$486 Million House Up For Sale in London

Recession? What recession?

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Hey, one percenters: here’s a property that may be beyond even your reach.

As the rest of Britain struggles through an economic downturn, London’s real estate market for the super-rich appears to be flourishing: a house with an asking price of £300 million — or about $486 million — is on the market for what’s believed to be the highest asking price of any home in Britain’s history.

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The west London property, which borders Hyde Park, has apparently been for sale several months, although only a select few have been invited to bid on it. Hardly surprising, considering there’s only a handful of people in the world who could afford such an estate, which is going for more than double the price of Britain’s next most expensive home, the 300-year-old Park Place estate in Henley-on-Thames, which sold last year for $227 million.

It’s still a far cry from the most expensive house in the world, a massive, 27-story skyscraper in central Mumbai owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, which features a ballroom, 50-seat cinema, three helicopter pads and a staff of 600, and is estimated to be worth a cool $1 billion.

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So what does nearly half a billion dollars get you in London? Seven stories, 60,000 square feet, 45 bedrooms, a pool, industrial sized kitchen, underground parking, and a view of Hyde Park. It sounds pretty good to us — and might explain why property expert Henry Pryor in the Guardian deemed the property “a trophy rather than an investment.”

And while it is true that many across the UK have been feeling the pinch of the recession and the effects of the government’s austerity measures, London’s property market has been soaring in recent years thanks to foreign investors from Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa. In fact, the home was once owned by the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, until his death in 2005. The property then passed to Sultan bin Abdulaziz, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who passed away last year. But even with the boom for pricey real estate in London booming, experts are saying that the Hyde Park home is a unique asset.

“It is a truly rarefied property on the market and whoever buys it is going to pay a lot of premium for the unusual size in that location,” Charles McDowell, a London property consultant, told the Financial Times. “You are going to have to wait a long, long time for something like this to come on the market again.”

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