In a region as vast as Greater Los Angeles, simply saying you live here doesn’t say much. Neighborhood is much more telling.
Residents identify strongly with their specific pocket of the metropolitan area, so narrowing down where to buy can be as big a decision as figuring out what to buy.
When I started house-hunting seven years ago, geography was my top consideration after affordability. I knew there were things other people would pay a lot for that I didn’t personally need: good schools (I don’t have kids); proximity to the beach (didn’t seem worth the price premium); public transportation (I’m very attached to my car); a single-family home (too much space for just me); a backyard (I kill plants).
But I also had some non-negotiables. I wanted to be within a 30-minute drive to the newsroom, which at the time was in the heart of downtown L.A. My social life revolves around nights out, so proximity to good restaurants and bars was a must, as was a central location between my Eastside and Westside friends. I’m reasonably active, so nearby hiking trails and workout studios were high on my list, along with quiet residential streets safe enough for evening runs. Ultimately, I bought a one-bedroom condo in Hancock Park.
We talked to five recent Southern California home buyers about how they settled on their neighborhoods.
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A Southern California native, Stephanie Mothershed had never heard of View Park until she was living in Inglewood in her late 20s. She clearly remembers the first time she drove through it.
She was on her way to a party when she turned onto Valley Ridge Avenue and headed into the heart of the hilly, affluent neighborhood.
“I was like, this is a whole new world: the suburbs in the city,” Mothershed, 41, recalled. “It’s so beautiful; it’s so quiet; you can walk your dog and feel safe. And you feel comfortable because there’s Black people. I couldn’t believe it.”
Ever since then, “I’ve always wanted to buy in View Park,” she said. “The Black Beverly Hills — I wanted to be there. It was a goal, such a huge goal to be amongst the top folks.”
Over the next several years, Mothershed, who works as director of labor relations at CBS, chipped away at her $180,000 in loans from law school. After saving up $100,000 and pulling some money from her 401(k), she finally had enough for a down payment in View Park.
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“It was definitely important to me to buy in a historically Black neighborhood,” she said. “There’s a number of factors: wanting to be in a neighborhood where I felt comfortable and wanting to be around like-minded people.”
She began putting in offers but kept getting outbid. Then a 1930s Spanish-style three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom tri-level home was put on the market for $899,000 just as the pandemic hit.
“My Realtor said, ‘Stephanie, if you want this house, put an offer on it without seeing it. So I did,” Mothershed said. “And of course, when I saw it, it was a dump.”
The seller originally went with a different buyer, but the deal fell through and Mothershed’s $909,000 offer was accepted.
“I knew it was going to be so much work,” she said. “It needed a new roof; it needed new piping; it needed just about everything: electrical, flooring, paint, a new kitchen, new bathrooms. It wasn’t the Cinderella story where I get the house and everything’s perfect.”
But the extensive renovation work over the last couple of years has been rewarding; the house is massive with a “huge forest of a backyard”; and, most important, she landed in her dream neighborhood.
“It’s such an awesome, awesome feeling,” she said. “Being somebody that has had so many trials to overcome in my life, I pinch myself sometimes. Like, I did this? I did this!”
When Joel Rosenberg said he would consider only condos that were near his longtime dog walker, his real estate agent “thought I was nuts.”
“You’re going to let your dog dictate where you live?” Rosenberg, 61, remembers the agent saying.
But the architect had lived in the same Hollywood Boulevard rental since moving from New York City in 2006, liked the green space at nearby Runyon Canyon Park — a rarity in his densely packed neighborhood — and had a long-standing morning routine that revolved around dropping off his chihuahua-shiba inu mix, Avi, with the dog walker before work.
“He’s kind of critical in making my life easier,” Rosenberg said. “He takes a group of dogs to a dog park or on a hike from 7 to 10 on weekdays. It’s huge and something I really depended on and didn’t want to give up.”
He never thought he could afford a place in Los Angeles, but his real estate agent suggested selling his Palm Springs townhouse, which he’d bought as an investment in 2019, and using the money to fund his new home.
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So Rosenberg offloaded the desert property and began searching for condos in earnest last year. Besides staying in Hollywood, his other must-have was a second bedroom that he could use to host guests and — after more than a year of working from his dining table during the pandemic — as an office.
Although his agent tried showing him places farther away, Rosenberg ended up buying a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for $750,000 on Franklin Avenue in December. He loves being on a quieter street, the blocky modernist style of the 1962 building and its even closer proximity to Runyon, which he and Avi walk to three times a week.
“I am stubborn about some things,” he said, “but I got what I wanted.”
Born and raised in Long Beach, Natalie Hernandez knew she wanted to buy her first home in the city where she grew up. Her parents still live there, as well as several extended family members, and she loves the diverse community.
“Different types of neighbors was super important to me,” the 30-year-old said. “All income levels, all ethnicities.”
To save money for a down payment, Hernandez moved back in with her parents six years ago, when she was a grad student at USC.
Her original idea was to buy a duplex with them, but the family kept getting outbid by real estate investors offering all cash.
“It hurt first-time home buyers like me who were just trying to get our foot in the door,” said Hernandez, who works as a director at an environmental nonprofit.
After nearly a year of offering as much as $900,000 only to be outbid, Hernandez changed tactics last summer: She decided to look for a single-family home with her boyfriend, Leonardo Zamudio, a 31-year-old refuse operator, instead. That meant a tighter budget of $540,000 or less.
“My boyfriend was like, ‘Why don’t we move to Compton or Paramount? There’s a little less competition there,’” she recalled him saying after the couple were outbid on a two-bedroom in October. “And I was like, ‘No, I have to stay in Long Beach.’ Part of it is a pride thing.”
Her persistence worked: Within a few weeks, the couple found a cozy 520-square-foot house in North Long Beach listed at $480,000. They made an offer for $507,000 and closed in November.
“We decided to compromise a little bit by going for a smaller one-bedroom, one-bathroom on a small lot,” Hernandez said. “We can always build out or see what happens in the next few years.”
She enjoys the walkability of her neighborhood — the house is a quarter-mile from a park and there are restaurants and a pharmacy nearby. Living close to family means weekly dinners and a tight-knit network that she can lean on.
“We help each other out,” she said. “I come from a Latino background, and I think a lot of my culture is about family and taking care of each other.”
Danielle Oldfield and her husband, Robert, had a pretty sweet rent-controlled living situation in Silver Lake, paying just $1,700 a month for an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment.
But with the hope of starting a family soon, the Oldfields began looking a year ago for a house with at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms in their neighborhood.
“We loved it there, and that’s where we wanted to buy,” Danielle, 37, said. “But it was outrageous. There was nothing we could find that was in our price range that wasn’t a complete disaster.”
They had set a budget of $750,000 but quickly found that they were priced out of not only Silver Lake, but pretty much all of the surrounding communities, including Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and other parts of the San Gabriel Valley.
“We went up to $800,000 — again I started looking and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a fixer-upper,” Danielle said. “We went up to 850 and found we were getting outbid still.”
After four months of aggressive house-hunting, during which time they looked at 50 listings — sometimes going to as many as 10 open houses in a day — and put bids on more than half a dozen homes, “we started getting really burnt out.”
They increased their budget again, but the couple stayed firm on location: Burbank or Pasadena.
“We chose those two cities because they seemed very safe and family-oriented,” Danielle said.
Easy freeway access was also a priority because she commutes to Los Alamitos, where she works as a library assistant, as was ample street parking. After three years in bustling Silver Lake, they also wanted to be within walking distance of a fun downtown area with restaurants, grocery stores and other retail.
Last summer, they found a 1927 Mediterranean-style three-bedroom on a quiet, tree-lined street in the Orange Heights neighborhood of Pasadena. Listed for $830,000, the house didn’t have the two bathrooms that the Oldfields were hoping for, but they figured they could add one down the line.
“Our Realtor said the only way you’re going to get it is if you put in a bid for 900 and we said, ‘Done. We want it,’” Danielle said.
Although there were multiple offers, Danielle wrote a heartfelt letter to the seller and, soon after, learned the house was theirs.
“The homeowner must have taken pity on us. She said she felt we would take care of the house and bring value to the community,” Danielle said. “We wanted it really badly.”
The two-bedroom Highland Park rental that Rocio Montañez shared with her husband and their two teenagers already felt cramped when she learned she was pregnant with twins early last year.
Ideally, Rocio would have bought a bigger place in nearby Eagle Rock to stay near friends and family. But the couple’s budget in the high $400,000s was not even close to enough: Three-bedroom homes in the Northeast neighborhood were routinely listed at $1 million or more.
Rocio, a nanny, and her husband, Jason, a construction worker, instead turned to Sylmar, where they also had good friends. But home prices there were still about $100,000 over what they could afford, unless they settled for a serious fixer-upper.
“Me being pregnant, I didn’t think that was an option,” she said.
The Montañezes expanded their search east to the Inland Empire, where large numbers of Angelenos have for decades moved to take advantage of lower home prices. They were outbid on a few houses, but last summer, closed on a three-bedroom in Riverside for $480,000.
The commute isn’t great. It sometimes takes Rocio, 35, two hours to get home from working in La Cañada Flintridge, compared with 15 minutes when she lived in Highland Park.
But she said the change has been worth it. She now has a big backyard, her teenagers have their own rooms and there’s a sizable kitchen with a large island.
“That was my thing — I was like, ‘I just want a big island,’” she said.
But most important, she said, is the neighborhood, which she said feels calmer, friendlier and safer than Los Angeles. In some ways, it reminds her of what it felt like to grow up in Atwater Village in the 1990s, with groups of kids riding their bikes down the street together — an ideal environment for her family of six.
Times staff writer Andrew Khouri contributed to this report.
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So, which cities are Angelenos now flocking to the most? Las Vegas and San Diego, according to Redfin data. As mortgage rates and home prices continue skyrocketing, nearly one-quarter of homebuyers nationwide looked to move to a different metro area, marking a record high, Redfin reported.What to consider when choosing a neighborhood? ›
- Neighborhood Safety. ...
- Closest Grocery, Pharmacy, and Department Stores. ...
- School District. ...
- Nearby Parks, Walking Paths, or Dog Parks. ...
- Commute to Work. ...
- Types of Restaurants in the Area. ...
- Things to remember.
So, which cities are Angelenos now flocking to the most? Las Vegas and San Diego, according to Redfin data. As mortgage rates and home prices continue skyrocketing, nearly one-quarter of homebuyers nationwide looked to move to a different metro area, marking a record high, Redfin reported.Is Porter Ranch a rich area? ›
Located in the northwest part of the San Fernando Valley, Porter Ranch is a very affluent community.What is the best area in Los Angeles to live? ›
The best places to live in Los Angeles include Beverly Hills for its high-end real estate and amenities, Los Feliz for its high walkability score, and Santa Monica for its beaches and top-rated schools. People love Los Angeles for its sunny weather, diverse culture, and beautiful real estate.What are 3 factors to consider when choosing a place to live? ›
- Cost of living. The cost of living may be the most significant factor to consider when moving someplace new. ...
- Size of the City. Do you prefer a small town or big city, or maybe something in between? ...
- Housing. ...
- Traffic. ...
- Schools. ...
- Health. ...
- Safety. ...
- Job Prospects.
- Turn on porch light at night.
- Spend time in your front yard.
- Stay in one place-long term residents create stability.
- Offer assistance to a neighbor in need-offer help with yard work.
- Ask neighborhood kids for help if you need it-they are always happy to earn a few dollars.
Los Angeles Housing Market Forecast 2023-2024
This amounts to an annual real estate appreciation of 9.42%, putting Los Angeles in the top 10% nationally for real estate appreciation. According to some analysts, home prices in Los Angeles are unlikely to drop, but the rate of increase will moderate.
Median Home Price in Los Angeles-Orange County
For buyers, a growing timeline of homes for sale in the latter half of 2022 helped to moderate values in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim MSA, with the median sales price falling 3.2% year-over-year in January to $799,000.
Whilst both areas cannot be pronounced cheap, Bel Air is slightly more affordable on average than Beverly Hills. Housing is still extortionately expensive compared to the rest of the US; however, you can seek out some less costly areas.What salary do you need to live in Los Angeles? ›
According to the study, a Los Angeles resident without children would need to make $76,710 after taxes to live comfortably. The study is based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which uses the cost of housing, food, transportation, medical care and more.What is the most affluent suburb in LA? ›
1. Bel-Air. The richest neighborhood in Los Angeles is Bel-Air. Making its claim to fame on the popular series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, this neighborhood is located directly across from Sunset Boulevard and is considered one of the most exclusive residential areas in Los Angeles.What is the most peaceful city in Los Angeles? ›
Studio City constantly ranks as one of the safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Studio City has a population of 40,449 and is safer than the majority of other areas in LA. In particular, violent crime isn't common in this part of the city, so residents and visitors will feel extremely safe in Studio City.
|Persons in Household||Household Income|
|Lower Class||Upper Class|
|1||Up to $38,630||$115,893+|
|2||Up to $54,631||$163,896+|
|3||Up to $66,909||$200,731+|
A popular standard for budgeting rent is to follow the 30% rule, where you spend a maximum of 30% of your monthly income before taxes (your gross income) on your rent. This has been a rule of thumb since 1981, when the government found that people who spent over 30% of their income on housing were "cost-burdened."How do you know if a house is right for you? ›
- Your rent is rising. ...
- Your credit score is solid. ...
- Your debt is manageable. ...
- You can afford a down payment. ...
- You have enough set aside for maintenance costs. ...
- You're going through a major life change. ...
- Your lifestyle is stable. ...
- You know what you want.
Location, size, age, condition, value, and your budget are all important things to keep in mind. It's important to do your research and make sure that you're getting a good deal on the property.What could make your neighbourhood better? ›
Another great way to better your neighborhood is volunteer for various activities. Volunteering in your neighborhood will not only help you better your community, but it will bring you closer to your neighbors. Volunteer as a mentor for troubled neighborhood kids. Pick up litter.
- Waving and smiling at neighbors.
- Starting up a conversation.
- Maintaining your home's appearance.
- Planning a community event.
- Hosting a dinner party.
- Planning a play date for the kids.
- Attending events that others host.
- 10 Ways You Can Make a Difference in Your Community. ...
- Volunteer. ...
- Donate Blood. ...
- Become a Mentor. ...
- Organize a Charitable Event. ...
- Shop Local. ...
- Adopt a Neighbour. ...
- Attend Community Meetings.
SAN FRANCISCO - A new report has listed San Francisco and Los Angeles as the two top U.S. cities in which homebuyers were looking to leave.What facing house is best in California? ›
South-facing houses have the best natural light.
You get the most sunlight in the south and the sun shines in that directional all day. The sun is direct sunlight. That sun can heat the ground and south walls of the house, so the south side is warmer than the north.
#1. Los Altos and Los Altos Hills tops the list for the richest and most expensive city in California. Los Altos is the affluent enclave of Silicon Valley's most affluent and influential leaders. It is one of the wealthiest cities in the US and among the richest areas in California.What is the California prime target for home price declines in 2023? ›
California's median home price is forecast to decline 8.8 percent to $758,600 in 2023, following a projected 5.7 percent increase to $831,460 in 2022. Housing affordability is expected to drop to 18 percent next year from a projected 19 percent in 2022.What is the best date to close on a house? ›
If you need to be occupying your home by a certain date to save on rent, it's a much better deal to close at the end of the previous month (for example, January 30) instead of the beginning of the current month (February 1).Is it a buyers or sellers market in LA? ›
Los Angeles is a Sellers Housing Market, which means prices tend to be higher and homes sell faster.Are LA homes overpriced? ›
Los Angeles is so expensive due to the high demand and limited supply of housing, causing prices to surge. The long commutes of people living outside the city and tourism's popularity add to the high prices of accommodations. These make Los Angeles a highly sought-after but expensive place to live and visit.How much is the average house in LA? ›
What is the Zillow Home Values Index?
|Page Down||Jump down by 75%|
More than 370,000 families in L.A. County are living in overcrowded conditions. An additional 69,000 people are homeless on any given night. And the cost to build just one unit of low-income housing in L.A. has reached as high as $848,000.Where do working class people live in LA? ›
|Top 10 Working Class Locations in the Los Angeles Metro|
|Central Alameda, South Park (2287.10)||62.9%|
|Pixley Park, Maywood (5333)||62.2%|
|El Monte (4333.02)||59.8%|
The top 5 percent of earners in LA make an average of $516,961. In almost every city Go Banking Rates analyzed, residents, need a six-figure salary to qualify as rich. One of the most expensive spots was also in California.What stars live on Mulholland Drive? ›
Celebrities such as Madonna, Jack Nicholson, John Lennon, Roman Polanski, Marlon Brando, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, and David Lynch himself live or have lived on Mulholland Drive. In other words, in this area, you have a high chance to meet famous stars!Do any celebrities live in Bel Air? ›
Currently, Bel Air is a quiet residential neighbourhood of luxury properties where endless plots of land surround magnificent mansions. Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift and Ronald Reagan are some of the celebrities who have lived there.What is the most expensive gated community in Los Angeles? ›
Together with Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills form Los Angeles' prestigious Platinum Triangle. This incredibly desirable area is the pinnacle of Hollywood glamour and luxury. The gated community of Bel Air is among the world's most exclusive communities.What is considered middle class in Los Angeles? ›
Los Angeles ranks 37th among large cities for middle-class income, with a range from $47,149 to $140,744. The median income was $70,372. Three out of the top five cities with the highest income thresholds for the middle class are located in the Bay Area.Is $100,000 a good salary in Los Angeles? ›
According to a new study from SmartAsset, a $100,000 salary in Los Angeles leaves workers with what "feels like" just $44,623, ranking it among the lowest of nearly 80 cities analyzed by the financial advisory company.Is LA or NYC more expensive? ›
Overall, LA is about 24% less expensive than NYC. The cost of living in LA is lower than in NYC thanks to far lower housing prices. On average, housing in LA is 34% cheaper than in New York City. Additionally, prices for groceries, as well as restaurant prices, are lower in Los Angeles than in NYC.
- Beverly Hills.
- West Hollywood.
- Silver Lake.
- Cheviot Hills.
- Los Feliz.
- Culver City.
- Santa Monica.
Skid Row contains one of the largest stable populations (about 9,200–15,000) of homeless people in the United States and has been known for its condensed homeless population since at least the 1930s.What is the wealthiest town in California? ›
|Rank||City||Mean income - All households|
There is little to disturb the peace in this neighborhood of winding streets and single-family homes, which you might recognize from TV or the movies.What is the most white neighborhood is Los Angeles? ›
Los Angeles metropolitan area
Malibu, Hidden Hills, Manhattan Beach, Agua Dulce, Calabasas and Agoura Hills have the highest percentage of whites in Los Angeles County. Whites in the Los Angeles area are also concentrated in Hollywood Hills, Bel Air and North San Gabriel Valley.
In comparison, neighborhoods with the lowest crime rates last year were three residential areas: the hilly northeast hipster community of Mount Washington, the affluent Westside neighborhood of Beverlywood and the quiet suburban San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Porter Ranch.What is a good salary for a single person in Los Angeles? ›
According to the study, a Los Angeles resident without children would need to make $76,710 after taxes to live comfortably. The study is based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which uses the cost of housing, food, transportation, medical care and more.What income is rich in Los Angeles? ›
In Los Angeles, you'll need to earn $135,373 or more to be considered a “rich” person in the top 20% of the city's nearly 4 million residents. The ultra-rich, or the top 5% of earners in LA, make way more: $516,961 on average, according to the analysis.What is upper class salary in Los Angeles? ›
As of Apr 19, 2023, the average annual pay for the High Class jobs category in Los Angeles is $66,656 a year.What are the most important things for a good neighborhood? ›
- GREAT SCHOOLS NEARBY. ...
- OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ABOUND. ...
- STEPPING BACK IN TIME. ...
- ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE. ...
- FAMILY FRIENDLY. ...
- CLOSE TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. ...
- NEARBY SHOPPING AND RESTAURANTS. ...
Neighborhood residents generally have similar incomes, as well as similar social characteristics such as education level, housing preference, and sense of public order. Sometimes, the dominant ethnicity in a neighborhood defines its character.What are factors in a neighborhood? ›
Neighborhoods can be described in terms of their demographic and structural characteristics, particularly by population characteristics such as rates of employment, home ownership, poverty, or educational attainment.What makes a happy neighborhood? ›
Belonging and acceptance where there are strong social connections throughout the community. A culture of taking care of each other while accepting people's differences.What brings down the value of the neighborhood? ›
Changes in the real estate market can lower the value of your home. Natural disasters and climate change can lower your property value because the property is a greater risk to purchase. Foreclosures in your neighborhood can also drive down property value.What are the top two reasons for choosing an area to purchase? ›
- Schools. If you have children, this is probably at the top of your consideration list. ...
- Commute times. ...
- Lifestyle. ...
- Local amenities. ...
- Resale value.
They say the three most important things to think about when buying a home are location, location, location. You can change almost everything else, but you can't change your home's location.
- Requirements To Buy a House.
- 6 Boxes to Check.
- Requirement #1: Collect the Down Payment.
- Requirement #2: Choose a Lender.
- Requirement #3: Check Your Credit Score.
- Requirement #4: Know Your Debt-to-Income Ratio.
- Requirement #5: Set Aside Closing Costs.
- Requirement #6: Apply for a Mortgage Pre-Approval.
- Neighborhood comps. ...
- Location. ...
- Home size and usable space. ...
- Age and condition. ...
- Upgrades and updates. ...
- The local market. ...
- Economic indicators. ...
- Interest rates.
Features of physical, social, and service environments often overlap (for example, neighborhood access to grocery stores reflects both the physical and service environments), but together they can create vastly different opportunities to be healthy.What are 3 characteristics of a traditional neighborhood? ›
Those tradi- tional formats were characterized by one-family and two-family homes on small lots, narrow front yards with front porches and gar- dens, detached garages in the backyard, walkable “Main Street” commercial areas with shops lining the sidewalk, and public parks, town greens, or village squares.
There are three main types of communities; urban, suburban and rural.What makes a neighborhood disadvantaged? ›
Disadvantaged communities refers to the areas throughout California which most suffer from a combination of economic, health, and environmental burdens. These burdens include poverty, high unemployment, air and water pollution, presence of hazardous wastes as well as high incidence of asthma and heart disease.What is neighborhood identity? ›
Neighbourhood identity is expressed as a sense of belonging amongst residents that share a sense of place.How your neighborhood affects your life? ›
Environmental hazards such as neighborhood violence and pollution can lead to poorer health outcomes. The chronic stress of living in high-crime, high-poverty neighborhoods with deteriorating buildings can affect parenting, which in turn affects children.