The world’s most expensive houses are much more than just homes—they’re works of art.
The one thing that communicates obscene wealth more effectively than any other kind of status symbol in the world is your private residence. Celebrities, business moguls, and royalty all over the globe reside in properties of extraordinary value, each one boasting more historical significance, architectural innovation, and luxury amenities than the last.
When your only limits are the laws of physics, private property values can soar well into the multi-billion-dollar range. The world’s rich and powerful have no qualms with stretching the limits of modern design to commission opulent, bespoke homesteads whose décor alone is far more valuable than the lifetime earnings of several dozen middle-class workers.
Here, we take a look at the most expensive private residences in the world, their value, their owners, and their features.
Top 4 Most Expensive Houses
At first thought, most people wouldn’t consider Buckingham Palace to be a private residence. However, it is a privately owned property solely dedicated to housing a family – albeit the British Royal family. Technically, the property is owned by King Charles III by virtue of British law. Apart from its extensive cultural and historical significance, Buckingham Palace gains its value from its size, its amenities, and its sheer opulence.
Buckingham Palace consists of a total of 775 rooms, including 240 bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, and 92 offices. It also has its own private medical centre, some of the most meticulously maintained gardens in the world, and of course, a swimming pool.
The value of Buckingham Palace is estimated to fall between 4 and 6 billion USD, making it the most expensive privately owned residence in the world. However, it is unlikely to be put on the market any time soon.
One rung down from the prestigious home of the British royal family is Antilia, the multibillion-dollar private residence located in Mumbai, India. To the uninformed eye, Antilia would likely be mistaken for a super-luxury hotel rather than a private residence. It is a 173-metre-high building consisting of 27 floors and amenities you would be hard-pressed to find at even the most exclusive and luxurious hotels.
The house is a study in obscene luxury, with amenities such as a 168-car garage, a full-service spa and health centre, a private ballroom, a theatre with a 50-person capacity, sky gardens, and more. The crown jewel on top of this corona of ostentatious wealth is perhaps the snow-room, which is exactly what it sounds like. Antilia contains a room that manufactures its own artificial snowfall so that its residents and guests can frolic in fresh, white, icy snow in the middle of one of the world’s hottest cities.
Antilia is owned by Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of India’s most profitable Fortune Global 500 companies, Reliance Industries Ltd. The property itself, while the second most valuable private residence in the world, represents only a fraction of Ambani’s net worth. The property is valued at roughly 2 billion USD, while the mogul’s net worth is approximately 94 billion USD, making him the 8th richest person on Earth.
Antilia and its owner have been the focus of heavy criticism and resentment as a symbol of the apathy of India’s extravagantly wealthy few to the abject poverty of much of the population.
Villa La Leopolda
The Villa La Leopolda is an opulent and extremely valuable property on the French Riviera posthumously owned by Lily Safra, who passed away this year. It was originally commissioned to be built as part of the then King of Belgium, Leopold II’s estate. The Villa was commissioned as a gift to the late King’s mistress, Caroline Lacroix. Since then, it has changed hands several times, its most recent owners being Edmond and Lily Safra.
The Villa La Leopolda as it is known today (aside from a few renovations) was designed by an American architect, Ogden Codman Jr., and the project took three years to complete. In 1931, the Villa and its stunning gardens were finally finished, however, through several successive unwise financial decisions, the architect was unable to take up residence in the Villa as he originally planned to. He instead rented it out to rich and famous clients.
Edmond and Lily Safra, the most recent owners of the property, commissioned relatively small renovations on the second floor, but mainly retained the architectural style and décor of Codman Jr.’s original design. The couple were known for using the Villa as a venue for extravagant parties whose guest lists were extensively populated by wealthy, influential people from all over the world.
The 80 000 square foot property requires tending by an enormous staff, with a team of 50 maintaining just the gardens. The Villa La Leopolda has an estimated worth of 750 million USD (or 616 million GBP).
Villa Les Cѐdres
Like the Villa La Leopolda, the Villa Les Cѐdres is also situated on the hills that dot the French Riviera. Although it does not bear his name, the Villa Les Cѐdres was also owned by King Leopold II of Belgium some 74 years after its initial construction.
The Villa Les Cѐdres gets is name from the cedar trees that characterise its grounds and borders. It is also home to a private ballroom, stunning gardens, a massive swimming pool, extensive stabling, a gorgeous library, and stately décor capable of making any inhabitant or guest feel like royalty.
The Villa Les Cѐdres is currently owned by Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine and the president of System Capital Management. The property was obtained by Akhmetov for 221 million USD in 2019.
Other Notable Mentions
Of course, there are plenty of other pricey houses around the world and these are just a few more that cost more than most of us can dream of:
- The One in California – $500 million
- Les Palais Bulles (The Bubble Palace) in France – $385 million
- The Odean Tower penthouse in Monaco – $330 million
- Four Fairfield Pond in The Hamptons – $248 million
- Ellison Estate in California – $200 million
One cannot help but marvel at the human creativity, engineering, and maintenance that goes into these properties, no matter if they play host to royalty or the families of capitalist elites.
The contrast between contemporary luxury and traditional grandeur is evident when considering the list of the most expensive private homes in the world, however, for the most part, the classical architecture and old-world opulence of centuries past still fetches the highest prices. Unless, of course, you have a snow room.
Chermaine’s journey into the world of gemstones and crystals began as a child, collecting shimmering stones on family vacations. Today, she’s a certified gemologist and spiritual healer, intertwining the physical beauty of jewels with their metaphysical properties.
Chermaine has traveled to mines in Africa, marketplaces in India, and spiritual retreats in Bali, always seeking to deepen her understanding.