It’s little wonder that our appetite for ultra-luxurious property porn spiked in 2021 as we all indulged in some much-needed escapism.
This year the most popular overseas homes viewed online ranged from a bullet-proof townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side to a €80 million super villa in Cannes, according to Rightmove data revealed today.
“This year, Britain’s fascination with property overseas has continued, with many buyers making the idea of a move abroad a reality,” said Alex Solomon, Rightmove’s director of overseas.
“From a bulletproof townhouse in New York, to a luxury escape in Cannes, it’s easy to see why people have been dreaming about stunning properties overseas that they could live in if they could spare no expense.
“This year’s most viewed homes overseas are some of the most luxurious properties on the market, in some of the world’s most stunning locations.”
Read on to find out which properties most tickled our fancies.
Bulletproof townhouse, New York, £38 million ($50 million)
Designed by internationally renowned architect Rafael Vinoly for Argentinian businessman Eduardo Eurnekian, the fifth richest man in Argentina, this “fortress” at 162 East 64th Street, an otherwise historic Upper East Side block, was the most-viewed home in the world in 2021.
The house was built for Eurnekian but the media and transport infrasctructure mogul put the seven-storey townhouse on the market soon after. Featuring six bedrooms and eight bathrooms behind its curved façade of bullet-proof glass, the building has commercial space alongside the residential.
It is listed as the contact address for the Rule of Law Society, a mysterious nonprofit group accused of spreading disinformation about Covid-19. Its website also names Guo Wengui, the exiled Chinese businessman on whose yacht Steve Bannon was arrested in 2020, as its founder.
The house remains listed for sale with a landscaped roof deck and several other outside spaces, a media room and a 36ft-high open basement.
Uruguay-born Viñoly has offices the world over but one of his best-known buildings in the UK is the Walkie Talkie skyscraper, officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street, winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup for the ugliest building in the UK. Sunlight reflected off the concave glass building was also blamed for melting parts on several parked cars.
Rancho Latigo, Santa Barbara County, £30.3 million ($39,995,000)
Comprised of a 12,000sq ft Spanish-colonial-style main house, a guest residence, huge horse barn and equestrian arean, outdoor swimming pool, gym and helipad the secluded property has provided a secret retreat to a raft of unnamed musical legends.
Previous owner Fred Steck, a former Goldman Sachs banker, bought the land in 1999 and built the mansion on it to fulfil his childhood dream of being a cowboy, according to Mansion Global. Steck said it would take 12 hours to ride the ranch’s boundary line on a horse.
Cliff-hanging super-mansion, Cannes, £68 million (€80 million)
The gargantuan Villa Alang Alang is built into the cliffside in the exclusive enclave of La Californie in Cannes.
The Balinese-inspired nine-bedroom mansion is the most expensive property for sale on the glitzy Cote d’Azur.
It is also available as an £18,200-a-night holiday rental with its own private chef, butler, villa manager and housekeeping team.
The lavish property features a glass staircase topped by a chandelier, a Balinese spa, hair and nail salon and a gym with a full-sized boxing ring.
There’s also a cinema room with bar and billiard table as well as a mosaiced infinity pool with swim-up bar and sound system, Jacuzzi and cabanas carved into the stone hillside. And, of course, a private beach. The extraordinary interiors even feature a dinosaur skull.
515 Park Avenue, New York, £25 million ($33 million)
Described as a “mansion in the sky”, this 6,000sq ft five-bedroom duplex in a late-Nineties trophy apartment block is served by a private lift.
There are 2,000sq ft of outdoor terraces, a sweeping wrought-iron staircase, grand corner living room with a fireplace, formal dining room, billiard room, eat-in kitchen and chef’s kitchen, bar and wine storage, home cinema and a separate third-floor staff studio.
Algarve villa, Almancil, Portugal, £1.87 million (€2.2 million)
In the Algarve’s “Golden Triangle” the most expensive place to buy property in Portugal, this five-bedroom villa is the fifth most-viewed overseas property on Rightmove. The area is a favourite with Philip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Ant and Dec, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Vardy.
In 2021 there was a 63 per cent increase in enquiries for Algarve properties from Brits desperate to escape their second Covid summer and work from abroad.