A record number of homes sold for record-high prices in 2019.
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The top 10 most expensive homes sold in 2019 totaled nearly $1.2 billion, with Citadel founder Ken Griffin's $238 million purchase of 24,000-square-foot Billionaires Row apartment in New York City ranking No. 1.
The purchases highlight concerns of wealth inequality in the U.S. and debate over whether America's wealthiest individuals should be paying higher taxes.
Lawmakers used Griffin's purchase as leverage in their argument that the rich should pay higher taxes after the Citadel founder closed on the deal just days before New York expanded its "mansion tax," which seeks to implement higher taxes on the owners of properties worth $2 million or more, according to a Thursday Wall Street Journal report.
Others have argued that a New York tax law has been one of the driving forces behind former New York property owners fleeing to Florida.
People moving out of New York state contributed the most to Flordia's population growth between 2017 and 2018. A total of 63,722 New York residents moved to the sunshine state within a year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data published in April.
President Trump announced in October that he would be leaving New York for Palm Beach, where he frequents his Mar-a-Lago golf club, saying he cherishes New York but has been "treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state" despite paying "millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes."
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., cheered the phenomenon but condemned New York tax policy during a Nov. 1 interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto.
"What are these states thinking? If you keep raising taxes, what's going to happen to their citizens?" Scott said. "They're moving. They can't pay those taxes. And it's impossible to do business up there. So they're going to just keep moving and moving — moving to Florida. It's a death spiral."
Though Griffin is likely not leaving New York anytime soon, the Citadel founder also bought a $99.1 million piece of beachfront land in Palm Beach.
Additionally, Hedge-fund billionaire Steven Schonfeld bought a $111 million estate in Palm Beach, and an unknown buyer purchased a $110.25 million estate in the same town, according to the Journal.
There were also record-high home sale prices in California. That's where Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of FOX Corps. and co-chairman of News Corp., which owns Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., bought a $150 million estate in Bell-Air known as Chartwell. The property came on the market in 2017 for $350 million, the Journal reported.
And British Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone sold her Los Angeles estate, Spelling Manor, to a Saudi Arabian buyer for $119.75 million; NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer sold his Malibu home for $100 million to WhatsApp founder Jan Koum; and an unidentified buyer bought handbag entrepreneur Bruce Makowsky's Bell-Air home for $94 million, though it originally came on the market for $250 million in 2017, according to the Journal.