For more affordable beachfront living consider the condo—again

Again with the condos. Don’t hit me, I’m just trying to give you the life you so richly deserve, though not “richly” in the sense that you can afford it. I’m going to say that while the odd reader of this space might have a million dollars or two rattling around in a coffee can where it’s safely sheltered from the sudden disastrous downturns the market suffers through on occasion, like the present one, but, rather, a life you deserve just by sacrifice and the constant foregoing of avocado toast—that culinary scapegoat of a life squandered.

The last time I suggested perhaps a condo might be a good thing for those who want to live in a style otherwise unaffordable, I got a shrieking reaction from people calling them mere apartments or detailing the horrors of HOAs, the units’ relatively small size, etc. And while there’s truth in all these arguments, I’m merely saying if you want to live on the beach and you don’t have enough money to buy a home on the Peninsula, a condo (or a rental) is the best and perhaps only way to achieve the dream.

In short, I’m bringing up condominiums again because you live in Long Beach and are tired of living miles from the Pacific Ocean. You live on the coast, and yet you only occasionally manage a glimpse of the sea, while you’d much prefer to live with the ocean staring you in the face, putting you to sleep at night with the gentle sound of its wavelets lapping at the shore and greeting you each morning with the sound of seabirds and the soft illumination of the rising sun in the east.

If you want the full blast of seashore living in Long Beach, you’ll need to spend a couple of million dollars—four or five would be best—but you can swing something nice on the sand, or close enough to track it into your home, for less money than the median single-family house price in Long Beach, which is now a bit over $800,000.

And I can already hear you howling again about Homeowners Associations and their rules and fees and I agree that they can range from horrible (and horribly expensive) to not unreasonable, considering that a lot of what the fees cover—landscaping, exterior maintenance, roofs and frequently cable/internet hookups, pools, gyms, security and other amenities—make them somewhat more tolerable.

Let’s check out five places on the market now that’ll put you in the high-dollar neighborhoods at less-than-median neighborhood prices.

383 Bay Shore Ave. #207

Kayakers paddle past the Sea Isle condominiums (with blue awnings) at Bay Shore. Redfin photo.

This one-bed, one-bath is the largest one-bedroom unit in this Sea Isle Landing complex. You get views of the waterway leading to Marine Stadium and it’s a quick bounce out your door to the water for paddleboarding or kayaking. Listed by Carleton Carson at $659,000, it’s priced to sell; in July a one-bedroom unit in the building sold for $850,000. It comes with a parking space in a gated garage with a storage compartment. The monthly $394 HOA dues include earthquake and flood insurance.

1250 E. Ocean Blvd. #407

Condos on the beach at 1250 E. Ocean Blvd. Redfin photo.

Want some room to bounce around in? This two-bed, two-bath unit should fit the bill with 1,103 square feet of living space. Listed by Linda Thomas at $769,000, the building is on the sand near the bike path. The living/dining room has Brazilian cherry hardwood floors and a built-in buffet. There’s plenty of storage space and a large primary bedroom. Plus: air-conditioning, linen and coat closets, crown molding throughout and, while the building isn’t loaded with amenities (aside from being on the beach), the HOA fees are low at $286/month.

1750 E. Ocean Blvd. #1206

The balcony view from the Queen’s Surf unit at 1750 E. Ocean Blvd. Redfin photo.

If you’re more interested in a view that goes on for miles rather than merely having the beach right at your feet, try taking the elevator up to this 12th-floor one-bed, one-bath 827-square-foot unit at the Queen’s Surf. Offered by Tom Flesch at the listing price of $725,000, your views included a good chunk of the Pacific, the oil islands and, farther out, Catalina on a good day. The listing hints that the kitchen and bathroom might benefit from a renovation or, it suggests, “just be a beachcomber and do nothing!” The HOA fees are a bit pricey at $599/month, but it includes a pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, a gym and billiards table plus earthquake insurance, FIOS and Wi-Fi.

1140 E. Ocean Blvd. #233

The sun deck at the condominium complex at 1140 E. Ocean Blvd. Redfin photo.

Right on the beach, this one-bedroom, one-bath 732-square-footer is basically an oversize cabana in terms of space, but it’s in nice shape with lots of updates including new flooring, lighting, quartz countertops, custom tile and cabinetry, and newer stainless appliances. Offered at $606,000 by Realtor Gina Avila, based in San Clemente, it offers peek-a-boo views off the balcony of the ocean and harbor and a fairly good slate of amenities including a pleasant sundeck and pool and spa and community barbecues. It comes with remote-control underground parking with storage. Your $427month HOA fee includes Spectrum cable internet and a gym.

1030 E. Ocean Blvd. #606

The living room with built-in bookcases at the St. Regis. Redfin photo.

How about a little history to go with your beachfront home. The venerable St. Regis Building has been towering over the strand in Alamitos Beach since 1922. It still retains its historic look and feel with its classic Greek and Renaissance Revival architecture. Unit 606 is a cozy one-bedroom, one-bath condo with 740 square feet of living space. Offered at $525,000 by Sharon McHale, its price was reduced last week by $50,000. It’s clean and bright inside with high ceilings and lots of built-ins and plenty of storage including a walk-in closet. The secure building includes a community laundry, storage lockers and a bicycle room in the basement. The $577 monthly HOA includes electricity, gas and water and, of course, the beach is at your doorstep, down a short flight of stairs, or you can just enjoy the sun and view from the deck.

A 1910 historic Carroll Park jewel on the market for $1.25 million

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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