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Santa Monica is an independent city bordered by the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles proper to to the north, south, and east. Santa Monica is also the most fully developed urban center in its own right on L.A.’s Westside from Malibu to Palos Verdes. The area around downtown was one of the first developed on Santa Monica Bay at the turn of the last century and ‘old’ Santa Monica features a mix of modest beach houses and multi-units along with the more ambitious vintage summer retreats of the East Coast elite.
The rest of the city to the south and east consists largely of later post-war tract developments like the rest of Westside and there are more ocean-view residential towers here than any than anywhere else in Los Angeles. Santa Monica is also much more suburban in character than Venice and Marina del Rey directly to the south and is one of the truly great places to enjoy beach side living in L.A.!
Real estate prices for single family homes in Santa Monica dropped significantly and rapidly in the early days of the housing market crisis as they did in many of L.A.’s beach cities. The average selling price for houses fell over 20% in 2009 to around $1.7M from a high of over $2.1.M the year before. Prices in Santa Monica continued to decline a modest 5% or so until the spring of 2011 when the average price bottomed out at just under $1.6M for a total loss of value of around 25%. Increasingly strong sales throughout the rest of 2011 saw over a third of that loss erased by rising prices, but almost half of that amount has been already lost in 2012. It remains to be seen whether the trend will be towards a continued recovery or a further loss of value.
The newer suburban tracts to the south and east were typically built in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s and are much more orderly and uniform for the most part. Larger, more expensive homes tend to dominate in the north end of town along the hills, with tracts of smaller single family homes as you move southward towards Venice. These types of tract homes also tend to be the rule in the east end of the city 10 to 20 blocks from the beach as well, but many new condominiums and older apartment complexes have also been built in these areas as redevelopment of the city continues.
As is the case with all tract home developments in Los Angeles dating from the middle of the last century, the most common architectural styles found in Santa Monica are Ranch, Mediterranean/Spanish, Tudor, Colonial, Georgian, and Chateau/Normandie.
Prices for single family homes in Santa Monica usually don’t start for much lower than $1M, but also don’t usually exceed $3M for the most part. As an independent city completely surrounded by Los Angeles on all sides (except by the ocean to the west,) Santa Monica has its own schools, police, and other basic services as well as a set of more stringent property rental ordinances that anyone considering investing in Santa Monica should become familiar with first.
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While more permanent development of all these cities occurred rapidly, all have been integrated into the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. Santa Monica stands out as the most developed of L.A.s independent Beach Cities (north of Long Beach) with a significant downtown area lining the bluffs at the north end of town and extensive suburbs to the south and east.W
‘Old’ Santa Monica is an eclectic mix of old and new properties of every description with many of the smaller, older buildings in the central downtown area giving way to the development of larger commercial and residential projects. Similarly, the older suburbs closest to downtown and the beach are a mix of beautifully preserved Craftsman and Queen Anne cottages along with newer homes and multi-unit properties of every description. There are also always many working-class and vacation cottages left in all of L.A.s beach cities that date to early in the last century which frequently make some of the best available deals.
Santa Monica is the oldest and largest of of L.A.’s west facing beach cities. Its situated at the western end of the first rail line out of downtown Los Angeles to the beach which was built at the the beginning of the last century. The development of other beach towns as winter vacation destinations for the East Coast elite also followed quickly, particularly in Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches to the south which also share the famous, wide, white sand beaches that stretch for almost ten miles from Santa Monica to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Santa Monica has a wide variety of condos available at almost every price point. The city has always had a significant ratio of multi-unit properties many of which have been converted to condominiums over the last forty years so there are still plenty of less expensive condos and townhomes available throughout Santa Monica. Also, lots of modern mixed-use properties, custom units, and larger full-featured complexes have also been built much more recently and there are a number of both older and newer condominium towers on the on the bluffs and beach with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
Santa Monica has traditionally had a lot of small and mid-sized multi-unit income properties. Though many have been converted to condominiums there are still plenty of investment properties available at any given time, including newer and larger developments.
Santa Monica is an independent municipality so anyone considering investing in Santa Monica should fully investigate the local rent control ordinances first.
Vintage luxury properties from the early 1900’s and later periods by the beach, Downtown, and Santa Monica Canyon including Craftsman, Queen Anne, and early Mediterranean styles along with mid-century and contemporary masterpieces. Also, major tracts of custom, post-war and newer homes from Montana Avenue to the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains on the north end of town from Brentwood to the sea.
Suburban and custom tract houses from the early part of the last century to the 1940’s & 50’s, & 60s featuring a wide range of opportunities located throughout Santa Monica. Inventory of available properties usually includes a number of fully rehabilitated classic homes and fully redeveloped contemporary and modern designs.
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