While many have lost their houses and others are struggling to keep theirs, developers like John McMonigle are building properties for the uber-uber-rich. Villa del Lago is his latest to hit the listings and is on the market in Newport Coast, Calif. for $57 million -- down from his original price of $87 million three years ago, when construction began.
In most areas this would seem to be an extremely high price tag, and to be clear, it is the highest-priced property for sale right now in Newport Coast, which is an area of Newport Beach. But when the listings page for an area has six properties above $16 million you are clearly not in Kansas anymore.
While there are obviously people with deep pockets, will a $57 million home sell in this market? And does this home coming on the market signal a turn for real estate, or does it just mean that, for the uber-rich, life goes on?
In case you think the original price tag of $87 million for this John McMonigle-built home was a bit much, a home a few miles away in Newport Beach has a price tag of $92 million.
According to McMonigle, there has been a lot of interest in the property, which he expects will sell during the usual shelf life of a property like this, 18 months. "We are very passionate about the property," he says. "This is the only opportunity to have 12 acres; it's truly an estate compound. That really doesn't exist much, so this is a special opportunity."
While the property was originally listed in the building stages, it was taken off the market until its recent listing, something McMonigle says is common. "We market early on and at completion. These homes sell during framing, or not until they're completely finished. We completed it with all the amenities that were originally committed."
There's also parking for 17 vehicles.
While the home has a lot to offer, one thing it doesn't have on this sought-after coastline is a beach. It's on the other side of the highway. So while it has, according to McMonigle, "a view of the coastline from the back of the house," you don't have any frontage.
Other agents in the area have noticed an uptick in the high-end market, including First Team Estates Associate in Orange County Chuck Buscemi, the agent for the Sandra Bullock/Jesse James property there.
"We're starting to see things really pick up," says Buscemi. "For a while we had a slowdown, but we are actually starting to see more properties than we saw six months ago. Over the last five days we've had showings with Chinese nationals bringing a lot of money with them; all-cash buyers [looking at] multi-million-dollar homes. It stands to reason -- if you've got the money, there are some great buys."
Gary Legrand, president of Surterre Properties, a Orange County luxury real estate brokerage, also has seen a change in the market. "The high end marketplace in the Newport Beach area has increased dramatically in the last four months. We've opened up five deals over $10 million dollars over the last two months. The very high-end market has done extremely well in the last three or four months. It has surprised me."
Asked his thoughts on big listings like Villa del Lago, Buscemi reasons: "If you're buying a house for over a couple million bucks, it isn't because you need it. It's a question of if you have the money, and you want it, you can get it."
"It's going to take a special buyer to buy that house," says Legrand.
John McMonigle and his company, the McMonigle Group, have median sales for his office at $3 million and he and his team have sold more than $2.5 billion in the past six years. McMonigle even established a training camp and competition to find and train the next top agent to join his luxury real estate firm (with a $2,500 entry fee). No joke. It's called "Top Agent" and it just finished "Season 4," as it's referred to. It's not aired on television (although he claims it's in consideration).
Recently the luxury market has picked up in major cities, including California. A $16.75 million dollar home was just sold in Bel Air -- from one guy that sold his company for $330 million to another that sold his for $360 million. Clearly, there are people with big pockets looking for property.
And yes, $16.75 million is nowhere near $57 million. But if you look at listings in Newport Coast, several other properties for sale have hefty price tags as well. And nearby Newport Beach has a listing that beats Villa Del Lago, with a home for sale at $95 million.
In case you want to see more around this price point, McMonigle says he's got another home around $50 million that will be coming on the market in the next month.
See more homes for sale in Newport Coast, Calif. and elsewhere at AOL Real Estate.