Hollywood Hills Home Built for MGM Co-Founder Samuel Goldwyn Selling for Nearly $4 Million - Kanebridge News
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Hollywood Hills Home Built for MGM Co-Founder Samuel Goldwyn Selling for Nearly $4 Million

It was the first of three Los Angeles estates the movie mogul built—the biggest of which is owned by Taylor Swift, who restored it and won landmark status

By EVELYN BATTAGLIA
Fri, May 31, 2024 9:32amGrey Clock 4 min

Taylor Swift took on the role of preservationist when she bought and restored a Beverly Hills mansion built for movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn—and if she’s looking for a new project, another century-old Goldwyn estate just hit the market asking $3.495 million.

The 1916 Spanish-style villa was built for the Polish-born producer in the Hollywood foothills of Runyon Canyon, a little-known artist enclave with a rich legacy. It was a starter home for Goldwyn, who eventually bought two other properties in Los Angeles as part of the so-called Goldwyn trifecta, according to listing agent Ingrid Sacerio of the Agency, who listed the home last week.

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The two other homes include an Italianate mansion built a couple blocks away by Los Angeles developer E.F. Fuller (it sold in 2022 for $6.4 million), and the grand Georgian Revival mansion in Beverly Hills that Swift bought in 2016 for $25 million before launching a campaign to have it officially landmarked . She still owns the home.

Should Swift (or anyone else) wish to flex their conservation muscles, the Hollywood property already boasts original architectural details, including the windows, interior doors and oak floors throughout. A triptych sculpture from the 1928 “Cleopatra” movie set and other artefacts and fountains dot the landscaped grounds.

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Sacerio said it also has a lucky legacy: Soon after moving in, Goldwyn co-founded MGM and began producing acclaimed films of the 1930s and ’40s, including “Stella Dallas,” “Wuthering Heights,” and “Little Foxes,” and hit musicals such as “Guys and Dolls,” starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, and “Porgy and Bess.”

The neighbourhood “was a magnet for silent movie stars back in the day,” said seller Shel Pink, who is an artist, author of the self-care book “Slow Beauty” and the founder of beauty-product brand SpaRitual. She purchased the house in 2015 with musician Ran Pink. “One of the houses across the street was reputedly owned by one who had parties that lasted for days.”

Pink said the history of the neighbourhood was a significant draw. “Everyone knows about the music scene in Laurel Canyon but not about this little enclave in Runyon Canyon, which has attracted writers like Joan Didion, who rented here in the 1970s, and other creative types over the decades.”

She was also drawn to the house’s Old Hollywood history and its location on the hill. “We are slightly above but not so high that we have to drive down steep, winding roads, so it’s super accessible,” Pink said.

The 3,398-square-foot residence sits on a corner lot and features four bedrooms and three bathrooms. A separate studio with its own entrance is adjacent to the two-car garage at the rear of the property.

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Upstairs, the primary bedroom now incorporates what was once a neighbouring sunroom with a vaulted ceiling and semi-circle, or half-sun, windows; a previous owner added a ceiling-mounted curtain that Pink says can be drawn to block out the morning sun or to keep the sleeping area cool during the day. Two more bedrooms (one en-suite) are on this level.

The fourth bedroom with a walk-in closet on the ground floor is currently used as a den. A designated office overlooks the dining room, which flows into a living room on one side and the kitchen on the other—all enclosed with expansive windows and glass doors, allowing light to flood the interior, Pink said.

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A tall fence surrounds the entire property, which is further protected with double gates—a two-door pedestrian gate along the street and another leading into the porch outside the front door, both customised by the previous owner, Pink said.

The garage’s location at the rear of the property provides additional privacy. “No one ever sees anyone coming and going out of the front gate,” Sacerio said. Instead, they pull into the garage, walk across a pebbled area, up a few steps to a patio with a hot tub, and into the breakfast nook in the kitchen.

A landscaped brick pathway circumnavigates the perimeter of the property, crossing a patio with an outdoor fireplace and ending in steps leading down to a long, narrow pool.

“From the moment you enter the gardens and see the ivy walls, there’s a poetry and a wildness here—I like to say that we have our own mini forest that hugs the home and creates a serene oasis in the middle of an urban environment,” Pink said. “It feels like a secluded retreat. Everyone comments on the beautiful energy and sense of calm as soon as they step inside.”



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Home prices declined at a faster pace in May in major cities, while other data show a mixed picture for the world’s second-largest economy

By REBECCA FENG
Tue, Jun 18, 2024 3 min

China’s broken housing market isn’t responding to some of the country’s boldest stimulus measures to date—at least not yet.

The Chinese government has been stepping up support for housing and other industries in recent months as it tries to revitalize an economy that has  continued to disappoint  since the early days of the pandemic.

But fresh data for May showed that businesses and consumers remain cautious. Home prices continue to fall at an accelerating rate, and fixed-asset investment and industrial production, while growing, lost some momentum.

“China’s May economic data suggest that policymakers have a lot to do to sustain the fragile recovery,” Yao Wei, chief China economist at Société Générale, wrote in a client note on Monday.

The worst pain is in the property sector, which has been struggling to deal with oversupply and weak buyer sentiment since 2021, when a multiyear  housing boom ended . The market still doesn’t appear to have found a floor, even after Beijing rolled out its most aggressive stimulus measures so far  in mid-May  in hopes of restoring confidence.

In major cities, new-home prices fell 4.3% in May compared with a year earlier, worse than a   3.5% decline in April, according to data released Monday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Prices in China’s secondhand home market tumbled 7.5%, compared with a 6.8% drop in April.

Home sales by value tumbled 30.5% in the first five months of this year compared with the same months last year.

“This data was certainly on the disappointing side and may ring some alarm bells, as May’s policy support package has not yet translated to a slower decline of housing prices, let alone a stabilisation,” said Lynn Song, chief China economist at ING.

Economists had also been hoping to see a wider recovery this month after Beijing started  rolling out  a planned issuance of 1 trillion yuan, the equivalent of $138 billion, in ultra-long sovereign bonds in May. The funds are designed to help pay for infrastructure and property projects backed by the authorities. Investors  gobbled up  the first batch of these bonds.

Monday’s bundle of economic data, however, underlined how the country still isn’t firing on all cylinders.

Retail sales, a key metric of consumer spending, rose 3.7% in May from a year earlier, compared with 2.3% in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. While the trend is heading in the right direction, it is still a relatively subdued level of growth, and below what most economists believe is needed to kick-start a major revival in consumer spending.

The expansion in industrial production—5.6% in May compared with a year earlier—was down from April’s 6.7% increase. Fixed-asset investment growth, of which 40% came from property and infrastructure sectors, also decelerated, to 3.5% year-over-year growth in May from 3.6% in April.

Key to the sluggish economic activity data in May—and China’s outlook going forward—is the crisis in the property market, which has proven hard for policymakers to address.

The property rescue package in May included letting local governments buy up unsold homes, removing minimum interest rates on mortgages, and reducing payments for potential home buyers. It also included as its centerpiece a $41 billion so-called re-lending program launched by the People’s Bank of China, which would provide funding to Chinese banks to support home purchases by state-owned firms.

The hope was that by stepping in as a buyer of last resort for millions of properties, the government would manage to mop up unsold housing inventory and persuade wary home buyers to re-enter the market. In turn, Chinese consumers, who have  most of their wealth  tied up in real estate, would feel more confident about spending again, thereby lifting the overall economy.

But the size of the re-lending program wasn’t big enough to convince home buyers, said Larry Hu , chief China economist at Macquarie Group. “Meanwhile, their income outlook also stays weak given the current economic condition,” he said.

For the property market to bottom out and reach a new equilibrium, mortgage rates, which stand at around 3-4% in China, need to be as low as rental yields, which are currently below 2% in major cities, said Zhaopeng Xing, a senior China strategist at ANZ. He said that a large mortgage rate cut will need to happen eventually.

The other key part of China’s push to revive growth revolves around the manufacturing sector, with leaders  funnelling more investment  into factories to boost output and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign suppliers of key technologies.

The result has been a surge in production. But with domestic consumption not strong enough to absorb all those goods, many factories have been forced to cut prices and seek out more overseas buyers.

Data released earlier this month showed that  Chinese exports rose  faster in May than the month before.

However, the export push is  butting into resistance  as governments around the world worry about the impact of cheap Chinese competition on domestic jobs and industries. The European Union last week said it would  impose new import tariffs  on Chinese electric vehicles, describing China’s auto industry as heavily subsidised by the government, to the point where other countries’ automakers can’t fairly compete.

The U.S.  has also hit  Chinese cars and some other products with hefty duties, while countries including Brazil, India and Turkey have opened antidumping investigations into Chinese steel, chemicals and other goods.

Beijing says such moves are protectionist and that its industries compete fairly with global rivals.