Luxury home agents mull impact of looming Writers Guild strike

Luxury home agents mull impact of looming Writers Guild strike

  • Andrew Asch
  • 04/21/23

Original article published by TheRealDeal

About 98 percent of members of the Writers Guild of America authorized a strike April 17, which gives the scribes until May 1, when their contract runs out, to make the final decision to stop work.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles’ luxury real estate agents are trying to figure out if a significant chunk of their clientele will be in the market for homes this year.

Mason Canter knows both agents and creatives. Since 2007, he has worked as a real estate agent; he currently runs The Mason Canter Group at Keller Williams Realty Los Feliz. Before 2007, he worked as a director, writer and an actor.  He estimated that about 35 percent of his clientele work in the entertainment industry.

“In some ways, we’re quite the union town,” Canter said of Los Angeles and its entertainment business, which is dominated by the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the Director’s Guild of America.

Canter remembered the Writers Guild strike of 2007-2008, which lasted 100 days, and was estimated to cost the Los Angeles economy more than $2 billion, according to media reports.

“A strong buying force went away,” Canter said of the strike that immediately preceded The Great Recession. “It caused a lot of people to evaluate whether they could spend.” 

Canter forecast that the Los Angeles market will remain strong, as it is supported by deep-pocketed buyers from other industries such as finance and technology. Canter said that they’ll support the market if his entertainment clientele goes on a strike-induced hiatus.

Some parts of L.A. County would be hit harder than others by a strike. Roxy Gonzalez of Amalfi Estates, headquartered in Pacific Palisades, said a strike could make a big impact on the luxe bedroom communities of the entertainment industry, such as Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

“If the strike continues close to the 100 days of the 2007 strike, it could profoundly affect our markets,” Gonzalez said. If a long strike takes place, transactions could decline by more than 10 percent, she added.

Rochelle Atlas Maize of Nourmand & Associates estimated that 30 percent of her clientele works in the entertainment business. She said a strike is not the only outcome possible. The Writers Guild authorized a strike in 2017, which was averted with a last-minute deal. A strike might not happen if a mutual bargaining agreement is reached by the May 1 deadline, she said.

Another option is a strike of short duration. “If it’s just a few weeks, it won’t change anything,” she said. “If it goes on for a long time, it will take a long time to recover, and the fallout is expected to be significant.”


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