Eight months ago when Candy Spelling, widow of legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling, put her 4.7-acre estate in Holmby Hills up for sale, the $150-million listing price raised more than a few eyebrows.
The 56,500-square-foot mansion remains the most expensive residential listing in the U.S., and there's no price reduction in sight.
FOR THE RECORD:
Candy Spelling's mansion: In Saturday's Business section, an article on the Manor, the most expensive residential listing in the U.S. at $150 million, gave the impression that Sally Forster Jones of Coldwell Banker's Beverly Hills East office had one-third of the listing. Coldwell Banker and Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, share the listing equally and handle the showings jointly. —
Quite simply, wealth can afford to wait. It's a distinction between the very rich and the very leveraged in a housing market that has been in decline for several years.
"You either sell it right away or it could take two or three years," said Jeffrey Hyland, who with Rick Hilton of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, constitute two-thirds of Spelling's sales force. "The sellers know this. There is not a sense of urgency."
Four U.S. homes are currently priced at $100 million or more, according to a list released this week by Forbes .com.
Ranked second was the $125-million Fleur de Lys, also in Holmby Hills. The 53,000-square-foot palatial compound was withdrawn from the Multiple Listing Service last month after 940 days on the market and will return after the holidays. The Versailles-flavored estate is owned by Suzanne Saperstein, ex-wife of Texas entrepreneur David Saperstein, who built a fortune supplying radio traffic reports.
"These are primary homes," said Hyland of the rarefied sphere of properties with nine-digit price tags. "The owners are not going to bail out."
While Spelling's stately home perches prominently atop the pyramid of high-end asking prices, it also conspicuously towers over its neighbors in size and list price. For sale nearby is an 11,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, 5 1/2 -bathroom house priced at $14.9 million, according to Realtor.com. A four-bedroom, five-bathroom house of 6,392 square feet down the street is listed at $17 million.
The properties sound almost humdrum when compared with the Manor, as Spelling's W-shaped French Chateau is officially named (although, in some circles, it has picked up the less elegant nickname of Candyland).
The largest home in Los Angeles County, it's slightly larger than the White House, according to an online tour of the estate conducted by its third listing agent, Sally Forster Jones of Coldwell Banker's Beverly Hills East office.
Completed in 1991, the three-story house was customized to the Spellings' needs. Candy Spelling herself supervised the work, dashing across the street many days to buy a hot dog from a vendor for lunch. There's a bowling alley, a flower-cutting room, a wine cellar/tasting room, a barbershop and a silver storage room among the many spaces devoted to specific purposes.
Outside is a tennis court, a koi pond, gardens, a citrus orchard and a swimming pool with a pool house. The motor court can accommodate 100 vehicles, plus there are 16 carports.
A service wing houses the staff in five maids' bedrooms and two butlers' suites. The house is believed to have more than 100 rooms, but its owner has never counted them.
Spelling, 64, plans on downsizing to a 16,500-square-foot condo in Century City sometime next year. She bought the top two floors of a Century City condo building in the summer of 2008 for $47 million.
In the meantime, a cadre of elite buyers continues to visit her home, stroll the massive lawns and watch as a wall-to-wall video screen rises from the floor in the screening room, paintings move up to reveal the projection equipment and window shades automatically close.
Hyland shows the Manor about once a month. "That's a very nice ratio for a house of that magnitude," Jones said.
And, just last week, Jones said, "we had two excellent showings."
But not just anyone can call. All interested parties must be prescreened and prequalified.
"For us," she said, "it's not the quantity, it's the quality."