You already know some of the deals. In February 2020 Jeff Bezos paid $165 million for a Beverly Hills estate, setting a California record. Early last year one Malibu property went for $87 million, a price nearly matched a couple months later by a spec home sale on San Onofre Drive. Bezos’ record fell in October, when Silicon Valley legend Marc Andreessen paid $177 million for a 10,000-square-foot Malibu mansion.
But a report published this week by Compass adds perspective to L.A.’s pandemic-era ultra-luxury boom, showing it ran much deeper than the headline deal: In 2021, the brokerage found, Greater L.A. notched 628 residential deals over $10 million — nearly twice as many as Manhattan, next on the list.
“The majority of the top one percent have seen a dramatic increase in overall wealth,” Carl Gambino, an L.A.-based Compass agent, said in a release. A scarcity of high-end properties, he added, had created “a strong seller’s market causing prices to explode.”
The total take on the 628 deals counted by Compass in Greater L.A. – a term the report used for the city itself and its toniest neighboring towns – was $10.6 billion. Manhattan’s ultra-lux deals added up to $6.3 billion, according to Compass; Palm Beach, which counted 203 deals in the price range, counted a volume of $3.8 billion.
All three markets saw dramatic increases in both the number of ultra-lux deals and total sales volume of those deals compared to 2020, a surge Compass attributed in part to rising tech industry wealth, low interest rates and Covid-driven lifestyle changes.
“The pandemic,” Lena Johnson, the head of Compass’ luxury division, said in a release, “only accelerated the need for abodes that double as sanctuaries.”
Compass counted over 2,300 sales in the price range across 30 markets across the nation, more than twice as many than took place in 2020. The Miami Beach-area market (Miami Beach, Bay Point, Surfside & Bal Harbour) had 181 sales above $10 million, the San Francisco Bay area had 171 and the Hamptons had 112.
Other markets in the top 10 included Orange County, Aspen, Hawaii and Naples.
L.A. is also home to the country’s most expensive current listing: Nile Niami’s 105,000-square-foot long-stalled project “The One,” which has a price tag of $295 million and is set for auction later this month.