Chinese buyers nab Rihanna’s former London home for record $33M

At least one Londoner is seeing dollar signs. In a deal that feels very “B**ch Better Have My Money,” Rihanna’s former home in the city sold for a record $33.4 million. 

The sale marks the priciest home ever sold in London’s St. John’s Wood neighborhood, and the most expensive home sale in North London this year, The Guardian reported. The buyers are a wealthy Chinese family, pointing to a trend of Chinese buyers looking to the city’s real estate as a contingency plan in the wake of the pandemic, according to the outlet. 

Stephen Lindsay, an agent with Savills, and Mark Pollack of Aston Chase, brokered the deal, according to published reports. The deal is an example for Chinese buyers’ growing demand for luxury London homes in recent years, Pollack told the outlet. 

“Many wealthy Chinese and Hong Kong residents are prioritizing a ‘plan B’ in the eventuality of another unforeseen event leading to the Chinese government restricting movement,” he told the outlet. 

Given its history, the 6,300-square-foot St. John’s Wood home should be dubbed the House of Diamonds. 

The five-story, eight-bedroom home was built in 1844 by William Holme Twentyman and designed by royal architect John Shaw. The home’s first owner was De Beer diamond baron Daniel Francis. 

More than a century later, “Diamonds” singer, fashion designer and billionaire beauty mogul Rihanna, rented the home for a reported £18,000 (about $23,000) a week from 2018 to 2020, according to House Beautiful. Today, it includes multiple dining rooms, a gym and approved plans to expand with a pool and spa facilities, The Guardian reported.

It hit the market in 2020 for £32 million, or nearly $40 million. The sale price is £5 million, or $6.2 million, below the initial asking price. London is among the world’s trophy real estate markets, one of the few cities where the rich and powerful regularly buy homes for more than $50 million. In 2019, billionaire hedge funder Ken Griffin spent a record $122 million on a Central London mansion. 

Ri Ri, for her part, came back across the pond to buy and rent luxury properties. The singer has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes, and in April dropped $21 million on a Century City penthouse for herself, partner A$AP Rocky, and their two children. In February, she rented a Paradise Valley mansion for $500,000 a week ahead of her Superbowl Halftime show.  

— Kate Hinsche

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