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Linda Isle Home Trades for $27M

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A 6,000-square-foot bayfront home on Newport Beach’s Linda Isle has sold for $27 million, in what’s so far the top home deal of the year in Orange County.

Records indicate the seller was Jonathan Jaffe, the co-chief executive of Miami-based homebuilder Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), which counts a sizable Orange County operational presence.

Jaffe, long the highest-ranking local official for Lennar, put the home at 37 Linda Isle on the market after moving to Florida last year, sources told the Business Journal. He now shares the CEO and president title with Rich Beckwitt at Lennar.

He still counts ties to the area; he led last year’s $50 million donation, via Lennar’s charitable arm, to City of Hope’s local campus, one of the top charitable gifts of 2021 in OC (see list, page 20).

At nearly $4,500 per square foot, the deal is the priciest on record for the 107-home community of Linda Isle; on a total price basis, the deal tied the prior record set in 2017, when 86 Linda Isle sold for $27 million.

Susie McKibben of Villa Real Estate represented the undisclosed buyer; Tim Smith of Coldwell Banker represented Jaffe.

 

Fletcher Jones

The price is nearly twice the $14 million that Jaffe paid for the home in 2019; he bought it from former Herbalife executive Fred Siegel, according to prior reports.

The four-bedroom, five-bathroom home was custom built in 2002 for local auto exec Fletcher “Ted” Jones Jr. Architect Fleetwood Joiner designed the home, which counts 50 feet of bay frontage and private dock space for an 80-foot vessel.

It offers “one of the best views in the harbor on Linda Isle’s Gold Coast,” McKibben said.

The new owner was an out-of-state individual shopping second homes to serve as a reprieve during East Coast winters, McKibben said.

“We looked at everything on the market from $20 million to $35 million, and that’s really not that many properties considering the lack of inventory available,” McKibben said.

 

One Active Listing

Prior to the severe inventory constraints that hit Orange County a few years ago, about eight homes would sell each year on average in the community of Linda Isle. Last year, only two homes traded hands.

After the sale of 37 Linda Isle, just one home is listed for sale in the neighborhood: 38 Linda Isle, listed by Compass’ Rob Giem for $31 million. The 5,500-square-foot home was built in 2020.

Homes in the guard-gated Linda Isle date back to 1950 and range in size from 2,770 to 8,088 square feet. Over the past two years, listings have ranged in price from $6 million to $31 million. A handful of homes are currently under construction, according to McKibben.

 

Hot Market

Like other established bayfront communities in the region, Linda Isle owners rarely put their homes on the market.

That seems to be the case across the county, as limited buying options give potential sellers pause.

“It’s creating a bit of a perfect storm for home prices,” Steve High of Villa Real Estate said. “Many don’t want to put their home on the market, while we are seeing an extreme depth of the buyer pool, even at the ultra-high end.”

High notes Newport Beach is experiencing a record low level of inventory of homes for sale, with just 125 active listings in the city.

“Previously, the lowest I had ever seen was in 2004, when we got down to 290 active listings,” High said.

That’s continuing to push up home prices. McKibben notes that if 86 Linda Isle—one of the largest bayfront homes at 6,800 square feet—sold today, it would trade for north of $37 million.

“This is the first time in my 30 years of real estate that I’ve seen homes moving this quickly,” High said. 

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