With more than two decades of experience in global real estate and development, Jonathan Nash is intimately familiar with the wants and needs of today’s luxury homebuyer.
Prior to relocating to the U.S., Nash led acquisitions and development projects around the world including the creation of a resort in Turkey and an office complex in London while also launching a residential auction house. As a real estate agent for Beverly Hills-based Hilton & Hyland, he and business partner Stephen Resnick have amassed over $1 billion in sales including the $56-million trade of Mohamed Hadid’s former home in 2018 and last year’s $42.75-million sale of 24,000-square-foot tour de force in Beverly Hills.
In my continued coverage of the global real estate scene, I spoke with Nash about the current state of L.A.’s luxury market, what buying trends emerged this year and what he expects to see in 2021. His comments have been edited for clarity.
NL: L.A.’s high-end markets turned into a free-for-all during the pandemic, with many properties receiving multiple offers and over-asking bids. With the holiday season approaching, have things slowed down?
JN: For less expensive homes, there are still multiple buyers. Ordinarily, this time of year is very slow and a lot of that is attributed to people traveling for the holidays — through Christmas and New Year — but it’s yet to be determined.
My guess is that more people will be staying local and therefore, there will be more eyes on the for-sale inventory right now. I’m expecting it to be busier than it typically is this time of year but we are in the middle of a pandemic, and that may deter some people from actively shopping for homes.
That being said, the market this year has been counterintuitive. A lot of global markets have suffered as a result of the pandemic, but Los Angeles did not.
NL: What are L.A.’s hottest markets right now?
JN: The hottest would have to be Malibu. People are flocking to Malibu right now. The property values there are up massively, as is the volume of sales this year. There has been a tremendous migration to places like Malibu, particularly among people of substance who want the cleaner air and a more coastal-rural environment. The old faithfuls — Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Pacific Palisades and Hollywood Hills — are still very popular. We’ve seen a lot of activity in those areas, but the main benefactor of the pandemic has been Malibu.
NL: You recently brought an interesting property to market in the Bird Streets area of the Hollywood Hills for $14.95 million. Would you tell me a little about it?
JN: It is a house that was formerly lived in by Jerry Seinfeld. It’s in the Bird Streets — a 6,000-square-foot home on a very large promontory lot with the most sensational, unobstructed views from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. The home has a beautiful open floor plan, incredible entertaining space and a fabulous terrace garden that captures the whole view. It’s a very, very special house.
NL: Does listing a property of this caliber require more hands-on attention?
JN: A property of this caliber requires an analysis of the potential buyer and, in doing so, the approach to high-end real estate becomes far more of a bespoke or tailored approach than it would be for more of a cookie-cutter-type home.
The first step is identifying who we believe the buyer to be. Then it becomes about trying to raise awareness to that buyer pool, through curated and targeted and marketing — that kind of our methodology on our team. We want to gain maximum exposure for a property without overdoing it; we want to make sure that everything is delivered in a sophisticated manner.
NL: In a luxury market where it takes a lot to stand out, how does one attract a certain level of clientele?
JN: Back in the day, the market was very slanted towards the flash, ostentatious homes, whereas now, today’s buyer is far more discerning. So, it’s really about the curation of the right kind of materials; the right kind of furniture; and having an understanding of how homes should flow and what the buyer really wants. Right now, buyers seem more attracted to inherent quality over extravagance.
There are different schools of thought — some people believe that television works — but for use, it’s more of a personal touch at that level of the market. It’s not a case of just putting it on the market and hoping; it’s a very proactive process.
NL: In terms of L.A.’s luxury real estate market, what do you expect to see in 2021?
JN: I think we’re going to see an increase in energy and an influx of new people looking for homes in Los Angeles, particularly people moving here from places on the East Coast. Now that the vaccine has been approved, we’re going to see an even greater increase in activity here.
I see the Los Angeles market going from strength to strength. L.A. is a lifestyle that is hard to replicate anywhere else in the U.S. because not only is it laidback and sunny, it’s also a place that’s a center of commerce.