Hot Property newsletter: Still a good place to park it


The sky may be falling, but not everyone is panicking. As the real estate market adjusts to the new normal during coronavirus restrictions, a consensus remains: real estate is still a good place to park your money. This week’s roundup includes an auto titan’s Westside estate, a TV lifeguard’s personal tower and one of the more unusual homes in Malibu.

Our Home of the Week in Pasadena is a Spanish Revival-style home that was built by local builder Fritz Ruppel for his mother. Updated and restored, the 1920s house has cathedral-style ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace. Tilework in the bathroom evokes the work of Ernest Batchelder.

Once you’re done reading about these deals, visit and likeour Facebook page, where you can find Hot Property stories and updates throughout the week.

— Neal Leitereg and Jack Flemming

Positive signals

Los Angeles’ high-end market received a vote of confidence this week with the multimillion-dollar sale of Lee Iacocca’s longtime estate in Bel-Air. The late automobile titan’s residence entered escrow amid growing coronavirus fears in March and closed this week at $19.5 million.

Owned by the Iacocca family since the early 1990s, the gated compound includes a two-story Italianate-style home, staff apartments, gardens, a tennis court and a swimming pool. Arched ceilings, custom millwork and marble and hardwood floors are among details of note.


Bouyed by the market

David Chokachi of television’s “Baywatch” made a move away from the beach, selling his longtime home in the Miracle Mile area for $1.515 million. That’s pretty close to what the actor listed the property for in January — $1.539 million.

Owned by the actor for more than a decade, the remodeled residence has about 1,600 square feet, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. A tropical backyard and a garage-turned-lounge accompany the home on the narrow lot, which has tropical landscaping.

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Going a new way

Comedy writer Tim Long has cut loose from his Los Feliz home, selling the 1920s Colonial-style residence to Fleetwood Mac member Neil Finn for $4.3 million.


The 4,340-square-foot home has a long history with celebrities including “Grey’s Anatomy” actress Katherine Heigl, who previously owned the place for about six years. Original details abound inside and out of the charming two-story and include columns, crown molding and paneled walls.

Racing to sell

Race car driver artist Hal Prewitt and his wife, Corinne, are seeking $15.5 million for a Park City, Utah, estate that was once owned by Sen. Mitt Romney. Romney sold the 16.5-acre property to the Prewitts in 2009 shortly after his unsuccessful presidential campaign.

At the heart of the mountain retreat is a log cabin-style mansion of more than 12,000 square feet. The four-story chalet holds six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, carved logs and custom fixtures. A den adds a billiards room.

Stars aligning in Malibu

Malibu’s Pyramid House, a pyramid-shaped residence in the Santa Monica Mountains, found a buyer last month at $2.02 million. Designed and built by a pair of astronomy photographers, the offbeat residence faces the magnetic north and features a sun calendar embedded into the living room.

The property originally hit the market in 2018 for $3.1 million and was most recently listed for $2.288 million. The new owners are Warner Bros. executive Veronika Kwan Vandenberg and her husband, Robert.

From the archives

Thirty years ago, fresh off her role in “The Boyfriend School,” actress Shelley Long bought a Pacific Palisades architectural showpiece for about $3 million. The contemporary residence was designed by Brian A. Murphy, who was sometimes referred to as “the bad boy of architecture,” and featured walls made of firewood and awnings created from thatched eucalyptus branches. Walkways, steps, countertops and floors were covered in broken pieces of tile set to look like the patchwork on a quilt.

Twenty years ago, Hot Property creator Ruth Ryon went on vacation, so the world of high-end and celebrity real estate had to do without.

It was 10 years ago when singer-songwriter Paul Anka bought his unit at the newly built Carlyle Residences in the Wilshire corridor. Anka’s unit has two bedrooms and 2,800 square feet of living spaces. The 24-story building features private elevator entrances and amenities that include concierge service, fitness facilities and a dining room.

What we’re reading

How weird has the home-buying process become during COVID-19? L.A. Times reporter Andrew Khouri explores the new real estate landscape, where buyers are touring homes virtually and taking part in specialized showings.

How long does it take to binge-watch every real estate TV show? The New York Times looks at the shows to binge to fill the real estate void.

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen aren’t letting the novel coronavirus stand in the way of their New York expansion. The New York Post reports the singer and the model/television personality have paid $7.7 million for a 3,400-square-foot triplex. The couple own another unit in the same building that they bought in 2018 for $9.02 million.