While many of her Australian colleagues have fled troubled America for more stable pastures back home, Margot Robbie has splashed millions on building her dream home in LA's Venice Beach – and she's being warned it could be a costly mistake.
The actress and her British husband Tom Ackerley have bought $6.5 million worth of property and land in the seafront neighbourhood, and plan to build their dream home from scratch.
Once a hotspot for the rich and famous, the iconic Venice Beach area is no longer all golden beaches and thriving shopfronts, with the COVID-19 pandemic turning it into a hotbed of crime, rubbish and drugs.
"It's a completely different neighbourhood from when Margot and Tom bought it – the crime rate's gone up 177 per cent since lockdown," an insider tells Woman's Day.
"Even if they abandoned this house, they've already lost money on it as property values have stagnated, so selling and buying somewhere else could hinder their long-term financial plans."
Indeed, Margot, 30, has already put their designer four-bedroom home in LA's Hancock Park area on the market for $4.5 million.
Her new Venice property is near Abbot Kinney Boulevard, known for having the "Coolest Block In America", but recently it has become notorious for a sea of tents, run-down RVs, drug-taking, and violent crime.
With an expected finish date later this year, an LA planning district spokesman says of Margot's Venice venture, "It will be a renovated single-storey property when it's complete."
The couple will also be just a short walk from fellow Aussie star Paul Hogan, 81, who has recently spoken of how desperate he is to leave crisis-stricken LA since the pandemic.
A former taxi driver, Lizotte, lives on the streets just blocks from Margot's next home, but warns, "I know people here who will target Margot's house for burglary because they know she's got money.
"She'd be better off if she just abandoned it. I don't know why anyone would want to spend millions of dollars to buy a house next to all this."
And it seems Margot's husband of four years has been left wondering the same thing – especially since so many of her fellow Australian stars have happily relocated to their home country over the past year.
An insider tells Woman's Day, "Tom was willing to move to Australia and seeing how the chips have fallen, he wishes they had.
"There's a real frustration for him as he knows he's not the one calling the shots. Everything has to revolve around Margot's work, and she does need to be in LA. She's got back-to-back projects lined up until the end of the year."
While there's been no shortage of work for big-name actors who have returned to Australia, Margot's career is still thriving in Hollywood, with 23 TV and film projects listed for Margot and Tom's production company LuckyChap Entertainment – 10 of which she's set to star in.
A busy work schedule in LA has stopped Margot from returning to Australia.