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World’s richest man buys Manhattan house for $44 million

Mexican mogul Carlos Slim, who ranks number one on this year’s list of Forbes billionaires, has purchased the Duke-Semans Mansion on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for $44 million, according to the The Wall Street Journal. The sale set the fourth highest price ever paid for a townhouse in NYC. By comparison, the most expensive home sale finalized this year in the Austin area  was the sale of  a gorgeous home in the Lago Vista for $5.1 million. Click here to view pictures of this amazing home.

Located on Fifth Ave and 82nd Street in New York’s Upper East side (directly across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), the turn of the century beau arts townhouse is not expected to be home to the world’s richest man. Instead, Slim’s spokesperson is quoted as saying that the billionaire purchased the home as an investment.

The former owner, Tamir Sapir, whose rags-to-riches story took him from taxi driver to real estate wheeler dealer, purchased the house in 2006 for a reported $40 million and listed it for sale in January for $50 million.

Earlier this year, Slim also purchased a $140-million New York City office tower. In addition, he  has invested in both The New York Times Co. and New York-based retailer Saks Fifth Avenue.

“The sale of the Duke-Semans mansion is another indication that the U.S. trophy home market remains alive,” said Laurie Moore-Moore, founder of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, based in Dallas. “This April, Texas Energy executive Kelcy Warren purchased a Colorado property for $46.5 million. Then, hot on the heels of this transaction, an un-named Indonesian buyer contracted for a Bel-Air mansion for a something close to $50 million,” added Moore-Moore. “These transactions illustrate that the wealthy view residential real estate as not only lifestyle purchases, but also as smart additions to their investment portfolios.”

Steve York, a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and an Austin real estate professional with York Real Estate, says that although these recent sales exceed $40 million each, they are substantially below the price of the most expensive home listed in the U.S. The widow of producer Aaron Spelling is marketing her residence in the exclusive Holmby Hills neighborhood  of Los Angeles for a jaw-dropping $150 million. “By contrast, the most expensive home for sale locally is listed at $20 million, said York.

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