It was the workmanship — columns, huge fireplaces, stone work and barrel ceilings — that sold the buyers of this year’s most expensive home. The 11,000-square-foot property in the Van Ness Extension sold for $3.9 million. Photo via Realtor.com
Written by Breanna Hardy
The most expensive home sale for 2021 raked in $3.9 million dollars — a 7% drop from 2020 and the second year with an annual decrease in the sold price.
That’s according to The Business Journal’s yearly Most Expensive Home Sales list on page 8.
But while the price of the most expensive home on the Multiple Listing Service may have dropped, the number of million-dollar homes in 2021 sold was a “big difference, according to Danyelle Conner with London Properties.
In the calendar year 2021, 168 homes sold for at least $1 million in Fresno County, compared to 78 in 2020.
This year’s most expensive home was built in 2009 and sold on June 8 for $3,950,000 on a three-quarter-acre lot in the prestigious Van Ness Extension of Fresno. It totals 11,000 square feet with six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The master suite includes three walk-in closets, fireplace, heated bathroom flooring, steam shower, jetted tub and coffee bar.
A cellar was listed as an “entertainer’s dream” with slate tile accented walls, private wine room, media room and full wet bar.
It was on the market for 250 days. Listing agent Rod Aluisi said he wasn’t surprised by the length of time on the market because there are not many buyers qualified for this price bracket.
Aluisi said the name of the game for saving cash on expensive homes is purchasing a pre-existing home rather than building a new one.
“You don’t want to just spend $4 million and not get exactly what you want,” Aluisi said. “You’re having to give a little. But yet if you tried to replace that home it would be $1 million more.”
The same brokerage, Rod Aluisi Real Estate, represented both the seller and the buyer.
For buyers in these price ranges, it usually comes down to a choice — building or buying, Aluisi said.
“When they buy homes like this, they save money,” Aluisi said.
Aluisi said that this home is a true residential home, unlike others in previous years that have topped the Most Expensive Home Sales list. It’s not the land or the assets of the property that have driven the value, but the home itself.
In 2020, the most expensive home offered commercial walnut and pistachio orchards on the property. In 2019 the most expensive sale was on a hallmark piece of land — nearly 2,000 acres in the foothills outside of Clovis that went for $6.5 million.
This year’s top sale was more modest on the outside but with all the luxury touches on the inside.
“[They were] really buying the home and not the land,” Aluisi said. “It’s a true residential high end property”
Yashu Toprani, real estate consultant who represented the buyer of the Van Ness home, said it ultimately hooked them because of its workmanship — columns, huge fireplaces, stone work and barrel ceilings.
Other features that sold them were the 1,800-bottle wine cellar, movie theater and outdoor kitchen with pizza oven. And although it’s listed as having six bedrooms, it could be turned into nine depending on how they’re used.
The buyers were planning on building a home, but when they saw the details of the listing, they wanted to buy it. It also saved them from waiting two to three years to move in.
“My clients just loved the home,” Toprani said.
The second most expensive home sold for $3.05 million off of Shaw and McCall avenues in the Loma Vista area.
The home was built in 2019 and is nearly 7,000 square feet. While it’s the second-most expensive home by the grand total, the price per square foot is higher than the No. 1 home sale. It’s nestled in a neighborhood and was a new, custom property by Henry Gatewood Construction in Visalia.
The home also features a 1,500-square-foot, commercial-scale office or guest retreat addition — appropriate for working from home during the pandemic.
The Multiple Listing Service reports that the home sold in mid-July after being listed in February. The buyers are the first to own the home since it’s been built.
The listing office was eXp Realty of California, and Carole McMills represented the seller. Kathi Smades Hintz with Guarantee Real Estate represented the buyer.
The first buyer, who bought the house as construction was wrapping up, requested the extra office and guesthouse space before selling it right after the add-on was built.
The house is in a planned unit development, which is unique to the area. Homes are spaced out on two-acre parcels.
Coming in as the No. 3 most expensive home sale was an 8,300-square-foot Friant home that sold for $3 million. Like No. 1, it was built in 2009.
Christopher Byrnes with Landmark Properties represented both the buyer and the seller.
Although this wasn’t a record-setting year for the most expensive home sale, agents in the luxury segment noted a significant uptick in the number of homes sold for more than $1 million.
Smades Hintz says there are many contributing factors that made the pool of million-dollar home sales so plentiful. Low interest rates and a small inventory pushed prices up. But there is also an increasing amount of people moving from the Bay Area or Southern California to work remotely. People migrating to the Central Valley can benefit from the comparably affordable houses while still working remotely for Silicon Valley, she said.
But the market has been moving quickly for the better part of two years. Multiple offers on homes are the regular occurrence. She advises people to know where they’re moving before they sell their houses.
“If it was priced right, it was gone,” she said. “You better know where you’re going or don’t sell your house.”