Since World War II, America’s homes have gotten bigger. In 2010 the average size of a newly completed single-family home was 2,392 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s roughly 45% larger than the homes built in 1973, and roughly double the size of homes built during the 1950s.
As middle class Americans have steadily upsized their digs over the years, so too have the country’s richest. Starting in the 1990s, billionaires like Ira Rennert. John Kluge and Michael Dell began erecting monster mansions encompassing tens of thousands of square feet. Even in the recent economic downturn, as millions of homeowners have struggled with the burden of underwater homes, the world’s richest have been buying some of the biggest abodes in the country.
Turns out there are many more still up for grabs. The folks at Trulia .com, a San Francisco. Calif.-based real estate listing site, helped us whip up a list of the 15 biggest single-family homes currently listed publicly on the market. Every home we included in our roundup peddles a staggering 25,000 square feet of living space or more. All of them boast outrageous amenities and an assortment of specialty rooms you might not have thought could even exist in a private residence.
Some of the market’s most gargantuan homes were actually built by real estate developers on speculation. Spotting a niche market comprised of billionaire and multimillionaire home buyers, these builders secured tens of millions of dollars in funding — in most cases before the economic downturn — and set to work on dream designs they have hoped would snag moneyed real estate aficionados.
One such property is a $60 million vacation home in Indian Creek Village, Fla. Built by Shlomi Alexander of Bal Bay Development, the manse boasts 30,000-square feet of living space including a chromotherapy spa, a recording studio, a panic room and a 7-limo garage. “He didn’t want it to feel like a house, he wanted it to feel like a 30,000-square foot contemporary resort,” explains Oren Alexander, the property’s Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate co-listing agent, and the developer’s son. The Miami-area “resort” has been on the market since 2010.
The priciest property in tony Alpine, NJ, America’s most expensive zip code. is another example of developer dreams. The Stone Mansion
at Frick Estate listed in 2010 for $68 million, before price chopping to $52 million earlier this year and then price-hiking back up to $56 million, where it currently stands today. The 30,000-square foot, four-level construction behemoth took more than three years to build with a 60-person crew. It touts 12 bedrooms, 19 bathrooms, a ballroom with coat check closet, and an indoor basketball court equipped with locker rooms and scoreboard.
Richard Kurtz, chief executive of Kamson Corp. originally planned to build the home for himself and his wife. But in a video interview with Forbes. he explained that as he added more amenities to the design the size became too large for his purposes. “It’s just too big for us. We would have to use cell phones just to find each other!” he jokingly had remarked.
On ‘Billionaire’s Row’ in Palm Beach, Fla. another gigantic spec home officially listed for sale this year: a $74 million waterfront estate with 27,355 square feet of living space. It has parking capacity for 50 cars and gardens designed for sculpture displays. The master bedroom suite is significantly larger than most people’s whole houses, encompassing 4,000-square feet of his-and-her baths, closets, dressing areas, even libraries.
Not to be left out, the Los Angeles area has several residential giants on the market, including a 30,000-square foot Mediterranean villa owned by fashion entrepreneur, Armand Marciano, the co-founder of Guess? Inc. asking $63 million. the 20-acre Beverly Hills compound includes seven bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, a media screening and projection room and a 17-car garage. There’s also an elevator to get you from one floor to another more effortlessly. Another massive manse in Beverly Hills offers 27,163 square feet for $55 million and in L.A.’s posh Holmby Hills neighborhood a $27.5 million estate offers 27,816. (Just down the street in Holmby Hills lies the recently sold 56,500-square foot Spelling Manor, formerly the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. – and one of the largest.
Other properties in our list include an $18.8 million Wayland, Mass. estate called Stonehedge, at 25,400-square feet; a $10 million Blue Bell, Penn. palace boasting 25,356 square feet and a pool pavilion with water slides and not one, but three, hot tubs; and a $16 million Post Falls, Idaho mansion with 28,469 square feet for which the listing description notes, “Showing this home is like a visit to Disneyland.”
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