$27 million and up

Overall, the U.S. housing market may have failed to dazzle in 2011, but this year did mark a new record in luxury real estate. In February, a 25,500-square-foot mansion in Los Altos Hills, Calif., sold for $100 million, the biggest known sale of a single-family home in the U.S. (many large transactions are not publicized). The seller, Fred Chan, who founded ESS Technology in Fremont, Calif., helped finance the deal by extending a $50 million loan to the buyer, Yuri Milner, the Russian-born founder of Digital Sky Technologies. This was also the year Candy Spelling sold her 14-bedroom mansion—on the market since 2008 for $150 million—at a discounted price of $85 million to Petra Ecclestone, the 22-year-old daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone. “Prices have come down [over the past few years], so it’s an opportune time to buy,” says Philip A. White, president and chief operating officer of Sotheby’s International Realty.

To build a list of the most expensive homes sold in 2011, Businessweek.com asked Realogy (the parent company of such brands as Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker, Corcoran, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, and ERA), Christie’s International Real Estate (a network of high-end brokers), and Brown Harris Stevens for their biggest sales this year. We also collected sales data from real estate websites Trulia.com, Zillow.com, and StreetEasy.com, as well as from such real estate agents as David Kean at the John Aaroe Group in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Terry Baxendale at Shore & Country Properties near Greenwich, Conn.

Click here to see 26 luxury homes that sold for at least $27 million in 2011.

Note: These are the most expensive home sales as of Dec. 20, the last day Businessweek.com collected data. Sales of land, multifamily buildings, and commercial properties were not included.

 
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