Sweet amenities, such as this beachfront pool at the Queen's Surf, are among the advantages of buying a condo. Listing photo.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you can’t financially swing the price of a home in East Long Beach, where, according to Zillow, the typical value of a home ranges from $902,653 in the 90808 ZIP code area, to $1,255,898 in 90803. If you find that depressing, I can’t disagree with you.

If your price range is lower, say, in the mid-$500,000 range, forget about your dream location and maybe adjust your sights on something like this home in Hawaiian Gardens, hyperbolically described as a Craftsman and offered as-is for $560,000.

This “Craftsman” home in Hawaiian Gardens is for sale at $560,000. Listing photo.

No? You’d rather have a place to live with views of the Pacific, or right on the beach, or maybe something on Country Club Drive. It can be done.

Consider a condo.

I know, you don’t get the privacy of a single-family home, you’ve got to grapple with the potentially overly-meddlesome Homeowners Association and its monthly fees and you have to share amenities like a swimming pool or gym or barbecue with your neighbors.

OK, good points. But you also don’t have to worry about upkeep of the exterior of your home or an aging roof. The Homeowners Association might also offer you those amenities that you couldn’t afford if you were to buy a house, and maybe you’re enough of an extrovert to actually enjoy the community of your neighbors.

Perhaps best of all, you can buy a condo in a great location for a lot less than a house in a similar location. They tend to be smaller than most houses, and if you have a gang of kids or a pack of dogs, a condo isn’t for you. But if it’s just for a couple of people and perhaps a cat or a lapdog there’s a lot to recommend a condominium.

Today, we’ll take a quick look at three units in five-star locations, all well under—sometimes more than 50% lower—what a single-family dwelling would cost you, even in a less pricey part of the city.

The living room, balcony and view at the 10th floor Queen’s Surf Condos at 1750 E. Ocean Blvd. Listing photo.

Queen’s Surf Condominiums, 1750 E. Ocean Blvd., #1003

This one-bedroom, one-bath unit on the 10th floor has a side view of the ocean and a comfortable balcony from which you can enjoy that view. Listed by Jacob Sun of All Nations Realty at $570,000, the 632 square-foot unit has a kitchen with a breakfast bar and stainless appliances, air-conditioning and access to plenty of amenities including a beachfront swimming pool, a jacuzzi, sauna and gym and direct access to the beach. HOA dues are a little dear, at $568 a month, but it’s worth it for its location and pool alone and includes water, trash and sewer. There’s parking in the garage for one vehicle.

A spacious open floor plan is a feature of this two-bed, two-bath condo on Country Club Drive, for sale at $550,000. Listing photo.

3719 Country Club Drive, #4

For $550,000 you get a prestigious address in a prime location, right across the street from Los Cerritos Park. This unit, listed by Haik Bokhchalian of John Hart Realty at $550,000, is relatively large, with two bedrooms and two baths in 956 square feet. It features an open floor plan that’s ideal for entertaining. Both bedrooms are on the large side, with the master having a walk-in closet and a bathroom. The unit has air-conditioning and a laundry area. It comes with two parking spots, one of which is in the garage. Shared amenities include a community pool and spa, a clubhouse, a fitness center and a tennis court. HOA fees are a doable $371.

Relax in the beachfront common area of the Condo at 12 Third Place, which really is just steps to the beach. Listing photo.

The Palisades, 12 Third Place

OK, I admit it’s not huge at just 694 square feet. But, come on, Third Place? It’s a prime spot with the beach right at your feet. The one-bedroom, one-bath unit listed by Long Beach native Mindy Hyland of Keller Williams at $529,000, features Queen Mary and beach views from its front balcony. It’s got heat and air-conditioning with stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. There’s plenty of places to stash your things, including vintage bench storage. Beach-appropriate furnishings can be included along with a 43-inch Fire TV. And, while the unit is fairly small, the beach is your front yard. A house this close to the beach will run you closer to $2 million—though it’ll be considerably larger and won’t have the $230 HOA fees.

But if you could afford $2 million, I would have lost you at “consider a condo.”

Long Beach houses cost too much for locals, so who’s buying them?

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.