JOHN VILLAS, Calif.
— The world’s priciest villas are set to make headlines once again.
The first time the mansion for the United States and the British royal family sold for nearly $2 billion on Friday, it raised eyebrows and brought to light the need for better regulation of luxury homes, luxury real estate agents said.
The $1.9 billion, 644-room home in Malibu, Calif., sold at auction for $1,834,500, according to the California Lottery and Gaming Authority.
That was almost half the $2,849,000 asking price.
The mansion, which was built in 1912 and is on the top floor of a mansion in Malbran, England, was built with a view of the ocean and is owned by the English-born British royal couple.
The prince and princess were guests at a private dinner at the mansion in April.
The sale brought to the fore the complex issue of who owns a mansion, a problem that is exacerbated by the fact that wealthy individuals, like the Prince and Princess, are often able to buy homes and move in at their whim.
In Australia, which is the world leader in mansion prices, the sale of a $3.5 million, 8,500-square-foot villa in the suburbs of Melbourne was valued at $2 million, according the ABC.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Property Council said it had not seen any data showing a spike in sales of $2 or more in recent years, and noted that in many cases there were buyers who did not live in the house.
In Italy, which has the second-highest number of luxury properties in the world after Japan, a buyer can sell for up to $5.6 million.
The villas have a view overlooking the ocean, but they are usually located in residential buildings and have a private entrance, according a statement from the Italian Embassy in the U.S.
A spokesman for the Malibu estate said the buyer had bought the villas in 2014 and 2015 and the sale is “not an attempt to gain control over the properties.”