Fans of real estate reality shows may recognize James Harris as one of the stars of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.” Along with his longtime colleague David Parnes, Mr. Harris has sold prime properties in places like Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Hollywood Hills, Malibu, Pacific Palisades and the greater Los Angeles area.
While he began his career in residential real estate in England at 16, he has since founded Bond Street Partners and now works for The Agency.
Last year he also co-founded the ThePLS.com (The Pocket Listing Service)—essentially an MLS for pocket listings, designed for agents and by agents—with Mauricio Umansky, CEO and co-founder of The Agency, Christopher Dyson, another luxury broker with Agency, and Mr. Parnes.
We caught up with Mr. Harris, 33, to discuss the best areas in which to invest in Los Angeles, the increasing popularity of “wellness centers” in private homes, and more.
Mansion Global: Describe your dream property.
James Harris: It would be on one-and-a-half acres, a Cape Cod transitional house in Holmby Hills. It would be well designed, cozy, warm and homey and not too big. Something that my wife, two children and our nanny can just live in and we could entertain in.
And living in L.A., that indoor/outdoor connection is important.
MG: What does luxury mean to you?
JH: Luxury is more than just a word. It really should be replaced with lifestyle. It’s not just about an amazing house or car. It’s about living a healthy lifestyle, being able to travel the world, being able to buy nice things, and not always materialistic things.
MG: What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?
JH: Culver City, Echo Park. Los Feliz and Hancock Park have already come up, but they still have a way to go.
L.A. is such an evolving city, everything is going up.
MG: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?
JH: In Los Angeles, what’s most surprised me and I think everyone else are the building code changes. We’ve had so many developers parking so much money into Los Angeles, but the city has come in and essentially said, no more.
You can’t build as big, and developers don’t get the same bonuses from the city. That means that developers need to buy bigger plots in order to build bigger homes. It’d been thrown around and spoken about, but people are always surprised when it happens.
MG: Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?
JH: Los Angeles is one of the best cities in which to own—for weather, land and views, and it’s still relatively cheap compared to other major cities.
Monaco also has amazing homes because it’s a tax haven, and a lot of wealthy people have amazing properties out there to park their money.
MG: What’s your favorite part of your home?
JH: The open-plan living. We live in a really gorgeous, 4,200-square-foot house. The kitchen is open to the living room, so everyone can spend time together, and I love to entertain.
MG: What best describes the theme to your home and why?
JH: It’s East Coast traditional—cozy, warm and lovely.
MG: What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?
JH: L.A. is a lifestyle, and the more amazing your backyard can be, the better, so you can spend more time there.
Spas are being turned into full-blown wellness centers, with things like hammams and cold- plunge pools.
MG: What’s your best piece of real estate advice?
JH: Be creative, think outside the box.
MG: What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?
JH: Although the news is unpredictable, the economy is still strong, and people still want to park their money in America because it’s safe.
MG: What is the best area now for investing in luxury properties?
JH: People around the world always want to park their money in a place that’s recognized globally, so that even if the market goes down, you’re safe. Beverly Hills 90210 has a cache everywhere. Bel Air, Holmby Hills, too. Are there areas that are upcoming? Absolutely, but for luxury, those are bullet-proof.
MG: If you had a choice of living in a new development or a prime resale property, which would you choose and why?
JH: I’d rather live in a new construction house (not an apartment). When it’s brand new, it comes with warranties and everything’s guaranteed. I see them as houses, and then you come in and make it into a home.
I like to be able to work with something that’s a fresh palette, and then I can mold into my own home.
MG: What area currently has the best resale value?
JH: That 90210 ZIP code—it’s known around the world. People very rarely lose money there.
Follow Mansion Global:Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | Messenger
Write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org