World's Most Expensive Apartment Sold: Monte Carlo Penthouse

We always knew that Monte Carlo was pricey, but the sale of a six-bedroom penthouse in the pint-size European principality, for a record-breaking $312 million, takes the prize as the world's most expensive apartment. If such a figure is still obtainable, how bad can the real estate slump be?

The pad's buyer, says Luxist, is the U.S.-born Greek billionaire Constantine Alexander-Goulandris, who earns his keep as an advisor to the Saudi royal family and various Middle Eastern oil potentates, so we suspect that he didn't have trouble getting a mortgage. Oh, he's also said to be worth a cool $15 billion and is cozy with Russian mogul Roman Abramovich.

Alexander-Goulandris reportedly has other residences in Paris, London, Antibes, New York and Hawaii. So why add another to the collection?
Well, there are great views in Monte Carlo, the weather is balmy, and you can gamble and schmooze with European royalty and tourists. And it used to be the hangout of various tax exiles, like tennis star Bjorn Borg.

According to TheFinancial Times, the property -- appropriately named La Belle Epoque -- features all you would expect for the price (see pictures below), from a huge wood-paneled library to a spa and gardens, not to mention three en-suite bedrooms, each with a theater, kitchen, dressing room and two bathrooms. And of course, some pretty glitzy decor, and we mean hugecrystal chandeliers and the like, as seen in Architectural Digest.

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The apartment has quite a pedigree. It once belonged to the billionaire banker Edmond Safra, who died in a fire in the place. Nicholas and Christian Candy, London-based real estate developers, bought it from Safra's widow and embarked on a bit of a makeover, reportedly to the tune of $40 million, and then moved in themselves.

The Candy brothers are no stranger to reaching for the top in the uber-luxury market. In August they sold an an apartment in a building in London's Hyde Park for about $220 million, which was until now the most expensive apartment, globally speaking.

How high can prices go for trophy properties? It seems there's a lot of money still sloshing around the world, looking for a a place to park, and a growing number of apartments and homes designed to meet the needs of the super-wealthy in terms of square footage, over-the-top amenities and of course, location. Expect more record breakers as the rich return to real estate, big time.

While you may not have the clams to buy yourself an international jewel, such sales bode well for a recovery for the rest of us.

See more on luxury homes and celebrity homes at AOL Real Estate.

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