Sand imported from the Bahamas. An indoor Olympic-size pool. Now all these developers need is a buyer. Betting the house on a multimillion-dollar spec home.A group of wealthy art collectors and philanthropists dined on risotto and listened to chamber music at a 10-bedroom estate on a private island off Florida’s Biscayne Bay last month. The mansion isn’t owned by a Russian oligarch or a certain NBA player who recently moved to town. It was built purely on speculation by developers in search of a buyer….Its asking price: $60 million
Despite the current housing slump, a small but growing group of developers and investors is building multimillion-dollar mega-mansions for wealthy potential buyers who’ve never seen them. Three years into the housing bust, at a time when home values are hitting new lows in many markets, a small group of developers has plunged into the risky business of betting millions on high-end speculative homes. They are erecting amenity-rich mansions for wealthy buyers that they hope will materialize. While the vast majority of the "spec" market remains moribund, some developers, pointing to a handful of big sales and the recent recovery of the stock market, believe the world’s wealthiest buyers are out again shopping for trophy mansions, often as second, third or fourth homes.
By Candace Jackson, Jan. 7, 2011 WSJ