Biggest home sales of 2009 in the L.A. area?

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It's not always easy to pinpoint the biggest sale of the year. Mega-million-dollar transactions can take place outside of the Multiple Listing Service, with the homes marketed by agents as "pocket listings." Other times, the buyer and seller work through lawyers, and a transaction is discovered only when the sale is recorded with the county.

Here's a look at the Top 5 most expensive residential sales of 2009 in the Los Angeles area last year, as identified by real estate data provider PropertyShark.com and drawing from Times archives.

1. The biggest sale of the year appears to have been that of the Beverly Hills home of Simon Ramo, co-founder of the aerospace and defense company TRW, to DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, for $35 million. The house was not on the market, but public records show the 8,704-square-foot home, built in 1965, has four bedrooms and eight bathrooms and sits on 6.3 acres. Although Katzenberg told The Times he had no comment about the late October transaction, taken in a trust, area real estate sources confirmed that he was the buyer.

2. In April, a Beverly Hills mansion sold for $31.5 million. The 27,000-square-foot French Normandy on 2 acres has 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and seven fireplaces. The newly built Richard Landry-designed home has a waterfall running down the side of the three-story mansion, a circular library with a glass floor revealing a 2,500-bottle wine cellar below, and an indoor swimming pool with a gym. There's also an outdoor pool with spa, outdoor living and dining areas and a plank bridge over a water element that gives the appearance of a moat. Mauricio Umansky of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, had the listing, and Simon Darvish of Audrey Max Estates, Beverly Hills, represented the buyer, according to the MLS.

3. Selling for $26.5 million in July was a gated 25,000-square-foot home in Bel-Air with eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and city and ocean views on 1.25 acres.

4. In March, a Bel-Air property sold for $22 million. Public records show a 10,616-square-foot home built in 2006 with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

5. A residential property in Beverly Hills' Trousdale Estates area sold in late December for $19.9 million.

lauren.beale@latimes.com

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