Most Expensive Homes: What One Month’s Mortgage Can Buy

By Cindy McNicholl

When it comes to real estate eye candy, nothing is more fascinating than viewing the most expensive homes on the market. Each property pushes home luxury to the limits, incorporating amenities most people only encounter in high-end resorts. In addition to astronomic listing prices are the sky-high monthly mortgage payments that are sometimes the equivalent of the cost of a single-family home. In the case of the top six most expensive homes for sale on Zillow, just one month's mortgage payment can buy an average house in the same area. Take a look:

1. Frank Woolworth Mansion (above)

Location: Manhattan, NY For sale: $90 million Monthly mortgage: $340,798 After the Spelling Manor found a buyer, and Tranquility chopped $25M off its asking price, New York's Frank Woolworth mansion and its $90 million list price hopped to the #1 spot on Zillow's bi-annual Most Expensive Homes for Sale list. In some places, $90 million can buy you a small island. On the big island of Manhattan, $90 million will buy you a 7-story home with 10 bedrooms, 11.5 bathrooms, three kitchens, a paneled library, elevator, private gym, and a formal dining room with seating for up to 50 guests. This mammoth Manhattan property is paired with a mammoth mortgage payment of $340,798/month (based on a 20 percent down payment of $18 million and 3.93 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate). What can you get on the Upper East side real estate market for $340,000? Not a whole lot! More specifically, a studio apartment: 245 E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021 (right) Studio apartment For sale: $345,000 Features: Foyer, windowed bath, eat-in kitchen, dishwasher,new appliances, walk-in closet, and hardwood floors  

2. Versailles (above)

Location: Windermere, FL For sale: $75 million as-is, or $100 million finished Monthly mortgage: $348,248/month If someone wanted the finished version of America’s “largest single family home under one roof," the 66,800-sq ft "Versailles" estate would sit at the top of the most expensive homes’ list at $100 million. But, as an unfinished monster mansion, we’re giving the $75 million “as-is” price more weight, bringing this Windermere real estate masterpiece to number two on the list. Highlights of the property include 13 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, three pools, baseball field, indoor roller rink, two-story wine cellar, and bowling alley. Whether the finished or as-is asking price is taken, the buyers will still have a whopping 6-digit mortgage payment of $348,248/month (based on a 20 percent down payment of $15 million and 3.94 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate). What does one Versailles mortgage payment translate to on the Windermere real estate market? A 2,400-sq ft house: 8441 Bowden Way, Windermere, FL 34786 (right) 4-bedroom house For sale: $350,000 Features: 2.5 bathrooms, 2,471-sq ft, located in guard-gated community, fenced yard, covered patio and outdoor deck, hardwood floors.  

3. Tranquility (above)

Location: Zephyr Cove, NV For sale: $75 million Monthly mortgage: $315,301 /month A veteran of the most expensive homes list, Tranquility was once the most expensive home for sale in the entire country. Despite having 25 percent shaved off the asking price, the 210 acres of Lake Tahoe’s palace-like property still ranks among the priciest pads in the nation. The furnished 8-building compound, which includes a 38,000-sq ft main residence, conservatory, guest residence, art studio, boat house pavilion, gymnasium and 16-car garage, is currently awaiting a buyer willing to hand over a lofty $75 million - an asking price that comes out to require a $315,301/month mortgage (based on 20 percent down payment of $15 million and 3.98 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate). What will $315,000 get you on the Zephyr Cove real estate market? A 3-bedroom condo: 54 Burke Crk, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448 (right) 3-bedroom condo For sale: $309,000 Features: Price reduced from $319,000, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,387-sq ft, 2 decks    

4. French Chateau-style Mansion (above)

Location: Palm Beach, FL For sale: $74 million Monthly mortgage: $358,639/month A new addition to our round-up of most expensive homes is this 2.5-acre Palm Beach palace "inspired by the tradition and architecture of the grand estates of Europe." The French Chateau-style home boasts over 27,000 sq ft, 8-en suite bedrooms, 5 powder rooms, boat dock, and beach access. This mansion first hit the market last November for $84 million and is located along "Billionaires Row." Grabbing this $74 million pad means a mortgage payment of $358,639/month (based on 20 percent down payment of $14.8 million and a 3.95 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate). What will $360,000 buy on the Palm Beach real estate market? A condo. 2295 S Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, FL 33480 (right) 2-bedroom condo For sale: $349,000 Features: 2 bathrooms, 1,559-sq ft, completely renovated, partially furnished, panoramic intracoastal views      

5. Madison Ave Townhouse (above)

Location: Manhattan, NY For sale: $72 million Monthly mortgage: $314,309/ month This 7-story Madison Avenue townhouse first appeared on Zillow's "Most Expensive Homes" list in Sept. 2010. But, with an unchanged asking price of $72 million and no buyer in sight, it has claimed a returning spot. Listed in the Upper East Side real estate market, this townhouse contains 12,000 sq ft, 10 bedrooms, a central staircase, an elevator, and carries a $314,309 mortgage payment (based on a 20 percent down payment of $14.4 million with a 3.94 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate). Apparently you can get more from the Madison Ave townhouse's mortgage than the Woolworth mansion... but not much. $315,000 can buy a 500-sq ft, 1-bedroom apartment: 220 E 82nd St, New York, NY 10028 (right) 1-bedroom apartment For sale: $315,000 Features: Queen-sized bedroom with 2 closets, 1 bathroom, 500-sq ft, high ceilings    

6. Beverly Glen Mansion (above)

Location: Los Angeles, CA For sale: $65 million Monthly mortgage: $277,805/month This Beverly Glen mansion, priced at $65 million, is another new addition to the list. Built in 1938, the 11,660-sq ft home was completely restored and was recently featured in Architectural Digest. Noted as a "Georgian Traditional," the 1.14-acre estate consists of the main residence and a guest house. There are 8 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, a pool, pool house/gym, lighted tennis court, landscaped gardens and rolling lawns. With a $65 million asking price, the mortgage payment attached to this Beverly Glen beauty is $277,805/month (based on 20 percent down payment of $13 million and 3.94 percent 30-year fixed mortgage rate). What can $280,000 buy you on the Beverly Glen real estate market? Nothing. Head northwest to the Sherman Oaks real estate market for your best bet: 14959 Sylvan St, Van Nuys, CA 91411 (right) 3-bedroom house For sale: $299,000 Features: 2 bathrooms, 1,415-sq ft, chef's kitchen, granite countertops, tile floors, open living room, bamboo floors, backyard with fire pit.

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