Inside the $23.5 million home that could break the local California record


The ocean view from the most expensive mansion ever sold in Encinitas, California.

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A $23.5 million modern mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Southern California is slated to officially go public on May 14, becoming the most expensive home ever built in the city of Encinitas, California, a coastal community of approximately 26 miles, is for sale north of San Diego.

The house’s eight-figure asking price is more than double what it was less than six years ago.

“Coupled with the high demand for luxury homes we’ve seen in San Diego in recent years and such rare supply, we believe the price is where it should be,” said Kelly Howard of Compass, one of the competitors agents on the property.

The bluff house at 532 Neptune Ave. is called Crescent House, named for one of its luxurious amenities: a crescent-shaped infinity pool surrounding a circular concrete terrace.

A crescent-shaped infinity pool wraps around a circular deck.

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The house already broke the local price record when it went on sale for $11.1 million in 2016 after just 28 days on the market. This sale remains the highest in Encinitas history, according to Multiple Listing Service records provided by Howard, who also represented the listing for this record-breaking sale.

“We are confident that this house will break its own record,” he said.

If the glass, concrete, and titanium structure reminds you of fictional billionaire Tony Stark’s oceanfront mansion in Marvel’s Iron Man films, that may be because it’s the work of architect Wallace Cunningham.

razor house

Gary Kasl-Douglas Elliman Realty

Cunningham also designed the state-of-the-art Razor House, located less than 20 miles south in La Jolla. The cutting-edge design is believed by some to be one of the real-life inspirations for Stark’s fictional Malibu home, designed by an illustrator and brought to life with computer-generated imagery.

“Nothing comes close to the Crescent House, except maybe the Razor House,” Howard said.

Designed by the award-winning architect, both homes feature dramatic curves, distinctive edges and massive glass panels that offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

The facade of the Razor House combines glass and concrete to deliver sharp lines and dramatic curves.

Gary Kasl-Douglas Elliman Realty

A view of the mansion on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

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Crescent House was featured in Architectural Digest magazine in 2005 and in the Season 3 premiere episode of HBO’s Westworld.

The mansion is over 6,300 square feet on two levels and according to the listing has four bedrooms, four full baths and two half-baths. Almost every room takes advantage of its sky and ocean perspective with floor to ceiling windows.

Primary bedroom

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An impressive staircase leads to the second level, which was designed by the architect to resemble the skeleton of a giant dinosaur with stainless steel vertebrae and ribs.

An elegant steel and glass staircase winds upwards, connecting the two levels of the house.

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Cunningham told Architectural Digest the house was built to “evoke the feeling of being on a ship at sea”. This is evident in the living area, where the house seems to float above the ocean at certain angles.

A sofa in the living area offers a front row seat with impressive sea views.

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Behind the glass walls are tiered terraces that bring you even closer to the sea.

Multi-level terraces offer multiple spots to enjoy the view.

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The current owners live full-time in Florida and, having kept the house for six years, are ready to sell it.

If the pair achieves its asking price, the sale would fetch a price per square foot of more than $3,700, nearly four times the average of $928 for luxury homes sold in the county, according to the quarterly Elliman Report. The report defines luxury properties as those that are in the top 10% of the market.

“The San Diego luxury market has seen a serious price spike since this Crescent House was last sold,” said listing agent Howard.

Howard believes increased market demand, a pedigree design and what he believes is a larger than average lot size for Bluff Top Street will work in sellers’ favor and help earn a premium on the lot.

The owners also made several upgrades, including hiring the original architect to add two state-of-the-art fire features and outfitting the mansion with smart home infrastructure, Howard said.

A contemporary fire element adjacent to one of the home’s outdoor seating areas.

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Howard told CNBC that new coastal building codes make it impossible to replicate a home like this in this location, further justifying the 112% price increase over 2016, he said.

The villa’s main bathroom features two vanities with mirrors that appear to float above the sinks.

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Historical sales data suggests the jump in value isn’t as crazy as it might seem.

In October 2016, when Crescent House was last sold, the average selling price in Encinitas was just over $1.2 million, according to the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. Last month, that figure surpassed $2.4 million, a similar doubling in less than six years.

Whether the home can command its full price remains to be seen, but the price is more than nine times the average Encinitas home price, and finding a buyer willing to pay a record-breaking price isn’t always easy.

“The discerning buyer who cares and understands this will be willing to pay for it,” Howard said.

Tiered outdoor decks offer stunning ocean views, multiple dining areas and an outdoor seating area with fire feature.

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