Los Angeles Estate Property BlogThere seems to be growing international interest in Los Angeles’ luxury real estate market right now and asking prices have declined significantly since last year. Many prospective buyers may have only heard of the famous communities like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Malibu that they are considering making their new home. This first in a series of articles is an overview of where you can find the finest homes for sale in Los Angeles.

When it comes to finding estates and luxury homes in Los Angeles, the old real estate cliche in the title holds true. While you’ll certainly find extraordinary luxury homes in all of the areas that will be discussed here, you can also find fabulous listings for these throughout the city. The art of finding great estates with an amazing compound and useable acre or more is easier to define because there are fewer of these magnificent properties and they’re usually grouped in specific areas.

There are two main areas where you’ll find the majority of Los Angeles’ exclusive residential properties. The first is a broad band that includes much of the Hollywood Hills and surrounding communities along the north end of the L.A. Basin which extends for fifteen miles from Griffith Park by Downtown, west to the Pacific Ocean. Predictably enough, the other area includes the beach cities from Malibu to Palos Verdes.

Since true estate properties require a lot of land (and privacy,) the largest estates are found in and around the hills from Los Feliz to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades by the beach (Malibu is in a category by itself.) These luxury properties and full-blown estates are truly the epicenter of high end real estate in Southern California and there is no shortage of the spectacular, sweeping views from Downtown to the sea that Los Angeles is known for.

Opulent properties built during Hollywood’s Golden Era in the 1920’s & 30’s line the base of the hills and lower elevations, particularly in the older parts of town to the east around Griffith Park & Hollywood. This is also true of Beverly Hills and Bel Air, and there are several charming villages dating from the period along Sunset & San Vicente Boulevards to the west in Brentwood & Pacific Palisades.

Older styles of architecture found in these areas tend towards the Spanish and Mediterranean with a lot of other traditional styles from Chateau and Tudor, to Neo-Classical and Georgian mixed in.

Newer homes and estate properties which were built from the 1940’s and 50’s up to the present tend to dominate as you move farther west and up into the hills. More Ranch homes and cleaner modern and contemporary architectural styles tend to be found here, along with a generous helping of thematic eclecticism and over-the-top excess.

Mulholland Drive runs the length of the Hollywood Hills along the crest which separates these L.A. communities to the south, from the San Fernando Valley to the north. About 75% of the land in the Hollywood Hills is south of the summit.

There are plenty of fine homes and estates north of Mulholland and in the Valley as well, but property values tend to be less in many cases and the temperature is frequently much higher in the summer. Temperature is also an issue in the L.A. Basin itself as you move away from the ocean to the east towards Downtown, while the beaches don’t usually get over 90 degrees for much of the summer.

I’ll be discussing all of these areas in more detail in upcoming articles in this series. Look for an overview of estates and luxury homes in L.A.’s Beach Cities in the next installment.

Andrew Jones is a Los Angeles native and resident of Venice Beach who is a real estate agent in both California & Nevada.

See Complete, Categorized MLS Listings Online for All of the Communities Featured in this Article at: 
http://www.jonesresortproperty.com/

AJonesREALTOR
(310) 399-3740

     CA Lic# 01131486 / NV Lic# S.0071586

California & Nevada Real Estate Agent

Posted by: ajonesrealtor | July 6, 2009

The Most Affordable Homes in Los Angeles: $500k and Less

Los Angeles is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. That can make it tough for regular folks trying to live and work here. But there are still some really nice neighborhoods in the L.A. Basin proper that you can own a home in for less than $500k (in many cases less than $400k.). You don’t have to move to the San Fernando Valley or San Bernardino, and since these homes are in the center of Los Angeles they’re all great investments with a tremendous potential for appreciation.

Before I start listing specific areas, remember that homes for under $500k can pop up in places that you might not expect. The Hollywood Hills is a perfect example of this. Usually there is an issue of some kind: the home is odd in some way or a fixer, it’s on a small or irregular lot, the new Metro line is going in three doors down, the numbers never lie. However, there are many good deals of this type to be had and the upside of some of these properties may be just what you’re looking for. In general, it’s a good idea to work with a Realtor so you know everything that’s available and what you’re getting into.

The neighborhood at the top of my list is Baldwin Hills. This is a charming neighborhood of  two to four bedroom post-war (1940’s), ranch style homes, located in the center of town between Culver City and the Crenshaw District (where there are also a lot of great homes in this price range.) You can get beautiful homes here for the high-$300 to low-$400k’s. The Baldwin Hills also offer the most relatively inexpensive hillside homes in Los Angeles with some of the most spectacular views in the city.  There are also some really nice homes from $400k to  $500k on the southern flank of the Baldwin Hills on Overhill, and La Tijera between Slauson and Centinela if you’re  interested in this area. Northern Inglewood also falls into this category (as little as $350k) but is not technically Los Angeles.

Another great area to check out is known as Picfair. This is the area around Pico and Fairfax Boulevards. Actually everything north of Pico and (as you head towards Wishire,) and west of Fairfax (towards West L.A.) gets more expensive, but there are some exceptional deals, many for less than $400k to the south and east. There is also a great pocket of $400 to $500k properties nearby a little further west between La Cinega and Robertson just north of the 10 Fwy right next to Cheviot and Beverly Hills.

Koreatown can be loosely defined the area between Vermont and Arlington/Wilton from Beverly all the way down to the 10 Fwy, though you’ll find people from many cultures here.  There are too many different neighborhoods here give a more detailed breakdown, but there are usually a fair number of opportunities here for under $500k, including a lot of great old craftsman and even late-Victorian homes.

There are two other neighborhoods with a kind of Downtown vibe worth mentioning here. Though many parts of Hollywood are more expensive than you might think, you can still occasionally find good deals for under $500k on either side of the 101 Fwy (usually south of Hollywood & Sunset Blvds.) Then continuing on the 101 there are  more good deals (even as low as $350 to $400k ) on either side of the freeway as you approach Downtown L.A.. This area is just south of the popular neighborhoods of Silverlake and Echo Park.

Finally, if your a beach lover you can occasionally pick up smaller homes in Culver City, Palms and Mar Vista from Venice Blvd., down to Culver and Ballona Creek. The trick here is to keep a close eye out for new listings, and put down a offer pretty quickly when a good deal catches your eye. Though houses for under $500k get a lot rarer as you head west across the 405 Fwy, I’m particularly fond of the area between Washington & Culver just west of Centinela where bargains occasionally pop up.

There is one other neighborhood that I’m going to mention here. Though it’s not in the L.A. Basin proper, Mt. Washington is just north of Downtown behind Dodger Stadium. A variety of homes can be had in this older hillside community with spectacular views for under $500k. This area five minutes from Downtown, close to both Hollywood and Pasadena, and enjoys all the shopping you can handle in nearby Glendale.

Drop me a line anytime if you’d like more details about any of these neighborhoods, or want to go and check out these truly affordable opportunities for yourself.

AJonesREALTOR / Andy@JonesResortProperty.com

Visit http://www.jonesresortproperty.com for Listings & Information on Thousands of  Properties in Southern California & Nevada including including Great Deals in L.A…

I’m a native of Los Angeles and am an agent both in California and Nevada. When I came to Las Vegas six years ago looking to make an investment I already had an idea of where I wanted to put my money.  But to be thorough, I made several trips over a couple of months before coming back to the idea that brought me here in the first place. So what’s the best place to invest in Las Vegas… why of course, it’s Las Vegas.

Everybody in L.A. knows that beach property is golden, the closer the better. It’s a big part of what Socal is all about. Well when it comes to Las Vegas, the Strip is the beach. People don’t come here for endless miles of of adobe-tiled tract homes stretching off into the desert. The Strip is the dynamo that powers this town and that’s what every potential buyer in the world is looking for. Whether it’s a sparkling new condo on Las Vegas Blvd. or a luxury estate in MacDonald ranch… it’s all about the view (or the golf course in some cases.)

Strange as it may seem, the ony true homes on the Strip seem to be the orphans of the Las Vegas real estate market. I’m talking about the Beverly Green and Southridge neighborhoods which include the John S. Park Historic District just east of Las Vegas Blvd. between Sahara and Charleston. These classic homes on 5,000 to 10,000 s.f. lots were built from the late 1930’s to the early 1960’s and are mostly two to three bedrooms, with larger custom homes as you approach Las Vegas Blvd. to the west. Elvis, Liberace, Bob Stupak, Jimmy the Greek, the Binions, and the Mulaskys all had homes here along with prominent politicians and businessmen. I own four, all within blocks of the Stratosphere.

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One thing that was particularly familiar and appealing to me were the homes themselves. If it weren’t for the Stratosphere, you could be in West L.A.. But the real attraction was the location. Not only are these the only homes in Las Vegas more or less on the Strip, most of the redevelopment going on these days (with the exception of City Center) has been concentrated on Las Vegas Blvd. from Desert Inn to Downtown. New condo towers have transformed the north end of the Strip over the last five years and it seems likely that everything north of Sahara to Fremont Street between Las Vegas Blvd and the 15 Fwy will become the most interesting mixed-use neighborhood in town over the next ten or twenty years. I wonder what homes in Southridge and Beverly Glen will be worth when people are staring down at them from their expensive condos? Also, I don’t think they’ll be making any more single family homes in the heart of all that is Las Vegas again… ever.

Nice, mature neighborhoods with tree-lined streets, big lots and solid construction, close to pretty much everything that matters in Las Vegas… What’s wrong with this picture?

Stigma. The area between Downtown and Sahara where the Strip begins seems to be a standing joke among many local agents who simply haven’t taken the time to investigate the area. I’ve met more than one agent who wasn’t even aware that there were homes here. The irony of this is that the ’City of Las Vegas’ actually ends at Sahara Blvd. Everything south of Sahara, including the Strip is in unicorporated Clark County.

I suppose this is the final reason that I chose to invest here… price. I couldn’t believe the deals that I was getting on what I considered to be first rate, long-term investments. That goes double now that prices have bottomed out pretty much all over the valley. You can get great two and three bedroom homes for around $100k give or take, and some of the larger homes for $50k to $150k more. With rents at around $1,000 to $1,200 for nice two to three bedroom homes and more for larger ones, these investments can really pencil out.

There are other neighborhoods in Las Vegas proper by the Strip worth mentioning as well, though none of them enjoy the ‘Beach’ factor to quite the same extent. Huntridge is just to the east of Southridge and Beverly Glen across Maryland Blvd. This area also has a good mix of properties, from two and three bedrooms to some really fine custom homes. There are also some great neighborhoods west of the 15 Fwy between Sahara and Downtown that enjoy excellent access to the redevelopment area. From spacious three and four bedroom homes in the Scotch 80’s, to larger and considerably larger properties in McNeil Estates on a quarter acre to an acre more, to luxury homes in Rancho Bel Air and some serious, historic estate properties on Alta Drive, there’s something for everyone at prices that are more than competitive.

There is one other area south of Sahara in Clark County that enjoys good access to the Strip, the Winchester district which runs all along the east side of the major casinos has a great variety of neighborhoods built mostly in the 1960’s and 70’s. There are also a couple of great, older golf course tracts, but unfortunately much of this area is directly under McCarran Airports glide path. Aside from this, the neighborhoods to the west of the Strip are largely blocked by the 15 Fwy and the industrial zone which runs along it. Though some of these neighborhoods built in the 80′ and 90’s around Spring Mountain and Flamingo enjoy good access to the heart of the Strip, they lack the inate charm and immediate experience of Las Vegas that these older neighborhoods have to offer.

You won’t be disappointed if you take the time to check these areas out, and please feel free to contact me anytime for more information about all of the opportunities available in Las Vegas.

AJonesREALTOR / Andy@JonesResortProperty.com

Visit http://www.jonesresortproperty.com for Listings & Information on Thousands of Properties in Southern California & Nevada including Las Vegas.

xmplanlvsmallI originally wrote this article about redevelopment in Las Vegas early in 2008. Basically, it uses the Monorail plan as a map for the city’s redevelopment: present and future. Though the real estate market there has taken a beating since that time, much of it still applies. The drastic drop in prices really only makes Las Vegas Strip condos, and more importantly the ‘old’ Las Vegas neighborhoods right next to the Strip an even better investment.

* * * * *

Las Vegas Redevelopment Guide 101

Las Vegas is reinventing itself once again– this time as the ‘Metropolis of the Desert’ and fastest growing city in the U.S.. While major corporations tap into global demand for Las Vegas real estate by recasting the Strip as a dazzling, high-density urban model for the future, everything to the north along Las Vegas Blvd. from the Stratosphere at Sahara Blvd. to the classic casinos Downtown has been zoned for redevelopment by officials who are eager to revitalize the city’s traditional center.

A Major New City Plan is Underway on over 100 Acres of Undeveloped Land West of Downtown

Many people don’t know it yet but new government buildings, a Performing Arts Center, and extensive office and retail properties totaling over $5 billion dollars are being built between the I-15 and the planned monorail extension to the casinos on Freemont St.. Another major development, the new World Market Center for furniture is also going up in stages on over 57 acres. These projects are the anchor of the city’s redevelopment plans and a number of upscale condos will be going up in and around Downtown.

Condo Towers, A New ‘Art’s District’ & Classic Homes on Las Vegas Boulevard.

The rest of the city’s plan follows the proposed monorail southwards through Las Vegas’ traditional core, between the Boulevard and the railroad tracks (now I-15,) to the city limit at Sahara. Commercial, mixed-use projects & semi-reasonably priced condo towers with a lot of potential upside will completely remake this part of town and probably create Las Vegas’ most interesing new neighborhood in the process.

The neighborhoods just east of Las Vegas Blvd here are largely protected from development by the High School Historic District (mixed use) & John S. Park Historic District (residential.) Hmmmmm. There are more classic homes from suburban three bedrooms to some fairly serious estates on the other side of the I-15 north of Sahara as well.

Rat Pack Era Casinos Demolished for First Wave of Condo Projects on the Original ‘Strip’

The first major wave of condos like the Turnberry Towers have already gone up on the sites of old casinos like the Landmark & El Rancho at the north end of Strip by Sahara. This is where the existing monorail actually starts. These condos aren’t cheap, but there is a lot of competition and still more condos like Sky are going up around the Hilton and Wynn. The new Trump tower is also opening and the Stardust & Frontier have just been demolished to make room for more. No less than four more $5 billion dollar-plus projects have been approved for this area including Echelon Place & MGM’s next 100 acre-plus City Center development at Sahara & Las Vegas Blvd.

Interstate 15 and the Future of the Las Vegas Strip

Except for the proposed spur to McCarran Airport, the rest of the monorail’s planned route follows Interstate 15 to points south. For the last 10 years, major expansion of the ‘Strip’ proper has stalled and development has consisted of tearing down what’s left of the old boulevard to make room for the new boulevard. With new interest in premium condos like MGM’s City Center adding to the demand for premium real estate, the ‘Strip’ will have to grow, ultimately taking over the west side of Interstate 15 and probably giving a new meaning to the idea of the ‘Strip’ in the process. High rise condo tower development along the I-15 and 95/515 freeway corridors should become a major part of the redevelopment equation for both the Strip and Downtown. New projects will also probably go up on mostly vacant land south of Mandalay Bay along Las Vegas Blvd. & Interstate 15, west of McCarran as the ‘Strip’ heads south.

Ironically, the monorail itself will probably not be part of this future. The federal government has withdrawn funding for the downtown leg of the route and it’s currently unlikely that it will ever be built. The casinos may still pick up the tab for the extension to McCarran Airport but the technology is essentially obsolete and doesn’t adequately address the ‘Strip’s’ considerable people moving needs. That being said, the basic plan clearly shows which way the powers-that-be in Las Vegas expect the money to go regardless of how it gets there.

* * * * *

Watch for more detailed, up-to-date posts about affordable condos on the Strip and these fabulous ‘old’ Las Vegas neighborhoods. Though I’m a native of Los Angeles and live in Venice, I’m a Realtor in both California and Nevada and I actually own four of these homes next to the Strip myself. Please contact me anytime if you’d like more information about the great investment opportunities in Las Vegas.

AJonesREALTOR / Andy@JonesResortProperty.com

Visit http://www.jonesresortproperty.com for Listings & Information on Thousands of Properties in Southern California & Nevada including Las Vegas.

 Venice Beach has consistently been one of the miraculous exceptions to the disastrous housing slump of the last couple of years. Though some property owners have had to revise unrealistic expectations of their properties value and a few unlucky souls who bought at the height of the market are now in for more than their investment is worth, property values in Venice have held remarkably stable for the last two years and the area has continued to enjoy some sales activity unlike many of the surrounding neighborhoods.

I think that the reasons for this are twofold. One, even though Venice can command some of the highest prices in Los Angeles per square foot, this is an older neighborhood which is still undergoing ‘gentrification,’ with homes dating from the early to mid-1900’s that are much smaller than those in many other parts of the Westside. Many properties can still be had close to the beach here for well under a million dollars. With the exception of Long Beach and San Pedro, Venice is the least expensive beachfront property from Malibu to Laguna Beach. Add to this the fact that this is prime time, high demand, L.A. basin real estate and that actually makes Venice one of the best deals in Southern California, if not the U.S in general. 

Secondly, Venice beach enjoys an internationally recognized cachet ( the Baywatch Factor) bringing fresh buyers from near and far who want to be part of the Venice lifestyle which is still a bit funkier and more eclectic than some of the other beach towns.

Which brings us to Summer 2009.

Venice Beach is enjoying the most active real estate market on the Westside right now. Over the last two months 58 single family homes & 23 condominiums sold or are in escrow. According to the MLS, home prices averaged over one million dollars at more than $700 per square foot. That’s up over $120 per s.f. from the previous three months. Pending sales are 20% to 30% higher than recently closed sales indicating increasing activity in higher end properties. Both condominiums & homes sold for almost 97% of the final listing price during this period.  L.A. Times sales data published June 21st shows a 15% increase in median Venice home prices from May 08’ to May 09’, while the median price in the surrounding communities of  Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, & Santa Monica fell an average of 20%.

The upshot of all this is that Venice Beach seems likely to be the continuing sucess story of the Los Angeles (and national) real estate market for some time to come. I live in Venice and will be glad to answer any questions that you have about this great neighborhood or show you around.

AJonesREALTOR / Andy@JonesResortProperty.com

Visit http://www.jonesresortproperty.com for Listings & Information on Thousands of  Properties in Southern California & Nevada Including Venice Beach, Santa Monica & Marina del Rey.

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