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L.A. Westside Thrives During Real Estate Slump

March 3, 2008

Los Angeles's Westside Thrives During Real Estate Slump

Monday March 10, 2008

Despite US subprime mortgage crisis, demand for luxury LA real estate remains high

     BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- It's been a busy week for
Myra Nourmand and her two assistants. The Beverly Hills real estate broker
just sold an $8.45 million property in Pacific Palisades and picked up two
listings: a $9.25 million home in Hancock Park and a $10.25 million Brentwood
residence.

     Despite bursting real estate bubbles throughout the US, certain markets
remain strong. Take Los Angeles, for example. Throughout LA's Westside, which
includes Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Malibu, and Brentwood, the demand for
property still exceeds inventory. One reason may be the large number of highwealth
individuals that live in Los Angeles. According to an April 2007 report
in CNNMoney.com, L.A. County has the highest number of millionaire households
in the country. The region boasts 268,138 millionaire households, which make
up 3% of the national total.

     While foreclosures and subprime fallout make their way into the headlines
and stump speeches of presidential candidates like Hilary Clinton, it's
business as usual for real estate brokers representing the most prestigious
zip codes. "There's no mortgage crisis here. In fact, I haven't had any
clients sell as a result of a foreclosure," says Nourmand, top-producing real
estate broker and author of the book From Homemaker to Breadwinner
(http://www.myranourmand.com). Her yearly sales in 2007 were in excess of
$100,000,000, and based on sales so far, she expects similar results in 2008.

     But the news isn't all good in luxury real estate. Nourmand says that the
negative coverage has raised fears. "I've had to spend more time educating
clients because they're reading the newspapers and getting nervous. Thankfully
the comps speak for themselves," says Nourmand. What are comps? They are the
prices of comparable properties in a neighborhood. A seller will use
comparables to determine the home's asking price, and buyers use comparables
when they make an offer. But in the high-end market, where homes are often
sold through private negotiations, comparables may be a secret held by only a
few agents.

     Nourmand is one of these. Having specialized in LA's Westside for nearly
20 years, she is a human Wikipedia of her community's sales history. Walking
along the Flats of Beverly Hills, the prestigious enclave of Hollywood's Alisters,
she can describe precise details about a home's past - from its
renovations over the last 15 years to soil test results and mold analyses.
According to Nourmand, the comparables throughout LA's high-end real estate
reflect that property prices remain stable.

     "If a house is priced accurately and its location is great, then it's
likely to sell quickly. Case in point, I recently listed a $6.2 million Beverly
Hills property. It was incredible, but even I had my misgivings about
how soon I could sell it. A buyer snatched it up in two weeks," says Nourmand.

To learn more about high-end real estate sales trends and the book From
Homemaker to Breadwinner, visit Myra Nourmand's blog at
http://www.myranourmand.com/blog.php.


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