The 20 Most Expensive Homes Sold in 2012

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By Julie Zeveloff

The high end of the luxury real estate market had a great 2012
, with real estate records being broken from coast to coast.

We combed back through our archives to find the biggest residential real estate transactions reported in the past 12 months.

Buyers on our list include tech CEOs, finance moguls, and celebrities.

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The 20 Most Expensive Homes Sold in 2012

In December, Yammer CEO David Sacks reportedly bought a mansion on San Francisco's "Billionaire's Row" for $34.5 million, making it the most expensive home ever sold in the city, according to Trulia. The unfinished, 21,888-square-foot French limestone mansion was sold by Peter Sperling of the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix. 

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison continued his property-buying spree on Malibu's "Billionaire's Beach" when he picked up a modern home from ex-Yahoo CEO Terry Semel in September for $37 million.

TV personality Ryan Seacrest bought a sprawling compound in Beverly Hills from celebrity couple Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi for $37 million in May. The home had previously been listed for $49 million.

Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert bought a home on an Indian Creek Island off Florida's Biscayne Bay for "nearly $40 million" in March, the Wall Street Journal reported. The sellers were Miami businessman Paul Cejas and his wife, who owned the property through a trust.

The penthouse at 884 Fifth Avenue, which had belonged to the late private equity tycoon Teddy Forstmann, sold in June to Laure Sudreau-Rippe, a lawyer.

A "Caribbean-style" waterfront mansion on two acres in Palm Beach, Florida, sold for $41.5 million in August. The home was sold by Stanley and Gay Gaines to an LLC linked to billionaire Bruce T. Halle, the Palm Beach Daily News reported at the time.

Billionaire Robert Bass and his wife Ann bought the half-floor spread at 834 Fifth Avenue from Damon Mezzacappa, the former vice chairman of Lazard, in late January. The Basses reportedly paid $8 million over Mezzacappa's initial listing price of $34 million for the apartment.

After a year on the market, the Stanford White-designed mansion at 973 Fifth Avenue sold in June. The seven-story home, initially listed at $49 million, last belonged to businessman Victor Shafferman, who died in 2009. The buyer remains anonymous.

In December, Curbed Hamptons reported that two adjacent properties in East Hampton had sold for $25 million and $20 million, respectively. Both homes were purchased by the same anonymous individual, making it the biggest sale in the Hamptons in 2012 by a healthy margin. 

After rumors that the billionaire Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, had purchased several blockbuster properties in Manhattan, The New York Post reported that the Sheikh had actually purchased a 71st Street townhouse in June for $47 million. Real estate mogul Aby Rosen sold the 21,000-square-foot home, which had at one time been listed for $75 million.

A 30,000-square-foot mansion located in Indian Creek Village in Miami sold for $47 million to an unnamed foreign buyer in August. It had initially been listed for $60 million.

In June, hedge fund manager John Paulson paid $49 million for the 95-acre Hala Ranch in Aspen, Colorado. Initially listed for $135 million, it was sold by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former ambassador to the U.S. who built the massive ski chalet in 1991.

Billionaire fashion tycoon Lawrence Stroll, who, along with partner Silas Chou took Michael Kors public in 2012, paid "just under $50 million" for a full-floor unit at soon-to-open luxury highrise One57 in September.

Hong Kong billionaire and fashion tycoon Silas Chou, half the team that took fashion brand Michael Kors public earlier this year, paid "just over $50 million" for a full-floor unit above the 80th floor at One57 in September. 

In May, Oaktree Capital founder Howard Marks bought two adjoining duplexes at Manhattan's most prestigious address from Courtney Sale Ross, widow of former Time Warner CEO Steve Ross. The combined apartment has more than 30 rooms in total.

Music mogul David Geffen purchased the palatial spread from socialite Denise Rich in November, breaking the record for the most expensive co-op ever sold. The 12,000-square-foot apartment was initially listed at $65 million.

Casino tycoon Steve Wynn bought the condo from Christopher M. Jeffries, a founding partner of commercial real estate firm Millennium Partners, in June. The apartment, which had been the hotel's ball room, has 14 rooms and 10,882 square feet of space.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the apartment from ex-Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill for the exact price it was listed for just weeks earlier. The oligarch reportedly bought the apartment for his college-aged daughter to use when she visits New York City. The sale was first reported in December, but became official in February 2012.

The duplex penthouse of still-under-construction midtown highrise One57 sold for "more than $90 million," The New York Times reported in May. The 10,923-square-foot penthouse on the 89th and 90th floors of the tower was at one point listed for $110 million. The buyer remains anonymous.

Billionaire St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought the 123,000-acre Broken O Ranch in Montana in November. While the final sale price was not revealed, if Kroenke paid anywhere near the $132.5 million asking price, it would have been by far the biggest residential real estate sale in the U.S. this year. It was sold by the estate of William and Desiree Moore, the late founders of the Kelley-Moore Paint Company.

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