A million-dollar home in Park Estates that needs some work after sitting unoccupied for 20 years. Redfin photo.

Los Angeles Magazine, using Zillow data, has reported that the fastest home value growth in the L.A./Orange County market over the last few months was in the Long Beach neighborhood of Park Estates, where values rose nearly 8% from December 2022 through May this year. That outpaced the neighborhoods of UC Irvine, South Fountain in West Hollywood, Santa Ana’s South Coast and Brightwater in Huntington Beach.

Most likely, Park Estate’s value growth is turbo-charged by the rocketing popularity of Mid-Century Modern home design, some of the most exemplary examples of which can be found in that neighborhood where you can find the work of many of the style’s finest practitioners, who were hired by people who bought lots there back when the area was developed in (when else?) the mid-century.

Park Estates is a top seller’s market, which is true of Long Beach as a whole, not only because of the high demand for its top-quality homes but also because of the scarcity of houses for sale in the East Long Beach neighborhood. Currently, there are just five homes for sale in the enclave of about 1,200 houses, with an average listing price just shy of $2 million, and that high figure is tempered by the fact that one of the listings is for an outdated home in need of some serious renovation that’s listed at an even $1 million.

So, what kind of home are we talking about in Park Estates for a million dollars? I’ve written recently about what a million dollars buys in the Long Beach housing market these days, and it’s not a home in Park Estates or, for that matter, any of the neighborhoods that have the name “estates” connected with them. University Park Estates and El Dorado Park Estates have homes well over $1 million, often approaching or surpassing $2 million.

How green is your thumb? This Park Estates home needs some serious garden work. Redfin photo.

This home on the market, at least since Friday, listed at $1 million at 5630 E. Anaheim Road, needs some work and is offered “as is.” And how “is” it? For starters, its agent, Stephanie St Pierre, says no one has lived in it for 20 years, so you can start with someone who knows their way around a machete or other pruning tools to grapple with the overly enthusiastic landscaping.

Inside, the home, built in 1965, looks like what a house should look like after two decades of neglect, though not as bad as it would look after 20 years of abuse. It doesn’t look like it’s been discovered by squatters or trespassers. It also lacks any evidence of modernization.

The kitchen in the home in Park Estates needs to be modernized by a couple of decades. Redfin photo.

“For instance, it doesn’t have a dishwasher,” St. Pierre noted. “But you could live in it, or I could. It just needs cosmetic work and the owners could take their time fixing it up and do a little at a time.”

And washing their own dishes for a while? I wondered.

“Can you imagine?” said St. Pierre in mock horror at the thought of scrubbing, rinsing and towel-drying dishes like a Victorian-era scullery maid

So there’s that and the fact that you’re going to want to redo the whole kitchen, not just install one of them electronical dish-washing gizmos.

The floors need to be sanded and finished, the bathrooms need big upgrades, paint needs to be thrown around everywhere, and I’m guessing you’ll find some other issues as you’re slaving away, but what did you expect for a measly million dollars?

At any rate, it might be worth the gamble if you’ve got the money to play with. Throw a couple hundred thousand at it and you could very well end up with a $2 million-plus Park Estates home. It’s the same old story: It takes money to make money.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.