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Celebrity pays $17M for La Jolla home

Sale is one of largest in years, agent says

A Hollywood celebrity just plunked down more than $17 million for an oceanfront La Jolla home, marking one of the largest sales in years, said Ross Clark of Willis Allen, who represented the sellers.

He would only say that the buyer, who paid $17,350,613 for the seven-bedroom, 11-bath home, is in the entertainment business.

Brian Guiltinan of Prudential California’s Rancho Santa Fe office represented the buyers of the 9,800-square-foot home, which sits on two lots overlooking the coastline. Guiltinan was not available to comment.

Clark said the sale is a good sign for the high-end housing market since “absolutely zero homes above $10 million” have sold this year.

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Currently, there are 14 homes priced at more than $10 million on the market in La Jolla and 12 in Del Mar.

“Hopefully this will jump-start things,” he said, noting that there has been a lot of movement in the low- to mid-range priced homes. “This is the one everyone’s been waiting for.”

He said the last large sale locally was when Cliff Robertson’s La Jolla estate sold for $16.5 million in 2008. In the largest sale in the county, Madelaine Pickens paid $35 million for a beachfront Del Mar home in 2008, according to the North County Times.

Before selling last week, the Lower Hermosa home was originally listed at $29.5 million and later dropped to $24,750,000. Clark said the deal took about six months to complete.

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The house, built in the 1920s, was designed by Edgar Ullrich, who also designed Casa de Manana and left a mark on the La Valencia. Sharratt Construction “substantially updated” it over the past few years, Clark added.

The sale comes on the heals of a report from UCLA economists late last week that the region’s economy will continue to contract through the remainder of 2009 even as the housing market is showing signs of recovery.

The UCLA Anderson Forecast, which was created by the university’s Anderson School of Management, states: “Consider 2009 a throw-away year except that the existing housing sector should recover.”

According to the UCLA economists, if foreclosures remain in decline, home prices should start to stabilize as sideline buyers enter the market and conventional sales dominate.

Clark noted that sellers are being more realistic in pricing their homes.

“The market is showing signs of life,” he said. “For a while, nothing was moving, but now some deals are close.”

City News Service contributed to this report