Home Elevators Give Properties Significant Boost

Reblogged excerpt from Lauren Beale’s LA Times article posted 02/13/2013:

Jane Fonda’s aquisition of her Beverly Hills home last year hosted a feature that might seem counterintuitive for a fitness guru: an elevator.

The Holmby Hills house that Michael Jackson leased has one within its 17,200 square feet of living space. So does the nearby 56,500-square-foot mansion heiress Petra Ecclestone bought from socialite Candy Spelling two years ago for $85 million.

But home elevators aren’t just for the super-rich anymore. Baby boomers looking to age in place are installing them to ease the burden of bad knees and growing girth. So are families juggling children, pets and groceries. Builders say lifts increasingly are showing up in house renovations, custom homes and high-end spec properties.

In the city of Los Angeles, 93 permits for home elevators were issued last year. That’s up 6% from a decade earlier, when the real estate market was healthier. A recent survey by the National Assn. of Home Builders said that 25% of homeowners listed elevators as a desirable or essential feature, compared with just 8% in 2001.

Glass elevators are in vogue in contemporary houses, while mahogany-paneled designs are popular in traditional-style homes, said Gary Drake, chief executive of Drake Construction in Hancock Park. He has seen all sorts of customized models during his 30 years in construction.

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