Ultra-wealthy home buyers both in the U.S. and overseas are awake to Los Angeles County’s status as a hub of commerce, technology, entertainment and culture, making it increasingly attractive, according to some of the county’s top residential real estate agents.

Would-be property owners from Asia, Europe and South America have been gobbling up local luxury homes for the past several years.

Now, U.S. buyers from outside L.A. County have stepped up their game, agents said.

“What we’ve seen really change in the last two years dramatically is it’s become a local market – 75 percent of buyers are American,” said Rochelle Maize of the Hollywood-based Nourmand & Associates.

Maize’s $252 million in local sales volume last year was enough to earn her the No. 14 spot on the Business Journal’s list of top residential real estate agents. Each agent is ranked by dollar volume of local sales.

Los Angeles’s reputation for being hubs for entertainment and good weather isn’t exactly news.

What is different is that luxury home buyers have been looking here. By comparison, Manhattan’s real estate sales plunged 25 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2018, their largest drop in six years, according to a report from brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

Kurt Rappaport, co-founder of Westside Estate Agency in Beverly Hills, said Los Angeles “lacked soul” in the past. Rappaport, who has been the real estate agent for notables such as Dr. Dre and Ellen DeGeneres, was ranked No. 1 on the Business Journal’s list with $733 million in local sales volume.

Tinseltown to Techtown

The market has changed in recent years, with various causes and results. A vibrant base of tech complement has provided an eye-catching sector to complement the traditional buzz of Hollywood. The change includes the emergence of companies such as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., as well as some blends of the tech and entertainment sector, with outfits such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. establishing studios here.

A revitalization of the sports scene here has helped, too, according to Santiago Arana of The Agency of Beverly Hills. Arana was ranked No. 6 on the list with $421 million in local sales volume last year, more than double his 2016 total.

That trend has been pushed along by the arrival in recent years of two professional football teams and the ongoing construction of Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.

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