People involved with Long Beach real estate never stop telling buyers that Long Beach is the most affordable beach property available in Southern California. It’s always, “run, don’t walk! At these prices they won’t last!”

It’s only a bit of an exaggeration. There are cheaper beach cities than Long Beach—Oceanside and Oxnard are a couple you might consider—and, then, you need to examine if Long Beach is really a beach city.

True, we do have a rather longish beach here, but it’s also possible in this city to live 10 miles from the beach. There are, as difficult as it is to believe,  people in this town who have yet to lay eyes on the Pacific Ocean. The breakwater with which Long Beach remains saddled, has stripped the strand of much of its beachiness. And when Long Beachers say “Let’s go to the beach,” as often as not it means driving south to Seal, Bolsa Chica or Huntington beaches, rather than down to the foot of Junipero to watch the wavelets lapping gently at the shore, with no less ferocity than those on the banks of the duck pond at El Dorado Park.

Where Long Beach is a beach town, though, is in the 90803 ZIP code. Not so much for the ocean itself, though it can get a little surfy toward the 72nd Place end of the Peninsula, but rather for its proximity to Alamitos Bay, Marine Stadium, Mothers Beach and the canals of Naples.

And the houses in the neighborhoods in the Oh-3 are priced appropriately. The median home value in the ZIP is $998,100—just loose change shy of a million bucks. And still cheaper than, say, Manhattan Beach, where the median home value is almost $2.5 million.

And those homes in Long Beach close to the 90803 median aren’t necessarily your dream home if you’re the type of buyer who likes to rattle around in a sprawling ranch-style home with a lot of spare rooms that you can’t even figure out what to do with them. Crafting room? Baseball memorabilia room? Recording studio?

If you will pardon my dabbling once again with expensive houses (I’ll soon sink back into squalor, where I’m more comfortable), let’s drive around and take a peek at a few and see if there’s something you like for your just-under-$1 million budget.

For the minimum amount of steps to the beach, there’s a relatively large (1,317 square feet) two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home at 39 Corona Ave., offered at $949,900 (but it’s a contingency sale, so you’ll have to use your thoughts and prayers for something horrible to befall the current potential buyer).

The upstairs library in the home at 39 Corona Ave. in Belmont Shore. Courtesy photo.

It’s a pretty house with beaucoup curb appeal and it’s loaded with cute little doo-dads like a nearly-garish bathroom with a built-in vanity and a spiral staircase that leads to two multi-purpose rooms, one of which is a marvelous library getaway from all the hubbub downstairs. It also features a garage and a parking pad, which, in the Shore, are gold.

A couple of blocks north of Rosie’s Dog Beach, at 215 Granada Ave., sits a home built in 1941. It’s fairly nondescript—it’s got sort of a South of Conant vibe to it—and is listed as “a builder’s DREAM,” which is a nice way of saying it’s a great house to destroy and build something more to your liking on its ample 3,923 square-foot lot. Or you can pay the $899,999 price and keep it as a nice two-bedroom, two-bath pied-a-terre or summer cottage—or just live in it. It’s your money. And, it comes with a garage, which will come in handy this close the Second Street, unless you plan on filling it with junk.

The $899,000 “builder’s DREAM” house on Granada Avenue in Belmont Shore. Courtesy photo.

The term “cozy” pops up a bit too often in the sales pitch for this—heck, let’s just call it cozy—place at 219 La Verne Ave. At just 956 square feet, any more than two people in this house and you’ll all be banging into each other like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

The $839,000 Shore house has two bedrooms and a bath, a handsome brick entryway and a cozy kitchen where the current owners have put a washer and dryer stack where the buyer might consider putting the refrigerator.

The kitchen in the “cozy” home on La Verne Avenue in Belmont Shore. Courtesy photo.

It is nice and airy with a lot of sunlight sneaking in, but, then, it’s also vacant, so that could change once you move in. And it has a one-car garage, which you may use as you wish.

Precisely one block to the east of La Verne, at 219 Glendora Ave., there’s a house listed for precisely $70,000 more. The two-bedroom, one bath house is fitted into 954 square feet. At $909,900, that translates to a whopping $953 per square foot.

A nice front yard patio is great for entertaining at this home on Glendora Avenue in Belmont Shore. Courtesy photo.

But, it’s a nice house, with a boss kitchen and in Realtorspeak, it has “a large open floor plan that allows for an open floor plan that integrates the inside and outside of the home into a warm and happy living space.” So, yes, it’s open, but not “wide” open, and it’s not mid-century modern in terms of blending with the outdoors, though you can perhaps achieve a similar effect by opening the front door.

The Glendora house sold just last November for $720,000. That’s either a nice flip or beach properties are really out of control.

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.

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