Silicon Valley Tech Execs Invest in L.A. Homes

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By Leah Zitter

Recently built with flawless design and high ceilings with dazzling views of the city and ocean, 9274 Sierra Mar is a modern master-piece nestled on a lush private setting above Sunset Strip
Recently built with flawless design and high ceilings with dazzling views of the city and ocean, 9274 Sierra Mar is a modern master-piece nestled on a lush private setting above Sunset Strip

Luxury realtors Linda May, Joyce Rey and Rachel Swann discuss why more tech business owners are moving from Silicon Valley to Silicon Beach and other L.A. neighborhoods.

Startup Genome, a research project that compiles data on startups around the world, ranks Los Angeles third (behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv) among the world’s top startup locations. So is it any surprise that real estate in the area is booming?

According to data provided by Westside Estate Agency, the high-chip market noted real estate sales almost tripled in the Westside/Silicon Beach area from 2007 to 2016―with most of the growth happening in the past two years.

Real estate data and analytics company, CoreLogic, noted that all 21 buyers who bought in the area from January to mid-October 2016 came from the Bay Area, and that this trend was only growing.

Rachel Swann, a principal for The Swann Group, says it’s no surprise. “If you work for Google, Facebook, YouTube, or one of the plethora of other big names who have offices in the area and are cash-flush, L.A. is the perfect place to call home or your second home.” She continues, “Many of my clients who do live in Silicon Valley have historically wanted to live primarily in Los Angeles, or at least have a ‘city house’. They feel [L.A.] is a thriving epicenter of culture and activities, [which] they feel is lacking in Silicon Valley.”

Set behind wrought iron gates in Holmby Hills is the majestic, French Regency style estate at 660 Club View Drive.
Set behind wrought iron gates in Holmby Hills is the majestic, French Regency style estate at 660 Club View Drive.

These homebuyers tend to choose Gatsby-like neighborhoods like Holmby Hills and Bel Air for exclusivity and privacy, Hollywood Hills for the views, and Trousdale Place for gentility. The Palisades is another favorite, as well as Santa Monica. Linda May of Linda May Properties in Beverly Hills says, “My clients are willing to take the time and engage a top interior designer, as well as spend significant dollars to create something important and special.”

And ritzy home requirements keep brokers on their feet. The large roster of tech executives who have moved from Silicon Valley to L.A. even includes Elon Musk, whose San Francisco-based Tesla Motors Company has a satellite office in the area. Entrepreneur Sean Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, owns a nine-bedroom mansion in Los Angeles called ‘The Brody House,’ which he bought from Ellen DeGeneres for $55 million. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, owns two mansions in L.A.―one in Montecito, Santa Barbara and a ‘French chateau’ in the Holmby Hills neighbor-hood. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs and fourth richest woman in the world, also owns an impressive property in Malibu.

According to one of Southern California’s top realtors, Joyce Rey, “The number one consideration for most clients is location, but [they also factor in] privacy, views, move-in condition, and quality of construction.” She adds, “Most of my clients are very sophisticated and have extremely good taste.”

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