The Greater Los Angeles Area consistently ranks as one of the hottest luxury real estate markets in the world. Perhaps it is because the weather is so hard to beat; living in here means more sunshine and fewer foggy mornings or cloudy days than other major cities like San Francisco, London, or Paris.
And, L.A. is one of the largest luxury markets in the world. RubyHome carries every luxury home in Los Angeles, fed directly from the most extensive regional MLS. You’ll find properties here that you simply won’t find on portals like Zillow or Trulia.
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Luxury Homes for Sale in Los Angeles
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What is Luxury Real Estate in Los Angeles?
Broadly speaking, properties get a luxury classification based on primarily on their price and from the perception of home buyers in any given market. Size only really matters when classifying mansions. Here’s how those criteria break down in Los Angeles.
At the highest end of the local luxury market, the term ultra-luxury is reserved for properties only attainable to the wealthiest 1%, also known as ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI’s). These buyers are looking for mega mansions and trophy properties.
Just below that, the standard luxury designation is assigned to the top ten percent of listings in a market. Luxury home prices in Los Angles are pricier than most other markets. Here are some comparable home values that earn a luxury designation:
- $1.6M United States
- $2.1M Worldwide
- $4.0M in Los Angeles
What counts as a luxury home varies regionally here in Southern California, too. For example, a $1.6 million-dollar listing in Los Angeles would not be considered a luxury home. However, that same property just a few miles north in Santa Clarita would be regarded as a luxury home (in the top ten percent).
Many properties get the luxury label when they are not. Real estate listing brokers have a habit of labeling homes for sale as “luxury” even if the price of the subject property falls below the widely-accepted definition above. That’s because consumers ultimately have the final say about what luxury is, based on their opinions.
Consumers feel that a well-designed, well-appointed, and relatively upscale house is a luxury home. In Los Angeles, most properties priced from $1.5M and higher fit those criteria. Thus they are generally considered luxury homes. Coincidentally, that price point is in-line with the U.S. luxury average. Go figure.
Given the way consumers think about the luxury classification, our default search results above include homes starting at $1.5 million. We thought it made sense to display a broader selection of luxury homes for sale to help home shoppers who may care less about strict definitions and rely on their gut.
A home doesn’t necessarily have to be massive to earn a ‘luxury’ classification. In fact, a condominium in Downtown Los Angeles could qualify; square footage alone is not a determining factor. Nor are the number of rooms.
However, the designation of mansion is generally accepted as a home that is 10,000 square feet or more. There are no hard definitions, but here are the generally accepted classifications:
- Luxury Home – up to 10000 square feet
- Mansion – 10,000 to 20,000 square feet
- Mega Mansion – 20,000 square feet and up
In the 1920s, a 5,000 square foot home in Los Angeles was considered a mansion. The norms have certainly changed with the times!
Where to Buy Luxury Properties in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is hilly, so many homes have panoramic views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Pacific Ocean, and the metropolitan skyline. L.A. has a uniquely gorgeous collision of urban and mountainous landscapes that you won’t find in other major cities, especially those situated on flatter terrain.
In general, the closer a property sits to a body of water (ocean or lake) or if it is elevated on a hill, the more it costs. Several historic neighborhoods, like Hancock Park, also contain beautifully-designed estates even though there is no body of water and the terrain is flat.
Los Angeles is geographically massive. Luxury houses are not concentrated in just one neighborhood. Yes, they can be found in the well-known areas of Brentwood, Malibu, Hollywood Hills, or Bel Air. But luxury shoppers looking for the best values should keep all corners of the city in play during their home hunting.
Cities near or within Los Angeles’s boundaries like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Altadena, and San Marino also include a large percentage of the local luxury home inventory.
What are Luxury Home in L.A. Like?
You can expect high-quality construction materials inside and out, with plenty of attention paid to details; just a few of the things that make a house elegant. Prefab or composite flooring is never used, only natural wood, designer-grade carpet, stone, or concrete make the cut. Home shoppers can expect the same level of quality for countertops.
Expect a chef’s kitchen with high-end appliances from brands such as Sub-Zero / Wolf, Viking, Thermador, Gaggenau, Miele, La Cornue.
Welcoming entrances with foyers that lead to master staircases give visitors an epic first impression. Look for vaulted ceilings, crown moldings, and other details that indicate a high level of craftsmanship.
Many luxury homes in Los Angeles have a backstory. There may be a history of celebrities who’ve previously owned the property. Or the house could have been designed by a notable architect (a.k.a. “starchitect”). Either scenario (or both) can further add to a home’s appeal.
L.A. is a mix of high and medium density neighborhoods; most lots here are not that big until you get into the upper echelon of homes. Backyard pools tend to be small but still sufficient for lap swimming and entertaining.
Did you know some Los Angeles Luxury Realtors hire Feng Shui consultants to help stage homes before listing them on the regional MLS? Yep, it’s a thing here.
Here are some more amenities by luxury property type:
L.A. Luxury Homes
- Theaters, arcade rooms, decontaminating showers, walk-in closets, full outdoor kitchens, multi-car garage, detached in-law units
- Smart home technology where automation handles the heating/cooling system optimization
- Systems and appliances managed remotely via internet connectivity (e.g., security and appliances set or turned on/off via smartphone)
- State-of-the-art technology like electric car charging stations and solar panel arrays
- Robust security systems with video surveillance
L.A. Ultra-Luxury Homes
- Underground lap pool
- IMAX theater
- Walk-in closets big enough to play a touch football game inside (speaking of sports, and all kidding aside, you might enjoy a game with friends in your indoor basketball court)
- Private Vineyards – yep, even in Los Angeles where land is scarce
- Zen garden
L.A. Luxury Buildings
- Concierge service
- Balconies with panoramic views
- Top-of-the-line fitness center
- On-premise spa
- Upgraded appliances
How to Buy a Luxury Home in Los Angeles
Prepare Your Financial Documents
Like other luxury markets, in Los Angeles, buyers will need to document their financial capabilities before viewing properties in person.
Cash buyers will need to supply a notarized proof of funds statement. Your financial manager, portfolio manager, accountant, or personal banker can put one together rather quickly.
For buyers who are financing their purchase, and loan pre-approval letter from their lender will suffice.
Review the Condo Association’s Financial Statements
When buying a luxury condominium, an additional layer of financial scrutiny comes into play, beyond a buyer’s financial ability to complete a purchase. For financed deals, your lender will review the condo board’s financials to make sure the association is solvent (the members are paid up, and cash flow is stable). Outstanding liens, pending lawsuits, or a history of late payments from the building’s residents can derail a final loan approval.
Cash buyers will also want to review the association’s financial position as it could have an impact on the unit’s resale value.
Celebrities and business executives seeking quiet refuge and security will be pleased to find that many luxury properties in Los Angeles include stylish hedges, fences, and walls that separate front yards from the street and keep the prying eyes of tourists, nosey neighbors, and paparazzi at bay. L.A. has several gated communities, too.
Ask your agent about the local streets. Aim for roads with the leasts traffic. Excess traffic can be an issue in the Hollywood Hills because of tourists seeking to get as close as possible to the Hollywood Sign. Agents who know the hillside areas can point out the busiest thoroughfares (to avoid). Keep an eye out for properties in cul-de-sacs.
Beware, private beaches do not exist anywhere along California’s 840-mile coastline. In fact, property owners receive fines from time-to-time for blocking or obfuscating easements to public beaches. The California Coastal Commission has threatened fines up to $11,250 per day for property owners who attempt to prevent public access. Anyone who tells you that a Malibu home comes with a private beach is either ignorant or a storyteller.
Luxury markets have lower turnover; expensive homes take longer to sell. In fact, luxury houses for sale in Los Angeles sit 4x to 5x the number of Days on Market (DOM) than the local average. Therefore, any investor would want to consider liquidity, especially when economic conditions are turbulent. Home values can sometimes fluctuate faster than a luxury home can sell.
What’s more, if you’re selling a luxury home in Los Angeles, you’re not only competing with local inventory, but with other cities altogether. UHNWI’s not only care about the style and amenities of a property, but they are also making a lifestyle decision. For example, buyers looking for great golfing and plenty of year-round sunshine might compare L.A. to San Diego or Miami. Real estate agents that specialize in luxury properties need to know quite a bit about their city, what it offers, and how it compares to other top markets to serve their clients best.
Los Angeles Luxury Real Estate Agents
Thinking of buying a luxury property in L.A.? Our luxury buyer’s agents are at-the-ready to assist you. If you’re selling a luxury home in the Los Angeles area, contact us to speak with one of our Los Angeles luxury REALTORS® about listing your estate. We will provide current market data, comparison property information, and a highly-tailored marketing plan to make sure you get the best price for your home.