Today's Head-Scratcher: Ellen, Portia Raise Home's Price

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Today's head-scratcher is that Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi have raised the asking price of their Beverly Hills home by almost 15 percent -- from $55 million to a cool $63 million. Did the sale of Jennifer Aniston's place in nearby Trousdale Estates get them thinking they should have asked more? Is the Beverly Hills market seeing a rebound and are prices climbing again? Or is it that, deep down, they really don't want to sell and this is a way to ensure that they won't?

No explanation was offered from the Westside Estate Agency, which has the listing (the agency's website notes that the price is "available upon request"). But our money is on the first two. When Aniston listed her home at $42 million, Doubting Thomases -- both private and public -- lined up to ridicule her pie-in-the-sky asking price. When she sold the home for what's been reported as between $37 million to $38 million -- a price-per-square-footage record for the area -- the DTs crawled back into the woodwork.http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2011/05/31/ellen-degeneres-portia-de-rossi-house-for-sale/

As for Ellen and Portia's place, it's located in an extremely private and prime section of Beverly Hills behind gates -- and is actually on its own street. State-of-the-art security and all that. The modern compound sits on more than three acres and includes a 9,200-square-foot main house, two guesthouses/studios (with a total of approximately 15,000 square feet), and another detached three-bedroom house that can serve as either another guesthouse for the estate or a separate home office. The property features spectacular grounds and gardens, and city views.

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Josh Altman, star of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing" show, and who sells in Beverly Hills under the Hilton & Hyland Realty shingle, says "record sales are happening all around us." He says the high end of the Los Angeles market "is on fire" right now because of overseas' money. Candy Spelling's buyer, for her most-expensive-listing in America at $150 million, was from Great Britain, and Beverly Hills reportedly is seeing a lot of Middle Eastern and Chinese investors.

Agents in Beverly Hills have been saying that the high end of the market has been stable for quite some time and that properties that are priced right move very quickly. Yeah, but does pricing "right" mean raising your asking?

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