Top Sales: Elon Musk and Trevor Noah closed December’s top deals


Southern California’s luxury real estate market seemed virtually pandemic-proof for most of 2020, and December was no different. Five homes across three counties traded hands for $25 million or more, including a sprawling Montecito estate, a Bel-Air showplace and a waterfront stunner in Newport Beach.

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

$32.25 million — John Riccitiello


December’s priciest property was also the largest, as an 18,000-square-foot villa on 11 acres in the celebrity-favored hideout of Montecito traded hands for $32.25 million.

Records reveal the palatial estate was picked up by a limited liability company tied to John Riccitiello, the former Electronic Arts president who now serves as chief executive of video game software developer Unity Technologies.

Known as “Sotto Il Monte,” the Italian Renaissance-inspired palace was built in 1927 by George Washington Smith, the architect famous for his Spanish Colonial Revival-style homes around Santa Barbara County. The main house holds eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, and other structures include a three-bedroom guesthouse, six-bedroom staff house, two-story pool pavilion, solarium and 3,400-square-foot collector’s garage.

Outside, manicured hedges and rolling lawns lead to an 82-foot swimming pool and tennis court.

$29.72 million — Elon Musk

Elon Musk came through on his promise to own no house, going on an absolute selling spree to close out the year that saw him unload four homes for a combined $62 million.


The largest of the four — a 9,300-square-foot mansion on a hillside lot with sweeping city views — fetched the biggest price, $29.72 million. That’s $5.5 million more than he paid for the property in 2016.

Perched on 1.5 acres, it holds six bedrooms and extends to an entertainer’s backyard with decks, patios and small patches of lawn leading up to a swimming pool and spa. It shares a cul-de-sac with two other homes he sold: a Colonial-style spot for $6.77 million and a 1960s single-story for $4.43 million.

$27.5 million — Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah has a type. Two years after dropping $20.5 million on an architectural mansion in Bel-Air, the host of “The Daily Show” picked up another home in the same neighborhood, this time shelling out $27.5 million.

The 11,000-square-foot showplace resembles a series of cubes stacked together, and out back, it sprawls across its hillside lot with an infinity-edge pool, spa, sun deck, cabana and bar.

The home was designed by Mark Rios, an L.A. architect who built the place for himself in 2014. Rios used dark timbers based on a room he saw in Kyoto, Japan, and extra-thick walls to block out the noise of the city below.

Living spaces offer an eye-catching mix of stone, wood, bronze and glass, and other highlights include a library, gym, spa, steam room, game room and elevator. Upstairs, a movie theater adjoins a rooftop terrace.

$26.15 million — Kristin Tutor

It took a few relists and price cuts, but Kristin Tutor, daughter of construction magnate Ron Tutor, finally sold her regal residence in Holmby Hills for $26.15 million.


She put some work into the house during her stay, adding ivory crocodile ceilings, black lacquered cabinetry and a metal-wrapped bar to the already posh living spaces.

Tucked behind tall hedges and 12-foot gates, the 11,500-square-foot manor features dormer windows and Juliet balconies across the exterior. Inside, highlights include a two-story entry, grand staircase, parlor, sunken media room and primary suite with a private balcony.

A pool, spa, two-bedroom guesthouse and staff quarters complete the nearly one-acre estate.

$25 million — Newport Coast mansion

This $25-million sale in Newport Coast would have been the community’s priciest deal last year if it weren’t for the colossal mansion that sold for a record-shattering $61 million, the most expensive home sale in Orange County history.

Second place isn’t so bad, as the Italian-inspired estate sits on half an acre overlooking the ocean in Crystal Cove. Built in 2020, the custom mansion boasts 13,400 square feet of interiors and tacks on an extra 1,400 square feet of covered outdoor space.


In addition to six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, it holds a flurry of amenities including a movie theater, gym, eight-car garage and a basement with a bar and wine cellar. Out back, a patio descends to a huge pool, spa and cabana with views of the city, harbor and Catalina Island.