The New First Family of Real Estate (The Wall Street Journal)
Some kids cost a fortune.
In a real estate shopping spree of epic proportions, the daughters of Formula 1 Racing boss Bernie Ecclestone have snapped up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of high-profile properties in the past 18 months. Tamara Ecclestone, 27, bought a 16,000-square-foot historic brick home across the road from Kensington Palace, where Prince William and Duchess Catherine will soon take up residence, for about $70 million early last year. Her 23-year-old sister, Petra Stunt, paid $85 million for a 57,000-square-foot Los Angeles mansion a few months later. Known as "the Manor," the 14-bedroom, 27-bathroom home was built by Candy Spelling and her late TV producer husband Aaron Spelling.
The sisters are among a small number of ultra-wealthy, young people who are making waves at the very top of the real estate market. A trust linked to Ekaterina Rybolovlev, the 22-year-old daughter of Russian fertilizer billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, bought a four-bedroom penthouse in New York for $88 million earlier this year. Another young Russian, Anna Anissimova, the 27-year-old actress daughter of Vasily Anissimov, who made his billions in iron ore and aluminum, recently put her New York apartment on the market for $50 million. (She paid $9.9 million for the apartment in 2004, when she was 19.) Megan Ellison, the 26-year-old daughter of software mogul and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, bought three homes in the Hollywood Hills over the last few years, one of which she put on the market recently for $15.5 million.
Still, it was Petra's purchase of the Spelling mansion that "changed the perception of who a buyer could be," said Rick Hilton, who represented both Ms. Stunt and Ms. Spelling in the sale, noting that he now looks at younger buyers much more seriously. He added that Petra's desire to buy such a statement home surprised him, considering her age. "At first, I showed her several properties but they weren't grand enough," he remembered, including a 36,000-square-foot French-style mansion on Sunset Boulevard now listed for $49.5 million. "When those earlier homes didn't excite her, I saw very quickly that…she wanted the finest estate available, and that's what she got."