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Why Are the Rich and Famous Fleeing These L.A. Homes?

The buzziest real estate listings in Los Angeles, ranked by climate risk.

A for sale sign over Los Angeles.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, Spaces, The Modern House, or Architectural Digest and wondering how those gorgeous homes will hold up in the next decades? I have you covered.

Heatmap has partnered with my new climate risk platform, Habitable. Every Friday, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news this week and ask: Could you live here as the climate changes?

Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here.)

For today’s edition, I apply the Habitable Index to check the climate risk of the very many L.A. and Southern California houses that seem to have hit the market simultaneously. Most of these significant estates are selling at pretty significant prices, maybe taking into account the mansion tax that went into effect April 1 where the seller is required to pay an additional 5.5% tax.

1. You could hunker down here.

James Cameron house.Zillow

James Cameron’s off grid paradise is ready for the climate apocalypse. On more than 100 acres in the Hollister Ranch community, which restricts development to leave room for local wildlife, this stunning property is for sale for what feels like a comparative bargain at $33,000,000.

Organic gardens grow most of the food here, there is enough solar and wind power to live off grid, and there are wells for drinking water and for farming. Most importantly, there is a helicopter landing pad for a quick escape when TSHTF. The climate risk — some fire and low drought — still makes this place totally habitable given the infrastructure. Cameron is leaving town for his other climate bunker in New Zealand. I would snap this up and hunker down.

Featured on Robb Report and listed for $33 million.

2. Swipe right?

Tinder founder house.Zillow

The Tinder founder is in the news for listing his picture-perfect luxury house, which was on the cover of Architectural Digest. Marble everywhere with nine bathrooms and three garage spaces (which apparently is a big selling point in L.A.), the house will be mostly habitable for a while. Even with a severe drought risk, it’s got surprisingly low heat and fire risk compared to most of L.A.

Featured in New York Post and listed for $32 million.

3. Leaving on a a jet plane. Don’t know when James Corden’ll be back again.

James Corden house.The Agency

The quintessential L.A. home that housed James Corden’s excellent L.A. adventure is now for sale for $17.1 million (down from $22 million when it was listed earlier this year). Lot of laughs to be had here with a trampoline, pool, spa, and pizza oven and an enviable three-car garage! Does Corden’s timing for leaving L.A. have anything to do with the extreme drought and moderate fire risk? We’ll never know.

Featured in Architectural Digest and sold for $17.1 million.

4. Betcha can’t sell this house!

Beach house.Zillow

A former Frito-Lay food scientist and an oil executive from Houston are selling this busy beachfront property for $42 million. Every floor opens to views of crashing waves and surfers and Catalina Island. The crashing waves are probably destined to level this oceanfront mansion with a trifecta of climate conditions, though — lots of fire, drought, and flooding risk.

Featured in WSJ and listed for $42.5 million.

5. Dropping out of an extremely risky spot.

Mansion in Holmby HillsZillow

With the Playboy Mansion and Spelling Manor as neighbors and a starring role in “The Dropout,” this massive Holmby Hills estate has everything you’ll need, including a 13-car garage. There is so much beauty here that will be at risk from severe flood, drought, and fires though.

Featured on the Dirt and listed for $40 million.

6. Run from those Hollywood Hills

Hollywood Hills house.Zillow.

A 1920s Spanish Colonial with an enviable six parking spots hits the market this week for the bargain price of $2,895,000. In L.A.’s Beachwood Canyon community, the house is adorable and surrounded by old growth trees. But it’s hot and really dry and flammable. On the bright side, no flood risk.

Featured inDwell and listed for $2,895,000.

7. Yachts Rocked

Harbour Island.Zillow

Harbour Island in Newport Beach is a gated-waterfront community with lots of sailing. This 100-year-old home owned by the same family for generations is on market this week for what would be a record-breaking price of $74 million.

The home — as close to the water as you can possibly be — comes with old trees and a private dock for more than one yacht. It sits on the largest parcel in Newport Harbor. Big price, big views, and astounding flood risk for the price.

You have to wonder now that a few home insurers have left the state of California, how in the world would someone justify paying $74 million for a house destined to be underwater soon? I’ll be fascinated to watch this space.

Featured in WSJ and listed for $74 million.


Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: Read More

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