The most expensive homes in the world are, for the most part, pretty much what you would expect: opulent, private and capable of making the neighbors sick with jealousy. What is surprising, however, is that in some parts of the world, they can be relatively modest, and even a bargain. has compiled the first comprehensive list of the priciest residences on the planet—the top five per continent, excluding Antarctica, to be precise. We combed through thousands of property listings, compared hundreds of homes and contacted dozens of brokers and owners in our quest. Here’s what we found:

They are large enough to contain entire neighborhoods, and yet not as large as you might expect. They are astoundingly expensive and, in some parts of the world at least, surprisingly cheap. They are lavish and gold-trimmed, modest and wood-sided, and perched on handkerchiefs of land and large private islands.

The most expensive home in the world was no secret: an infamously lavish new estate in England known as Updown Court. The 103-room mansion is set on 58 acres in the wealthy London suburb of Surrey. It has five swimming pools and every possible trimming, and it just hit the market this year. The least expensive on our list was a $5 million house in São Paolo, Brazil, a vintage residence that needs some updating.

Expensive homes tended to be concentrated in particular areas. South Africa dominated the Africa list, for example, and Brazil had the bulk of the most expensive South American properties. The U.S. listings were, unsurprisingly, in rich areas such as New York State and California. Overall, the most expensive homes were in the U.S., U.K. and France. Other places could hardly compare.