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Climate House Hunting: Record Breaking Edition

The week’s hottest real estate listings, ranked by climate risk.

Jay-Z and Beyonce.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, Spaces, The Modern House, or Architectural Digest and wondering how those gorgeous homes will hold up in the next decades? I have you covered.

Heatmap has partnered with my new climate risk platform, Habitable. Every Friday, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news this week and ask: Could you live here as the climate changes?

Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here.)

For today’s edition, I apply the Habitable Index to see if the record-breaking home sales breaking the internet this week will break the bank when climate change comes knocking.

1. Billionaire Ken Griffin breaks and still holds the record for most spent on future-proofing real estate.

Ken Griffin apartment.Photo: Compass Real Estate

Billionaire Ken Griffin wins for buying the most expensive property ever on record in the US. He paid $238 million for a 23,000-square-foot penthouse on Central Park South. Almost as astonishing is its almost non-existent climate risk. His quantitative skills pay off again. Griffin for the win.

2. Carnegie Elk Preserve slated to be the most expensive house to sell in Millbrook, New York.

Equestrian estate.Douglas Elliman

The former equestrian estate built in 1860 and home of Andrew Carnegie’s daughter is on the market for the first time in 40 years. The highest selling home in the area was $18 million but this secluded horse farm with private trails over rolling hills is an equestrian dream come true. At $20 million it even feels like a bargain. With horse stables, carriage houses, apple orchards, and barely any climate risk, this place will be a refuge for centuries to come.

Featured in WSJ and listed for $20 million.

3. Record breaking insanity

Brady Bunch house. Zillow

Here's the story of a house named Brady. Yes, this is the actual Brady Bunch house from the 1970s sitcom and it's been on the market for less than 24 hours!

Reportedly the 2nd most photographed home after the White House, an even weirder fact is that HGTV bought the house in 2018 and gut-renovated the interior to look identical to how it looked in the TV show. Adding to the many reasons this place is un-Habitable, the climate risk of the Studio City, California, bungalow seals the (no-) deal. In addition to all the memories of the Brady kids antics, the house offers extreme flood and drought risk.

Featured in the NY Postand listed for $5.5 million.

4. Here goes nothing.

The Agency.

Sure, why not. The owner of this space ship-style house, pictured above before it was built, in Bel Air really went for it. After Beyonce and JayZ’s $200 million dollar purchase (see next listing), why not slap a $185 million dollar price tag on this puppy? And get out while the gettings good because while the house won’t flood, fire and drought are coming to this hillside very, very soon.

Featured inWSJand listed at $185m

5. Tied for throwing the most good money after bad

Beyonce House.Google Earth.

This week Jay Z and Beyonce bought the most expensive home in the history of California! The news flooded the headlines: They paid $200 million for a 40,000 square feet Tadao Ando house that used 74,645 cubic yards of concrete (in other words: no carbon emissions spared)! While the spectacular (it must be said!) ocean front property is surprisingly not at risk of flooding, the drought and fire potential represents an equally record-breaking risk … is the house a lemon? Looks like they’ll be making a lot of lemonade.

Featured on TMZ and sold for $200 million.

6. Another record-breaker in the making

Eisner home.WEA luxury homes

If Disney chief executive Michael Eisner’s Malibu estate does end up selling for $195 million with similar equally extreme climate risk as new neighbors Beyonce and Jay Z, you gotta hand it to him. The 5-acre oceanfront Mediterranean style complex designed by architect Robert A. M. Stern sits on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. And while the house is high enough to not worry about a flood, it’s not much consolation since the drought and fire risk is off the charts and pretty guaranteed. $195 million! Dare to dream Mickey!

Featured in Architectural Digestand listed for $195 million.

7. The Summit of Denial at Las Vegas’s Summit Club

Celine DionZillow.

What one even does in a 31,000 square foot, I’d love to know but Celine Dion’s giant Las Vegas house just sold for a record breaking $30 million. It was the highest selling home so far at the desert billionaire community. The Summit Club is where residents Tony Robbins, Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, Marc Andreessen, and actor Mark Wahlberg with their record-breaking god complexes are about to face equally record breaking heat, drought and fires. Goodbye reality, hello Vegas.

Featured in Dirt and sold for $30 million.


Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: Read More

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