After the banner year of 2021, L.A.’s high-end real estate market is seeing challenges, including some softening of prices, continued low inventory and rising interest rates (an average 30-year fixed mortgage rate today is about 5.8 percent compared with about 2.9 percent a year ago). “It will take some time for buyers to acclimate to the interest rate increases; it’s all cyclical,” says Hilton & Hyland’s Justin Paul Huchel. But for L.A.’s top agents, these setbacks are an opportunity to refocus on a core value: finding clients their perfect home. Despite the market softening, agents profess that they aren’t worried. According to Redfin, the median sale in Beverly Hills still clocks in at $3.8 million, up 15.4 percent from last year. And agents aren’t hurting financially, either. Although marketing, staff and office space must be factored in, many of the area’s highest-performing agents can expect to make $5 million to $10 million a year (according to one person on this list), while those on the rung below net $2 million to $5 million. For the 2022 list of the top 30 agents in L.A., THR considered sales volume, MLS-listed sales to Hollywood clients and media visibility to make its selections. (Info on celebrity sales and clients is sourced from public records unless otherwise noted.)
JOSH AND MATT ALTMAN
One of the rare teams to sell more than $1 billion a year, brothers Josh and Matt Altman of Million Dollar Listing: L.A. fame recently sold Rams coach Sean McVay’s Hidden Hills estate for $14 million, Milla Jovovich’s Beverly Hills compound for $13.4 million, and Britney Spears’ Calabasas estate for $11.8 million. They also represented Scooter Braun, whose purchase of a newly-built $65 million mansion set a record-high for Brentwood. The Douglas Elliman duo started out in the entertainment industry, flipping homes as a hobby — and then fell in love with the business. “Working with my brother is sort of the ultimate family dream, both for your parents and for each other,” Matt says. ”The one thing I know, and one thing we can count on every day is we always have each other’s backs.” The Altmans, who have sold more than $5.5 billion over their careers, note a growing interest in the Encino area, and also the impact COVID had on people’s interest in creating a comfortable home. “COVID was a horrible time,” Matt says. “But it gave people the opportunity to see that the most important thing is family and their home, and therefore, that’s why we saw so much business.” Current big listing: Full House creator Jeff Franklin’s $60 million mansion.
The Agency’s Santiago Arana, who sold $581 million in the past year, repped former Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff in the purchase of Matt Damon’s $18 million Palisades spread and and sold tv exec Kevin Reilly’s home in Mandeville Canyon for $9 million. “With the high-profile individuals, you’re dealing with business managers, attorneys, a lot of people who work with them, which can become a challenge. But it’s also great, right? It opens up doors,” he says, adding “I love architecture. I love houses, and I love the fact that it’s a career that the sky is the limit.”
ROCHELLE ATLAS MAIZE
NOURMAND & ASSOCIATES
For Nourmand & Associates’ Rochelle Atlas Maize, real estate is a second career which started out as a hobby and has become a multi-million-dollar juggernaut. “I was a wealth adviser specializing in commodity and stock trading, so totally a numbers person — it was an intense career,” she says. “Real estate has allowed me to use the other side of my brain … the creative side and the marketing side.” But she still applies her financial expertise and considers herself a “real estate wealth adviser.” She recently represented the sellers of Kirk Douglas’ Beverly Hills estate — which had 31 offers and went for $9.015 million, $1.5 million above asking — and represented The Abbey owner David Cooley in his $4.425 million purchase of Emma Stones cliffside Malibu home. To date she has sold over $3 billon in real estate, not bad for someone who got into the business as a second career. “I was like, ‘What the hell, I’m just going to try this,’” she says. “And I did.” In August, she also represented the seller of an estate in Beverly Hills bought by Neil Diamond for $12 million ($1 million over asking).
WESTSIDE ESTATE AGENCY
A Westside Estate Agency partner, Fred Bernstein is helping casino mogul Steve Wynn find a buyer for his $100 million Beverly Hills estate. He also just sold a Beverly Hills estate that once belonged to power broker Lew Wasserman’s daughter for $35.5 million. Bernstein also was one of the brokers who worked with DJ and music producer Zedd on his $15.2 million purchase of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s mansion in Encino last fall and represented Participant’s Jeff Skoll in the $33 million sale of two side-by-side homes in Beverly Hills to Byron Allen.
An agent for 22 years (after a career in advertising), Blair Chang is a co-founder of The Agency and, following in the footsteps of his mother, is a second-generation realtor. With $166 million in sales in the past year, he repped the seller in Scooter Braun’s $65 million purchase, the second biggest on-market deal of the last 12 months. The property was only on the market for 10 days. However, in 2022, Chang has noticed a dearth of appropriate “sanctuaries” for his wealthiest clients. “The challenge has been finding a one-of-a-kind product that’s just so magical that they have to have it.” The magic was in full effect when one buyer recently told Chang that he bought a property quickly because “I knew one of my friends also wanted the house.”
THE IKEM COMPANY
“I love that I work with some of the world’s most creative and talented minds in the world of sports and entertainment,” says The Ikem Company’s Ikem Chukumerije. “Whether it’s a 1 million or 10 million deal, everyone is treated as our VIP.” In the past year, he has done $71 million in sales and has repped LaKeith Stanfield, NBA player Lonzo Ball, former NBA player Richard Hamilton, and Terry Crews. “I own several properties and want each of my clients to experience the many benefits of homeownership,” he adds, noting that “Black people are falling behind in homeownership at just under 45 percent, even with home prices hitting all-time records. The single biggest vehicle for increasing wealth in this country is through homeownership.”
“It is making buyers more circumspect in their purchases,” Compass’ Chris Cortazzo says of rising interest rates. “Where the client may have been looking at only one price range, they are now looking at various price ranges.” The Malibu specialist, who has sold more than $1 billion in the past 12 months, recently repped oceanside rental listings for Sandra Bullock and Rick Rubin, represented attorney Craig Cardon in a $4 million sale in Outpost Estates to Bullet Train director David Leitch, and was the co-listing agent on a house that Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant sold in Malibu for $14.7 million. As for his take on the current market, Cortazzo says, “There is more demand than supply.” He is currently listing an oceanfront mansion on more than 2.5 acres in Malibu for $75 million.
HILTON & HYLAND
It’s been a typical year for Hilton & Hyland’s Drew Fenton, meaning that he completed deals for a dizzying number of big names, including Chelsea Handler; producer David Zander (who paid $30.7 million for Todd Phillips’ Beverly Hills Estate); Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher; Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson; and model Miranda Kerr and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel (who spent $120 million in an off-market Holmby Hills deal that closed in August). He also co-listed a Paul Williams house, called the Bellagio Estate, bought by Kevin Feige for $52 million and is one of the agents on the $165 million listing of The Manor, built by Aaron Spelling. Notes Fenton, who has been an agent for more than 20 years and has more than $5.8 billion in career sales,”Touring the most incredible estates in the city is the best gift, and I am grateful every day.” While he says that stock market volatility has been a challenge in the past year, he has one word for where he sees the market going: “Up.”
SALLY FORSTER JONES
Sally Forster Jones landed Compass’ highest L.A.-area sale for 2021 with the $44 million purchase of a property dubbed the Brentwood Oasis, a seven-bed, 11-bath property on 1.26 acres that includes a basketball court, automobile showroom, putting green and sports simulator room. She also repped the buyer of a house sold for $9.2 million by Pharrell Williams; repped Kim Kardashian BFF Allison Statter in the purchase of a $15 million estate in Bel-Air; and holds the nearly $37 million listing on a property in Bel Air that includes a historic Japanese garden. “When compared to the wild, untamable markets of the last two years, 2022 can seem slow, but we are still experiencing steady activity and interest,” she says. “The market has really returned to a more seasonal flow — people have been taking their summer vacations for the first time in years, and kids have just gone back to school. These actions traditionally cause a temporary lull in the market, so perspective is very important.”
Compass’ Tomer Fridman, perhaps best known as the go-to agent for the Kardashians (even making an appearance on their new Hulu show), has completed deals in the past year for the NBA’s Tristan Thompson as well as Kanye West, whose $4.5 million spend on a house in Hidden Hills was $420k over asking. He also co-sold Sylvester Stallone’s Beverly Park home to Adele for $58 million. “We have certainly been seeing a decline in recent extreme behaviors [that] buyers were being pushed to undergo for a purchase, but the market is not slowing down,” Fridman says. “Home values are still stronger than ever, particularly in L.A.” And as interest rates rise — and with inventory in L.A. still low — he continues, “We’re also seeing buyers making serious moves, quick transactions, and sellers reeling in some of the expectations — but still achieving record-breaking values for their homes.”
Compass’ Carl Gambino has $330 million in transactions this year — and more than $1 billion in sales to date — thanks in part to his ability to cater to high-net-worth clients across several hot markets (L.A., New York, the Hamptons and Miami), as he is licensed in three states. “Because many of our clients own various properties across the country, working in multiple markets allows us to provide the same excellent service across multi-city transactions. We’re able to diversify our clients’ portfolios with assets on both coasts. We recently sold a client’s home on [Miami’s] Fisher Island for a record-breaking price, $21.25 million, and then found them a home in California,” says Gambino, who closed deals in the past year for Renée Zellweger, Sean Combs and Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, whose $15.2 million sale of a house in Encino last year was (at the time) the second priciest ever.
SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
Marking her first time on THR‘s list (at age 32), Neyshia Go of The Go Group at Sotheby’s International Realty has been a real estate agent for more than a decade, with a mix of clients from the worlds of sports and entertainment. “I enjoy utilizing my solution-oriented skillset to help my clients find properties that are perfect for them,” says Go, adding, “I have always had a strong affinity for development and attribute more than 60 percent of my business to new-construction sales.” This year, she sold a home in Beverly Park for $23 million to investor Alex von Furstenberg and is a co-listing agent on two neighboring contemporary mansions in Bel Air, each priced at $38.5 million. She has a new $20 million listing of a Tuscan villa on 12 acres in Carpinteria, California, which includes a lake, several acres of Pinot Noir and Grenache vineyards, horse facilities and a Lakers-themed half-court.
JAMES HARRIS AND DAVID PARNES
The founders of The Agency’s Bond Street Partners team, James Harris and David Parnes have more than $3 billion in career sales and a current listing portfolio in excess of $1 billion. “For me and for Dave, we get to interact with some of the coolest, most amazing people in the world. But as an agent, we’re placing people in what’s probably the most important investment in their entire life,” says Parnes, adding, “I just love having the team camaraderie vibe, I love energy, I love being surrounded by people, and I also love the idea of having a team — it means that you can scale it.” According to public records, they repped Rihanna, Kevin Durant, Demi Lovato and Big Sean in the past year. For Parnes, the recent softening of the market is a natural reaction after the madness of 2021. “What we’re seeing now is a lot of people are feeling very scared because they’re seeing rates that they haven’t seen in the last three, four years,” he says. “But the reality is when times like this happen, it creates unbelievable opportunity.” The two departed Million Dollar Listing L.A. in April after seven seasons, posting on Instagram that it was “time to move on.”
“You have to be completely fearless and just be able to run the deal. Problem solve — that’s what I do. I am the most positive person anyone will ever meet,” says Douglas Elliman’s Juliette Hohnen, whose can-do attitude has put her on course to close $200 million in 2022, with around half her sales taking place off market. Recent clients include Rami Malek, producer Richard Sakai, Lindsey Buckingham and producer Debbie Liebling. For the London-born Hohnen, L.A. real estate is a wide-open frontier. “I think L.A. is the Wild West, and you can create whoever you are,” she says. “You can come here with nothing and work very hard and create a good reputation.”
JUSTIN PAUL HUCHEL
HILTON & HYLAND
Hilton & Hyland’s Justin Paul Huchel has recently represented everyone from Chelsea Handler, Kid Harpoon and Harry Styles to Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake and music exec Justin Lubliner. “Keeping the buyers’ identities private is extremely challenging these days,” he says. “We value their privacy and like to stay low-key.” A veteran agent with more than 20 years experience, he loves working with his associate, real estate agent Nicole Kornhauser and values “helping my clients make good investments in properties that will appreciate over time.” Huchel is realistic but optimistic about the future of the real estate market. “It’s a market in transition,” he says. “We have been used to low interest rates for many years now.”
Compass’ Aaron Kirman — whose Aaron Kirman Group boasts a whopping $15 billion in team career sales and who has personally sold more than $9 billion in residential real estate— serves clients including Robbie Williams (who spent $49.5 million on a home in Holmby Hills last March), Ariana Grande and UTA’s Greg Cavic. He also was a co-listing agent on The One, which sold at auction for $141 million to Fashion Nova CEO Richard Saghian this year, after having once been listed at $295 million. “We took a unique approach when selling The One,” says Kirman, star of Listing Impossible on CNBC. “With it being one of the most expensive homes in the world that only a few hundred billionaires can afford, we had to be creative and strategic, in searching for and connecting with the ideal buyer. We selected our potential buyer pool by creating and executing one of the most comprehensive media campaigns to garner national and international attention. By traveling and meeting these billionaires in person, we had over 40 potential buyers tour the home.”
HILTON & HYLAND
Intensely private, Hilton & Hyland’s Brett Lawyer, who has more than $1 billion in career sales, is known for his under-the-radar ways that attract clients including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Nicole Richie, Balthazar Getty, Tracee Ellis Ross and John Wells. In August, he sold Katy Perry’s Regency-style mansion in Beverly Crest for $18 million, continuing his streak of high-profile sales.
Anthony Marguleas does things his own way. “It takes a lot of creativity and staying levelheaded to guide the deal through. I really like to guide our clients, buyers, and sellers, helping them gain wealth through real estate,” says the Amalfi Estates founder, who donates 10 percent of every commission to charity and was a co-listing agent on the Hearst Estate. In a market dominated by mega-agencies, his tight-knit company features a team of just eight agents who did $474 million in sales in 2021. “I really love data, even though I’m very passionate right now on the phone with you,” he enthuses. “I love data.”
HILTON & HYLAND
“I’ve seen it all!” says Hilton & Hyland’s Linda May, who boasts more than 30 years in the industry. “My favorite part of being a broker is having the opportunity to see so many incredible properties. Whether they are historic, architecturally significant or done by a famous interior designer, it is always such a treat to walk into a home and say, ‘Wow!’ ” This year (per public records), she was the co-listing agent on the Bellagio Estate, bought by Kevin Feige; was one of the brokers who represented billionaire Nicolas Berggruen in his $63.1 million purchase at auction of the Hearst Estate; and, along with agents Jade Mills and Kurt Rappaport, sold the historic Yvette Mimieux estate for $35 million to Tinder’s Sean Rad. Says May of the latter residence, “This astonishing property on 1.5 acres was the epitome of glamour, with incredible privacy, exquisite architecture and commanding views from a low-down location. The real estate market has shown signs of softening as a result of financial market fluctuations … but the truth is that in the high-end luxury market, we are closing deals!”
Even by L.A. standards, Coldwell Banker’s Jade Mills has a track record of handling listings at eye-popping prices, like the $127.5 million Malibu estate she listed in May for Public Storage heiress Tammy Hughes Gustavson or the $99.5 million Malibu estate she listed in March for Yellowstone actress Barret Swatek and her husband, former hedge fund manager Adam Weiss. (The latter sold in late August.) Mills is bullish on L.A. real estate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she says, “people were moving to places outside the city, and now we’re seeing them all wanting to move back. The upper end of the market is very positive, people are still buying.” Mills has recently repped Todd Phillips, Brooke Shields, billionaire Alec Gores, and Sylvester Stallone. In June, she co-listed an $18 million Encino spread for Alyson Hannigan; it recently sold for $16 million, setting a record for the highest ever sale in Encino.
Since the premiere of the Netflix reality smash Selling Sunset in 2019, The Oppenheim Group president Jason Oppenheim has become something of a fixture in tabloid headlines, even as he continues to rep such clients (per public records) as Tyrese, French Montana, Zedd, Alesso and Tinder’s Sean Rad. (He and The Oppenheim Group’s Mary Fitzgerald represented Rad in his $35 million purchase of the Yvette Mimieux estate.) After opening an Oppenheim Group office in Newport Beach in 2021, Oppenheim sold more than $140 million in Orange County that year and has launched a spinoff, Selling the O.C. The cast members in the L.A. office are currently filming seasons six and seven of Selling Sunset. “I tell my clients we may have seen the bottom already, and now you’re seeing a pretty broad recovery,” says Oppenheim, a firm optimist on the L.A. market. “I just wrote an offer last week on a place for myself, if that tells you how I feel about things.”
WESTSIDE ESTATE AGENCY
Since co-founding Westside Estate Agency in 1999, Kurt Rappaport has helped grow it into the largest privately held brokerage on the West Coast, with offices in Beverly Hills and Malibu (plus Miami). Rappaport’s sales are consistently stratospheric, and his client list has recently included Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, Guy Oseary, Adam Levine, Sylvester Stallone and Patrick Whitesell. In October, he repped both sides of the deal in billionaire Marc Andreessen’s $177 million purchase of a Malibu compound (the second-biggest sale nationwide in 2021), and earlier this year worked with Paul Allen’s estate to sell off a pair of the late Microsoft co-founder’s Beverly Hills properties for $65 million and $45 million. His listings include Mark Wahlberg’s $87.5 million Beverly Park manse and Michael Eisner’s $225 million Malibu compound.
Coldwell Banker’s Joyce Rey has a decades-long reputation as one of the most trusted, successful agents in Beverly Hills, with a client list that ranges from developers to A-listers. She has more than $6 billion in career sales. “One of the most exciting houses I sold last year was John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s very chic Beverly Hills home with exquisite decor, which included his wonderful piano,” says Rey, who represented the buyer in the $16.8 million deal. This year, she sold the former Grant Tinker and Mary Tyler Moore home on the Bel Air Country Club, which was listed at $29.995 million. Her current listings include the $37.5 million eight-acre estate of the late Dino and Martha De Laurentiis, as well as a 180-acre Malibu estate with its own vineyard, asking $38 million.
THE BEVERLY HILLS ESTATES
A broker of choice for high-profile music clients, The Beverly Hills Estates’ Angel Salvador made his first appearance on THR‘s Top 30 list in 2021 after he helped The Weeknd snap up a $70 million estate in Bel Air. “He toured the property and fell in love with it,” he says. Salvador, whose client list has included Doja Cat, Future, record producer Metro Boomin and Swae Lee, also listed a $22.5 million Westwood condo for The Weeknd this year. His sales in the last 12 months clocked in at $128 million.
THE SHEVIN TEAM
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES CALIFORNIA PROPERTIES
Keeping it all in the family is a winning strategy for The Shevin Team of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, which consistently nets major sales in Calabasas and Hidden Hills. Helmed by Marc Shevin and daughter Sara Shevin, the team — which also includes Marc’s daughter Hanna — has recently repped Kris Jenner and they were listing brokers on homes bought by Shay Mitchell, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Rams coach Sean McVay.
SMITH & BERG PARTNERS
Compass’ Smith & Berg Partners team — who last year sold Shelley Hack’s Santa Monica home for $2.58 million above its asking price of $8.85 million — have been busy in 2022 with clients like basketball star Blake Griffin and HBO Sports commentator Larry Merchant. Headquartered in Brentwood and led by F. Ron Smith and David Berg, the real estate team — which sold $641 million in the past 12 months — is one of the few in Los Angeles with its own flagship office. “The Westside is the most desirable real estate market in the city, and amongst the most desirable in the world. The combination of a neighborly environment and the ability to find serenity in a bustling city is what makes the Westside unique,” says Smith.
“I think I have had an exciting journey coming up in this business over the last 20 years, but what I love most about the job is the connection. Every client I come into contact with is completely unique from the last — therefore, my job is never static or boring,” says Million Dollar Listing L.A. star Tracy Tutor of Douglas Elliman, who did $300 million in sales in the past year. “I had the opportunity to represent two dual female CEOs of a publicly traded company [FIGS health-care apparel, per public records] to purchase two Westside homes totaling over $80 million,” adds Tutor, one of whose clients bought a spread formerly owned by Norman Lear. “It was an honor. Seeing women rise in entertainment and business to levels I could only imagine drives me to work harder, set more goals that once seemed unachievable, and crush them. Hell, I’m only 47. I’m just getting started.”
The Agency’s Umansky Team is a family affair — it consists of The Agency co-founder Mauricio Umansky, his step-daughter Farrah Brittany, his father Eduardo Umansky, sister Sharon Umansky Benton, and daughter Alexia Umansky. “We already have fun in life as a family, and being able to work together every day … I couldn’t ask for anything more,” says Brittany. “We have such a great dynamic — obviously it’s not always perfect because of that family dynamic.” That interplay will be on full display on Buying Beverly Hills, a Netflix show that premieres this fall and will follow the team, along with The Agency’s Jon Grauman and Santiago Arana. Umansky’s daughters grew up in the real estate business, but say that when their father is at home, real estate talk is on the back burner. “He comes home and says, ‘Oh, I’ve had the most stressful day. I can’t wait to just love you guys, and eat dinner and just relax,’” Alexia Umansky says. “I’m like, ‘Oh, we’re just getting started.’ ” The team recently repped the seller of a house bought by David Spade for $13.85 million and are the co-listing agents for a $32 million property owned by Botched star Dr. Paul Nassif.
BRANDEN AND RAYNI WILLIAMS
THE BEVERLY HILLS ESTATES
Since founding their brokerage The Beverly Hills Estates in 2020, husband-and-wife duo Branden and Rayni Williams have become a juggernaut, with more than $1.1 billion in sales in the past 12 months. In March, they repped both sides of the deal on the record-breaking $141 million auction sale of The One, the biggest on-market sale in L.A. in the last 12 months. The pair also recently repped both sides of the sale of a $42 million property in Trousdale Estates. “These two were fabulous sales that were view properties with architecture and location. They will become landmark sales as they cannot be replicated,” says Rayni Williams. Recent clients have included UTA’s Jeremy Zimmer, Drake, Pharrell Williams and Ron Burkle.
HILTON & HYLAND
“I grew up in L.A. and went from the music business to real estate, and it somehow felt like a natural move. It’s a business that makes you very in touch with the city and its neighborhoods,” says Wilson, who worked as a tour manager before moving to real estate. “I have known many of my clients my entire life. There are a handful of us in the business who grew up here or have been doing this for many years.” This has made him particularly adept at working with celebrities. His clients this year have included Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant and Trevor Noah (in the sale of his Bel Air estate for $26.4 million). The key to working with stars? “It’s not challenging — it’s just a matter of being familiar with their needs and not making a big deal about it,” he says. “Make it look easy, make it happen and do it quietly.”
Kirsten Chuba and Evan Nicole Brown contributed to this report.
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.