|Three Ponds Farm|
That's because the old adage that "the rich are different" is bearing out in the troubled housing market.
Billionaires hunting for unique properties to show they've arrived aren't holding back because of all the bad news about the housing market. Indeed, they're mostly paying cash for eight-figure starter estates to sellers who aren't usually in a hurry because the houses carry very little debt.
And it can easily cost nine figures to keep up with the Joneses -- the Paul Tudor Joneses, that is. Real estate broker Susan Lowe, vice president of Chase International Distinctive Properties in Lake Tahoe, Calif., says her firm has had a record year, selling three homes for more than $10 million each in September alone. "It's a buyer's market, except at the very high end where it's a seller's market," says Ms. Lowe, Ms. Lowe's listings include Tranquility, a $100 million extravaganza featuring 210 acres of pine forest, a 38,000 square-foot main house, a boat house on a private lake, an artist's studio and stables. For those looking for a slightly smaller but still impressive family retreat in the same neighborhood, there is Al Tarina, a 72-acre estate listed for $37 million and boasting 1,300 feet of highly coveted lakefront.