The Most Sizzling Real Estate Neighborhoods in Hollywood
This story first appeared in the Nov. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Discovering L.A.'s residential hotspots requires more than familiarity with its swankiest ZIP codes. Instead, real estate agents trading at the tippy-top of the housing market know the biggest deals are being made in hyperspecific areas of the city. From a secluded and gated area in Los Feliz and an exclusive pocket of Pacific Palisades to two streets in Beverly Hills that have one agent likening them to "the best streets this side of the Mississippi," where home buyers outbid one another for eight-figure teardowns, the biggest names in the entertainment business are clustering within microscopic areas. The city's top real estate agents take an extremely close-up look at Los Angeles to reveal its hottest microhoods -- and the people who live in them.
➻ Bird Streets WEST HOLLYWOOD
Tanager, Oriole, Blue Jay and Thrasher still fly high in the Hollywood Hills, with low inventory and high demand consistently pushing houses into the $20 million-plus range. Residents including Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, Dr. Dre and the Winklevoss twins call the prime area perched above the Sunset Strip home. But though megadeals have tended to flock toward Oriole -- a newly built 18,000-square-foot contemporary on the street holds the title as L.A.'s highest-priced residential sale of 2012 at $39 million -- The Agency co-owner Mauricio Umansky says other avian streets are set to take flight, namely Nightingale and Robin drives. "Right now, almost everything on Nightingale is brand-new, and these are really poised to be the new 'wow' houses of the area," he says. "Robin, on the other hand, has amazing views, but for some reason there haven't been as many teardowns on that street -- yet." According to Umansky, Robin likely will be the next Bird Street for major development action. "We're going to see huge homes going up on that street in the next two years, which, if well-executed, will fetch up to $3,000 a square foot," says the agent, citing a figure that marks the per-square-foot pinnacle for L.A. properties. "When you have those insane unobstructed views combined with beautiful architecture, you've got a 10."
➻ Huntington PACIFIC PALISADES
"Super prime," is how Peter Maurice, estates director at Rodeo Realty, refers to the Huntington area of Pacific Palisades. Bordered by Chautauqua, Sunset, Corona del Mar and Alma Real, the pocket's homes sit high on bluffs, and many have dead-on ocean views. "It has gotten more expensive every year, and as far as cost per square foot goes, it now has The Riviera beat," says Maurice of The Village-adjacent area that has attracted such residents as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Larry David and Stevie Nicks. Santiago Arana at The Agency sold the highest price per square foot in the Palisades in 2012 -- more than $1,250 -- with an overall $15.35 million paid for a newly constructed manse in Huntington. "This area is flat, the wires and cables are buried, and you can walk to The Village, where restaurants and shops are getting better and better," he says. "Put all of that together, and Huntington has become extremely desirable." Furthering the area's appeal is the fact that Potrero Canyon, which runs directly below it, soon will be converted into a park with walk and bike paths connecting Huntington's houses to Pacific Coast Highway. According to real estate agent Mary Lu Tuthill at Coldwell Banker, "Potrero Canyon has taken forever to develop, but that, combined with the nearby Palisades Park, means that if you live on Alma Real or the Corona del Mar rim, you are guaranteed an ocean view for life."
➻ Laughlin Park LOS FELIZ
"This area is now at the top of the request list for the Hollywood set," says Hilton & Hyland agent Jonah Wilson of the Los Feliz neighborhood that has attracted such residents as Natalie Portman, will.i.am and Casey Affleck. The draw? A combination of large lots, architectural diversity and the most A-list amenity of all: gated entries. "There aren't many areas with this kind of privacy," says Wilson. "When you've got to get a code to enter through a gate, that means the TMZ van can't get in. Add to that the proximity to the studios, great views and some beautiful architecture -- it's a big draw. Celebrities can move in here and actually walk their dogs without being photographed." Developed in 1913, Laughlin Park has 77 houses, including estates built for Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille and W.C. Fields. In 2012, Kristen Stewart paid $2.2 million for a Southwestern contemporary in the area, indicative of the architectural mix. "You get everything from 1920s homes to midcentury to contemporary," says Richard Stanley at Coldwell Banker Previews International, who recently sold the Cummings Estate, which had been put on the market for the first time in 50 years. "Best of all," says Wilson, "the area has managed to stay low-profile -- most people don't know where or what it is. It's like discovering a treasure."
➻ Rose Corridor VENICE & SANTA MONICA
Actresses Anna Paquin, Rosario Dawson and Maggie Grace as well as CAA agents Roeg Sutherland and Mick Sullivan call Venice home, where real estate values have increased by 30 percent during the past year alone. But along the Rose Corridor -- where houses flank the north and south sides of Rose Avenue between the beach and Lincoln Boulevard -- prices nearly have doubled during that span. "Lots that would have sold for $1 million a year ago are now selling for $1.7 million," says Mark Kitching at Partners Trust. "There is construction everywhere you go, much of it designed by the city's best architects, and major agents from CAA and WME are moving into the area." With a combination of such high-tech companies as Google and Snapchat also moving in, combined with a seemingly overnight crop of wine bars, restaurants and yoga studios, the area has become a near-instant sensation, attracting residents like Zach Galifianakis. "I've got tiny plots of dirt with nothing on them now going for $1.4 million," says Tami Pardee at Pardee Properties, who recently sold a 2,800-square-foot house for $2.6 million to director Zach Math. "For some of my clients, they like getting a Santa Monica address while getting the Venice vibe. A lot of people can't imagine living anywhere else in Los Angeles."
➻ Trousdale BEVERLY HILLS
Located in the northeast corner of Beverly Hills, the 410-acre area has morphed into the ultimate Hollywood magnet, attracting Jeffrey Katzenberg, Elton John, Jane Fonda and Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Oprah Winfrey even has been rumored to have trolled its streets, which feature houses by such midcentury design stars as Paul Williams, Wallace Neff, A. Quincy Jones and Hal Levitt. "Trousdale Place and Martin Lane are the widest streets with the biggest lots and the best views in Trousdale," says Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles agent Josh Flagg. "These two streets are going to be the new Mapleton Drives of L.A., arguably the best two streets west of the Mississippi." Hyperbole? Maybe not: Mary Hart and her producer husband Burt Sugarman's Trousdale Place mansion sold for $27 million this year, and Oakley founder James Jannard is in the process of building a house on the street after he "tore down a William Stephenson that he paid $20 million for," says Steven Price, who is completing his book Over the Top: The Architectural History of Trousdale Estates, Beverly Hills. "This is a street where even 4,000-square-foot fixers are going for $8 million," says James Harris at Bond Street Partners, in association with Partners Trust. "It's one of the hottest in all of L.A."