Is Los Angeles Real Estate Setting the New Standard for Luxury?
Since the founding of the city, Los Angeles has been equally beloved and criticized for its embrace of rapid growth and change. In contrast with centuries-old international hubs like New York City, Paris and London, this Southern California city launched into prominence in a relative blink of the eye. The swift expansion of the metropolis and its willingness to evolve has been seen as wanton disregard for history by some; others view it through a different lens, lauding its bold acceptance of inevitable change.
No matter how you view the unparalleled growth of LA, there is no denying it is a leader in the real estate industry. Over the last century or two it has developed a unique and intriguing history as a city full of opportunity. Today, with its diverse topography and natural assets, unique heritage, rising new industries and forward-thinking vision, Los Angeles is setting a new standard for luxury real estate.
A Choice for Every Lifestyle
Few major cities in the world are blessed with the natural advantages Los Angeles enjoys. Spread across a vast coastal plain, the city spills over hills and into adjacent valleys; it is the only major United States city to be bisected by a mountain range. Few locations are built in such a way to allow residents to experience outdoor living in the heart of an amenity-rich megacity. Because the city has neighborhoods scattered around mountains, along the coast and within bustling urban centers, there are vast opportunities to find the perfect luxury home for your needs. From Palos Verdes to Malibu, and Santa Monica to Pasadena, the choices are limitless.
Perhaps the residential compound most commonly-associated with Angeleno-style opulence is the hillside villa. This James Magni-designed Beverly Hills residence is an ideal example, isolated from the noise of the city and offering sweeping panoramic views of the city below from its modern back patio. With unbeatable access to world-class amenities the residences of the Santa Monica Mountains are among the most iconic in the world. This market is growing stronger every year, with 2016 marking the highest sales numbers in history – the first 5 months of 2017 exceeded all sales volume records in sales of excess of $5 million. At the $20 million level sales volume is up 300%.
Beach proximity and ocean views are both powerful draws in the world of luxury real estate. Los Angeles County is blessed with 70 miles of coastline; other than northern Malibu, LAX and the port complex, every mile is developed. Like the rest of the region, Los Angeles’ coastal communities are incredibly diverse. There are classic neighborhoods like Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica, family-friendly areas like Manhattan Beach and Palos Verdes, and trendy up-and-coming areas like Venice Beach and Marina Del Rey.
Despite some stereotypes indicating the opposite, Los Angeles has a plethora of choices for the urban-minded luxury real-estate buyer. Downtown Los Angeles seems to have finally risen out of its decades-long nadir, with neighborhoods like the Arts District, South Park and Historic Core offering both new high-end construction condos and luxury converted lofts. Meanwhile, to the northwest Hollywood has come back in a big way, with luxury condominiums and boutique hotels announced on a weekly basis.
New Industries of Opportunity
A land of opportunity and ambition, the City of Los Angeles has cycled through several economic booms. The city grew initially on the promise of agriculture and real-estate – a chance for the everyday American to own a home with an orange tree in the backyard. Eventually the discovery of oil led to derricks rising across the still-undeveloped coastal plain leading westward to the Pacific. Entertainment put the maturing city on the tip of the world’s tongue, permanently establishing it as a city about which everyone has an opinion. During the Cold War, aerospace companies such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman found space in the city’s dense urban sprawl to build vast campuses that fueled the regional economy.
Throughout these phases of Los Angeles’ evolution, titans of the respective industries rose to incredible heights of wealth – folks such as William Mulholland, the Warner brothers, Edward Doheny, Henry E. Huntington and many more helped make luxury real estate a tradition in the city. The favoritism shown towards the Hollywood Hills during these 20th century boom years has rendered very few vacant lots which allow the ambitious buyer the opportunity to build a new residence from the ground up. 8555 Hedges Place is an example of a tear-down that is now listed as a dream development site for $14.9 million above the Sunset Strip.
Today, Los Angeles is still built around its entertainment industry as well as manufacturing and the distribution of goods. However, there is a new boom happening on the Westside: Tech. Though the tech boom is largely associated with the Bay Area, a critical mass is beginning to form within the coastal communities of Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Playa Vista. As such, the luxury market in Los Angeles has begun to evolve to cater to the tastes of this younger generation of affluent home-buyers. Luxurious new condos such as the Four Seasons and the Waldorf Astoria are popping up all over the Westside and are entering new price territories.
Legacy of Adventurous Architecture
Not only does Los Angeles offer an unbeatable level of choice in terms of setting and location, it also offers incredible architectural diversity. Unlike other cities which traditionally host only a few historic building styles, Los Angeles development is famous (or infamous) for its willingness to throw tradition out the window. Instead, homes both in the hills and flats are adventurous and diverse, embracing Italian aesthetics or taking cues from the French countryside.
Los Angeles is an epicenter of the modernist design movement. Some of the most stunning and experimental works in the history of architecture can be found in the Sunset Strip. For instance, this three bedroom structure on Sierra Mar Drive in Los Angeles presents an angular form with plenty of open windows and simple lines and amazing city/ocean views.
There are few cities in the world able to boast the kind of architectural and geographical diversity as Los Angeles. Add in the wide range of industries that have brought in innumerable discerning home-buyers and you have a recipe for a new standard in the world of luxury real estate. With Los Angeles continuing to transition into a greener, more transit and environmentally-friendly city, expect this Southern California metropolis to continue to lead the way well into the 21st century.
Joyce Rey is the exclusive agent representing the Beverly Hills, California real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. Contact her here!
Images courtesy of Joyce Rey