This Bixby Knolls home at 4521 Tolbert Ave. is listed at the city's median home price of $730,000. Movoto photo.

We have been over this before: Houses in Long Beach are generally too expensive for Long Beachers.

The city’s median annual household income in February was $71,150. That kind of money, according to mortgage calculators set at 6.7% interest rate, can comfortably handle a home costing $631,692.

If you want to stretch things to where you won’t have much extra put away to pay for unexpected expenses, you can go as high as $775,000, but you’ll not only be on thin ice financially, you’ll be settling for a house that might not qualify as your dream home.

The semi-good news for homebuyers is the fact that the market appears to be softening, which is, after all, inevitable after houses in the city soared by double-digit percentages year after year from 2017 through 2022. During that five-year span, the median price of Long Beach homes increased by 41%, according to Seiji Steimetz, professor and Chair of Economics at Cal State Long Beach.

The year-over-year increase in home prices from March 2022 to 2023 was less than 1%, which isn’t good news for longtime homeowners who might have waited too long to make the top-of-the-market bonanza, though it’s a bit of good news for people who’ve been waiting for things to settle down, if not nose-dive, in the market. Tempering the upside for buyers, of course, is the continuing increase in interest rates which more than negates the money that they might have saved by purchasing a home that’s come down a bit in price.

For home-shoppers with a bit more income than the median—which would by definition be about half the households in Long Beach—and have perhaps socked some additional funds away for the purpose of buying a house, here is a small sampling of homes currently for sale.

Priced at $875,000, this Zaferia District home has several upgrades and a finished attic loft. Movoto photo.

Like, what’s wrong with this place at 1342 Myrtle Ave. that’s painted in the palette du jour of white with black trim—all the kids are doing it? The three-bed, two-bath home offers 1,502 square feet of living space with an open floor plan (the kids are beginning to sour on that concept now) that allows the kitchen and living room to carry on a cordial conversation. The house is on a pleasant-looking street just steps from the Anaheim Street corridor of Cambodia Town and its rich tapestry of offerings. And the house—still being trendy—has a new wood fence made of light boards laid out horizontally and vertically. A nice surprise is a finished attic that serves as an upstairs loft. The property is listed by Realtor Genesis Hidalgo at $875,000.

This home on Lemon Avenue in North Long Beach has a large back yard and rustic touches inside. Movoto photo.

Let’s save you a couple hundred thousand with this three- bed, two-bath relatively cozy home at 5415 Lemon Ave., just north of Market Street between Atlantic and Orange avenues in North Long Beach. Listed by Alejandro Lopez at just $629,900, it’s a fairly eclectic property with, again, an open floor plan marrying a spacious living room with a serviceable kitchen that wouldn’t say no to new cabinets. The rooms in this 1,164-square-foot home are all tiled and things get downright rustic in the laundry room, back bathroom and one wall of the dining nook where knotty pine is featured, giving it a decidedly Big Bear vibe, which, oddly, I don’t really mind, having spent a good portion of my youth at the family cabin in Fawnskin on the north shore of Big Bear Lake. But not everyone shares my precious memories, so that part of the house might get an upgrade. The backyard goes on forever and is suitable for a pack of dogs and as many kids and guests as you can throw at it.

A nice 1922 Craftsman bungalow in Zaferia is listed at $675,000. Movoto photo.

Here’s a place that’s darned tempting if you don’t require a lot of space to range around in. It’s a two-bedroom, one-bath Craftsman bungalow, built in 1922 and kept in good condition, with many Craftsman touches still extant, including door and window moldings, picture rails and a covered front porch. The home is at 2612 E. 11th St. in the continually emerging Zaferia District, right next to Rose Park Historic District. Offered by Eric Greene at $675,000, the house has some modern upgrades to bring it closer to modern times, including air-conditioning and a whole-house sound system (though at just 757 square feet, you could get the same effect with a transistor radio). The attractive kitchen has high-end appliances and white Shaker cabinetry. Its primary bedroom has a walk-in closet and there’s also ample storage in the other bedroom. The backyard is small, but the fenced front yard is a good place to relax on the porch and try to forget about the mortgage for a while.

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.