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Flagging Economy Hasn't Slowed Area's High-End Sales

November 18, 2001|Ruth Ryon

Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt and Sylvester Stallone had at least one thing in common this year: They all bought homes in Southern California for more than $10 million each.

And Winfrey made one of the costliest private-home purchases in the United States with her acquisition in June of a Montecito property for $50 million.

Celebrities weren't the only "double-digit" million-dollar buyers of Southland homes.

So far this year, there have been 15 such sales of more than $10 million each on the Westside alone, and that includes three purchases of more than $20 million each, according to Cecelia Waeschle of Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills.

Last year, there were only two such sales at more than $20 million, she said. However, one of those was part of a multi-property sale and exchange valued at an estimated $85 million. At the end of 2000, there were 17 sales at more than $10 million each.

Considering homes currently in escrow, the number of double-digit million-dollar Westside sales could equal those of last year, Waeschle predicted. She has been tracking high-end sales in the area since 1987.

Despite terrorist attacks, war, the anthrax scare and the teetering economy, sales of homes for more than $10 million are still in the works.

One such sale opened and closed escrow after the Sept. 11 attacks; several others in the works before that date have also since closed.

"So it's not a bad year [for high-end sales], especially for a down year," Waeschle said.

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