While we commoners have been wondering all year where all this housing recovery business is coming from, it seems like it's been a housing boom for our celebrity counterparts over in La La Land and elsewhere. This year has seen A-listers flinging mansions on the market like they're having a yard sale, selling their palatial digs to fellow Hollywood royals and renting summer homes at exorbitant prices. Click through the gallery below to see some of the biggest celebrity real estate deals of 2012.
Biggest Celebrity Real Estate Deals of 2012
Biggest Celebrity Real Estate Deals of 2012
One of 2012's biggest real estate deals -- and a prime example of celebrities playing "musical houses" -- was the sale of Eddie Murphy's $14.9 million New Jersey mansion to none other than Grammy-winning recording artist Alicia Keys. But Miss Keys and her husband, hip-hop recording artist Swizz Beats, snagged Murphy's for the "discounted price" of $12 million.
And that is a deal, considering that the home boasts a two-lane bowling alley, racquetball court, indoor swimming pool pavilion, wooden spa and elevators. (Whew!) The majestic brick manse, set upon 3.91 acres, even has its own full-sized recording studio! (Because, in case you weren't aware of his 1982 hit, "Boogie in Your Butt," Murphy is also a recording artist. We didn't say he was a good one).
All the way over on the West Coast, our favorite television personalities also seem to be playing Millionaire Monopoly. In August, Ellen Degeneres and wife Portia De Rossi sold their home to "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest for a cool $37 million. (That was $1 million more than they paid for it back in December 2011, when they purchased the home from none other than Brad Pitt.) It was also the home where Degeneres and De Rossi got hitched!
The stunning Malibu home overlooks the Pacific Ocean and boasts over an acre of lush landscaping. It features four massive bedrooms, four bathrooms, walls of glass that overlook the bluffs, dark bamboo flooring, and a gourmet chef's kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
Before Ellen wed Portia, she lived in a stunning two-bedroom home nestled among Hollywood Hills' sycamores, aptly dubbed the "Treehouse." (The home was also formerly owned by Heath Ledger.) In June, "Hunger Games" star Josh Hutcherson (at only 19!) snapped up the home for $2.5 million.
The home, built in 1951, boasts glass walls, polished concrete floors, an office, beamed ceilings and top-notch video security. An outdoor living area of 2,500 square feet contains a movie lounge and barbecue space -- perfect for post-premiere parties.
Also in June, comedian Joan Rivers put her opulent penthouse in New York's Upper East Side on the market for a not-so-funny $29.5 million. Rivers' 5,190-square-foot pad, known as the Spencer Condominium, is situated atop one of the Upper East Side's greatest pre-war limestone mansions, less than half a block from Fifth Avenue.
Designed by Horace Trumbauer -- the famed Gilded Age architect-to-the-robber-barons -- Rivers' neo-French Classic apartment has four bedrooms and five baths. From the private elevator entry hall, guests enter a stunning two-story gallery connected to a lavish, light-filled living room, both rooms boasting wood-burning fireplaces and 23-foot ceilings. We're still not quite sure why she'd want to part with it. …
Thought Joan Rivers' spot was expensive? Academy Award-winning actor and Hollywood legend Gene Hackman's old mansion is even pricier. It hit the market this year for a whopping $79 million. Though, if we were sitting on that kind of bankroll, we'd probably think it was worth it. It's kind of unreal.
Located directly on the sands of Carmel Beach in Monterey, Calif., the 3.8-acre property has three separate residences with a total of 10 bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and five half bathrooms -- and an ocean-view bar. With walnut and marble flooring throughout the property, it also features a 17th century mantlepiece.
The Carolwood Estate is a whopping 35,000 square feet, with eight bedrooms and 17 bathrooms. The magnificent property also boasts a wine cellar, a custom movie room (naturally), three bars, a library, a gym and two safe rooms. On the home's carefully manicured grounds, you'll also find a pool and pool house, a tennis court and a putting green. Walt Disney, we think, would be proud.
Can't afford the former Disney property? For just as much star power, but at a cheaper price, why not snap up Elvis Presley's former Beverly Hills mansion? Last year, it was on the rental market for $25,000 a month, and in October, it hit the real estate market for $12.9 million. That's a steep price hike from the $400,000 that Presley and his wife, Priscilla, paid in 1967! Presley allegedly continued to live there even after their 1972 divorce.
The stunning mansion boasts dramatic coffered ceilings, fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, "walls of glass" and panoramic ocean-to-city views.
Over in the Hamptons, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon (and their adorable 1-year-old twins) dropped a whopping $150,000 a month over the summer to rent a six-bedroom, 6 1/2-bathroom home on a peninsula jutting over Peconic Bay. Yes, that's right: $150,000 a month.
Granted, the 7,500-square-foot home boasts "every celebrity amenity imaginable," including smart house functions controllable by an iPad or iPhone. (Though, personally, we have our eye on that resort-style pool with floating daybeds.) But $150,000 a month? Sheesh.
Trumping Mariah and Nick's pricey pad is Jay-Z and Beyonce's Hamptons rental! This summer, the pop king and queen rented out a sprawling 31,000-square-foot home, known as the Sandcastle, in Bridgehampton, N.Y., for a staggering $400,000 in August. Yes, that's just the month of August.
The home, also currently for sale for $43.5 million, is certainly fit for Jay-Z and Queen B. The 11-acre property features a two-lane bowling alley, virtual golf course, skateboard half-pipe, a rock-climbing wall, a full bar and recording studio.
Back in California, Jay-Z and Queen B's buddy and fellow hip-hop star Drake dropped $7.7 million on a new, very bachelor pad-esque home right outside L.A.
Drizzy Drake's new "man cave" boasts a 28-person theater, a tennis court, a volleyball court, an equestrian ring and stables, and "a water oasis leading into a cave setting with seating and wet bars for any occasion." Oh, and an 80-foot waterslide and a mechanical bull.
While Drake was busy snapping up his bachelor pad, Leonardo DiCaprio was trying to get rid of his in Malibu. The "Titanic" actor first listed his gorgeous beachfront home as a rental for $75,000 a month in May. Even though the rental was listed all summer, the A-lister didn't seem to get any grabs. Nevertheless, in November, Leo threw the home on the market with a hefty price tag of $23 million.
We're surprised nobody's snapped it up yet, because it's gorgeous: Cape Cod-inspired design, a beachfront deck with a fire pit and lots of wide open spaces. The main house has four bedrooms and faces the ocean, and a detached guesthouse has an additional two bedrooms.
Clearly, Sarah Jessica Parker goes through homes like Carrie Bradshaw goes through shoes. It was only in March 2011 -- after years of searching -- that SJP and hubby Matthew Broderick bought a townhouse in Manhattan's Greenwich Village for $19 million. But just 18 months later, in September of this year, the couple threw it back on the market -- for a hefty $24.995 million.
A shame, we think, because the home suited SJP perfectly! The pretty, five-bedroom Greek Revival-style townhouse features 12-foot ceilings, a gorgeous garden, elegant wooden staircases and a large terrace. Carrie Bradshaw would have never let it go.
Material girl, indeed! Last month, Madonna threw her opulent, 6,000-square-foot digs on NYC's Central Park West on the market for $23.5 million. (Not to be confused with her pad on the other side of town: Madge also owns a triple-wide townhouse on the Upper East Side, which she bought in 2009 for $32.5 million).
This stunning duplex (once described as "low key" by Architectural Digest, but we don't quite agree) features eight bathrooms, five wood-burning fireplaces, a library, a marble master bedroom, a claw-foot tub, and balconies overlooking Central Park. We'd take it off Madge's hands any day.