Sunday, May 26, 2024

The most expensive houses sold in the D.C.-area in 2023


As high mortgage rates continued to shape the Washington real estate market, the upper echelon of homes sales hit new heights in 2023. A $13 million penthouse became the highest priced condo ever in the D.C. region and a D.C. property with links to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was scooped up for more than $12 million. And those weren’t even the top sale.

The number of homes that sold for more than $1 million in the region declined from 2022 to 2023, according to ICE Mortgage Technology. But last year, luxury market listings went under contract faster — within two weeks for three of the top 10 listings, real estate leaders said.

“As you get closer into the city, even the higher priced homes are moving right now,” says Cara Pearlman, an executive vice president at Compass Realty. “There are people who weren’t transacting before because they weren’t sure what was going to happen with the economy. Now they realize that nothing’s changing substantially.”

Pearlman was the listing agent on the most expensive house sold in the D.C. area this year: an 11,000-square-foot Mediterranean villa, the residence for the Swedish ambassador for about 70 years.

She notes another trend among this year’s crop of highest transactions — embassy-related sales. “There are only so many people that need this scale of ultra-luxury homes,” Pearlman says.

Pearlman said she is seeing an uptick in the higher-end market. “It’s encouraging to see that they’re seeing that things have been the way they’ve been for a while, and they’re deciding to go ahead and move forward, purchasing their next residence or second residence,” she said. “It feels like maybe the wheels are getting unstuck.”

This isn’t everyone’s market but the rest of us can peruse this list of last year’s top sales, compiled with the help of Bright MLS, in ways as wistful, envious or spiteful as we please.

10. 2860 Woodland Dr. NW, Washington, D.C.

This D.C. mansion, built into a terraced hillside in 1927, was designed by architect George N. Ray, who crafted more than 50 homes in the area. Notable owners include a Treasury Department undersecretary, an ambassador to Switzerland and president of Washington National Bank, and Bill Frist, a former U.S. Senate majority leader. The stone manor, embellished with wisteria vines and adorned with five terraces, played host to such dinner guests as Elizabeth Taylor and Vincent Price. It was a filming location for the 1977 movie “The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover.”

List price: $9.75 million

Time on market: Three months

Listing agent: Robert Hryniewicki, Washington Fine Properties

9. 8913 Holly Leaf Lane, Bethesda, Md.

The only Maryland sale on the list belonged to former Washington Wizards star guard Bradley Beal, whose lavish mansion sold for almost a million under the asking price of $10 million after he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. The listing described an “elevated South Miami vibe,” with black ceiling accents and hand-laid Italian mosaic tile. The 2016 house has six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and an elevator to traverse its 13,482 square feet. It also has an NBA-built regulation half-court, an arcade room, a tennis court with stadium lighting and parking for 14 vehicles. It was purchased by Dean Seavers, a businessman who served as president of of National Grid USA, in November.

Sale price: $9.185 million

Time on market: Two months

Listing agent: Andres Serafini, RLAH @properties

8. 4620 Cathedral Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

This six-bedroom, nine-bathroom house with a modern black-and-white facade was built in 2022 in a set of three adjacent houses. The lots, next to federally owned Battery Kemble Park, were prospected by developers for more than a decade before Bryce Arrowood, managing partner at Cliveden Group, figured out how to access the land: by buying a house at the end of Cathedral Avenue that bordered the lots, and building a private road. The transitional-style house has a floating staircase, wine cellar, exercise room, and ample outdoor space that includes a pool. The house was bought in January by TEWBDC, LLC, which has the same mailing address as ALS Finding a Cure, a service mark of the Leandro P. Rizzuto Foundation. The latter is a tax-exempt organization.

List price: $9.495 million

Sale price: $9.45 million

Time on market: Two and half months

Listing agent: Lee Arrowood, Compass Realty

7. 3301 Fessenden St. NW, Washington, D.C.

This Italian-villa-inspired estate with a limestone-domed foyer comes with a name of equal gravitas, dubbed by its builder Palazzo Della Felicita, or “Palace of Happiness.” With a twin grand staircase, library with wood walls and ceilings, movie theater, 5,000-bottle wine cellar, patio and garage for up to 11 cars, the 2019 Forest Hills neighborhood house was designed for entertaining. It should come as no shock, then, that it was bought by the Israeli embassy for Ambassador Michael Herzog in September – for about half a million under the original listing price.

List price: $9.95 million

Time on market: Under two weeks

Listing agent: Michael Rankin, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

6. 1113 Langley Lane, McLean, Va.

We’re getting into the eight-digits now! The many adornments of this 16,000-square-foot Western European-inspired mansion come from sources as diverse as the Oregon Trail (300 tons of fieldstone) and a French castle (an artist-signed fireplace built in 1900). The property is designed to accommodate as many as 160 guests, and boasts a sunlit entertainment room, circular wine cellar, hearth room, arched hallways, massive walk-in closets, two-story library with a spiral staircase and an indoor basketball court. Outside, a stone veranda overlooks the property’s 1¼ acres, designed by landscape architect Charles Owens. The mansion was bought in January by the thus-unidentified Earthly Castle LLC.

List price: $13.5 million

Sale price: $10.8 million

Time on market: Four months

Listing agent: William Thomas, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

5. 2221 30th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

This Beaux-Arts estate in Massachusetts Avenue Heights was built in 2008 as a showpiece of the late venture capitalist and major Republican donor Melvyn J. Estrin. The mansion hosted plenty of fundraisers for his candidates of choice, and for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Boasting 13,595 square feet and four stories, it has a heated motor court, several terraces, a heated swimming pool, reception foyer, library, wine room and parking for 14 vehicles. It will become a new official residence for the Irish ambassador, selling in December for more than $4,000,000 under the listing price.

List price: $16.5 million

Sale price: $12.25 million

Time on market: Three days

Listing agent: Charles Holzwarth Jr., Washington Fine Properties

4. 601 Wharf St. SW #PH1, Washington, D.C.

The most expensive new construction in 2023 — and priciest condo ever sold in the area — this record-breaking penthouse in the Wharf’s posh, futuristic Amaris was designed by the late Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. His other projects include Manhattan’s “pencil tower” at 432 Park Avenue, Tokyo International Forum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The penthouse, which overlooks the buzzy entertainment district and the Washington Channel, has four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a large terrace and three parking spaces. It sold in April. According to the Wall Street Journal, the buyer was a West Coaster who wanted an East Coast dwelling for family; they also purchased two boat slips at the Wharf.

List price: $12.5 million

Sale price: $12.762 million

Time on market: None (sold the day before listing appeared)

Listing agent: Michelle Giannini, Hoffman Realty

3. 1163 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, Va.

Located adjacent to former Kennedy family estate Hickory Hill in upper-crust Langley Farm, this 13,882-square-foot stone mansion has a handcrafted mahogany and glass front door, an antique limestone fireplace, coffered ceilings, custom chandeliers and a room labeled “morning bar.” Outside, the “edgeless” pool flows into a waterfall, fountains bubble and a built-in stone firepit comes with matching irremovable and hard-looking stone seating. The landscaped gardens encompass nearly two acres.

List price: $13.8 million

Sale price: $13.25 million

Time on market: Four months

Listing agent: Piper Yerks, Washington Fine Properties

2. 3017, 3009, 3003 N St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Speaking of the Kennedys, this combined estate includes a National Historic Landmark once owned by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Other notable past tenants include a World War I-era secretary of war, a Soviet spy and Yolande Fox, a former Miss America and Washington society magnate. The property, with 13 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms, was remodeled into one compound by late real estate proprietor David Hudgens, who had lived at 3017 N St. NW since 1997 — but its history extends to the 1700s, when it was built by Georgetown mayor Thomas Beall. Combined, the houses have more than 16,000 square feet of living space and include original fireplaces, a three-car garage, several terraces and a salon with hand-painted frescoes. It sold in November to an LLC named HistoryHouse Properties for nearly $6 million above asking price.

List price: $9.25 million

Sale price: $15.1 million

Time on market: Eight months

Listing agent: John Taylor, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

1. 3900 Nebraska Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

The priciest “house” sold in the D.C. area last year has more in common with commercial sales than residential. Built in 1925 for a wealthy newspaper publisher, this sprawling Mediterranean villa in American University Park was home to Swedish ambassador Karin Olofsdotter before she relocated to a “Scandi-cool” Georgetown abode. This sale marks the first time since the 1950s that the 6.7-acre property was on the market. It seems that D.C. ultra-luxury buyers have less use for such estates now — according to Pearlman, none of the roughly 13 offers were end users. Though the manor house is protected from major changed by a D.C. historic landmark designation, developers plan to build a luxury community reminiscent of Phillips Park on the rest of the property, Pearlman said. It sold to the Banks Development Co. in February.

List price: $19.5 million

Sale price: $17.3 million

Time on market: Four months

Listing agent: Cara Pearlman, Compass Realty

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