The $154 Million Dollar Home: Inside China’s Most Expensive Real Estate

Modelled on the Classical Gardens of Suzhou — a UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Annette Barlow August 3, 2016
All photos courtesy of Gibson / Sotheby's International Realty

The gasp was heard around the world when in June, Sotheby’s International began marketing a house listed for $154 million, located in Suzhou, China.

Nicknamed “taohuayuan”—meaning “utopia” but translating literally as “peach blossom land”—the 72,441 square-foot property is nestled on its own private island on the shores of Dushu Lake, China’s biggest lake, located just north of Shanghai.

Related: Don’t Believe The Hype – China Is Still Going Gangbusters For US Real Estate

The house, which sits on a gargantuan 1,663 acres (mowing that lawn is going to take longer than a lazy Sunday afternoon), reportedly took three years to build, and within days of the listing going live on Mansion Global real estate, offers were already being put forward.

With the exception of a Hong Kong mansion which recently sold for an astronomical $270 million, the “One Billion Yuan Luxury Home” (as Sotheby’s have begun referring to it) is mainland China’s most expensive home. But with similar luxury properties being marketed for—and selling at—almost half the price, you have to wonder: what’s so special about this place?

For starters, taohuayuan features 32 bedrooms and 32 bathrooms. So, plenty of room if you wanted to have the odd guest to stay over. Plus, you’d never have to queue for the loo again. And if numbers don’t impress you much, the fact that this house was designed with access to nature at its core will surely get the nod. All the bedrooms face south, to catch the best light, and the entire property boasts breathtaking lake views.

In fact, taohuayuan’s land might just be its biggest feature. Modelled on the Classical Gardens of Suzhou—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the gardens feature a year-round mist-covered pond, flanked by pagodas and zen rockeries, a lakeside swimming pool and numerous covered and open courtyards for the owners to kick back in.

And it’s these bespoke, custom elements that seem to make taohuayuan stand out among its peers. The colossal wine cellar can’t hurt the property’s appeal, appearing to contain enough space to hoard more bottles than you’d ever be able to consume, and all the brickwork was handcrafted by Xiangshanbang Traditional Architectural and Building Skills, meaning that there’s literally no other house like this on the planet.

Thinking about writing a cheque right now? Well, according to Sotheby’s, the listing is now no longer available. Can this mean that someone has actually purchased the unique property?

With our detective hats on, we can deduce whoever this person is, they’re got a fair bit of cash. At that price (and disappearing from the market within six weeks), we’re doubting the buyers are busy mortgage hunting. They’re also big fans of China. That’s about as much as we have to go on right now, but we do know that there’s a lot of bedrooms to fill, and we have some vacation time coming up…

Annette Barlow



Annette is freelance editor, sub-editor, journalist and proofreader with a fierce love of all things feminist, food and music. She is a regular fixture on the arts, culture and feature desks at The Guardian, and her words have appeared on NME, Great British Chefs, The Fly, The Line of Best Fit and Australian Times.

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