valuation play, real estate experts say. After the U.S. housing bust in 2007-2010, home prices in major U.S. cities fell to levels that made them attractive. While U.S. prices have been recovering, they are still appealingly low by comparison with many other parts of the world.

    Many Chinese buyers are switching their interest away from markets like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singaporeamid fears that prices have soared to frothy levels in those cities. Hong Kong has the second most expensive housing market in the world, behind Monaco, with Manhattan trailing in sixth place, according to British real estate research firm Knight Frank.

    The brokers say that many Chinese buyers are also investing abroad so they can own property near major educational institutions. Some are buying homes near top colleges — even though their children are so little they can't walk yet. More than 80 percent of wealthy Chinese want to send their children overseas to school, according to the Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based publication.

    "By far and away, the Chinese are the fastest growing demographic," said Dean Jones, a U.S.-based broker with Sotheby's International. "They are the top consumer for real estate, and New York is front and center."

    Added Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group, one of the best known New York real estate firms: "In sheer numbers, the Chinese outspend the Russians in every segment of the market."

    THE RUSSIANS: "THEY'RE GONE"

    In Manhattan, it wasn't long ago that Russian oligarchs dominated the gilded world of real estate, gobbling up status-heavy, marquee properties, such as an $88 million, Robert A.M. Stern-designed penthouse and a $75 million mansion with a ballroom and a rooftop aerie.

    Now, many brokers say, Russian buyers have become scarce largely because of fears that the struggle over Ukraine will worsen leading to increasingly tough U.S. sanctions on politically-connected and wealthy Russians.

    "They're gone, they're gone," said Sotheby's International broker Nikki Field, "They've been gone since the Crimean outbreak."

    The Chinese grew to 28.5 percent of Field's international business in the first quarter of 2014, up from 19 percent last year. "We've only scratched the surface with Chinese demand," Field said.

    Chinese buyers typically used to pick up properties in the $1 to $5 million range in New York, often buying two and three at a time for investment purposes, the brokers said.

    But lately they have been moving up market, brokers say. The current in-vogue building among the Chinese is Central Park's One57, a new skyscraper designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Christian de Portzamparc, where they can spend $18.85 million for a three-bedroom or $55 million for an apartment taking up the entire 81st floor. The building comes with all of the amenities of a five-star hotel.

    The Chinese are also venturing out to Long Island, where they are buying Gatsby-esque mansions set atop rolling greens.

    Broker Shawn Elliott ferries around groups of Chinese buyers in Rolls Royce and Mercedes-Benz luxury sprinters every week, often catering to entire families at a time.

    "They're looking for trophy properties," said Elliott. "They're looking for their children to be comfortable, and to be near Columbia or New York University."

    Some Chinese aren't even bothering to come to the United States at all, going so far as to pick up multi-million-dollar properties sight unseen.

    One Chinese buyer recently purchased two properties, worth $13 million, at the Baccarat Hotels & Residences in New York. The entire deal was done via the Chinese social networking site WeChat, according to the broker who did the deal, Douglas Elliman's Emma Hao.

    "I think the Chinese trend is onwards and upwards," said Liam Bailey, a partner with Knight Frank. "There will be more Chinese buyers, and they will take more share of the market."

    New York isn't alone.

    In Sydney, the Chinese became the top buyers of new luxury homes last year, according to sales research conducted by Knight Frank.

    Shanghai businessman Wang Jiguang has already picked up two houses in another major Australian city,Melbourne, and one apartment in Sydney. "My child is going to study abroad, and we are just preparing some overseas assets for our child, which will be less risky," Wang said in a telephone interview from Shanghai.

    Mainland Chinese were the top foreign investors in Australian real estate last year, according to Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board. They bought $5.9 billion worth of property, accounting for 11.4 percent of total foreign investment in real estate, FIRB said.

    The data includes both residential and commercial properties. But the average value of the purchases for China is the lowest of all the countries, which suggests a large number of the deals are for residential property.

    Monika Tu, a broker at top-end real estate firm Black Diamondz Property Concierge in Sydney, says that over the past year mainland Chinese have become 80 percent of her company's business.

    "There is nearly no local market for top-end properties," says Tu.

    That fact has made the local headlines, with some accusing the Chinese of "pricing out local buyers". In March,Australia's federal parliament announced an inquiry into foreign investment in the sector in a bid to find out whether local real estate deals are being properly policed.

    In Manhattan, some locals are also starting to grumble, brokers say, about the new "China Price", a phenomenon that can see Chinese buyers sweep in and outbid other buyers, often with all-cash offers.

    In London, robust property laws and British universities are a big draw for the Chinese. They became the city's number one foreign buyer last year, according to Knight Frank, accounting for 6 percent of all purchases over 1 million pounds ($1.68 million). The Russians accounted for 5.2 percent.

    "The Russian buyers are a maturing market," said Bailey. "And they aren't growing anything like the Chinese buyers."

    (Reporting by Michelle Conlin and Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Martin Howell and Alex Richardson)

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    manhattan

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - For some Chinese investors, the first step to purchasing millions of dollars in property on the other side of the globe is a lot like ordering a new t-shirt online - search and click.

    Social media is the catalyst, connecting Chinese buyers and overseas agents. At least one prospective buyer entrusted an agent with $100 million to invest in residential housing. Others bought houses in Houston or plots of land in Colorado, sight unseen, according to real estate agents.

    In the last six month of 2013, $1.1 billion worth of potential transactions were referred to international agents by Juwai.com, the largest real estate portal that targets Chinese buyers looking abroad. It was unclear how many deals were actually completed.

    As property prices cool in Hong Kong and Singapore, which have long been magnets for Chinese investment, more money is flowing to real estate markets such as New York, London and Sydney. Chinese have overtaken Russians for the first time as the biggest buyers of apartments in Manhattan, according to real estate brokers.

    Chinese buyers invested $13.5 billion in overseas property last year, compared with $6.3 billion a year earlier, according to real estate consultancy Savills.

    China's social media platforms such as QQ, WeChat and Weibo are hugely popular among younger property buyers, many of them 20-something scions of China's wealthy families. They are driving a new phase of Chinese outbound property investment that is expected to grow 20 percent per year in the coming decade.

    "Social media is immediate and familiar to the buyers, it's a way to connect people without formality and without introduction. And then you have a little connection," said Joel Goodrich, a San Francisco-based agent who specializes in luxury real estate.

    He and his co-worker in New York were referred a Chinese businessman by Juwai.com at the end of last year. The client gave them a budget of $100 million to invest in real estate in New York. They have been communicating over QQ Chat, a popular instant messenger in China run by Tencent, and the buyer has made plans to visit the U.S. city to check out his options.

    Juwai.com has also referred clients with budgets of $200 million and A$320 million ($298.93 million) to real estate agents overseas, according to Andrew Taylor, the property website's Hong Kong-based co-chief executive officer.

    China tightly controls foreign currency transactions. Individuals can exchange Chinese yuan for a maximum of $50,000 a year. Chinese companies, however, can buy more U.S. dollars than otherwise allowed by fake invoicing. Many wealthy Chinese have made use of corporate and legal entities to transfer large sums overseas.

    SEARCHING FOR INVESTMENTS

    Juwai.com's Taylor said his portal has worked with customers as young as a 20-year-old student who was studying in the United States and looking to buy property there for his family back in China.

    Since the website launched 2-1/2 years ago, the types of inquiries have changed. Where once clients were looking only for a place to live in the United States, now it's often about finding a good investment.

    "They're asking questions about what's the capital gain, what's the yield potential, what's it like living here and what are the taxes," Taylor said.

    Goodrich said 99 percent of his clients buy for investment and they look for yields of around 3 to 4 percent. The top 1 percent are looking for a trophy property.

    Soufan.com owned by Nasdaq-listed Sina Corp, Meiaoju.com and Auproperty.com.au are other marketplaces that work on a similar business model, acting as intermediaries for Chinese buyers and overseas agents.

    Other domestic and international online agents are also scrambling to form new partnerships and expand their services. Earlier this month, U.S. real estate information company Zillow Inc said it planned to partner with China'sBeijing Yisheng Leju Information Services Co, an affiliate of E-House (China) Holdings Ltd, to tap growing interest from Chinese mainland clients, the second-largest foreign buyers of U.S. homes last year.

    Chinese buyers spent $425,000 on average on U.S. homes as of the end of March 2013, with 69 percent of deals reported as all-cash purchases, according to Zillow.

    Although most buyers prefer to check out properties in person before buying, some have agreed to long-distance deals.

    Gladys Wang, a Chinese agent based in Houston who has more than 1,400 followers on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, said she had clients closing deals to buy $300,000 to $400,000 properties without even seeing them.

    "Many Chinese are not familiar with Houston, but they learnt more about the city by following my posts on Weibo," said Wang.

    "Nowadays consumers look at reviews before they make a purchase. Social media is good for this. They have more trust in me than those who found me through ads, because they have been following my Weibo, and that speeds up the buying process."

    Instead of selling physical properties, some agents opt for land sales which cost less and close faster.

    Frank Hu, an agent listed in Soufun.com's U.S. website, focuses on selling land in Colorado and Hawaii because the entry-level investment is much lower at $10,000 to $20,000.

    "Clients don't need to visit the land before buying; there's nothing to see about land. We only need to provide clients information like its location and price," he said. ($1 = 1.0705 Australian Dollars)

    (Additional reporting by Beth Gladstone in NEW YORK; Editing by Emily Kaiser and Alex Richardson)

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    A super-luxe penthouse condo at the very top of Miami Beach's Faena House that was listed for $50 million is in contract, making it the most expensive condo ever sold in Miami Beach, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    Though the identity of the buyer and closing price were not disclosed, the agent who represented the buyer told the WSJ that "his client liked the privacy afforded by the fact that the building is relatively small—47 units—and that the penthouse has a rooftop pool."

    The Faena House, an 18-story condominium tower that sits on Miami Beach's widest stretch of white sand, was developed and built by Argentina's Faena Group. It contains 47 residences, but the penthouse, with panoramic views of the beach, bay and downtown skyline is by far the most luxurious.faena penthouse miamiDesigned by Foster + Partners (the same architects responsible for the Hearst Tower's new facade), the 8,000-square-foot penthouse has five bedrooms, two custom kitchens, and a private interior elevator, according to the Faena House's website. It also holds a media room, great room and dressing room. VIEW 08   PENTHOUSE TERRACE VIEW LOOKING NORTHMost notably, the penthouse features a beautiful "alero," a sweeping Brazilian-style terrace that wraps around the entire building and adds a staggering 7,000 square feet of outdoor living space. faena penthouse miamiOutside there's also an outdoor kitchenette, cabana and private 70-foot infinity pool. faena penthouse miamiAll residents of the building have access to hotel-style amenities and services. These include valet and private concierge service, an in-house spa and fitness center with direct ocean views, a private Beach Club with full cabana service, and two pools.faena penthouse miami

    SEE ALSO: Buy Hong Kong's Stunning 'Champagne House' For $38 Million

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    times square new york city

    Rents in New York City have skyrocketed by 75% since 2000, while median incomes have grown static.

    The median apartment rent rose to $1,100 per month from $630 over a 12-year period ending in 2012, according to a report from the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer.

    Compared to everywhere else in the U.S., the 2012 rent level in the city was 31% higher. Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor in 2001. Several more apartments rents in the range of $1,200 and $1,600 now than in 2000. Back then, apartments renting for $400 through $1,000 per month were far more common. There were 360,000 fewer units in that range in 2012, Crain’s reported, citing the study.

    The median income of residents is down by 4.8%. The average annual U.S. inflation rate during the same period was around 2.5%, Crain’s reported.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is slated to unveil a plan for preserving 200,000 affordable-housing units on May 1.

    “Rents are going through the roof, while incomes are sinking. And that’s where you get the affordability crunch, and it’s hitting our city at virtually every income level,” Stringer said, calling some of the data “chilling.” [Crain's] — Mark Maurer

    SEE ALSO: This Simple Test Could Tell You Whether To Rent Or Buy A Home

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    New York City

    NEW YORK CITY — It’s affordable housing — for the 1 percent.

    A polo-playing multimillionaire who allegedly broke up Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s marriage, a former tobacco executive who once chaired an anti-tax organization and the head of a hedge fund have all lived in rent-stabilized apartments in some of Manhattan’s toniest zip codes in the past few years, paying a fraction of their units’ true market value.

    A DNAinfo New York analysis of state records found that they were among the tens of thousands of big earners, from surgeons to law firm partners to business executives, occupying rent-regulated units, the city’s largest form of affordable housing.

    Many of these tenants had remained in their apartments for decades, only losing their sweet deals when  their monthly rents rose above $2,500 and their landlords proved that they had earned more than $200,000 in each of the previous two years.

    Having a rent-regulated apartment can mean significant savings. In a report released last week, City Comptroller Scott Stringer noted that a recent study showed rent-regulated apartments in Manhattan reduced monthly rents by an average of $829.

    “It’s ridiculous,” Carol Kellermann, the president of the good-government group Citizens Budget Commission, said of high earners living in rent-regulated homes.

    “It’s not making affordable apartments available to low-income people.”

    Rent-stabilization laws were enacted more than a half-century ago to make the city more affordable for the middle and working-class. A government board annually sets rent increases for these apartments, preventing any sharp rises. In exchange, landlords receive tax breaks.

    But having a low or middle income is not a requirement for obtaining a rent-regulated apartment. That means wealthy city residents can live in them, too  — if they’re lucky enough to snag one.

    In 2010 there were nearly 970,000 rent-stabilized apartments in the city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most-recent New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey

    That year an estimated 22,642 rent-stabilized households had incomes of more than $199,000, according to the census data which Citizens Budget Committee analyzed for DNAinfo New York.

    Roughly 2,300 rent-stabilized households had incomes of more than $500,000, according to the data.

    Bruce Colley — a multimillionaire whose family owns a 300-acre estate in North Salem, N.Y., and whose dad is one of the biggest McDonald’s franchisees in the country — fit in that group.

    Colley, 60, made headlines in 2003 for allegedly having an affair with Cuomo’s then-wife, Kerry Kennedy, leading to their divorce.

    At the time of the alleged scandal, Colley lived with his wife, Ann, in a $2.5 million apartment on the Upper East Side. His own marriage subsequently ended in divorce.

    In 2008 Colley moved into his then girlfriend’s rent-stabilized apartment and took over her lease.  The unit was in a landmarked building on tree-lined East 74th Street, just two blocks from Central Park.

    His girlfriend and now-wife, Teresa de Sequera, had lived in the apartment since 2004, according to records. But in May 2010 the landlord of the building filed a petition with the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal, requesting that it deregulate the unit because of the couple’s combined income and their monthly rent.

    Under state law, HCR will deregulate a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartment when a landlord can prove a tenant’s annual income was more than $200,000 for two consecutive years and the rent was more than $2,500 a month. In 2010 the income threshold was $175,000 a year and the ceiling on monthly rent was $2,000.

    In recent years landlords have tried aggressively to use the procedure, known as luxury decontrol, to deregulate apartments so they can rent units at a much higher market value.

    According to HCR, landlords filed 8,185 luxury decontrol petitions between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2013. However, the HCR, which can take years to issue a decision, only approved 291 luxury decontrol requests during that time period, according to records obtained by DNAinfo under a Freedom of Information Law request.

    HCR approved a luxury decontrol of de Sequera and Colley’s apartment in February 2012.

    Colley told DNAinfo that when he moved into de Sequera’s apartment, he was clueless that it was rent-stabilized.

    “[De Sequera] did qualify to live there. That’s how I ended up there. I took over her lease,” Colley said.

    “I wouldn’t have qualified if [the management company] had asked me any questions. They never asked me about [my income]. I wasn’t being sneaky.”

    The polo player said the apartment was a studio and “wasn’t that cheap,” but declined to give the monthly rent amount.

    “It was not like we were living in luxury,” he said.

    In October 2011, a year after getting notice that the landlord had applied to have the apartment deregulated, Colley and de Sequera purchased a $1.8 million Upper East Side apartment, where they now live.

    Some of the other high earners whose rent-stabilized apartments were deregulated in the past two years because of their income include:

    • A 57-year-old former Philip Morris executive who served for years on the board of directors of the conservative think tank Heartland Institute and on the board of directors of the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, an anti-tax group. He lived in a rent-stabilized apartment inMidtown between 1994 and 2013, records show. While living in his government-regulated unit, he and his wife bought a $275,000 weekend home in the Berkshires in 2005, according to property records.

    • A former magazine editor and her husband who owns a photo agency. They lived in a rent-stabilized unit on the Upper West Side for 27 years until it was deregulated in 2013, records show. For most of that time, they also owned a cottage on a 7-acre property in upstate New York.

    • A hedge fund principal and his wife, a former magazine editor, who lived in an Upper West Side apartment.

    • An oral surgeon at New York Presbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center and his wife, the director of human resources at a major publishing house, who lived in an Upper East Side apartment three blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    • The culture editor of a major fashion magazine and her husband, the president of an arts consulting firm that works with museums, who lived in an Upper West Side apartment.

    Kellermann, of the Citizens Budget Commission, said she was not surprised that big earners were occupying rent-regulated apartments.

    She said that while the current rent-system helps some New Yorkers who truly need affordable housing, it lets high-income earners take advantage of the deal as well.

    “It doesn’t address the problem of creating more housing at low rents for low-income people,” she said.

    Her organization issued a report in 2010 recommending the state expand more effective affordable-housing programs that target low- and moderate-income households.

    The report also said that the state should phase out rent-stabilized apartments for high-income households. It recommended a deregulation procedure that is based solely on a tenant hitting an income threshold — not tethered to the rent hitting a certain ceiling.

    The report said deregulating apartments occupied by high-income earners would lead to more revenue for the city since landlords would lose the property tax breaks.

    But rent-regulation remains a polarizing and deeply divisive political issue with little chance of an easy fix in Albany.

    Tenant advocates are fiercely opposed to the loss of any rent-regulated apartments while landlords, hoping to capitalize on the city’s white-hot real estate market, want them gone altogether.

    Kate Goldstein, the executive director of renters rights group Tenants and Neighbors, declined to comment on whether big earners living in rent-regulated apartments unfairly take away affordable housing from New Yorkers with lower incomes. 

    Instead she said the real threat to affordable housing is a process known as vacancy decontrol. Under state law, landlords can fix up a vacant rent-regulated apartment and increase the rent by 1/60 of the value of the improvements.

    If the increase raises the apartment’s rent to more than $2,500 a month, then it can be deregulated.

    Stringer’s report last week noted that in 2012 vacancy decontrols accounted for about 70 percent of apartment deregulations.

    “We would really love to see the repeal of vacancy decontrol,” Goldstein said. “That’s our biggest priority.”

    The Rent Stabilization Association of New York, which represents landlords’ interests, has lobbied state legislators in the past to lower the income and rent threshold for luxury and vacancy decontrols, hoping to the quicken the deregulation of apartments.

    Jack Freund, the executive vice president of the association, said that building owners do not get enough out of affordable housing. He added that the fact that millionaires can live in subsidized apartments highlights the problems with the system.

    “What this points to is this inherent failure of the system to not be income-based, to just give out subsidies willy-nilly,” Freund said. “The system can be gamed if you know how to do it. It can keep you in place for a long time.”

    The current rules for luxury and vacancy decontrols end in 2015. Both landlords and tenants groups expect a battle as each side pushes state legislators to change the deregulation process in their favor.

    “The whole system doesn’t make sense,” Freund said. “We’ve had a system in place for over 70 years that was supposed to address the affordable housing issue. It doesn’t work.”

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    Pedestrians pass new development One Hyde Park in London January 19, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

    LONDON (Reuters) - London's red-hot property market has struck a new record with the sale of a 140 million pound ($237 million) unfurnished apartment, but even the developer of the opulent building warned that some asking prices in Britain were unsustainable.

    Buoyed by the wealth of Russian oligarchs, Chinese tycoons and Arab sheikhs, London has become one of the most expensive markets on earth, raising concerns ahead of parliamentary elections in 2015 that locals are being squeezed out of the market.

    "We're in boom-time prices, more expensive than we've ever been in the history of mankind," Nick Candy, one of the developers of London's One Hyde Park luxury apartments, at the pinnacle of the capital's super-prime residential sector, told Reuters.

    "There is a concern over the market overheating ... Everyone thinks the main central London is doing so well, (so) the ripple effect is going throughout the UK, and some of the prices being achieved are probably unrealistic and not sustainable."

    But money is still pouring in.

    A source familiar with the matter said an Eastern European buyer bought a penthouse at the One Hyde Park apartment block for a record 140 million pounds.

    Candy confirmed that a 16,000 square foot penthouse had been sold but declined to comment on the price or name the buyer. Developer CPC Group, which is run by his brother Christian, said the flat could be worth 160-175 million pounds when furnished.

    Britain's previous record for an apartment was set three years ago by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhemtov, who paid 136 million pounds for a penthouse and apartment at One Hyde Park to knock together into one property.

    There have been more than $2 billion in sales at the block, whose developer is a joint venture between CPC Group and Waterknights, the private company of Qatar's Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani.

    Candy & Candy, run by Nick Candy, were the interior designers and development managers for the project.

    POLITICAL THREATS

    The wall of money chasing a finite amount of property has sent luxury London prices soaring almost 80 percent since 2009, and while plutocrats' ostentatious purchases grab the limelight, prices have rocketed even in poorer areas.

    Prime central London house prices have risen 79.4 percent since March 2009, against a 40.6 percent increase in Greater London house prices over the same period, according to data from Savills.

    Candy, who with brother Christian started out in 1995 with a 6,000 pound loan from their grandmother, said the main risks to the market were changes in government policy, a rise in interest rates or oversupply at the top end.

    "If the political climate changes in either (London or New York), so in London next year the government wants to charge mansion tax and other taxes, the market might change. They might have a correction, a significant correction," he said.

    "I don't see a massive correction unless a number of things happen, firstly a change of government, second of all, interest rates start going up high and inflation starts going."

    The British government has in recent months imposed new taxes on overseas purchasers, while the opposition Labour Party, which is leading in opinion polls for the national election, has proposed a tax on houses worth over 2 million pounds.

    Rising prices have prompted a rush of luxury developments.

    More than 20,000 residential units - worth over 1,250 pounds per square foot - are scheduled to be built in London over the next 10 years, building consultancy EC Harris said in December, adding that this was more than double the 2011 pipeline.

    Grosvenor Group, the landlord for much of London's upmarket Mayfair and Belgravia districts, said on Tuesday it had sold off 240 million pounds in luxury residential properties in 2013 and aimed to reinvest in cheaper districts, as it was concerned that prices at the top end of the market were vulnerable.

    Such is London's wealth that Property consultant Savills calculates 10 London boroughs now have an aggregate property value equivalent to the total value of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

    ($1 = 0.5919 British Pounds)

    (Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Will Waterman)

    SEE ALSO: Meet The Billionaires Who Live In The World's Most Expensive Apartment Building

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    OHP Exterior with Cavalry

    The London real estate market is on fire, with an unfinished penthouse apartment at ultra-luxury residence One Hyde Park selling to an unnamed Eastern European buyer for a record $237 million, according to Reuters.

    Developer Candy & Candy confirmed the sale of the 16,000-square-foot duplex penthouse — one of four in the development  billed as the world's most expensive apartment building, with more than $3.37 billion in sales to date.

    While the developer could not confirm the sale price, real estate experts have valued the finished penthouse at as much as $295 million, according to Candy & Candy.

    One Hyde Park has been setting real estate records in London and worldwide since it launched in 2011. At that time, residences in the 86-apartment building were selling for around $11,270 per square foot, nearly three times the typical price of luxury London real estate.

    Now, the average price per square foot is $10,102, though units have gone for as much as $12,360 per square foot, said a representative for Candy & Candy.

    The building made headlines that same year when Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov paid $216 million for a penthouse and apartment in the complex. Until this latest sale, it was the most expensive residence ever sold in Britain.

    So what's it like to live in the world's most expensive apartment building?

    One Hyde Park, located in Knightsbridge, is adjacent to Hyde Park and the Mandarin Oriental hotel. It has 86 residences, but just 17 are listed as primary residences, according to a recent exposé in Vanity Fair.OHP Interior with Harrods ViewAmong other perks, there's a stainless steel ozone pool, an entertainment suite, a golf simulator, and a spa run by the Mandarin Oriental.Formal Reception   OHP 5 Bedroom Show ApartmentThere are also temperature-controlled wine cellars, a car-cleaning and valet service, and basement parking.

    One Hyde Park is home to Russian Oligarchs, Chinese billionaires, and Arab sheikhs, as well as celebrities and businessmen from London.Formal Reception with Corridor   OHP 5 Bedroom Show ApartmentSecurity in the building is insane. There are panic rooms, bulletproof glass, and guards trained by British Special Forces, according to Vanity Fair.OHP 4 Bed Formal ReceptionOne Hyde Park was created through a joint venture between high-end real estate developers the Candy brothers and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar. 

    The Sheikh paid $64 million for his triplex in the development, which Vanity Fair called "the best apartment of all."One Hyde Park Night   Knightsbridge Side

    SEE ALSO: Meet The Billionaires Who Live At One Hyde Park

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    18-acre browne mansion $147 million

    A Hamptons property has just taken the title of "most expensive home ever sold in the U.S."

    The 18-acre expanse in East Hampton just sold for $147 million to hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein of Jana Partners, according to Curbed Hamptons.

    Rosenstein's new neighbors on exclusive Further Lane include Jerry Seinfeld, hedge-fund manager Jim Chanos, and art dealer Larry Gagosian. 

    The home was previously owned by the late Christopher H. Browne, the managing director of a New York investment firm who bought it in the late 1990s, according to a 2007 profile in The New York Times. Browne and his partner of 10 years, architect Andrew Gordon, spent much of their time renovating and landscaping the property.

    According to Page Six, when Browne died of a heart attack in 2009 in Florida, he left his entire estate to Gordon. However, legal disputes between Gordon’s and Browne’s families raged on until 2012, when Gordon — then dying of cancer — was allowed via a secret settlement to live out the rest of his life in the home he had shared with Browne.

    When Gordon passed away this past fall, Browne’s family began quietly shopping around the mansion, according to Page Six. Ultimately, they sold the estate without using a broker, avoiding some serious fees and commissions (which is also why there are no listing photos of the property). 

    Sources told The New York Post that brokers in the area were “crestfallen” and “furious” that no broker was hired, with one broker saying that the Browne family “closed ranks. It was all very hush-hush.”

    The sale easily beat out Connecticut’s 50-acre Copper Beach farm, which sold a month ago for $120 million, and the $132.5 million working Montana Ranch bought by Rams owner Stan Kroenke in 2012.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 Most Expensive Mansions For Sale In Los Angeles

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