For top LA resi agents, it’s strictly posi vibes

Aaron Kirman, Sally Forster Jones and Santiago Arana say pandemic means shifting but not devastated market

Los Angeles /
May.May 12, 2020 08:00 AM

Aaron Kirman is meditating and infusing himself with positive energy.

Sally Forster Jones is brushing her hair and putting on lipstick for thrice weekly Zoom meetings with her team of 30.

For these top Los Angeles residential real estate agents who appeared Monday on TRD Talks Live, The Real Deal’s ongoing series of web conversations with real estate industry leaders, the coronavirus has meant lifestyle changes but, they hope, no long-term business disruptions.

Panel host and TRD Associate Publisher Hiten Samtani noted that no guest acknowledged serious challenges to their operations due to the pandemic.

The agents did give nuts-and-bolts insights about a residential market opening up again, with private home showings recently reallowed.

Forster Jones of Compass, the broker behind a recently posted $100 million Bel Air listing, said there’s as much activity as ever around homes going for less than $1.5 million.

“Interest rates are so low that buyers with jobs are absolutely going out buying,” Forster Jones said, asserting she fielded “30 to 35 offers” on a sub-$1.5 million home shown via virtual tour.

The ultra high-end luxury market, which has featured multiple $90 million-plus sales in the past six months, is full of “buyers looking for deals,” the agent said.

The segment between $1.5 million and the high end is cooler, though, she noted.

Arana, managing partner of The Agency, warned agents “to be conscious of what the state of the market is when we get back,” which he predicted to be, “more of a buyer’s market.” He noted that financing new spec mansions had gotten trickier as banks reconsider their bets.

“There were a couple developers who had plans, permits and everything to go on several spec projects,” he said, “but the banks are pulling the loans off their hands.”

Forster-Jones added agents may have to fend off bargain hunters. “It’s a slightly different dance we’re doing,” she said.

These elite agents voiced less concern about an economy in freefall than nettlesome industry rules.

Kirman, who operates an 83-agent team at Compass, blasted the National Association of Realtors for their crackdown on “pocket listings,” that is, homes sold off-market. A lawsuit was filed against the trade group’s pocket listings ban in federal court Monday.

“I will be the number one person to fight the new laws and regulations imposed upon us,” Kirman said. “I have always tested with pocket listings before I launch” a new property onto the market.

The panelists also downplayed “coronavirus clauses” such as the Coronavirus Property Entry and Declaration form the California Association of Realtors advises agents to include in home sales.

Kirman said he might use the form for buyers, but scraps it if he represents the seller.

The agents saw silver linings amid the pandemic.

Perhaps channeling “Marriage Story,” Kirman and Arana discussed how L.A. ‘s space and sun would attract buyers from vertical cities like New York, which has a far higher per capita coronavirus infection rate.

Kirman also disputed that networking is lost amid the pandemic.

“These Zoom meetings are amazing,” Kirman said. “I’m more close to my clients and my community than I ever have been before”

(The panel was sponsored by the Viewpoint Collection. Please see a message from them below)

Viewpoint Collection is the largest luxury residential real estate developer in Los Angeles, with an expansive portfolio of luxury homes in the iconic neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills, and Hidden Hills. Located on panoramic sites and designed by renowned architects, the Viewpoint portfolio epitomizes and integrates the Southern California lifestyle with sophisticated contemporary design that offers an unparalleled living experience.

Among Viewpoint’s past projects are the $35M sale of Noah Walker’s “Carla House” in Trousdale, and the $60M “Sky Garden” in Bel-Air. Coming soon will be Standard Architecture’s “Forest Knoll”, a one-of-a-kind barn house design situated on a prominent site in the Hollywood Hills with unparalleled 180-degree views of the City.

Viewpoint has eight other contemporary homes currently under development that will be completed in the next year. In addition, Viewpoint’s crown jewel is the fabled 10-acre “Owlwood Estate,” which is the largest and most prominent landholding in Holmby Hills, located adjacent to the storied Los Angeles Country Club.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Nile Niami and "The One" mansion (Getty)

Niami’s “The One” to hit market

Niami’s “The One” to hit market
Dana Olmes and Jeffery Biebuyck (Getty, Dana and Jeff Luxury Homes)

This Side up: White label brokerage plucks luxury team from Compass

This Side up: White label brokerage plucks luxury team from Compass
Jeffrey Worther and Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray with (clockwise from top left) Media Studios, The Point, 3800 Alameda and Central Park (Getty)

Here’s what tenants pay in Blackstone and Worthe’s Burbank office portfolio

Here’s what tenants pay in Blackstone and Worthe’s Burbank office portfolio
Macerich CEO Thomas O’Hern and Santa Monica Place mall

Here’s what tenants are paying at Macerich’s Santa Monica Place

Here’s what tenants are paying at Macerich’s Santa Monica Place
Brookfield Property Partners CEO Brian Kingston and the Gas Company Tower at 555 West 5th Street

Here’s what tenants are paying at Brookfield’s Gas Company Tower

Here’s what tenants are paying at Brookfield’s Gas Company Tower
Clockwise from top left: James Harris, Tracy Tutor, Josh Altman, Josh Flagg, and David Parnes

WATCH: Million Dollar Listing LA stars dish on the luxury market

WATCH: Million Dollar Listing LA stars dish on the luxury market
Chris Cortazzo (Credit: Marc Piasecki/GC Images via Getty Images)

One person, three roles: Chris Cortazzo buys $20M Malibu home, serves as agent for both sides

One person, three roles: Chris Cortazzo buys $20M Malibu home, serves as agent for both sides
Los Angeles land-use map

Prop 15 tax measure could add housing: study

Prop 15 tax measure could add housing: study
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...