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Real estate recap: Napa County’s most and least expensive homes sold in 2021

Five local homes made history this past year: the most and least expensive Napa County houses sold in 2021.

Most expensive

The grand estate at 7888-7900 Money Road in Napa Valley is so luxurious, it has two addresses and its own name: Villa Mille Rose.

The estate, owned by philanthropist Maria Manetti Shrem, sold in late 2021 for $18.6 million making it the top sale of the year. 

The home had been on the market for some time and for as much as $26.5 million. 

Listing agent David Costello of Compass real estate acknowledged “it was a challenge to sell a Tuscan villa when everyone wants a modern farmhouse these days.”

And while there are other houses on the property, the main house only has two bedrooms. “That narrows it down to very specific buyers,” he said.

To draw in potential buyers, Costello’s team spent more than $100,000 remarketing the property.

After owning it for 40 years, it was a very difficult decision for Manetti Shrem to sell the property, Costello said. However, maintaining a 19-acre property which includes a vineyard and olive oil company, was time consuming.

“She wanted to travel and not have the responsibility of running a major operation like that,” Costello said.

The buyer, developer and philanthropist Antonio Castelucci, is well known in the Napa Valley.

Costello also said Castelucci’s agreement to buy Villa Mille Rose included one specific caveat. In addition to the purchase, Castelucci also made a “significant” donation to Festival Napa Valley, a nonprofit the seller and buyer both support.

“That was very important,” to Manetti Shrem, said Costello.

The most expensive “runner up” — selling for $18.5 million, just $100,000 less than Villa Mille Rose — is a luxury home at 275 Long Ranch Road in St. Helena.

“It’s absolutely one of the most gorgeous properties I’ve ever been on,” said listing agent Ginger Martin of Sotheby's International Realty.

The owners, Mark Nelson and Dana Johnson, founders of OVID Napa Valley, have moved to another home in St. Helena, said Martin. Their children are now older and “the need for a large family compound was no longer necessary,” Martin said.

According to county records, the buyer is listed as Impact Energy Partners of Mill Valley.

Martin explained that she originally listed the Long Ranch Road home right before the 2021 fires. During that time, it was temporarily taken off the market, before selling for full price.

“The big challenge for selling property in 2020 and 2021 was getting proper property insurance which included fire insurance," said Martin. "Once we were able to secure insurance, we sold.”

A home on the edge of but within city limits was the most expensive sold in Napa itself in 2021. Located at 33 Oak Rock Lane (in Browns Valley) the house sold for $4.1 million.

Agent Yvonne Rich said the seller is a retired Danville-area dentist who originally had no intention of selling the property. However, after his grandchildren moved from Napa to southern California, he changed his mind.

“They wanted to be nearby the grandchildren, said Rich.

It took more than a year, and a price adjustment, to sell the house, said Rich.

What was the holdup? Apparently the swimming pool. It was located at the very end of the property, near the primary bedroom. The kitchen and living room were at the other end. Most potential buyers wanted easier access to such a feature.

“That was one of the biggest complaints,” Rich said.

The buyer, from San Francisco, will use the home as a second residence, said Rich.

Least expensive 

On the other end of the 2021 sales spectrum, the house at 2528 Wagon Wheel Drive in Pope Valley was the least expensive home sold in the county. It sold for $269,000.

Listing agent Jannette Hall of RE/MAX Gold Napa said the buyer of the home is a veteran who used a Veterans Administration (VA) loan.

Hall said to find home prices on the lower end in Napa County, buyers need to consider outlying areas such as Pope Valley, Angwin, Berryessa and Circle Oaks.

Yes, “It’s a long drive,” into jobs in Napa or beyond, “but it’s the only thing they can do,” said Hall. Now that more people are working from home, some residents have cut commutes to two or three times a week, instead of the traditional Monday to Friday, she added. 

To find a “decent” home in Napa for less than $650,000 is getting harder and harder, she said. “We’re just trying to get people in homes in this market. It’s just crazy.”

Within Napa itself, a home at 2532 Sonoma St. (near Lincoln Avenue) was the least expensive sold in the city limits in 2021.

The home, a “major fixer” sold for $400,000 in September.

Listing agent John Bruce with Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley noted that the house needed “an awful lot” of work. “The buyers are going to do a complete remodel on it.”

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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