LA mansion for sale faces April 1 tax deadline

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The seller wants to unload the $38 million mansion before April 1

The owner of this over-the-top seven-bedroom, 11-bath Los Angeles mansion is willing to accept $6 million less than he paid for it less than two years ago — all to keep a ticking clock ticking.

The home features a Kobe Bryant-style basketball court, an auto showroom, and a 70-foot infinity pool that appears to float about 45 feet above the mountainside, and is being offered at a reduced price of $38 million.

If not sold by April 1, the property would be subject to a looming new local mansion tax that takes effect next month and could cost the owner an additional $2 million.

The large living area opens to the outdoors with 22 foot ceilings, a 10 foot fireplace and a huge wall covered in living green moss that spans three levels of the home.

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The Brentwood property, now known as the Star Resort, was built by veteran specification developer Ramtin Ray Nosrati, who sold it for $44 million in 2021. According to public records, the nearly 16,700-square-foot residence was purchased by the trust of wealthy investor Jeffrey Feinberg, who runs Feinberg Investments.

About a year after the purchase, Feinberg put the house back on the market for $48 million, but couldn’t find buyers. Feinberg brought in Dan Malka from Ikon Advisors to implement a more aggressive pricing strategy, and the original asking price was reduced by $10 million, or nearly 21%. To put that price drop in perspective, it means that the house has lost nearly $64,000 every week for 94 weeks since Feinberg bought it.

One wall of the dining room is a 1,000 gallon saltwater aquarium overlooking the kitchen on the other side.

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Malka told CNBC that annual property taxes on the Star Resort for his client are about $550,000 a year, plus about $20,000 a month in utilities.

“Plus the staff and stuff, so probably a million dollars in expenses [per year]’ Malka said.

A Kobe Bryant-style half-basketball court juts out from the lowest level of the home.

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Trying to unload an expensive mansion amid a banking crisis while the LA real estate market softens and uncertainty mounts isn’t exactly good timing.

Feinberg, like all LA home sellers, is also struggling with the new mansion tax approved by voters in November. The ULA tax, as it’s called, was designed to “fund affordable housing projects and provide funds to renters at risk of homelessness,” according to the City of Los Angeles website.

It is levied by the seller as a transfer tax on the sale of a home or property that is trading for $5 million or more.

The home’s impressive foyer includes double height ceilings and glass walls that open to the pool deck and outdoor bar.

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For homes priced between $5 million and $10 million, city sellers are required to pay 4% of the total sale price. For property deals over $10 million, the rate increases to 5.5%.

The new tax is in addition to the city’s current property transfer tax of 0.45%. And it’s charged based on selling price, not profit, meaning sellers have to pay even if they’re already making a loss, as the Star Resort might be.

The city’s website includes a tax calculator that estimates the ULA and city transfer taxes owed on a $38 million deal at $2,261,000, or just under 6% of the total deal.

The master bedroom is accented by a recessed wood paneled ceiling and glass walls that slide away to reveal access to a private terrace.

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For many high-end home sellers and their agents, the challenge is to make a profit and close a sale before the new tax takes effect. But Malka, who wouldn’t speak to CNBC about his client by name, is under pressure to get the best price and stem his client’s losses before the new tax pushes them even higher.

“So we decided to give a good discount and signal to the market that my seller is motivated to sell and wants to keep going,” said Malka, who is still hoping he can broker a deal before the first of the month.

After CNBC’s report on the mansion and the looming tax bill was released, Malka returned to CNBC on Friday to add that the current pricing is designed to pass on tax savings to a buyer willing to pay before June 1. to close April. His client also intends to raise its bid price to $41 million after the tax goes into effect, with no intention of accepting bids below that price after March, he said.

A bar, pool table and 250 bottle wine cellar on the lowest level of the house.

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Real estate agent Aaron Kirman of AKG/Christies International called the short runway to dump homes before April 1 “crazy.”

“People had a four-month window from day one [the new tax] handed over to sell a house,” he said.

Kirman, one of LA’s top-selling luxury real estate brokers, doesn’t represent the Star Resort, but he does have many clients who are also in a hurry to sell.

It’s a trend, he said, that’s reflected in LA’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which shows 86 homes with sales prices in excess of $5 million currently in escrow, according to Kirman.

A glass wall in the lower lounge overlooks an elegant car gallery.

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“The tax comes at a complicated time with interest rates, inflation and banking problems,” Kirman told CNBC. “It couldn’t have been a perfect storm.”

The ULA tax, he said, “has resulted in dramatic price reductions for many homes.”

Potential homebuyers are rushing in with cash offers and the promise of a quick deal, Kirman said, but at deep discounts.

The Star Resort’s main bar is clad in stone and accented with backlit onyx.

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The Star Resort’s backyard includes an outdoor kitchen and bar, an infinity pool, and lounge areas.

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Jonathan Miller, president of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, told CNBC it will be difficult to predict the tax’s impact on any individual property, but he has a prediction for the region as a whole: “Ultimately, it’s lowering realizable prices compared to the period before April 1st and will be burned into market expectations for the future.”

In other words, the new tax will put downward pressure on homes worth over $5 million as owners anticipate the future costs of higher tax bills.

One of the residence’s seven bedrooms with en-suite bathroom and private terrace.

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CNBC asked Miller to analyze market data to see how much LA luxury single-family home sellers would have paid in 2022 if the mansion tax had already been in place. Last year, sales totaled nearly $2.5 billion from over $5 million.

By his calculations, all of those sellers combined would have brought in a mansion tax bill of nearly $131 million. Home sellers trading between $5 million and $10 million would have seen an average tax bill of $43,000, Miller estimates, and sellers of homes worth $10 million and up would have paid an average bill of $1.2 million.

It’s important to note that Miller’s analysis focused solely on single-family home sales above the price threshold. According to the city’s projections, which include commercial and multi-family home sales, the new tax could bring in between $600 million and $1.1 billion annually.

The night view from the pool jacuzzi.

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According to Miller, the rush to sell before the April 1 deadline parallels a similar frenzy in New York four years ago.

“When New York introduced the mansion tax in 2019, there was a surge in closures just before the July 1 start date and a decline in sales over the following months,” he said.

Home theater with Rolls Royce inspired star ceiling.

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The master bedroom terrace has a fire pit and views of the pool below.

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Kirman said that despite the tax pressure, one thing will remain the same: “The house is worth what the buyer is willing to pay for it.”

And if that amount is over $5 million, then some new taxes will have to be paid on it.

The Star Resort’s sports simulation room features virtual golf, hockey and soccer.

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Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of Dan Malka from Ikon Advisors.