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California’s golden estates

Times Staff Writer

To the undiscerning -- those who stretch to pay mortgages, do their own shopping and think of gardens as smaller than 7 acres -- herringbone floors, marble bathtubs, backyard stables, helipads and six-bedroom guesthouses may seem over the top.

Not so for those whose properties made Forbes.com’s list of the 10 most-expensive U.S. homes for sale, five of which are in California. Topping the eye-popping roll -- homes on the list sell for between $55 million and $125 million -- is Donald Trump’s 18-bedroom French Regency-style estate on 475 acres in Florida. Ranking second is the $75-million Portabello Estate in Corona del Mar, with eight bedrooms and 10 baths in 30,000 square feet.

The other California properties to make the Top 10 include a $65-million, 10,000-square-foot estate in Belvedere, with drop-dead views of the San Francisco Bay area; a Malibu property, for $65 million, which features ocean views, a private bluff, two riding stables and private beach access; a $65-million neoclassical villa on San Francisco’s Gold Coast; and a Robert Byrd-designed home on 112 acres in Brentwood, listed for $60 million.

A Monopoly with Vegas, Hollywood

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Monopoly players used to winning big with hotel and home purchases on Park Place and Pennsylvania Avenue will now have to get rich at Boston’s Fenway Park and the White House in Washington, respectively, when they crack open the new special edition of the Parker Bros. game.

Monopoly: Here and Now is designed to reflect today’s real estate, not that of the Depression, when Atlantic City, N.J., was considered real estate royalty to the game’s inventor, Charles B. Darrow.

In the updated version, the White House can be purchased for $3.2 million; the Las Vegas Strip for $3 million; and Hollywood, in place of Ventnor Avenue, is for sale for $2.6 million.

News sure to warm utility users’ hearts

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After a long, hot summer and sky-high air-conditioning bills, some good news from a utility company.

Southern California Gas Co. has announced that mild Southland weather and increased natural gas supplies should help lower homeowners’ average monthly heating bills this winter to between $80 and $85, compared with $98 last winter. Apartment renters can expect bills to average about $35, down from $40 a year ago.

For additional savings, the utility recommends homeowners repair heating units, caulk and weatherstrip drafty windows and doors, install high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters, and test air ducts for leaks.

diane.wedner@latimes.com

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