As Executive Director of Previews International for Coldwell Banker, every few months, I organize the top Westside agents from Previews International for a region wide meeting to discuss market conditions, network with each other and to examine the latest trends. Our December meeting was held at the stunning and historic Harry Warner Estate which has just been listed in the heart of Beverly Hills.
More than a hundred agents and ten Previews managers were in attendance at this lively and optimistic gathering. A highlight of the meeting is hearing about each area of our market and learning how this year sales stack up against last year. In general terms, the 2016 market was much busier–the highest volume on record. The big news was in the ultra-high end with three record breaking sales: Owlwood at $90 million, the Playboy mansion at $100 million, and a new mansion just completed on north Carolwood Drive also at $100 million all in Holmby Hills. Besides these sales, overall numbers in the $5M and $10M categories broke all existing records. Sale prices and price-per-square-foot are also exceeding past records. We did see significant overbidding and sales over asking prices in some prime areas such as Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Monica, and Sunset Strip/Hollywood Hills/Los Feliz.
In other news, I noted that the Los Angeles Times reported a 12.3% increase in residential permits for 2017 over all seven counties in Southern California. We’ll be keeping an eye on the Sunset Strip to see the outcome of the L.A. Conservancy lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. The Conservancy is hoping to halt the demolition of a post-World War II Kurt Meyer-designed Chase bank to be replaced by a Frank Gehry retail and housing complex. Finally, we’re noticing increasing evidence that developers are seeing green. In particular, the Beverly Hills apartment building, Ten Thousand, is harvesting rainwater, and at Brookfield Residential’s expanding Playa Vista development with LEED-certified homes.