Luxury Real Estate Trend: Spec Homes

These move-in ready, multimillion dollar residences function as statement pieces.

$250 Million Home in Bel Air, California

The newest trend in the luxury real estate market is the spec home—ritzy residences that developers build without a buyer lined up, based on perceived preferences of the target market. Rather than constructing a tailor-made house for a client, developers focus on creating architectural masterpieces with sumptuous amenities that will appeal to a variety of high net worth buyers. Designed to be move-in ready, the houses function as statement pieces, complete with jaw-dropping amenities such as over-the-top swimming pools, state-of-the-art movie theaters, indoor bowling alleys, multicar garages, and helicopter pads.

Per Christie’s International Real Estate, Mon Rêve in Holmby Hills, Calif., was the first spec home to sell in the United States for $100 million last year. The sale is paving the way for other spec homes with eye-popping price tags, such as a $250 million spec home in Bel Air, Calif. The nearly 38,000-square-foot home, which includes 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, two wine cellars, an 85-foot infinity pool, a 40-seat movie theater, a four-lane bowling alley, and $30 million worth of rare cars, is the most expensive property on the market in the United States—but it may not be the priciest for long. Film producer and real estate developer Nile Niami is currently constructing a Bel Air home with a proposed asking price of $500 million. The extravagant megamansion will encompass 100,000 square feet and include a jellyfish room, 30-car gallery, 45-seat theater, and a nightclub. Six of the top 10 most expensive sales in Los Angeles last year were spec homes—a trend that is sure to continue not just in California, but around the globe as well. As demand for spec homes grow, so too will the inventory—ensuring discerning buyers will have an influx of options.

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