People interested in buying their first home may find some hope in recent news accounts (such as this one in the Washington Post) about the decades-long real estate boom finally cooling down due to a number of factors, including rising interest rates, an increase in the cost of goods and services, inventory of homes for sale on a bit of a rise, and people who have been holding onto their homes beginning to fear that they’ve missed the peak and are finally putting their homes on the market, and inflation in general, which is outpacing wage increases.
It’s a complicated and complex set of factors, some of which deter homebuyers, some of which put a damper on the crazed bidding wars, some of which can result in the cutting of asking prices.
In Long Beach, things are still going fairly swimmingly for sellers, especially in what I can only jokingly refer to as nice, yet “affordable” areas, which pretty much defines the eastern part of the city, or what people in the local real-estate business are terming, in haughty Londonese, the East End.
According to various real estate sites, the average price of homes in eastern neighborhoods is now over $1 million a copy. El Dorado Park Estates tops the list at $1.3 million, followed by Los Altos at $1.3 million, the Ranchos Estates at $1.07 million and the Plaza at $1.02 million.
The homes in El Dorado are on the larger size, but in the other neighborhoods, the vast majority of the houses are three-bedroom, two-bath models, invariably under 2,000 square feet and almost all are over a half-century old now.
But those are average figures, and for “bargain hunters” (and here I go again being flippant about $850,000 homes being bargains) there are still plenty of homes in these million-dollar neighborhoods for under seven figures. Here are five of them, ranging from $800,000 to $968,000. If things don’t cool off too quickly, most are likely to hit $1 million soon. Profit! All are three-bedroom, two-bath homes, except where noted.
This 1,322 square-foot North Los Altos home is just steps away from the 405 Freeway, if that’s a selling point (I’ve lived close to the 405 for a while, and it’s not a selling point, though eventually the thrumming sound of rushing cars can be thought of as a rushing river, which can have a calming, soporific effect). The home, just a block east of Bellflower Boulevard, has nice original hardwood floors and a bright kitchen with plenty of storage space. You might want to spruce up the bathrooms a bit. One nice feature is a bonus room out back attached to the detached garage. It’s not exactly extra-bedroom material, but it’s a nice space for an office, a studio or just to getaway from the bedlam of the house. It’s listed by Thomas Applegate at $815,000.
Here’s a corner lot on Hackett Avenue at Keynote Street. My grandfather told me once to never buy a corner lot, a bit of advice I’ve taken to heart as old-time wisdom and have never questioned. You might like it though in this Plaza neighborhood near the confluence of Palo Verde Avenue and Los Coyotes Diagonal—and a short walk to Baskin-Robbins. The 1,395-square-foot home has great curb appeal and the interior is light and open with nice hardwood flooring and upgraded bathrooms and kitchen. The backyard is particularly pleasant and shady with a nice brick patio. It’s listed at $900,000 by Mike Gaines.
Three bedrooms and just one bathroom in 1,360 square feet make this home a bathroom shy of the others in this article. And, like the Marber Avenue home, it’s this close to the 405. And, like the Hackett house, it’s on a corner lot with Woodruff Avenue. And, at $968,000, it’s the priciest one in today’s list. Why? Well, it’s pretty nice looking inside, with the rooms painted neutral colors and a sparkling and wide-open kitchen that opens fully to the living room. The bathroom has been totally redone with a walk-in shower, and it has a nice curb appeal. The grassy backyard is great if you’re a dog, but it’s not currently set up for entertaining. Its listing agent is Marcus Young.
What’s the deal with red doors? There are a lot of explanations, ranging from the idea that it’s a sign of a mortgage-free house to a symbol of welcoming travelers and telling them this is a house where they can stay for a night or two. Also, it’s said to bring good luck to the home’s inhabitants. This home in the Plaza, just south of Wardlow Road, does, in fact, look welcoming, and once you’re invited inside you’ll find a large living room with a used-brick fireplace and a large family room. The kitchen has lots of counter space and stainless appliances. Listed by Sharon Amarantos at $950,000, the 1,368-square-foot home has a nice backyard that includes an avocado tree as well as an orchard with lemon, lime, peach and pomegranate trees. You’ll never go hungry and there’s even enough for your guests.
Here’s an El Dorado North home that looks fairly idyllic from the outside. Paint’s good, nice big shade tree out front, raised yard. Once inside, though, this home begins to show its 70 years. Listed at a bargain $799,900 by Ray Duran III, the house hasn’t had much in the way of improvements since 1952. Kitchen looks original, as do the baths. The original hardwood floors “may be restorable,” according to the listing, which goes on to present this home as a wonderful opportunity to make it different than it is. The kitchen “offers plenty opportunity to create your own custom kitchen and layout.” The featureless backyard “is a blank canvas ready for all of your own exterior landscaping ideas.” Still, it’s a nice neighborhood and it’s a good price—recently reduced by $50,000, so if you’re not afraid of some hard work, it could be a nice place to live.
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