Million-dollar homes are popping up farther from the pricey coast

This city is dotted with million-dollar homes. The tag has been devalued over the years since back in the 1970s and ‘80s when seven-figure homes were opulent palaces with more square footage than anyone could reasonably consume.

Most of the dots today, of course, continue to line up along the coast, from the $9.995-million Casa Oceana estate of the late Bob and Audrey Langslet (he died in 2019; Audrey the year before) at 20 37th Place, down to a comparatively spartan $1.799-million home six blocks from the end of the Peninsula at 6620 E. Ocean Blvd.

Between that stretch, along the Pacific Ocean side of Second Street (including Naples), there are about 20 homes surpassing the million-dollar mark by various margins.

A bit farther inland, expensive homes still aren’t terribly rare. You’ll find them in Alamitos Heights, Belmont Heights, Bluff Heights, Park Estates, University Park Estates and El Dorado Park Estates.

Now, in recent months, other neighborhoods are venturing into the seven-figure club. Enthusiasm for the Cliff May homes in the the East Long Beach neighborhood of Ranchos Estates has driven the price of those starter-level mid-modern classics up to and occasionally over the million-dollar mark, and other neighborhoods, originally designed in the 1950s for young families’ first homes, such as Los Altos and Lakewood Village, have entered the fray.

Those newcomers with high-dollar price tags have been modified and improved from their stock condition from back in the days when they were selling for $8,000 to $12,000.

An example is this three-bedroom, three-bath home at 2248 Radnor Ave. in Los Altos. It’s been beefed up to 2,164 square feet on an 8,436-square foot lot with a salt-water pool and built-in barbecue in the back. Asking price is $1.09 million.

This Los Altos home on Radnor Avenue has an upgraded kitchen and a saltwater pool. Listing photo.

Its upgraded kitchen has black granite counters, an island with a breakfast bar and a butler’s pantry. The home has hardwood floors and a fireplace.

Also in Los Altos, just steps from the Cal State Long Beach campus, is a $1.078-million jewel on Lave Avenue that no longer bears much resemblance to what it must’ve looked like when it was built in 1949. Now it’s a modern-style house with four bedrooms and three baths with a generous 3,295 square feet of living space and plenty of storage with numerous closets, a pantry and attic space.

The kitchen flows into the great room in this upgraded home on Lave Avenue in Los Altos. Listing photo.

An expansive kitchen opens to a great room with vaulted ceilings and skylights. The backyard will give you plenty of vitamin C with its orange, lemon and lime trees framing a covered patio with a hot tub and fire pit.

Over in the Ranchos, there’s a deluxe, jumbo size model on the market at $1.195 million. It’s totally loaded with mid-mod bells and whistles, including a new 40-year roof, central HVAC, new paint and a finished garage.

The 2,055-square-foot home at 7040 Mezzanine Way has four bedrooms, two remodeled baths and an office, crown molding with LED lighting throughout and a gas/wood-burning fireplace. The master bedroom has a cedar-paneled walk-in closet.

High exposed beam ceilings are a feature of a jumbo-size mid-century Cliff May home in the Ranchos Estates. Listing photo.

The backyard is where it’s at, with a 3M pebble tech pool, spa and water slide (nothing says 1950s more than a water slide), along with a built-in barbecue with fridge and cooktop burner and an outdoor entertainment system with TV.

Yeah, of course you want it. And so does your pup, because the place has a dedicated dog run with a door and a sleeping area.

Heading up to Lakewood Village, the neighborhood around Long Beach City College’s Liberal Arts Campus, we find the northernmost million-dollar Long Beach homes, and the residence closest to the North Pole is a four-bedroom, three-bath home on 4550 Graywood Ave., built in 1938. It has, of course, been modernized over the years, but it still retains some old-school flourishes, such as little alcoves sprinkled around the home’s 2,700 square feet, and crown molding throughout. The home’s finished garage has bonus attic space for storage.

Bright colors add new life to this 1938 home on Graywood Avenue in Lakewood Village. Listing photo.

Listed at $1.129 million, the home’s backyard is, as is often the case with high-dollar properties, a great  entertainment space with a pool, spa and built-in barbecue.

Finally, here’s one to quit on. A five-bedroom, four-bath, two-story custom Craftsman that looks like it would be more at home in the neighborhoods of Belmont Heights and Bluff Park than in Lakewood Village. The $1,423,500 home’s listing goes ahead and proclaims it to be “by far the nicest home in the area,” and that might not be hyperbole.

This two-story custom Craftsman on Tulane Avenue just could be the nicest home in the Lakewood Village area. Listing photo.

The 3,850-square-foot home at 4208 Tulane Ave. has an 850-square-foot one-bedroom guest house in the back that opens up to the lushly landscaped backyard with a koi pond and shady patio.

The main house’s interior includes a huge kitchen with walk-in pantry and a master bedroom with his and her closets, a balcony and a fireplace.

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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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