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Who won the 2 billion buys home?

The 2 billion dollar home is the most expensive private residential property in the United States. It was purchased in 2019 for $238 million by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. The home, located in New York City, set a record for the highest price ever paid for a home in the US.

Background on the Property

The property is a 24,000 square foot penthouse apartment occupying the top three floors of 220 Central Park South, a skyscraper on Billionaire’s Row in Manhattan. It has amazing views of Central Park. The apartment has 16 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms. It also features a massive great room, an art gallery, a ballroom, three kitchens, and a private terrace.

The building itself was developed by Vornado Realty Trust. It is 77 stories tall and was completed in 2018. The building contains ultra high-end condominium units catering to wealthy buyers.

The Buyer – Ken Griffin

Ken Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. He has an estimated net worth of over $26 billion.

Griffin began his finance career in college at Harvard, where he started trading from his dorm room. Citadel was founded in 1990 and now manages over $39 billion in assets.

Besides his finance career, Griffin is also known as an avid art collector. He has spent hundreds of millions on pieces by artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

Some key facts about Ken Griffin:

  • Age: 51 years old
  • Citizenship: American
  • Born: Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Education: Harvard University
  • Net Worth: $26.5 billion (Forbes 2022)

Griffin has been buying ultra high-end properties for years. In 2015 he purchased several floors at the Faena House in Miami for $60 million. In 2017 he acquired a London mansion for $122 million.

The $238 million New York City penthouse purchase was the highest amount Griffin had spent on a property. But for someone with a $26 billion net worth, he could afford the record price tag.

Details of the Purchase

In January 2019, it was announced that Ken Griffin purchased the most expensive home ever sold in the United States. He acquired the New York City penthouse at 220 Central Park South for $238 million.

The Purchase Price

The $238 million dollar price surpassed the previous record for the most expensive home, which was $137 million for a Hamptons beach property purchased by Barry Rosenstein in 2014.

The purchase price broke down as follows:

  • $238 million sale price
  • $10.13 million mansion tax
  • Estimated $1 million+ in closing costs

So the total cost for Griffin would come out to around $250 million.


Griffin purchased the property all in cash. He did not require any financing or mortgages on the luxury penthouse.

With his estimated $26.5 billion net worth, coming up with $238 million in cash was not an issue for someone as wealthy as Griffin.

Escrow and Closing

The deal for the penthouse closed in late 2018 after being in escrow for months. The seller was Citigroup banker Gerald Guterman.

The following timeline shows the escrow and closing process:

  • May 2018: Property listed for sale for $250 million
  • July 2018: Griffin’s offer accepted
  • October 2018: Entered escrow
  • December 2018: Closed for $238 million

As part of the closing, the $10.13 million mansion tax was paid to New York State. This was the highest mansion tax ever collected by the state of New York.

Reactions to the Mega Purchase

Ken Griffin’s record-shattering $238 million penthouse purchase made headlines worldwide and attracted a lot of attention. Here were some of the reactions.

Public Reactions

The public was stunned at the high price Griffin paid for the lavish, ultra-luxury penthouse. Some of the opinions expressed:

  • “That’s an insane amount of money for a home!”
  • “I can’t even imagine having that much money. Good for him.”
  • “$238 million could help a lot of people in need rather than going to a penthouse.”
  • “I’ll never relate to having a nine-figure real estate budget.”
  • “He overpaid, it’s just an apartment.”
  • “I could think of better ways to spend that kind of money.”

So public sentiment was mixed. Some were shocked or couldn’t related to such an extravagant purchase price. Others thought Griffin would have been better off using the money for more charitable pursuits. But much of the public found the amount paid astonishing.

Luxury Real Estate Industry Reaction

Among professionals in luxury real estate circles, the reactions were more positive. Industry experts said:

  • The purchase set a new benchmark for just how high the top end of the real estate market could go.
  • It reflected strong demand among billionaire buyers for the best luxury properties.
  • New York City was further cementing its status as the premier global city for wealthy buyers.
  • Developers would likely undertake more ultra high-end projects catering to the billionaire elite.

In general, real estate experts said the purchase was a huge win for New York real estate and set a new price record that other billionaire buyers would seek to break.

Reactions from Wealth Managers

Wealth management professionals offered perspectives on the wisdom of the purchase:

  • With a net worth over $25 billion, the price was high but likely not irresponsible for Griffin’s financial position.
  • It could make sense as part of a diversified real estate portfolio for someone of his wealth.
  • Hopefully it represented only a small portion of his overall net worth.
  • If he desired the trophy penthouse, he certainly could afford it.

The wealth experts caveated that while the purchase alone was not necessarily unreasonable, billionaires still needed to be prudent with their money. But for Griffin specifically, his financial resources likely meant the purchase was within his means.

How the Purchase Compared to Other High-End Sales

Ken Griffin’s $238 million purchase of the New York penthouse dwarfed other recent high-end real estate sales. Here is how it compared:

Most Expensive U.S. Homes Sold

Buyer Property Price
Ken Griffin 220 CPS Penthouse, NYC $238 million
Barry Rosenstein Southampton Mansion $137 million
Paul Allen Enchanted Hill Estate $110 million

As the table illustrates, Griffin’s purchase price smashed through the $200 million mark, dwarfing previous records.

Versus Other Manhattan Purchases

Here is how Griffin’s buy compared to other recent Manhattan real estate purchases:

Buyer Property Price
Ken Griffin 220 CPS Penthouse $238 million
Michael Dell One57 Penthouse $100.5 million
Daniel Och Limestone Mansion $92 million

Again, at over $200 million more than the next highest recent sale, Griffin’s purchase stood out in the Manhattan market by a huge margin.

Global Luxury Real Estate Market

Ken Griffin’s penthouse purchase was also top-tier globally:

Buyer Property Price
Ken Griffin NYC Penthouse $238 million
Wang Jianlin Villa Leopolda $221 million
Lakshmi Mittal Kensington Palace $210 million

Compared to other recent 9-figure real estate purchases worldwide, Griffin’s buy was right up there with the top sales.

How Griffin’s Purchase Compares to Average Incomes

To illustrate just how expensive Ken Griffin’s penthouse purchase was, it helps to compare it to typical US incomes and salaries:

United States Annual Wages

Job Title Average Salary
Teacher $61,000
Police Officer $67,000
Registered Nurse $75,000
Accountant $83,000
Software Engineer $110,000

For comparison, Ken Griffin spent over 2,000 times the average US teacher’s annual salary on his penthouse purchase. That illustrates just how wealthy you need to be to afford a 9-figure real estate buy.

Amount of Time to Save for Purchase

If an average person tried to save up money to buy Griffin’s $238 million penthouse, this is how long it would take:

Job Title Years to Save
Teacher 3,900 years
Police Officer 3,500 years
Registered Nurse 3,200 years
Accountant 2,900 years
Software Engineer 2,200 years

For regular people with average salaries, it would take multiple lifetimes to save up enough to afford Griffin’s luxury New York apartment. That really shows the immense financial resources required to buy properties at this elite level.

How Griffin’s Purchase Compared to His Wealth

Given Ken Griffin’s estimated $26.5 billion net worth, how much of a dent did his NYC penthouse buy make in his wealth?

Overall Net Worth

Ken Griffin Net Worth: $26.5 billion

Penthouse Purchase Price

NYC Penthouse Price: $238 million

Penthouse as a Percent of Net Worth

Percent of Net Worth: 0.9%

So the $238 million penthouse purchase only represented 0.9% of Ken Griffin’s total $26.5 billion net worth.

While the price was record-setting in absolute terms, relative to Griffin’s vast wealth, he could comfortably afford it as a secondary luxury residence.

How Much It Takes to Live Like a Billionaire

Ken Griffin’s purchase offers a glimpse into how real estate decisions differ for billionaires compared to average income earners. Here is a look at what it takes to live like a billionaire:


Billionaires often own multiple, lavish homes in prime global cities and exclusive resort destinations. These elite properties regularly sell for tens of millions to over $100 million. Regular Americans would need to save for many lifetimes to afford one of these luxury homes.

Other Real Estate

Besides their primary homes, billionaires frequently buy other high-end real estate such as penthouses, villas, ranches, and beach houses. Griffin himself owns over $1 billion in real estate globally based on estimates. Owning a real estate portfolio worth over $1 billion put him in rare company even among the billionaire class.

Private Jets

Private jets are a common luxury among billionaires. New private jets can cost $10 million or much more. Flying private rather than commercial allows billionaires to travel in ultimate comfort.


Yachts are another must-have luxury item for billionaires. While Americans earning $50,000 a year struggle to afford a used boat, billionaires own yachts longer than football fields costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Luxury Vehicles

For cars, billionaires acquire luxury vehicles most people only dream about, such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Maybachs. Top exotic supercars can sell for over $1 million.


Billionaires have the resources to donate vast sums to charities and social causes. Bill Gates has given over $50 billion to the Gates Foundation. Mark Zuckerberg has given over $10 billion to various initiatives. Even with their extreme wealth, billionaires can afford to give billions away.


In conclusion, Ken Griffin’s record-shattering $238 million purchase of a New York City penthouse reflects the elite echelon of real estate that billionaire buyers participate in. While mind-bogglingly expensive for average people, for self-made billionaires like Griffin, buying trophy properties for 0.9% of their net worth is financially within reach. The purchase provided a glimpse into the vast sums required to live a billionaire lifestyle with multiple luxury homes, cars, jets, and yachts. For the general public, the price tag was shocking. But for the billionaire set Griffin belongs to, the ability to spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on a penthouse makes sense in proportion to their outsized wealth.