Urbanists have been noticing lately that cities are becoming increasingly expensive, meaning exclusive--"there's an iron law of 21st-century life: when something is desirable, the 'one per cent' grabs it," wrote Simon Kuper in the Financial Times. Ryan Avent wrote in The Economist that "London property owners, as a class, are effectively an incredibly successful rent-seeking operation greedily sucking up the economic surplus generated by the city's economy." At The Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida calls it the "plutocratization" of cities. Now Trulia has crunched the numbers and they show that the global one percent really seems to love Los Angeles--foreigners are searching for homes in LA like crazy (more than in any other city), and they're searching primarily in some of the fanciest neighborhoods.
In the top 20 of areas most popular with foreign homebuyers, LA takes the top three spots (Bel Air, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood/Sunset Boulevard), and nabs six more spots. Here's Trulia: "What do these neighborhoods have in common? All of the global Los Angeles, New York, and Miami neighborhoods are pricey: foreigners search in some of the most expensive neighborhoods in each of these cities. While foreign buyers might drive up prices to some extent, these expensive neighborhoods get more international searches because they are better known and sometimes downright famous (Fresh Prince of Bel Air; Beverly Hills 90210). Many of these neighborhoods also have more foreign-born residents." On another note, search traffic from the Netherlands to Los Angeles shot way up in the past year. Who knew?