Hot Property Newsletter: What’s behind that price drop?

Nothing will catch a real estate reporter’s attention quite as quickly as what looks like a substantial price chop or loss in a high-rent part of town. But a scratch of the surface often reveals a perfectly good reason for what looks like a reduction. We’ll kick off this week’s roundup with examples in Malibu and Brentwood that at first gave us pause.

For a look inside a luxury home, check out our Home of the Week feature. This landmark estate in San Marino was designed by Wallace Neff, an architect to the stars during Hollywood’s Golden Age, as his personal residence. Take a video tour of the 10,324-square-foot mansion, listed for $11.8 million, at Fox11.

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

Neal J. Leitereg and Lauren Beale

How it measures up


Sometimes things aren’t as they may appear at first glance. Supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband, businessman Rande Gerber, recently sold their renovated compound in Malibu for $45 million — but they bought the three-plus-acre estate and an adjacent parcel in 2015 for a total of $50.5 million.

Why the drop in value? The neighboring property of about 2.75 acres was not included in the sale.

The blufftop residence features 5,300 square feet of living space, four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. Interior details include custom built-ins, natural materials and white painted rooms that make for a casual beach feel. Walls of windows and pocket doors take in ocean views.

A little less grounded

After finding no takers at $38.5 million, actor-musician Jim Belushi has lowered the price for his Brentwood estate to $29.995 million. That’s roughly a 22% reduction.

But he is also now pricing a smaller estate. The property is being offered without a second parcel of about half an acre.

The Italianate villa-style mansion, built in 2010, has 11,821 square feet of interiors. An office/den, a sauna, a screening room, six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms are among the living spaces and amenities.

The grounds include a pool house, a swimming pool and a detached guest house.

Belushi, 63, is known for his film roles in “Trading Places” (1983), “Mr. Destiny” (1990) and “Jingle All the Way” (1996).

A two-decade run

TV producer and director Bill D’Elia and his wife, interior decorator Ellie D’Elia, have sold their longtime vacation home in Seal Beach for $3.275 million.

The beachfront property had been in the couple’s possession for close to two decades.

Ellie remodeled the 1950s house to give it a Cape Cod cottage vibe with grayish wood shingle siding, white trim and blue shutters.

The home’s 2,375 square feet of living space include a living room with a brick fireplace, a dining area, four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Bill D’Elia has television credits that include the shows “Chicago Hope,” “Ally McBeal” and “Boston Legal.” More recently he served as an executive producer on the series “How to Get Away With Murder.”

Back in the spotlight

Here’s a house with a plot line: The former Hollywood Hills home of the late Louis Zamperini, whose life story was the subject of the 2014 film “Unbroken,” has sold for $2.965 million.

A gambrel roofline and rolled eaves give the English Revival-style house, built in 1922, a distinctive look. Inside, a great room with a fireplace and high ceilings, a reading room, a breakfast room, four bedrooms and three bathrooms are within the 3,500 square feet of updated living space.

The third-acre property previously sold in 2015 for $2.19 million.

Zamperini, who died in 2014 at 97, was a distance runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and a World War II prisoner of war in Japan. The bombardier was captured after his plane crashed into the ocean.

Home on the range

A 26,600-acre ranch created by the late stock market magnate Dean Witter in the Covelo area of Northern California is for sale at $31 million.

Lone Pine Ranch was created in 1942 when Witter and his wife, Helen, bought and combined three previously separate properties. The acreage became a working ranch for cattle and timber operations as well as a personal retreat for the Witters and family members.

The property, which straddles Trinity and Mendocino counties, centers on a 5,300-square-foot main house with 10 bedrooms and five bathrooms. The rustic home dates to the mid-1940s. Other structures include four homes, two bunkhouses, barns and sheds.

There is about 16.5 miles of frontage along the Eel River. Area wildlife includes elk, deer, pig, bear and quail.

Witter, who died in 1969 at 81, co-founded the investment firm Dean Witter & Co.

From the archives

Ten years ago, actor Ryan Phillippe bought a home in the Hollywood Hills for $7.175 million. The house, which sold in 34 days, had five bedrooms and seven bathrooms within 8,300 square feet of living space.

Twenty years ago, Emmy-winning actor Michael Richards, who played Kramer on “Seinfeld,” put his Studio City home of six years on the market at $799,000. Built in 1953, the 2,700-square-foot ranch-style house had three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a screening room and two wood-burning fireplaces.

Thirty years ago, “Bonanza” and “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon was building a 10,000-square-foot Santa Barbara Mission-style house with eight bedrooms in a Malibu canyon.

What we’re reading

“Real Housewives of New York City” star LuAnn de Lesseps is interested in selling or renting out her Sag Harbor, N.Y., home, reports The four-bedroom, four-bathroom house is priced at $5.75 million and also listed as a seasonal rental, at $150,000, for the month of August.

One of the iconic “boathouses” designed by L.A. midcentury architect Harry Gesner has surfaced on the for-sale market, notes Set above the Cahuenga Pass, the 1959 dwelling has two bedrooms and one bathroom within 1,204 square feet of living space. The asking price is $789,000.

Cerro Gordo, a 19th century California mining town, is up for sale near Lone Pine for $925,000, according to The price includes more than 300 acres of land, mineral rights and 22 structures. There’s a historic hotel, a bunkhouse, a saloon, a chapel and a museum.