Today, there are 42 homes for sale in SD County listed over $10,000,000, and we’ve had two sales this year. Hat tip to GW for sending in this article excerpted here:
Real-estate experts estimate that there are about 50 ultra high-end spec houses under construction in the area, from Beverly Hills to Bel-Air and Brentwood.
The unprecedented wave of development has its roots in the heady days of 2014 and 2015, when foreign buyers poured into Los Angeles and luxury markets across the country logged record sales. A couple of local megawatt deals—including the $70 million sale of a Beverly Hills compound to billionaire Minecraft creator Markus Persson in 2014—inspired the construction of bigger and pricier homes, most of which were built as contemporary cubes. Some were built by inexperienced developers; many had price tags north of $20 million.
Now, there are simply too many, and not enough buyers to go around. “It’s created its own monster,” says Stephen Shapiro of Westside Estate Agency. “We have an enormous oversupply of these white boxes. There’s years of inventory out there.”
In this environment, and amid signs that prices are falling, developers and their agents are going to extraordinary lengths to differentiate their listings from the pack. They are throwing themed bashes in lieu of traditional open houses, thinking up gimmicky new amenities and hiring marketing experts to reimagine homes as individual brands with their own names, logos and stories. Some developers are relisting plots of land, hoping to get their money out without sinking more money into construction.
In February, Mr. Niami threw an elaborate party inspired by Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch’s painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights” in a home he is listing for $39.995 million. Its three levels were organized into heaven, earth and hell, and models in colorful tulle dresses swam in the property’s glass bottomed pool, said Mr. Ali, who organized the party.
There were actors posing as Adam and Eve while hosting a virtual reality game that allowed guests to enter a rendition of the Bosch painting. People drank whiskey infused with the body of a dead cobra, and dancing women dressed in leather, whips and chains. A camel stood at the entrance to greet guests.
In Bel-Air, real-estate brokerage firm the Agency recently threw a “Great Gatsby” themed event to launch a $35.5 million spec house. A female performer in a bedazzled costume hung upside down from a trapeze to pour champagne for guests, while another floated on the pool in a transparent bubble.
Mr. Ali says developers will pay anywhere from $20,000 to hundreds of thousands to throw such events.
In addition to the parties, developers are always on the hunt for creative new amenities. “It’s about the wow factor,” says spec home developer Ramtin Ray Nosrati, whose under-construction mansion in Brentwood includes a secret room for growing and smoking marijuana.
The ventilated room, accessed by hitting a button hidden inside a living room bookcase, will have tinted windows that darken for privacy. The house, slated to ask between $30 million and $40 million, will also come with a budget for an employee to supervise growing and harvesting. Mr. Nosrati compared the amenity to “having your own vineyard.”
Despite all this, price cuts are the order of the day. Bruce Makowsky, a handbag designer-turned-developer who sold the Minecraft property, lowered the price of his latest project, a lavish Bel-Air house with a candy room and a helipad, to $150 million, down from its original $250 million asking price. Mr. Niami slashed the price of a sprawling 20,500-square-foot house known as Opus to $59.995 million, down from $100 million.
Developer Ario Fakheri has chopped the asking price for his Hollywood Hills home with a roughly 300-gallon indoor shark tank to $26.995 million from $35 million.
Sales are still happening: Approximately 11 deals have closed for more than $20 million in Los Angeles so far this year, and a Saudi buyer recently paid $45 million for a spec home built by diamond manufacturer Rafael Zakaria. But buyers know they have the upper hand. “People are making lowball offers,” says Mr. Shapiro of Westside Estate Agency. “They’re not being shy.”
Doug Barnes, the founder of Eyemart Express, sold a contemporary home in Beverly Hills for $34.65 million in April, or nearly 40% off its original $55 million asking price, records show. British restaurateur and Soho House co-owner Richard Caring is listing a home he bought in Beverly Hills for $29.995 million; he paid $33 million for it in 2016, records show.
As for “The One,” the $500 million property was originally slated to come on the market in 2017 but has yet to be listed. The developer blamed construction delays.
Carved into the earth of a small cove in the US Virgin Islands, this custom residence is stunning, and sustainable! The materials selected for the Island Residence were specifically inspired by the colors and textures of the rock face bluff that extends to the coral beach below. A radial plan encourages residents to interact with each other and their environment.
This house has a big yard and is on a canyon – she knew money would fix the rest:
Jessica Alba and Cash Warren met on the set of Fantastic Four, in 2004. They married and had their first daughter, Honor, in 2008. A second daughter, Haven, arrived in 2011, and son Hayes was delivered on New Year’s Eve 2017. The couple, who had been living in a house just down the street for the past decade, already had started looking for a new one with more space, and a big backyard was on their wish list. “We wanted a place to watch our kids play and grow up,” Alba says.
They found it on the very first day of their search. It wasn’t officially listed, because the sellers wanted to stage it first, but Alba cajoled her Realtor into getting her in that afternoon. “I thought, I have an imagination and I know what I want. I walked in and knew within 20 minutes, even though [the previous owners’ style] wasn’t our vibe, this was exactly what we were looking for.”
More people would move if they could just find a place to go! In my quest to provide more options, consider this gem:
If you’re a fan of prolific architect Frank Lloyd Wright, you might say his best work is also his most iconic—Fallingwater in Pennsylvania or the GuggenheimMuseum in New York, for instance. If you’re an architecture buff with a thing for islands, however, you might want to take a look at this little-known gem of a project in Carmel, New York.
Located in the middle of a 593-acre lake, Petre Island is a privately owned residence sporting three separate homes—two of which are designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. According to Curbed, however, the authenticity of at least one of those homes is questionable. Legend has it that the prolific architect had originally drawn up plans for a 5,000-square-foot main home for the island, but the when the island’s owner ran out of money, Wright was forced to switch gears and build a 1,200-square-foot cottage instead.
That original ‘50s-built cottage still stands. Today, however, there’s also the 5,000-square-foot masterpiece Wright had originally imagined for the island. In 2007, current owner Joseph Massaro commissioned an architect and Wright scholar to realize Wright’s vision based on his original drawings, floor plans, and other documents that came with the property.
The two houses now stand side by side on the five-acre island, rife with design details that recall the late architect’s signature style. (The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, however, refuses to recognize the newer home as a Wright original.)
Love how this house looks down the coastline, taking full advantage of the lot. It was active on the MLS for four minutes, and the agent noted in the confidential remarks that is was “SOLD Prior to Activation in the MLS” even though it had been on and off the market since 2016:
The Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers.
The program ran intermittently from 1945 until 1966. The first six houses were built by 1948 and attracted more than 350,000 visitors. While not all 36 designs were built, most of those that were constructed were built in Los Angeles, and one was built in San Rafael, Northern California and one in Phoenix, Arizona.
A number of the houses appeared in the magazine in iconic black-and-white photographs by architectural photographer Julius Shulman.
A review of the three houses built on Rue de Anne:
"Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community... more "
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