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Luxury Trend Watch: Strong Start to New Year in Beverly Hills

When a house budget is generous, we don’t often consider the time investment necessary for finding the right property. Sometimes it can take a buyer with means, passion and refined tastes many months if not years to find the right combination of location, view, architecture, size, condition and any other must-haves on her wish list. And if the city in which she hopes to buy is Beverly Hills? Well, purchasing a luxury residence becomes as much an exercise in patience as in vision.


Jade Mills

Many real estate agents on the Westside of the city report that 2017 is starting out strong. However, inventory remains tight in the most sought-after neighborhoods as buildable land remains scarce and some homeowners are opting to stay put in their homes longer. In addition, the city continues to attract a global cadre of millionaires and billionaires eager to stake their claim on the luminous city. Hot industries like tech have also driven luxury real estate demand.

Despite these challenges, 2017 is poised to exceed 2016 numbers in terms of ultra high end numbers, say some luxury market insiders. One top producing real estate specialist with $4 billion in career sales — Jade Mills with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Beverly Hills — is particularly encouraged by the interest and demand she has begun to see from her affluent clients at the start of the New Year. We asked the 30-year veteran to give us a more complete picture of the complex luxury real estate landscape as she sees it.

Previews Inside Out First thing’s first — what is the state of the Beverly Hills market right now?

Jade Mills The New Year is starting very strong. We ended 2016 with a stronger market than in 2015. It looks as though we are going to be stronger again in 2017. There were 11 homes in 2016 that sold for over $30 million – three of those were my sales. There may be two more sales over $20 million that sold in 2016. I feel that this year we may have much higher numbers. Of course, only time will tell. It still feels like there are a lot of local people who are moving around, either stepping up or stepping down.

Previews Inside Out What’s currently selling?

Jade Mills Since it’s only the beginning of the year, I haven’t heard of any big sales yet. We just closed something in the $6.5 million range in January, and we have a home closing in the $10 million range. There are a few spec homes that are just coming on the market as well.

In terms of design trends, ultra contemporary or hard contemporary looks may not be as popular anymore. I’m seeing more buyers gravitating towards soft contemporary.

In the last two months, people are looking for larger pieces of land. They are hard to come by in Los Angeles, especially if they are looking for a view. A lot of the view properties tend to be smaller pieces of land. They don’t often come on the market, and when they do, they often come with a high price tag. In general, the view is still very desirable.

Previews Inside Out Where does inventory currently stand?

Jade Mills We do have a little bit more inventory coming onto the market this year, and it seems to be priced fairly aggressively.

Previews Inside Out It must take some patience to find the right property then, especially when you are already working with clients whose tastes are so refined and whose expectations are so high.

Jade Mills Yes. A few of my clients who have sold their homes have found that the prices are high. That is why I always suggest that we go out to look at listings first before they put their current home on the market — especially if they are making a lateral move or planning to move up slightly. It’s often a reality check.

Most people at the upper end — even if they buy something that is totally remodeled —want to put their own touches on their house. They want to make it their own. That’s one reason why we always stage our listings. A home that is staged looks more livable and inviting. People are not just buying a house; they’re buying a lifestyle. They want to picture themselves living in the home.

Previews Inside Out What’s happening with prices right now?

Jade Mills Prices are still strong. Buyers do have to step up if they really want a property. It used to be that you could make an offer at a reduced price, or pay close to the asking price. This year, we have already seen multiple offers in the $3.5 million category because there is not a lot of product in that price range.

Previews Inside Out Has affluent buyer sentiment been impacted by the prospect of a new U.S. President this year?

Jade Mills Strangely enough, the incoming president has not really hurt our business.

Previews Inside Out Has the interest rate rise affected the luxury housing market in Beverly Hills so far?

Jade Mills It has not affected my buyers at all. Even the buzz among agents is that the interest rates have not impacted anyone at all. That’s not to say that if they rise higher it won’t affect them, and there can be a small emotional resistance to the rise. But we have not felt it yet.

Previews Inside Out Where are the hottest luxury neighborhoods right now?

Jade Mills Trousdale is still very hot. This area has the big views. There is a $100 million listing at the end of Hillcrest, which they now call “Billionaire’s Row.” I have a new listing, a gorgeous home at 7,100 square feet on a 36,000 square-foot lot, which is priced at $13 million in Trousdale, and another estate was recently listed for $35 million.


Previews Inside Out Was there anything that surprised you last year?

Jade Mills It’s always a surprise that the market stays strong during the holidays. This year was no exception to the last two years. People were still looking and making offers around Christmastime and New Year’s.

Previews Inside Out What advice would you give to an affluent buyer looking to buy their dream home in Beverly Hills right now? 

Jade Mills Always buy location, location, location. Bring in your contractors, and don’t be surprised if you end up wanting to spend another $100,000 on updates. Always choose the best location, and you will always be safe with your purchase.


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Luxury Trend Watch: Strong Start to New Year in Beverly Hills

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