Let’s face it, 2020 is a year most would like to forget—and that’s no less true of the real estate market. The Covid-19 pandemic dealt a catastrophic blow to the global economy, and it changed how we did business. Of course, the view depends on where you’re sitting, and those with means still bought their share of lavish, over-the-top homes. The pandemic, however, shaped the contours of the prime market unlike any factor in recent memory. As high-density cities like New York City struggled to move their square footage, more tucked-away (read: socially distanced) coastal areas like Montecito, California, and Palm Beach, Florida, saw huge spikes in activity. (Indeed, Palm Beach is now among the hottest real estate markets in the world, with contracts jumping up by 62 percent in September alone.) So, while condo towers and townhouses languished, private beach homes and secluded mountain abodes have never been in higher demand. Noticing a theme here? In one of the strangest, most alienating years on record, buyers ultimately prized seclusion and privacy above all else.
As part of our annual ritual, we’ve crunched the numbers to round up 20 of the most expensive homes that sold in this very weird year. Consider it one final look back before putting 2020 in the rear view for good.