Skip to content

US luxury property market sees biggest ever discount for Jacobean style mansion

The biggest ever discount in US property history is attracting a lot of comment. Some $50 million has been taken off the asking price of a manor house in Greenwich, Connecticut, that is being sold by the estate of the late Leona Helmsley, a controversial property guru.

The seven bedroom Jacobean style brick mansion which has marble floors, a 15th century fireplace, wood panelling, a wine cellar, two swimming pools, staff quarters and stunning views of Long Island, went on the market for $125 million a year ago. In October the price was reduced to $95 million and now it has been re-listed at $75 million.

Helmsley, one of the most famous names in New York real estate, and her husband, Harry, paid $11 million for the 1918 house in the early 1980s. They later bought more acreage.

However she ended up being jailed in 1989 for tax evasion after she billed her company for millions of dollars in renovation costs. She died in 2007 aged 87.

Real estate brokers said the property market in Greenwich is very slow and properties at the higher end of the market are not selling.

'It's a beautiful, beautiful piece of property. But there are very few deals happening,' said Barbara Wells, of Prudential Connecticut Realty who has visited the mansion.

Such steep price cuts are rare in ultra high end real estate because most homeowners rich enough to own such a property are rich enough to hang onto it and avoid the embarrassment of what might appear to be a fire sale.

But some are accepting much lower prices. Last July, a Russian billionaire paid Donald Trump $95 million for his Palm Beach mansion in Florida that has been originally listed at $125 million.

Others do take the property off the market. When they failed to get the prices they wanted, financier Leonard Ross and the former Saudi Ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, took their mansions priced at $165 million and $135 million respectively off the market.

However, the Helmsley house must be sold per the terms of Helmsley's will as proceeds from the sale will benefit the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.