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A Presidential Perspective: David Kramer On LA Real Estate

In the dynamic world of high-end real estate, where opulence converges with innovation, questions will arise regarding the state of real estate. Steering the course of excellence with unwavering resolve and visionary acumen as the President of Hilton & Hyland, David Kramer embodies success and is redefining industry standards and elevating the art of property representation. 

His keen understanding of market nuances, a commitment to unparalleled client experiences, and a relentless pursuit of cutting-edge marketing strategies have led Kramer to become not just a leader within Hilton & Hyland, but the leading voice in the crowded Los Angeles real estate arena.

In this exclusive interview, we dive into Kramer’s insights and strategies that led him to be President of Hilton & Hyland.

Q: Do you feel like the luxury market has reached a watermark for high-end sales? 

David Kramer: Absolutely not, and I don’t see it slowing down, in fact, I see it as accelerating, if anything. More and more High-Net-Worth individuals are looking for the best of the best and the most exclusive in everything, especially when it is personal to their homes. If you just look at the trajectory of sales in the very high end you will see a trend that may have slowed down somewhat from the post-COVID days, but it has not peaked. You can see it in what is happening in other countries as well, where records are being broken over and over again. If anything, people will continue to be surprised. This year, the highest sale in Los Angeles came in right around $200 million, but I don’t feel that price will be uncommon in the not-too-distant future. When I broke the record for the highest sale in Los Angeles at $85 million 11 years ago everyone was surprised, now that home has sold again at $119 million and is on the market for $155 million. Additionally, in Los Angeles throughout 2022 alone, there were six listings over $85 million, and six sold over $85 million. The acceleration in the luxury market has been exponential and, more importantly, worldwide.

Q: How has the concept of luxury in real estate evolved over the years, and what are today’s luxury homebuyers seeking that may differ from the past?

Kramer: With the influx of High-Net-Worth buyers to the Golden Triangle or Bel Air, Beverly Hills, and Holmby Hills that has consistently grown over the last 30 years, they are looking for better quality homes and amenities. For example, if people wanted a pool 30 years ago, they would hire a pool contractor and find a place in the yard where the pool would fit. When people realized you could hang the pool at the edge of a property with a waterfall edge, that became the new trend. They would have spent $50,000-$100,000 on a significant pool back in the day. Now, they will hang the pool on the edge and spend a million dollars on a pool, but the property may sell for a substantially higher price. The same goes for other amenities (bowling alleys, car turntables, indoor pools, world-class theaters) that would be only for the ultra-wealthy. Now, many of these amenities are expected in the very high-end estates. 

Q: How has international interest in Beverly Hills luxury real estate evolved, and what factors drive this interest? 

Kramer: For as long as I have been selling properties in and around Beverly Hills, I have seen myriad changes in the luxury market. We used to have the majority of our buyers come from one or two specific fields of business: entertainment, the financial sector, or tech. Similarly, we saw waves of buyers from different countries, such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China. Now, we see buyers coming from many other sectors of the economy and many different countries. The buyer pool has become much more diverse yet more consistent because we are no longer reliant upon one or two counties of origin for our international buyer pool. There are substantially more High-Net-Worth individuals out there now than when I started about 30 years ago, and they all want the best, which is why they purchase properties in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, and Brentwood. 

Q: Could you discuss the role of architecture and design in luxury real estate, and how do these elements contribute to a property’s appeal and value?  

Kramer: Homes have traditionally been a place to live and raise a family. Today, homes are so much more, and with the evolution of wealth, people are much more willing to spend heavily on what they want than what they need. People want to live out their dreams and are willing to pay for the right properties to fulfill them. The difference is exponential when you look at the percentage of the home’s cost that went into design and architecture in the past compared to today. Today, “If you dream it, we can make it happen” is the motto, and there are more than enough talented artists (designers and architects) to make it happen… the sky truly is the limit.  People have discovered that investing much more heavily for the right talent pays off both in the betterment of the home or a substantially higher resale value. There was a time when most high-end spec builders did much of their architectural work and design. Now, they spend the necessary bucks to hire great talent. Homeowners have found that even though luxury is expensive, it pays off well. The same goes for people building their own homes.

Q: How can Hilton & Hyland remain elite as a boutique brokerage compared to the bigger brokerages who can write the bigger checks?

Kramer: Like much in life, spending more does not return a better result, and bigger is not necessarily better. Hilton & Hyland is singularly focused on the high end of the market. We spend our money smartly and in the right areas where we have learned in our 30 years in business to achieve the best results. We are not trying to dominate the world of real estate, just the high-end. With our affiliations in Forbes Global Properties and Luxury Portfolio, we provide the best access to wealthy buyers and sellers worldwide. Being online and, therefore, worldwide doesn’t mean you are targeting the right people to sell your home. Hilton & Hyland, through both our exclusive affiliations and our network, is best positioned to match luxury homes with the right buyers. 

In essence, David Kramer’s outlook and strategic prowess cast Hilton & Hyland as an undisputed leader in the luxury real estate arena. As the market continues evolving, Kramer’s unwavering belief in limitless possibilities propels the brokerage forward, setting new standards and breaking the records. In a world where excellence is pursued and consistently achieved, having the best resources can make or break your investment opportunities.

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