Exploring California Luxury Real Estate: What’s The Price For Beauty?

August 11, 2017

This article originally appeared in Haute Residence | Read the original article on HauteResidence.com

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The most expensive home for sale in the U.S. market today is in California; the tiny Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, to be precise. Offered at $250 million, the 38,000-square-foot mansion at 924 Bel Air Road is indicative of the current state of the luxury housing market in California: The prices are exceptional, but so are the properties. And the price appears to be right for many, as year-over-year sales in California’s highest-priced markets improved in April, jumping 5.3 percent, according to the California Association of Realtors. Indeed, luxury real estate is thriving in the most coveted markets across the state, including:

There’s no shortage of high-end neighborhoods in Los Angeles––Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and so on––but Beverly Hills, long synonymous with upscale living, continues to top the list of the most expensive markets in La La Land. The average price per square foot in the first quarter of 2017 was $1,925, per a report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate. It’s a result of that magical combination of higher demand and, of late, lower inventory.

“We’re seeing an uptick in domestic investment at the uber-level, and we’re seeing more international dollars than ever,” says Kofi Nartey, director of sports & entertainment, as well as celebrity and luxury real estate at Compass. Talk about domestic interest, the infamous Playboy Mansion sold in August 2016 for $100 million to next-door neighbor and Hostess heir Daren Metropoulos in a transaction that marked the most expensive residential sale in Los Angeles history (that record has since been tied). Buyers from all over are bullish on Beverly Hills. “[For international investors] sometimes it’s more of a safe haven for investment, where the economy is more stable here than the economy they’re coming from,” Nartey notes. “And sometimes these are third and fourth homes; the average affluent buyer has three homes.”

Beverly Hills hasn’t seen any record-breaking sales in 2017 (yet), but prices don’t appear to be heading south anytime soon. Buyers are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for these properties, and they’re getting what they pay for. The 20,000-square-foot home at 27 Beverly Park Terrace fetched $26,725,000 in April. The property offers the kind of coveted privacy that comes with five acres and a lengthy driveway. It also features 10 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, all accessible via the home elevator; fireplaces in practically every room; and outside, a private tennis court and hand-cut mosaic pool.

Malibu’s coastal and mountain views have endless appeal, and it’s reflected in the home prices. The market is the second most expensive in the Los Angeles area, with average sales per square foot reaching $1,499 in the first quarter. However, Malibu had to fight its way back to the top, after suffering more than other metropolitan Los Angeles luxury markets in the economic downturn. “Malibu is unique in that it’s not necessarily a destination market. There’s really just one main road, Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a different lifestyle,” Nartey explains. “It’s also a tale of two markets––the beach side and the land side––and those all trade differently. The prices per square foot can go up 10 to 30 percent, just by going across the street.”

Actual sales activity in the Malibu luxury single-family home sector may have been lackluster over the last few months––year-over-year trades actually dropped a bit, per the Elliman report––but there’s still a great deal of head-turning excitement in the market. The 11,000-square-foot, Frank Gehry-designed gem at 31250 Broad Beach Road, highlighted by a rare 160 feet of beachfront, went to auction and sold in March for $24,150,950. Additionally, it was hard to ignore when the “New Castle” at 23800 Malibu Crest Drive emerged like a phoenix from the ashes and hit the market at $80 million, the highest asking price for a residential property in Malibu ever. The 15,000-square-foot home, developed and designed by Scott Gillen and his company Unvarnished, reached completion in April, standing atop a 360-degree promontory in place of the former Malibu Castle, which was destroyed in a 2007 fire….

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