Real Estate

This $18 million Invisible House is the most expensive listing in Joshua Tree — and it’s already a money-maker

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One of Airbnb’s most wish-listed properties in 2023 is on the market.

The Joshua Tree, California-home is for sale at an asking price of $18 million, making it the most expensive home to ever hit the market in the town located about two hours southeast of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County. 

The record-breaking listing is called the Invisible House named for its mirror-clad facade which reflects the desert surroundings and can effectively disappear into the rocky landscape.

The Invisible House’s mirror-clad facade creates the illusion of the home disappearing into the desert landscape.
Brian Ashby

The modern glass architecture is situated on 67.5 acres just steps away from the Joshua Tree National Park. The living space spans almost 5,500 square feet with three bedrooms, four baths and a 100-foot indoor pool, according to the sale listing.

“This is one of the coolest houses in the world,” said co-listing agent Aaron Kirman, CEO of AKG Christie’s International Real Estate.

Kirman told CNBC the $18 million listing is all about show-stopping modern architecture and the illusion created by the 10,500 square feet of wrap-around mirrored glass on the home’s exterior.

Brian Ashby

The home was designed by film producer and current owner, Chris Hanley, and Frank Gehry-collaborator, architect Tomas Osinski. The glass-and-steel structure is 225 feet long, 25 feet wide and 21 feet tall.

Inside, there are smooth concrete floors and steel beams that criss-cross 12-foot ceilings. Those walls of mirrored-glass on the home’s exterior are transparent from the inside and they deliver panoramic views of a rock-filled landscape. The home’s west-facing wall of glass can slide open to reveal a symphony of boulders, tangled brush and stoic trees.

The minimalist design surrounding the 100-foot indoor pool makes a swim across the living room to one of the bedrooms even more lavish. 

A view of the indoor pool and the panoramic views framed by floor-to-ceiling panels of glass.
Brian Ashby

Finding real-estate comps for such unique architecture located in a remote desert town with a population of just thousands, is impossible, according to Kirman.

“So let’s just be clear, there are no comps. We are not comping this house based on Joshua Tree,” he said.

According to co-listing agent Matt Adamo, the highest price ever achieved for a home in Joshua Tree was $3.5 million. So a sale anywhere near the Invisible House’s asking price would shatter the local record.

The closest comps, Kirman said, are homes by built Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Rudolph Schindler — “some of the great architects from the past.”

The Invisible House’s mirrored facade reflecting the desert sunrise.
Brian Ashby

The Invisible House’s $18 million price tag amounts to almost $3,300 per square foot, which puts the Joshua Tree residence above some of the priciest listings in Los Angeles — on a per-square-foot basis — where the top 10% of all single family homes that sold during the first quarter averaged just under $2,400 a square foot, according to the Elliman Report.

And even before a potential sale, the modern desert home, which has its own Instagram account and boasts about 35,000 followers, is already a money-maker.

The home is frequently rented out to guests on Airbnb and for production shoots.

“In 2021, this house generated over $1.4 million in total revenue,” Adamo told CNBC, adding about 15% of that came from production.

The Invisible House in Joshua Tree, California is a mirrored 22-story horizontal skyscraper. Recently the unique property was listed for sale for $18 million.

The home’s Airbnb listing starts rentals at $2,500 a night and includes a small guest house on the property. Adamo said the rate for production is even higher, with past rentals earning $1,000 an hour or as much as $12,000 for a full day.

Between those two rental avenues, the brokers told CNBC the home has hosted quite a few notable guests including musicians and actors like Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Lizzo, Diplo and The Weeknd, as well as a long list of social media influencers.

“When you do the math, you’re buying significant architecture, uniqueness, grounds, plus the ability to make money on all of that,” Kirman said.

In the four months since the home has hit the market, it hasn’t seen any takers, but both agents are confident the record-breaking asking price will deliver the highest priced sale Joshua Tree has ever seen.

“I feel like $18 million is 100% the right price,” said Kirman.

“Don’t look at this as a house. It’s a piece of art, and look at what art sells for.”

Here’s a look around the Invisible House:

Giant wind-worn boulders rest at the home’s entrance. Once inside visitors are greeted by a dramatic 100-foot indoor pool.

The home’s west-facing glass wall slides open to the desert landscape.
Brian Ashby

Off the pool area and at the center of the kitchen is an oversized island with high-end cabinetry crafted in Italy by Boffi.

The sleek kitchen includes a marble-clad island with Italian-designed lower cabinets, but no overhead cabinetry that would obstruct the panoramic views. 
Brian Ashby

The home’s two guest rooms feature king-sized beds raised on  platforms of black and white striped marble that are built into the wall.

A guest bedroom with a built-in marble platform and king-sized bed.
Brian Ashby

Two caissons lift the home’s primary bedroom high above the desert floor and deliver dramatic panoramic views from a king-sized bed that sits on a platform constructed completely of glass.

Listing agent Aaron Kirman (L) and CNBC’s Ray Parisi discuss the caissons that lift the Invisible House’s primary bedroom above the desert floor.
The primary bedroom’s open floor plan includes a stainless steel rain shower and king-sized bed that sits on an all glass platform.
Brian Ashby

The room’s open layout includes an oversized soaking tub, floating double sinks and a stainless steel rain shower with a glass wall that frames a picturesque view.

The primary bedroom’s soaking tub and floating sinks.
Brian Ashby
The glass-encased shower in one of the home’s guest bedrooms.
Brian Ashby

The minimalist bathrooms feature showers clad in stainless steel. 

The guest bedroom’s minimalist ensuite bath includes cement floors and a stainless steel shower.
Brian Ashby

The roof of the off-the-grid estate is lined with 92 solar panels that store energy in 3 Tesla batteries.

The rooftop of the Invisible House is equipped with an array of solar panels that supply the home with electricity, heat and hot water.

Steps away from the main residence is a one-bedroom, pre-fab guest house with its own kitchen and bath, bringing the estate’s total room count to four bedrooms and five baths.

The Invisible House in the distance and its one-bedroom guest house in the foreground.