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Tech billionaires and music moguls dominate the list of the priciest L.A. real estate transactions in 2021. Numerous records were broken — including for the most expensive home ever purchased in California — as the ultra-rich invested in mini-fiefdoms that give them few reasons to ever leave the house.
According to Branden Williams of Beverly Hills Estates, the pandemic has made wealthy buyers double down on home life. “People really realize how important their home is. Homes are becoming their everything,” he says. “Their gyms, their theaters, where they work out of. Especially after lockdown, I think people just really want their home to be their sanctuary.”
Amenities like private theaters, saunas, recording studios and panic rooms are a must, as is a feeling of comfort and calm. The easier it is for these busy billionaires to move in, and the more things they can do from home, the more they are willing to pay. This has led to stratospherically priced spec homes (like No. 4 on our list), designed with the 1 percent of the 1 percent in mind.
“There’s one thing in common with all of these year-end, record-breaking sales and that is, they’re all exceptional,” Rayni Williams of Beverly Hills Estates says. “Exceptional in that they tick every box of a buyer’s needs.”
- Marc Andreessen and Laura Arrillaga’s $177 Million Malibu Record Breaker
This November, tech venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his wife, the real estate heiress Laura Arrillaga, broke records for the priciest home ever purchased in the state of California. The power couple laid out an astonishing $177 million for a blufftop seven-acre compound in Malibu, which includes 13 buildings designed in a contemporary farmhouse feel by architect Scott Mitchell. The luxe compound features pools and spa amenities, a stand-alone cinema, an enormous collector’s garage, and panoramic views of the Malibu Coast. Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency repped the buyers and the seller, fashion tycoon Serge Azria, who spent years renovating the property. “I’m proud someone wants to pay this kind of price for something I created,” Azria told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. Pay, they did!
- Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr’s $100 Million (or More?) DIY Project in Holmby Hills
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and model Miranda Kerr appear to be in no hurry to live on their sprawling new compound in Holmby Hills. The couple purchased two adjacent properties, totaling around four acres, from billionaire Ian Livingstone earlier this year in separate transactions. According to a source the deal amounted to far more than the $100 million figure previously reported. The mansion on the property is currently under construction (and has been for years), but worry not, Spiegel and Kerr still have multiple homes in which to bide their time. In addition to their $12 million Brentwood estate, the couple recently purchased a $30.4 million estate in Paris, where they live for part of the year. Drew Fenton repped Spiegel, while Stephen Resnick and Jonathan Nash of Hilton & Hyland held the listing.
- $87 Million for More Leg Room in Malibu
In February, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum laid out $87 million for socialite Diana Jenkins’s 1960s ranch-style Malibu estate. It was a relatively modest sum compared to the $100 million Koum had spent for the house next door in 2019, purchased from film exec Ron Meyer in 2019. The neighbors haven’t always been so cozy: Koum accused Jenkins — who is set to join The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills —o f “Karen-like-behavior,” but it seems differences have been smoothed over with big bucks. Chris Cortazzo of Compass repped Jenkins, while Kurt Rappaport repped Koum.
- $83 Million for a Pacific Palisades Gem with Nobu-designed Kitchen
The 26-year-old tech billionaire Austin Russell, CEO of Luminar Technologies (which develops machine-vision tech for self-driving cars), has added a breathtaking hilltop modernist masterpiece to his ever-expanding portfolio, at a cost of $83 million. Developed by Ardie Tavangarian, the 20,000-square-foot Pacific Palisades stunner — 1601 San Onofre — includes an infinity pool, custom kitchen designed by Nobu, indoor and outdoor theaters, a garage that can be converted into a ballroom, a sauna, a retractable roof in the master suite, and outdoor loggias. Branden and Rayni Williams held the listing along with Hilton & Hyland’s Judy Feder. The Williams also repped Russell.
- The Weeknd Spends $70 Million in Bel Air
Three-time Grammy winner The Weeknd bought this elegant 1.6-acre estate, located at 534 Barnaby Road, in August. Nestled within the coveted Bel Air Country Club, and built in 2002, it includes indoor and outdoor pools, a waterfall, a hammam, a sauna, tennis courts and a recording studio. The previous owner, Dutch actor and producer Reinout Oerlemans, had no plans to sell, but The Weeknd’s high offer persuaded him otherwise. Angel Salvador from Beverly Hills Estates represented The Weeknd, while Branden and Rayni Williams, also of Beverly Hills Estates, represented Oerlemans.
- Scooter Braun’s $65 Million Modern Marvel in Brentwood
Music manager Scooter Braun purchased this stylish 19,000-square-foot modern farmhouse designed by trending architect Noah Walker. The grounds, offering spectacular canyon views, were designed by the landscape architect Christine London and feature striking terraces, hidden gardens and a vast outdoor living room. The Altman Brothers of Douglas Elliman represented Braun, while H. Blair Chang of the Agency held the listing.
- $63 Million at Auction for a Former Hearst Pied-à-Terre
In September, investor and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen purchased this coveted Beverly Hills 3.5-acre estate — once owned by William Randolph Hearst — at auction for $63 million. The Mediterranean style home was put on the block due to the bankruptcy of Leonard Ross, an attorney who had been attempting unsuccessfully to sell the estate for years. Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates, Gary Gold of Hilton & Hyland, and Zizi Pak and John Gould of Rodeo Realty held the listing. Linda May and Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland repped Berggruen.
- $61.5 Million For Historic Holmby Hills Hilton Home
Tech titan and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt purchased this Hollywood Regency home from the estate of hotel heir William Barron Hilton in May. Designed by storied L.A. architect Paul R. Williams for businessman Jay Paley in 1936, the old-school Holmby Hills estate had been in the Hilton family since the 1960s. Rick Hilton and Barron Hilton of Hilton & Hyland held the listing. Hilton & Hyland’s Linda May repped Schmidt.
- Kanye West Spills $57.3 in Malibu
In September, the multi-hyphenate mega star and brutalist architecture enthusiast purchased this minimalist Malibu beach house in an off-market deal. The home was designed by Pritzker Prize–winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando and built by the celebrated firm Marmol Radziner. Considered a living sculpture, the almost 4,000-square-foot home is constructed from a reported 12,000 tons of poured concrete and 200 tons of steel.
- $51.65 Million For Eli Broad’s Malibu Manse
Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Richard Meier, this futuristic Malibu beach house on exclusive Carbon Beach was built for philanthropist Eli Broad in 2002. Broad had been trying to sell the striking home for years, and it finally sold two months after his death, to an unidentified buyer. Chris Cortazzo repped the buyer. Branden and Rayni Williams of Beverly Hills Estates and Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency shared the listing.
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