Celebrities, Tech Billionaires Dominated LA’s Biggest Real Estate Deals of 2020


Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages into its second year, the demand for L.A.’s luxury housing continues soaring long past unprecedented heights. Blame the nosebleed-high stock market, and the fact that many wealthy homeowners are upgrading to larger properties with more room to socially distance. Countywide restrictions on showings and virus concerns did little to dissuade buyers from viewing homes and inking contracts, as seen by the 40 biggest deals of the year, all of which rang in north of $23 million.

Two sales topped $100 million: Jeff Bezos’ $165 million splurge for David Geffen’s historic Jack Warner estate, and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum’s $125 million purchase of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s custom-built compound just a couple miles away.

The perennially chic neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and Bel Air again dominated the top 40 list, accounting for more than half the entries and eight of the top 10 sales. Also dominating were tech tycoons — everyone from Elon Musk, StubHub’s Eric Baker and Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick to Honey co-founder George Ruan, Koum, and Jeffrey Gou, primary heir to Foxconn, the world’s biggest manufacturer of iPhones.

Rich Hollywood celebrities appeared, too, particularly those with multi-pronged revenue streams and fingers in many entrepreneurial pies. LeBron James, Kylie Jenner, Sofia Vergara, Travis Scott, and Justin Bieber all considerably upgraded their residential circumstances during 2020.

And then there were buyers who came from industries that actually benefited by the pandemic. The stock of upscale home furnishings company RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, has performed well over the past year; longtime CEO Gary Friedman bought a $37 million mansion for himself. Online payroll processor Paycom more than doubled the net worth of its CEO Chad Richison in 2020, he purchased a $26.5 million Malibu estate. Supermarkets and delis are demanding more food than ever; Erik Litmanovich and Josh Solovy, the co-owners of major supplier Golden West Food Group, both spent more than $23 million on new Beverly Hills mansions for themselves.

Head over to the gallery for a closer look at 2020’s 40 biggest transactions — 41 biggest, actually, thanks to a tie — recorded in the Los Angeles area.

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