Defying conventional wisdom that says real estate sales slow down during the holidays, December saw some of the biggest sales of the year in local real estate.
As we reported last week, after a year in the bankruptcy courts, the property at 344 S. Rimpau, which had been abandoned in mid-construction by bankrupt developer Robert L. Quigg, sold within 30 days to another developer who is planning to finish the project as originally designed by Quigg. According to listing realtor, John Duerler, there were multiple offers, all from developers seeing an opportunity to come in, finish the project and flip it.
But that was just one property. Duerler also sold 115 N. Rossmore for $6.075 million at the end of December, which catapulted him to the rank of highest seller in the area. The Rossmore property had been on the market for 800 days over the past five years, most recently asking $6.995. Duerler told the Buzz that the property needed a substantial investment to renovate. Work has already begun behind the construction fence in front of the property. (This is the second large property sold on Rossmore in recent years. The house next door, 105 N. Rossmore sold in November 2016 for $5.75 million. Built in 1960 for a member of the Chandler family, the home was on the market for the first time in 55 years and is now undergoing extensive renovations.)
And it turns out there were a number of high-end single family home sales in the area last couple of months. Additional sales over $3 million in November and December included:
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356 S. Hudson – $12.4125 million
311 S. Lucerne – $3.288 million
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90 Fremont Place – $4 million
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355 S. Mansfield – $3.125 million
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115 N. Rossmore – $6.075 million
274 S. Muirfield – $5.3 million
201 Lorraine – $4.375 million
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501 S. Rossmore – $5.9 million
525 S. Irving – $5.19 milion
460 S. June – $3.5 million
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621 S. McCadden – $3. 2 million
Chase Campen, with Keller-Williams Realty, told the Buzz that he credits part of the sales success to the fact that buyers are discovering that even with rising prices, our area still has a lot of value.
“The surge in sales of properties for more than $3M in Hancock Park/Windsor Square is not surprising,” Campen said. “Last year the average price per sq/ft among those sales in Brentwood and Santa Monica was $1,250/ft. In Hancock Park, the average price per foot in that range was $873. When you’re talking about houses that are 4,000 sq/ft and up, that’s a significant difference. As those of us on this side of town have long known, Hancock Park is a pretty great place!”
Also, Campen said, “When you consider the increase in traffic and cars on the road, people are questioning more and more where they want to settle, to avoid spending too much time on the road. Hancock Park is situated between the major business centers of downtown, Beverly Hills and Century City. Not to mention having Netflix headquarters right up the street, among many tech and entertainment companies that have come to the area. Hey, there’s a reason why when Presidents and Princes come to visit, they often stay in our neighborhood! There’s tremendous appeal for well-preserved 1920s and 30s architecture in a grand setting. Between local residents considering a “move up” and west-siders finding more value, there is no shortage of buyers in the high end of our market.”
Mary Woodward, an agent with Keller Williams, agrees on the increasing desireabiliity of the area. It’s “getting more desireable,” she said, “because of the subway…[and] LACMA is so popular, almost like Disneyland.” She said other museums, like the Petersen, are also a big draw.
Woodward also agrees that while prices are high right now, they don’t seem to be deterring local buyers. “High is the new normal,” she told the Buzz.
Another factor affecting current pricing and sales, according to Anne Loveland, of Loveland Carr Properties, is supply. “Supply or available inventory under $4.5MM is still very low,” she notes, “and there is always strong demand for well located, good properties.”
But Woodward said local supply may begin to increase soon. There’s “so much renovation or construction going on all over in Hancock Park in particular, leading me to conclude that a good portion will go on the market. I think 2018 could be a banner year.”
Loveland said she does expect to see more lease inventory this year as people wait to see if how the new federal tax bill is implemented. She said she’s noticed that more income properties (duplexes), especially nice ones, are in very high demand among local buyers looking for homes for the next generation, while they hold on to their own big houses for a bit longer.
Other realtors, too, say recent the recent federal tax code reforms could affect the local real estate market.
“It could have an impact,” said Patricia Carroll, of Hollywoodland Realty, “the $10,000 limitation on the deduction of state and local taxes on federal taxes could cause some buyers to think twice now.”
And John Winther, Coldwell Bankers’ Larchmont office manager agreed. “This could definitely affect the market,” he said.
But Woodward disagreed, saying “I don’t think the upper levels of purchase power will be affected…owning a home that works for your family, your location, is more important.”
[Buzz Co-Publisher Patricia Lombard also contributed to this story. Note: the story was updated after publication to add comments from Mary Woodward.]