A year ago, Peter Morton made real estate history when he sold his Malibu home for $110 million — the most expensive single-family home sale in Los Angeles County ever. Since then, a number of homes have hit the market at higher prices than that, with sellers attempting to break the Morton record but, as of yet, none managing to top it. But not for a lack of trying.
Many luxury brokers said the fourth quarter of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 were unusually slow. Sales in Beverly Hills, for example, were down by more than 20 percent when compared with the year before, according to Douglas Elliman’s 2018 fourth-quarter report. Even so, brokers are optimistic about the current state of the market and said activity kicked into high gear in March.
“Things have leveled, but we still have a very robust upper end,” said Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker. “I’m not saying things are selling like crazy, but we have a lot of people who are out there looking. When people look, they eventually buy.”
For a snapshot of the current high-end residential market in Los Angeles, we looked at the 10 most expensive single-family homes for sale in Los Angeles County. The listings range from spec homes to sprawling estates, from Bel Air to Malibu, from homes that are occupied by the original owners to a 120-acre parcel of land in Beverly Hills.
Acreage in Los Angeles continues to be at a premium, and if the priciest listings are any indication, sellers anticipate that buyers will pay up for it: Six of the top 10 listings have more than five acres, and two are parcels of undeveloped land.
But some high-end homeowners have had to reframe their expectations. A number of the properties on our list have seen price reductions over the last year. Stephen Shapiro of Westside Estate Agency credits this, in part, to the sellers wanting “aspirational pricing” when they set the initial listing.
“What they think they’re entitled to has nothing to do with what the market will pay for it,” said Shapiro, who recently dropped the price on the Foothill Estate in Beverly Hills from $125 million to $97.5 million. “Only two houses in Malibu have sold for over $100 million — no other $100 million homes have sold. If you want to sell, you have to have some degree of realism.”
Below is a snapshot of the priciest properties on the market as of March 11.
875 Nimes Road, Los Angeles
The Sumner Spaulding-designed Chartwell Estate spent a year in an even pricier bracket before hitting the MLS in October 2018. The 10-acre property of late Univision billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio came on the market in 2017 as a $350 million pocket listing, but didn’t find any takers. Now the French neoclassical mansion is available for $245 million.
The estate has 11 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms and was renovated in the 1980s by designer Henri Samuel. It also features a guest house designed by Wallace Neff, a 75-foot pool and 40 parking spaces.
“A lot of people are wanting [a timeless] look again,” said Mills, who is one of the listing agents on the property. She noted that it is “not a white box. We sort of went through the very, very contemporary, and now people are wanting much more of that soft, beautiful contemporary.”
In addition to Mills, Chartwell Estate is being listed by Joyce Rey and Alexandra Allen, also of Coldwell Banker; Jeff Hyland, Drew Fenton and Gary Gold of Hilton & Hyland; and Drew Gitlin and Susan Gitlin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
67 Beverly Park Court, Beverly Hills
Situated on more than seven acres, this sprawling Italian estate has 20 beds, 16 baths and more than 28,000 square feet in the main house, known as Villa Firenze. The property also features a pool, guest house, tennis courts and a jogging trail.
Built in the late 1990s by the current owners, billionaire Steven Udvar-Házy and his wife, Christine, this is the first time the expansive property has been publicly listed. It spent some time as a pocket listing for the same price before hitting the MLS in September 2018. Jeff Hyland and Richard Hilton of Hilton & Hyland are the listing agents (Hyland had the off-market listing as well).
0 Tortuoso Way, Los Angeles
The Park Bel Air is one of two listings in our top 10 that contain only undeveloped parcels of land, highlighting how precious Los Angeles acreage is these days. Over $1 billion in entitled land parcels have hit the market in the last year, according to an analysis by The Real Deal.
“Over the past few years in Los Angeles, we have put such a high premium on view properties, while land in prime locations is extremely rare,” said Douglas Elliman’s Connie Blankenship, who has the listing on this property. “Once sold, this opportunity will never be available again.”
The Bel Air parcels have been zoned into three separate lots totaling 10.6 acres, with permits for 180,000 buildable square feet. Blankenship stressed how unusual it was for buyers to find a blank slate with such exceptional views.
When selling at this level, Blankenship said, it’s crucial to “keep your passport up to date.” She travels to meet potential buyers everywhere from London to Hong Kong to Dubai and hosts invitation-only dinners and events around the world with Elliman’s international partner, Knight Frank.
924 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles
The 42,000-square-foot property, nicknamed Billionaire, has 17 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms as well as five bars, three kitchens, a 40-seat theatre, a four-lane bowling alley and a fleet of cars worth $30 million.
Built by developer Bruce Makowsky, the spec home has seen several price chops in its two years on the market. It started at $250 million in 2017, dropped to $188 in April 2018 and settled at $150 million in January of this year.
The property is listed by Rayni and Branden Williams of Hilton & Hyland and Shawn Elliot of Nest Seekers International.
2001 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills
Called “The Enchanted Hill,” this 120-acre piece of property has been on the market since last summer.
The vacant land has a storied history. It was originally owned by screenwriter Frances Marion and her husband, actor Fred Thomson, who built a Wallace Neff-designed home in the 1920s. Their neighbor Greta Garbo is said to have bestowed the name on the property. It has since had several owners, and over time the property grew in size before Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought it in 1997.
Allen, who died in October 2018, tore down the buildings and had planned to build a residence that ultimately never came to fruition, according to the Wall Street Journal. The property now includes five flat lots to build on and a mile-long private drive. It’s listed by Jeff Hyland, Richard Hilton, Zach Goldsmith and Jesse Lally, all of Hilton & Hyland.
2571 Wallingford Drive, Beverly Hills
This five-acre estate came on the market last summer and features not only a 31,000-square-foot main house but a 5,000-square-foot guest house, a two-bedroom guard house, a caretaker’s house and a sports facility that includes a gym, boxing ring and paddle tennis court.
The main house was originally built in 2000, but developer Gala Asher partially demolished the structure in order to expand it to its current footprint. Coldwell Banker’s Ginger Glass has the listing.
9505 Lania Lane, Beverly Hills
As with some of the other properties on our list, acreage is a major differentiator for the Palazzo di Amore, a 43,000-square-foot estate on 25 acres in Beverly Hills, said the Agency’s Stacy Gottula, who has the listing.
The Palazzo was first listed in 2014 for $195 million by billionaire developer Jeff Greene, who took it off the market when it failed to find a buyer. The property was relisted for $129 million in 2017, and the price has held steady.
“When we first came on the market [in 2014], it was the highest price that had ever been listed in the United States,” Gottula said. “Now, seeing all the prices that have been coming on since — properties in the $200 million, $250 million range — I honestly feel like it’s the best buy in the city. There’s really not another estate like it.”
The Palazzo has six structures, including a main house, a guest house, chauffeur’s quarters and an entertainment building containing a stage, theater, ballroom and bowling alley. Gottula is selective about who can view it. With many of her high-end listings, this cautiousness extends to putting it online as well, Gottula said.
“A lot of buyers don’t want the house to be [seen online] all over the world because of security reasons, so when you get into a really high price point… you need to stay a little more under the radar to maintain the privacy,” said Gottula, adding that she’s had lawyers ask for all images of her listings to be scrubbed from the internet after a sale goes through, which she acknowledged is impossible.
The Agency’s Mauricio Umansky also has the listing for the Palazzo di Amore.
27600 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
This Paradise Cove property officially came on the market in January, although the seller, NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer, had been reportedly shopping it around privately since last summer at the same price. On 3.1 acres, the estate was designed by Charles Gwathmey in the late 1990s. It has five bedrooms and six bathrooms, private access to a secluded beach, a large pool and a tennis court.
The property is listed by Westside Estate Agency’s Kurt Rappaport.
141 South Carolwood Drive, Los Angeles
Designed by Robert Farquhar in the 1930s, the 9.9-acre Owlwood Estate has nine bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, but what really stands out about this property is the “exceptional detail, the ceiling heights, the foyer, the staircase… they are just very different than much of what was built in that era,” said listing broker Mills.
Owlwood has seen a fair amount of price fluctuation. It sold for $90 million in 2016, was listed for $180 million in 2017 and spent about six months on the market before it was delisted. It was relisted in September 2018 for its current $115 million price.
Mills said she has hosted one small event for brokers and another for potential buyers but has done a lot of “personal networking” to find a buyer. The property was once home to Tony Curtis and Sonny Bono and Cher, so Mills said she’s embracing the estate’s rich past and focusing on buyers “who are looking for something really special and really love the old history.”
In addition to Mills, Owlwood Estate is also listed by Drew Fenton and Linda May, both of Hilton & Hyland.
9434 Cherokee Lane, Beverly Hills
This 14-acre estate owned by Saudi royalty came on the market in March 2018. With more than 35,000 square feet of interior space, it also offers a two-story guest house, a pool and tennis courts, as well as a retractable roof in the entryway. Jeff Hyland and Dimitri Velis, both of Hilton & Hyland, have the listing.