With the high-end property market on a continued upward trajectory in 2015, entertainment industry movers and shakers and other financially fortunate sorts smartly took advantage of the near decade-long surge, and turned substantial profits as they changed up their residential portfolios. In June, action pic hunk Jason Statham officially listed for a tetch less than $9 million the 1920s Mediterranean in the Hollywood foothills that he bought from Ben Stiller in 2011 for $7.35 million — and in July, he sold the place for $9.2 million to “The Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki.
Tobey Maguire realized a nearly $2 million windfall on a six-bedroom residence in L.A.’s low-key but high-cost Brentwood area that he bought from Ricki Lake in early 2014 for $8.45 million and sold just over a year later for $10.4 million to nutrition-bar moguls Ronald and Shannan Penna. Lucky Jonah Hill made out like a real estate bandit on both coasts: He sold his Los Angeles abode for $650,000 more than its $3 million asking price, and off-loaded his New York City pied-a-terre at a $400,000 profit. Julia Roberts also earned a pretty penny in the Big Apple when she dumped a 2,400-square-foot condo in Greenwich Village for $850,000 more than its $4.5 million asking price.
But, without question, one of 2015’s biggest winners in the celebrity property whirligig was Michelle Williams. The three-time Oscar nominee reaped a small fortune when she sold her ivy-encrusted townhouse in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill for $8.8 million, an astonishing $1.3 million more than the $7.5 million asking price and $5.2 million above what she paid for the place in 2005.
The electrified property markets from London to Los Angeles and beyond may well be primed for a slowdown in the next 12 to 24 months and, indeed, Kiplinger’s and Forbes both forecast paltry gains in overall home prices in the coming year. However, as far as this celebrity property dirt-disher can tell, there are still plenty of high-profile people with considerable incomes and a burning desire to buy and sell multimillion-dollar homes.
J.J. Abrams may have upgraded to a $15 million Pacific Palisades mansion not even two years ago, but with the mind-boggling success of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” would anyone be the least bit surprised if the prolific writer-director-producer shells out some seriously big bucks in 2016 for an A-list estate? One possibility is, say, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s sprawling compound on a flat ridge above Mandeville Canyon that they bought from Brian Grazer in 2009 for $17.55 million and, we’ve heard from several well-connected real estate insiders, can be toured by carefully vetted potential buyers who don’t break a sweat at the approximately $45 million asking price.
Last fall, rap queen Nicki Minaj reportedly bid for but did not consummate the purchase of a nine-bedroom behemoth in the Hollywood Hills, so we expect she’ll soon fork over a sizable sum for a giant house in a sexy L.A. zip code. And after what has been described to this property gossip as an already long and so far fruitless search, we predict retired professional boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. will wind up with a sleek contemporary above the Sunset Strip with quintessential jetliner views and an eight-figure sale price.
If we were the wagering type, we’d bet the proverbial farm that the 15,000-plus-square-foot contemporary manse of ailing nonagenarian entertainment industry mandarin Sumner Redstone will be sold within months of his passing. Set between estates owned by Sylvester Stallone and Paul Reiser in the extravagant Beverly Park enclave in Beverly Hills, the nearly two-acre estate would make a suitably luxe and private West Coast perch for British chanteuse Adele, who several of our well-informed informants say has peeped at scads of posh properties all across Los Angeles over the past year.
Several snitches told us multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen backed out of the purchase of a Frank Gehry-designed mansion along Malibu’s Broad Beach last fall, so we look for him to set his eyes on another $25 million-plus oceanfront getaway before too long. And, Tom Cruise, with his 300-acre ranch in Telluride, Colo., and a country estate outside London up for grabs on the open market, plus his 10,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion widely rumored to be available off market with a much-tittered-about $50 million price tag, may soon snatch up a new house to call home; this property gossip prognosticates he’ll scale down to a slightly smaller if still exuberantly expensive residence in Beverly Hills or Bel Air. More than one person we chit-chatted with thinks Mariah Carey will scoop up a significant Platinum Triangle estate in 2016, and Cruise’s heavily fortified estate is a superb option for the security-minded and opulence-oriented entertainer and her Australian billionaire businessman-boyfriend James Packer.
And, finally, no celebrity real estate wrap-up would be complete without chat-show host and veteran high-end house flipper Ellen DeGeneres. Since the design-savvy comedienne rarely hangs on to any property for more than a couple years, it’s easy to imagine she’ll make a clean sweep of her portfolio in 2016, and not only dispose of her Montecito estate and a pair of swanky condos along L.A.’s Wilshire Corridor but also, after a spit-and-polish renovation that just might be fawned over in a glossy shelter magazine, turn a tidy profit with the sale of the 1960s contemporary in Beverly Hills that she picked up at the end of last year in a hush-hush off-market deal for just under $15 million.
We shall see, butter beans, we shall see.