Top 10 Most Expensive Houses in the World

Elena Franchuk's Victorian Villa
London's exclusive Kensington district, where the Franchuk villa is located. fotoVoyager/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Elena Franchuk, a businesswoman and AIDS philanthropist from Ukraine, is reported to be the undisclosed buyer of a newly upgraded home in southwest London for 80 million pounds (approximately U.S. $129 million). The home is a freestanding, five-story, 10-bedroom Victorian villa, and underwent 10 million pounds' (approximately U.S. $16 million) worth of upgrades, including the additions of an underground indoor swimming pool, movie theater, panic room, sauna and gym [source: Daily Mail].

The home served as a girl's prep school until 1997. In 2006, developers purchased the property for 20 million pounds (U.S. $33 million). They put in the upgrades and reputedly sold it to Franchuk. The selling price broke the former English record for home sales of 67 million pounds (approximately $108 million) [source: Evening Standard].

Why are the British Special Forces already planning to stand guard over the next house? You'll learn on the next page.