Tech moguls looking to buy a trophy home have long turned to Southern California.
Billionaire Larry Ellison has become almost legendary for purchasing prized beachfront Malibu properties. Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos spent $24.5 million for a Beverly Hills compound. Sean Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, dropped $55 million last year to buy Ellen DeGeneres’ Holmby Hills mansion.
They were all upstaged in December when “Minecraft” creator Markus Persson, a Swedish tech billionaire, forked over $70 million for an epic custom mansion in Beverly Hills. It’s fitted with iPad-controlled fountains, vodka and tequila bars, a $200,000 candy room and an onyx dining table for 24.
But L.A.’s appeal among techies is spreading beyond the mega-rich, with tech industry buyers from Silicon Valley spending more and more time in the Southland — and snapping up real estate here. They include Facebook and EBay executives as well as angel investors and start-up entrepreneurs.
“We’ve seen an uptick in buyers from the technology industry over the last several years — some moving to Los Angeles and some buying second homes here, as a kind of peaceful retreat,” said Charles Black, executive vice president of marketing and strategic development at Hilton & Hyland, which was the listing agent in the Persson sale.
Those who have put down roots in L.A. cite a mix of personal, financial and work-related reasons: Compared with the Bay Area, the weather is warmer and the lifestyle more laid-back. With San Francisco home prices at staggering highs, SoCal means more space for less money.
And with a growing tech scene, plus the lure of tech-entertainment content partnerships in Hollywood, there’s more business to do in L.A. In 2014 the Los Angeles-Long Beach region broke into the top five metropolitan areas by venture capital investment for the first time, with 171 deals totaling $2.05 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Assn., whose records go back to 1995.
Last year, the number of Westside homes purchased by buyers who listed a mailing address in Santa Clara County, San Francisco County or San Mateo County more than doubled from the year before, hitting the highest number since 2007, according to data provided by CoreLogic DataQuick. The firm looked at home sales in Santa Monica, Venice, West L.A., Brentwood, Westwood, Playa Vista and Beverly Hills, areas that are close to or considered the nexus of the L.A. tech community.
Andrew LePage, an analyst with the housing data service, noted that the figures could actually be higher because some wealthy buyers purchase homes using the addresses of a business or other entity that can be located anywhere, and some might have used the new L.A. address as their mailing address.
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