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Rupert Murdoch mansion sells for 39% off

The News Corp. head still manages to take a profit on the sale of his Long Island estate.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 27, 2011 3:58PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at MSN Money.

 

Rupert Murdoch, the head of the embattled News Corp., finally had something go his way: His Long Island colonial mansion has sold -- although for $9.1 million, discounted 39% from the original asking price of $14.8 million, says this blog post at Long Island Newsday, which says the deal closed Sept. 20.

 

Murdoch may not be much like regular folks otherwise, but he shares this frustration with millions of recession-weary homeowners: His mansion sat on the real-estate market gathering dust for four years. Like many sellers, he was forced to swallow a gigantic price drop -- $5.7 million, in Murdoch's case.

 

Don't feel sorry for him just yet, though. He managed to pocket a profit, having paid just $7.8 million for the home in 2003, according to Newsday's research.

 

As any seller knows, the commission on a real-estate sale can be a killer. But Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng, seem to have managed to keep at least some of theirs in the family. One of the listing agents on the property is none other than Deng's sister, Huailing Deng.

 

Says Newsday:

Listing agents for Daniel Gale were Huailing Deng and Debra Quinn Petkanas. Deng, who identified herself to Newsday as the sister of Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, confirmed that the sale had closed.

If Huailing Deng and her colleagues earn half the 6% commission typically paid by a seller, their fee will amount to about $273,000.

 

Pitt and Jolie were tenants

Four years ago the home, called "Rosehearty," went on the market with a tag of $14.4 million. Writes Newsday:

Since then, the price had dropped incrementally and the home was taken off the market a few times, most notably when it was rented out to celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2008. The couple reportedly paid $100,000 to lease the compound for a month while Jolie filmed scenes for the movie "Salt" nearby.

This appears to be the home, a 19-room colonial built in 1885 on 4.56 acres. The precise location is not given but it's near the Long Island village of Centre Island.

 

It has 11 bedrooms, 7½ bathrooms and seven fireplaces. There's an eight-car garage, tennis courts, 260 feet of beachfront, a beach cabana, a 50-foot pool and Jacuzzi. The third floor has a playroom and three-bedroom, three-bath apartment for staff. The property taxes alone -- $73,601 to the county and $37,540 to the village -- would break most families.

 

Feeding frenzy for luxury homes

Murdoch is accustomed to directing the news. The Australian-born magnate is founder, CEO and chair of News Corp., the media conglomerate that owns Fox, The Wall Street Journal, Sky TV, 20th Century Fox, The Times of London, The New York Post and HarperCollins publishers, among many, many other media properties.

 

But News Corp. has been the center of news stories lately, revolving around a phone-hacking scandal unfolding in Britain. It involves charges that voice mail accounts belonging to politicians, celebrities and crime victims were hacked by staff at News of the World, a widely read News Corp. British tabloid. The question at this point: Was Murdoch's son James, chairman and CEO of News Corp.'s European and Asian operations, aware of the illegal hacking? Post continues after video.

Where have the Murdochs landed next? There's no word. But they already have a panoply of homes to choose from and the Long Island manse was likely just a weekend place.

 

Curbed, the New York real-estate blog, compiled photos of Murdoch homes. The article was assembled early this year when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (another Aussie) "revealed that his 'insurance file' -- an encrypted set of documents available for download on the WikiLeaks website and set for release should harm come to Assange or his organization -- contains a series of cables on "Murdoch and News Corp."

 

The luxury-home market was hit hard by the real-estate bust but it appears to be recovering faster than the rest of U.S. real estate. For a time, luxury sellers continued clinging to high prices. But, like the Murdochs, they were forced -- many by foreclosure -- into enormous discounts.

 

That means bargains for buyers, like the couple who bought a bank-owned luxury home in a tony Chesapeake, Va., neighborhood for $625,000 on Sept. 19. The former owners had paid $1.1 million in 2004. The Virginian-Pilot tells the story.

 

In fact, the bargains have created something of a feeding frenzy among those who can pay. The Washington Post reports that "luxury properties are recovering" while the rest of the market languishes. Because of the discounts, real-estate bidding wars are back among the rich.

 

Writes the Post:

Think of this housing market as bipolar. In the luxury sector, the recession is a memory and sales and prices are rising. But everywhere else, the market is moving sideways or getting worse.

More on MSN Money:

1Comment
Sep 27, 2011 6:10PM
avatar
They still paid too much. Centre Island is awful. I used to work up there. Theres like nothing there, just these huge estates. Just to go shopping you need to drive over to Bayville Ave, almost to the town of Bayville. And just to get to the highway is a good 25-30 minute drive. Its like being in the middle of nowhere. Just a bunch of old rich snobs, who probably don't care anyway because they just send their servants out and never leave their compounds themselves.
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