Has there ever been a better time to buy a house? The short answer is the same as it’s been for 50 years: Before now. That’s when it was a better time to buy a house.
It’s particularly difficult here in California, a state that left the other 49 in the dust starting in the 1970s when the gap between California’s home prices and those in the rest of the country started to widen. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, in 1970 home prices in California were about 30% above US levels and by 1980 they were more than 80% higher.
The disparity continues and prices in Southern California are among the highest in the country.
And, of course, Long Beach is no exception, with a large majority of residents in the city unable to afford a large majority of the homes listed for sale in the city.
So, what’s the point of writing about homes for sale as I do each Monday in the Long Beach Post?
I write about a range of homes. Mostly, I admit, are on the opulent and expensive end, because nobody wants to read about $700,000 tract homes week after week. The homes I tend to write about have some significant historical or architectural stories behind them, or are located in particularly beautiful neighborhoods, generally on the water.
I’m interested in the diversity of styles as well as Long Beach’s 18 historic districts that are spread around geographically from the coast to North Long Beach.
What the stories aren’t meant to be are puff pieces for Realtors—I’ve had almost as many brokers angry with me as those pleased with my stories. No, to answer a question or accusation I’ve heard several times, I don’t get any money from real estate agents. It’s unfortunate, but I just continue to live on my paycheck. I’m just your simple country real-estate writer.
That said, I’m embarking this week on a monthly sampler of some of my favorite listings in Long Beach. I’m not going to say there’s something for everyone, but I will try to include at least one property that, while not affordable for everyone, is at least at the lower end of the spectrum.
Here are four picks for September.
We’ll start at the high end with this recent listing in Naples at 27 The Colonnade. While not smack on the water, it’s pretty close, and the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house has views of the bay from every bedroom.
The 1949 brown-shingled home across from Colonnade Park is one of the more recognizable homes on the island for anyone who’s spent any time there. It’s on the market now for the first time in nearly 50 years.
It’s on a rare large double lot which allows for a large backyard patio where you can get more privacy than is offered at many Naples properties by relaxing beneath a huge avocado shade tree out back. You’re steps away from the park which hosts summertime concerts and other events.
There are fireplaces in the formal living room as well as a cozy one in the kitchen and the family room has exposed wood beam ceilings as well as built-in shelving.
All three bedrooms are upstairs, each with views of the water. The home is listed by Natasha Schultheis at $3.395 million.
Here’s a Tudor style home at 242 Bennett Ave. in the middle of Belmont Heights. I’m a sucker for the occasional Tudor home as long as it’s not overly faux. This vintage 1926 gem is faithful to the style and is holding up well, looking great both inside and out. The home’s interior has authentic wood trim throughout, including casings, window frames and floors. The living room has a high barrel ceiling with exposed wood beams and a rustic stone fireplace. The kitchen has been brought up to modern times with high-end appliances and marble countertops.
The bedrooms are large, with one having access to the Elysian backyard with beautiful landscaping and mature trees bearing olives, limes and avocados.
The rebuilt two-car garage is perhaps the most modern aspect of the nearly 100-year-old residence. Its features include an 18-foot door, a half-bath and an electric vehicle charging station.
The three bedroom, two-bath home is listed by Spencer Pabst at $1.8 million.
Making the list just for its sly and somewhat quirky design (the listing calls it Mid Century Modern-inspired), is this three-bedroom, one-bath, 1,008-square foot home at 3579 Olive Ave. in the California Heights Historic District.
You could argue, at least from its curb appearance, that the 1948 home is Mid Century Modern-inspired in terms of its slanting flat roofline, its generous use of windows (at least at the front) and its xeriscape landscaping. Inside, though, not so much, which doesn’t mean it’s not attractive. The rooms, including the kitchen, are all separate in the traditional mode—no wide-open floor plan—and there’s no particular effort to merge the exterior with the interior by way of a more expansive use of floor-to-ceiling glass, so the effect is more cozy than open. There are hardwood floors throughout; the bedrooms are on the small side but the backyard is large and features a raised wooden deck set amid a forest of foliage.
The home is listed at $825,000 by Connie Wildasinn.
Get off your high horse and consider this waterfront property in the prestigious 90803 ZIP code at a cost of $350,000. OK, yes, it’s a mobile home, or trailer, or manufactured house, but it’s set along the Los Cerritos wetland and the Cerritos Channel and the Bahia Marina in Belmont Shores Mobile Estates. I lived in the estates for a while, and have known several people who have moved here and they all enjoy(ed) the idyllic location, the breezes from the sea, the squawking night herons in the early evening, the plentiful amenities that include a large pool and spa, gym, community room with kitchen and more.
This home at 6271 Emerald Cove Drive has a bit more than many of the homes in the estate, including its own laundry room and a small yard with mature shade trees. The two-bedroom, two-bath home has an upgraded kitchen with granite counters, a living room with cathedral ceiling and bamboo floors.
One catch: It’s for residents 55 and older, so grow up and check it out. It’s listed by Realtor Miles Evans.