Real Estate Newsletter: The Spooky Undersides of Los Angeles Homes

Welcome to the real estate newsletter. My coverage typically takes you inside LA’s finest properties, but this week we’re taking a trip below.

Do you know what is hiding under your house? Kyle Tourje probably does. He’s a structural appraiser at Alpha Structural, and he spends his career digging into the dark underworld of Southern California real estate so you don’t have to.

It’s a dirty job – overflowing with deadly insects, animal carcasses and foundation disasters waiting to happen, especially in an area as prone to earthquakes as LA. It has the stories and photos to prove it, and we sat down for a series of stories that include a 2,000-year-old Peruvian skull and a secret room filled with military hardware.

Fair warning: this story is only available to subscribers. But what better time to subscribe, especially when you can get six months for $1? I’m not a seller, but I shouldn’t even have to sell such a good deal.

The luxury side has seen a big problem happen in Beverly Hills. It’s an area that’s usually loaded with blockbuster sales, but this year hasn’t quite seen any price spikes compared to nearby communities such as Beverly Crest or Bel-Air.

That changed this week when denim mogul Maurice Marciano, co-founder of Guess jeans, dropped $37.5 million on a renovated mansion, making it the second most expensive sale in Beverly Hills so far. This year. He bought it from Fred Bernstein, a real estate agent who has spent the last few years expanding and restoring the modern estate.

Mount Washington, a neighborhood less known for its luxury, also got the celebrity treatment this week when Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman listed their three-story hillside home for $1.55 million. The actors, who have since split, have compiled several properties in trendy neighborhoods over the years with spots in Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Hollywood Hills.

On the other end of the market, affordable housing advocates received good news and bad news this week.

The good news is that Section 34, a measure of the California Constitution that makes it harder to build public housing, will have a chance of being repealed in the 2024 ballot. The measure comes nearly 75 years after it was passed of the amendment, and for the next seven decades blocked the construction of low-income housing by requiring voter approval for public housing.

The bad news is that the renter wage gap, also known as the difference between what typical workers can afford and what rentals actually cost, is growing — especially in Los Angeles. ; the median renter here earns $36,649 but needs $73,560 to pay for a one-bedroom rental.

As always, while keeping up to date with the latest news, visit and like our facebook pagewhere you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

A human skull and a secret chamber

Structural assessor Kyle Tourje assesses a property where unauthorized terraces, raised fruit and plant beds are nestled into the hillside on August 30.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Architects design houses. Agents sell them. Kyle Tourje dives under them.

Tourje is one of nine structural assessors for structural alpha, a Los Angeles company specializing in the engineering and construction of foundation repairs. In other words, these people make sure your house doesn’t roll down the hill and crush those below.

Each week, evaluators take to the field and send back photos and videos of their most startling finds: a mummified cat or perhaps a mouse fight; a dog skeleton or an ethereal mushroom culture.

Tourje has been digging for over a decade and has enough stories to fill the plot of a horror movie. Here are a few.

Denim mogul spends a fortune in Beverly Hills

Originally built in 1955, the newly restored home spans 9,300 square feet with five bedrooms and eight bathrooms.

Originally built in 1955, the recently restored home spans 9,300 square feet with five bedrooms and eight bathrooms spread over a single floor.

(Marc Singer)

Maurice Marciano, the fashion designer best known for co-founding clothing brand Guess Inc. with his brothers in the 1980s, has just shelled out $37.5 million for a newly renovated Beverly Hills mansion – one of the most expensive deals the city has seen so far this year.

Records show he purchased the home through his limited liability company, Beverly Financial Holdings. It’s less than a mile from his former home, a Paul McClean-designed house in Trousdale Estates that he’s currently buying for $27.5 million.

The seller is real estate agent Fred Bernstein of Westside Estate Agency, who has also been a developer and bought the property for $12.25 million in 2016 from Megan Ellison, film producer and daughter of billionaire Larry Ellison. Photos in the listing show that Bernstein kept the original style of the house while adding 3,000 square feet in the years that followed.

The actors provide a scenic perch

The three-story residence offers city and canyon views from glass walls and multiple decks.

The three-story residence offers city and canyon views from glass walls and multiple decks.

(Scott Everts/Ryan Lahiff)

Over the past decade, actors Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have amassed an impressive Los Angeles real estate collection with homes in trendy neighborhoods such as Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Hollywood Hills.

Now the couple are looking to cut one, listing their quaint Mount Washington home for $1.55 million.

Records show the couple, who married in 1982 but have since separated, bought the property in 2018 for $1.3million. Spanning three stories on a hillside lot, the loft-like residence offers sweeping city and canyon views through walls of windows and multiple decks.

Anti-public housing measure for repeal

New construction rises near old and dilapidated units of the Jordan Downs housing project.

New construction rises near old and dilapidated units in the Jordan Downs housing project in the Watts district of Los Angeles in 2019.

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Nearly 75 years after changing the state Constitution to make it harder to build public housing, California voters will have the option to repeal the provision in the 2024 ballot, writes Liam Dillon.

The measure will ask voters to remove Section 34 of the California Constitution, which requires voter approval before public housing can be built in a community. Section 34, which was passed in 1950, hampered the construction of low-income housing in California for decades and today continues to add to the cost and uncertainty of building affordable housing. .

The real estate industry sponsored the 1950 campaign, which appealed to racist fears about neighborhood integration and featured impassioned rhetoric about the need to fight socialism.

Those behind the repeal of Section 34 argue that it is a racist relic that needs to be repealed, especially during an affordable housing crisis. While other states have passed and repealed laws that called for a public vote before building public housing, only the California Constitution currently requires voter approval for public housing.

The renter wage gap is raging in Los Angeles

Sarah Abdeshahian, 22, a recent UC Berkeley graduate, in her one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco.

Sarah Abdeshahian, 22, a recent UC Berkeley graduate, in her one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco in February 2021. Students are moving to San Francisco because it’s more affordable.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and three other California cities have some of the largest millennial renter wage gaps in the country — the gap being the difference between what the typical worker can afford and average rental costs, Summer writes. Linen.

Among California cities, LA has the biggest rent wage gap for millennialsfollowed by San Diego in third place, San Francisco in fifth, San Jose in seventh, Riverside in eighth and Sacramento in 12th, according to an analysis by air filter company Filterbuy using Data from the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample.

In Los Angeles, the millennial wage gap was minus 49.5% in 2020, with millennial renters earning a median salary of $36,649, according to the analysis. However, tenants needed an average salary of $72,560 to pay for a one-bedroom rental. The median rent for a one-bedroom unit was about $1,814; about 35.6% of millennials in the city were renters.

What we read

In California, the most populous state in the country, land is hard to come by (no surprise for Californians). The New York Times collapsed the states with the largest lot sizes for new single-family homes and found California had the second-smallest median lot size at 7,405 square feet — at a price of $82.60 per square foot. Vermont had the largest median lot at 78,408 square feet, and it’s a bit cheaper at $5.95 per square foot.

It is usually a seller’s market or a buyer’s market, but according to Business Insider, it’s a terrible time for both parties. Citing stalled prices for sellers, rising mortgage rates for buyers and growing pessimism from all concerned, the outlet said the housing market is currently “in limbo”.

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