Top Sales: Spec homes and celebrities fuel a red-hot November market


After a quiet October that saw no deals north of $20 million, Southern California’s luxury real estate market came roaring back in November, with three homes trading hands for more than $30 million — including two on the same street.

Here’s a closer look at the priciest deals that went down in Southern California last month.

$47 million — Beverly Hills


November’s biggest deal was in the 90210, where Nile Niami’s extravagant spec mansion, dubbed Opus, sold to San Marino real estate developer Bin Fen Cheng for $47 million.

It’s a massive sale but far shy of the original $100-million price tag when it first listed in 2017 (alongside a racy marketing campaign that involved a house tour filled with luxury cars and scantily clad women).

At a colossal 20,000 square feet, the Paul McLean-designed mega-mansion fits in seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two pools, a car museum, billiards room, indoor spa and movie theater. It claims a promontory lot on Billionaires’ Row overlooking the city below.

Branden and Rayni Williams of the Beverly Hills Estates handled both ends of the deal.

$33.75 million — Beverly Hills

The second-priciest home sale took place just down the street, where an empty acre on Billionaires’ Row traded hands for $33.75 million — a huge haul for a prized patch of dirt.

The owner was none other than media mogul David Geffen, who made a decent profit after paying $30 million for the land last year. The buyer is investor Randall Van Wolfswinkel, The Times confirmed.


Although it sits empty, the plot comes with plans for a 24,500-square-foot showplace that calls for seven bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a bowling alley, nightclub, salon, gym and 140-foot swimming pool. Views stretch from downtown Los Angeles to the ocean.

Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency held the listing. Barbara Duskin of Hilton & Hyland represented the buyer.

$33.3 million — Montecito

November’s bronze medal goes to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, the house-flipping power couple who sold their Bali-inspired estate in Montecito for $33.3 million.

The pair quickly found a buyer after they brought it to market for $39.9 million in October.

Decked-out during their stay, the 9-acre spread combines three parcels with a stylish main house full of wood, marble, tile and glass, as well as a guesthouse, security office, pickleball court, cabana, gym, pond and pool. Mountains line the horizon behind the property, with the ocean below.

Riskin Partners Group, a division of Village Properties, handled both ends of the deal.

$24.86 million — Malibu

Investor Mitch Lasky made quite an investment in Malibu, where he shelled out $24.86 million for an oceanfront Midcentury in the exclusive enclave of Broad Beach. He wasn’t finished there, though; records show he also spent about $15 million on the house next door.

The Midcentury is the larger of the two, combining three lots for a total of 1.3 acres overlooking the ocean. Wood and glass enhance the interiors, and a second-story deck hangs above the backyard with 126 feet of beach frontage. There’s also a guesthouse, gym and volleyball court set among gardens and sand dunes.

Elisabeth Halsted of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties held the listing. Ellen Francisco of Coldwell Banker represented the buyer.

$21 million — Santa Ynez

In Beverly Hills, $33.75 million bought an empty acre. In Santa Ynez, $21 million bought 4,700 acres.

The seller, former Goldman Sachs partner Fred Steck, wanted $45 million for the massive retreat in 2016, records show.

Tucked among the rolling hills of Santa Ynez Valley, the horse ranch known as Rancho Latigo includes a 14,000-square-foot mansion, three-bedroom guesthouse, 10,000-square-foot barn, 11-stall stable and a series of pastures and riding arenas. For those looking to skip the drive, there’s also a helipad.

Aaron Kirman and Neyshia Go of Compass held the listing.

$18.5 million — Bel-Air

Oscar-nominated actress JoBeth Williams and her husband, “The Santa Clause” director John Pasquin, parted with their Mediterranean villa along the links of Bel-Air Country Club for $18.5 million.

The couple, who were originally asking $30 million for the estate, picked up a place in Pacific Palisades for $9.8 million earlier this year.

The property spans 2.5 acres, making it the second-largest of the 48 homes that line the Bel-Air Country Club golf course. At the center sits a vibrant stucco home designed by Gerard Colcord, an architect whose plethora of Southern California homes have been lived in by celebrities such as Bob Newhart, Dean Martin and Nicolas Cage.

Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency held the listing. Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Realty represented the buyer.