Netflix is about to drop new episodes of Selling Sunset and from the looks of the trailer, we are in for more breathtaking homes, Hollywood Hills glam and jaw-dropping drama from our favorite crew of Los Angeles real estate agents. Ahead of the Season 5 premiere on April 22, L.A. Confidential caught up with Oppenheim Group founder (and show producer) Jason Oppenheim, who opened up about what fans can look forward to from the new season, why Angelenos are making the move to Orange County and why the housing market is never too hot.
What are you excited for fans to see in Selling Sunset Season 5?
I just finished watching the season a couple days ago. I think it's an excellent season. I think it's our best season. Personally, it's difficult to watch, but I think that the public will enjoy it. I think there's a lot of great real estate, real estate drama. I think there's a lot of just good storylines that we get into. It's hard for me to talk about this season, to be honest.
Were you ever hesitant about having your relationship with Chriselle Stause as part of the show?
Yes. I’ve been hesitant from the beginning. I think with Chriselle it was different. I didn't expect to be in that type of relationship. And I think I was comfortable because it was with Chriselle, but I don't think that I'd do it again. I was certainly hesitant. I think she's probably the only person I would have been comfortable doing that with.
Do we get to see any olive branches this season among the team?
I think attempts are made, but I’ll let this season speak for itself. I think this is our best season for a lot of reasons. I'd say that's a fair assessment, but I want to defer to this season because I think there's a lot of interesting outcomes.
Given Selling Sunset’s massive popularity, why do you think luxury real estate, especially in Los Angeles, makes for such great reality TV?
I'd argue it's not just Los Angeles, but really all of Southern California because I think the Newport Beach show is amazing.
I'd say several reasons. One, I think it's the best real estate in the world. I think, hands down, Southern California has the best real estate in the world: the most impressive, architecturally significant, sexiest, best views— you have the ocean, the city. I also think we have some of the most interesting buyers and some of the highest price points in the world. And I also think that real estate agents in Southern California are just a very interesting, fun and dynamic breed.
I've had a lot of jobs here in California, and I've never enjoyed anyone more than the colleagues that I share in luxury real estate. I also think it's very fashionable and you're dealing with not just luxury real estate, but you’re dealing with luxury lifestyle. So I think that is interesting to watch whether it's the fashion or the food.
It's sunny, and it's beautiful and you've got the ocean and hills. It just checks so many boxes, really. There's a reason that I'm doing luxury real estate in L.A. When I quit the law, I really thought about what my favorite job would be.
I think it was Heather Young that mentioned in that last episode of Season 4 that people are flocking from L.A. to Orange County. Is that true?
Yeah. We’ve seen a ton of wealthy people move out of Los Angeles and one of the magnets has been Orange County, Newport Beach, that area. The great thing is because there's so much confluence between the two, I'm now able to capitalize on that movement.
Why do you think people are making that move?
I think we've had a tough couple of years in Los Angeles. We have a lot of COVID restrictions, far more so in Los Angeles than Newport Beach. I think that we had a significant crime increase in Los Angeles, compared to Newport Beach, which has much less crime. I think we've had a significant increase in homelessness, and again, much less so in Newport Beach. And I also think that there’s been a renewed emphasis and focus on quality of life and Newport Beach just offers an exceptionally high quality of life. You can still work there, but if you can work from home or if you can work from a computer, then Orange County is a huge draw because you still have the great weather, the cleanliness, safety, beauty. Really, it's just a very clean environment. You have water, boats, so it's a more relaxed atmosphere and I think it avoids a lot of the difficulties we're seeing in the big cities, including Los Angeles.
It’s also like an hour and 15 minutes away. You can almost get to Newport Beach, but in the same time you can get to Malibu. I was thinking about buying in Malibu, but instead I bought in Newport Beach. Why not drive an extra 15 minutes and get everything?
What other real estate trends are you seeing now in Los Angeles?
I've seen some slightly less activity south of Sunset Boulevard, and I think maybe that's because of the homelessness and crime. I think that you're kind of more accessible south of Sunset Boulevard. The Hills are doing extremely well because there's more privacy. But 2022 is really following along what happened in 2021, which was just a crazy year. And I think with interest rates going up, we were expecting to see a little bit of a slowdown, but I'm not. We're really on pace to do that as well this year as we did last year. Last year was insane.
Would you say now is a good time for buyers or sellers?
I'd say it's a good time for both. Buyers never think it's a good time ever since I got into real estate. I don't think I've ever had buyers think that they were in a good time, even in 2010 and ‘11 and ‘12 when things were really low, buyers thought that the market could go down more, so they were spooked. For the last few years, they thought that it was in a peak and that it might go down. Buyers are always spooked and always thinking that it's not a good time for them, which is unfortunately why you always have some clients that just don't pull the trigger. And I don't think people that buy in real estate should be trying to figure out what the next year is going to bring. I've always bought in real estate by just focusing on the right house and the right long-term investment, and I think that's paid off.
There's been a lot of buyers that have stayed on the sidelines and continue to stay on the sidelines because they think the market is too hot, and I've been hearing that for 10 years. Don't get me wrong, it's probably more of a seller's market, but interest rates are still very low. I would still buy a house. If I saw a good house, I'd still buy it. I don't think it's an unreasonable time for buyers. And who knows? The market could be up 20% over the next three to four years and people would have been wishing they had bought. I try not to prognosticate, but there you have it.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Brandon Almengo; Courtesy Netflix