With a steady supply of multi-million dollar properties dotted across a varied topography, Los Angeles is home to some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, many of which have become household names. Nowhere are these neighborhoods more clustered than on the city’s Westside.
Comprising more than 20 Los Angeles neighborhoods, the sprawling western region also encompasses the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Malibu, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. While Malibu, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica are home to many of L.A. County’s most expensive neighborhoods, you’ll also find some of West Los Angeles proper’s wealthy enclaves near the top of the list.
Though many of these areas are in proximity or even abutting one another, variations in landscape and vibe make for differing markets, says Bjorn Farrugia of Beverly Hills-based Hilton & Hyland. “There are so many factors that change from neighborhood to neighborhood. Even between Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, which are right next to each other, there are differences. The weather’s even different.”
Check out how each of the most expensive neighborhoods on the Westside stack up.
Average Sales Price: $2.185 million*
Perched between Pacific Palisades and Bel-Air to the west and east, respectively, Brentwood covers a sprawling patch of the western Santa Monica mountains. This quiet, hillside neighborhood, particularly in areas such as Brentwood Park, is lined with pricey mansions and is home to famous residents that include LeBron James, Tom Brady and Gwyneth Paltrow. Farrugia says that wealthy buyers moving to Los Angeles are drawn to Brentwood thanks to the area’s reputation for premier living that is both safe and private. “A lot of people that moved from places like New York and San Francisco moved to Brentwood because there’s a lot more space, and there’s more safety and privacy.”
However, a healthy mix of more affordable single-family homes and condos can be found throughout, which perhaps explains the area’s more reasonable average price, comparatively. For families with children, a number of schooling options, both public and private, are located in the area. Though primarily residential, Brentwood has more commercial activity than its bordering neighbors with multiple hubs for upscale shopping and dining. The neighborhood is also home to renowned cultural institutions including the Getty and the Skirball Cultural Center.
Average Sales Price: $3.371 million
With one of the lowest population densities in the county, this Westside neighborhood boasts sizable homes with ample privacy. Tucked away in the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains just west of Beverly Hills, Beverly Crest is one of the newer neighborhoods in Los Angeles, only gaining its name officially less than 15 years ago. The area’s development history, however, stems back to the early 20th century when plans for a gated community were put in place. At that time, parcels were allotted to fit 5,000-square-foot homes.
Today, the area is home to mega-mansions that can reach upwards of 25,000 square feet. Some of the more famous properties in the neighborhood include Rock Hudson’s “Castle,” the Pritzker Estate and rapper Drake’s $75-million estate.
Average Sales Price:$3.97 million
Shoehorned in the seaside hills between Santa Monica and Malibu, Pacific Palisades is one of the few Los Angeles neighborhoods located on the coast. A well-kept secret, the Palisades possesses all the same touchstones of Malibu–ocean views, beach access, an abundance of hiking trails–while remaining largely unburdened by tourism and traffic. “Compared to Santa Monica and even parts of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades is a sleepy town,” Farrugia says. “It’s a bit of a trek to get to and from the 405, and for a lot of people that’s a good thing.”
Like many small towns across the country, Pacific Palisades has a strong sense of community, with many neighborhood-sponsored events and resident-run programs. Apart from the downtown area, known as the Village, the neighborhood is largely residential and consists mainly of single-family homes. Though cheaper than Malibu, the Palisades is still one of the priciest coastal markets in southern California.
Average Sales Price: $4.331 million
One of the most exclusive communities in the country, Bel-Air has become synonymous with extravagance. The ritzy, private enclave is set in a remote stretch of hillside between Brentwood and Beverly Hills just north of Westwood. Though comparable in setting and design to its neighboring areas, Bel-Air stands apart thanks to the pedigree of its remarkable homes. It is not uncommon to see properties designed by the likes of William Hefner, Zoltan Pali or Mark Rios.
As such, prices can reach an eye-popping nine figures. With generous lot sizes and premier privacy, Bel-Air has attracted some of the world’s wealthiest people such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, Walter and Shirley Wang and Clint Eastwood. Centrally located on the Westside, Bel-Air is roughly a 15-minute drive away from downtown Santa Monica and 10 minutes from Beverly Hills.
*All averages sourced from data provided by Redfin.com.
Hilton & Hyland is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.