So, you’ve decided to take up roots in Manhattan Beach. Whether it is considered a permanent residence or a 2nd home get-away spot, the choices of homes and locations here are as varied as there are fish in the sea. However, Manhattan Beach does have many niche locations and something that is unique about each one. We will take you on a brief insider’s tour of each area in an effort to help you decide which neighborhood best suits your needs and wants. We will start with the most expensive area, and move eastward from there. (Note: all Manhattan Beach elementary schools feed into the same middle and High School; Manhattan Beach Middle School and Mira Costa High School.)
The Strand- You could call it Billionaire’s Row. Though you don’t necessarily need a billion dollars to own there, it does attract them. Many own some of the most beautiful homes ever created and choose this spectacular beach town as their home away from home. “The Strand” is how we refer to the row of homes that sits directly on the beach. The row of homes starts at the Northern border of Hermosa Beach and ends at the Southern border of El Segundo.
Pros- up-front views and proximity to the beach; a unique ability to maintain value or increase at a significant pace; a “Front Row” seat in Manhattan Beach; unblock-able by any neighbors to the West
Cons- steep asking prices; limited privacy; some noise factors to consider; seasonal rentals as neighbors; limited parking
The Sand Section- This coveted area is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the West, Valley Drive and the Tree Section to the East, and it stretches along both North and South Manhattan Beach. What “The Sand Section” really identifies is the homes that are very close to the beach. This area is known for the smallest lot sizes in the beach area, some as small as 1,345 square feet (or 30 ft x 45 ft ); about one half of what is considered a full size lot. The side set back on these lots is 3 ft which ultimately means you are approximately 6 ft from your neighbors. Homes are usually either 2 or 3 stories, depending on the zoning and location. There can be as many townhome/condos as there are single family homes, many of which have terrific coastal views and are ideally located walking distance to the central or North End commercial districts, which are known for great restaurants and quaint shops.
Pros- Close proximity to the beach and shops found in the Downtown Manhattan Beach district; many homes offer fantastic views; low traffic “walk streets”.
Cons- little-to-no yard space; price; close proximity to neighbors; a struggle to find guest parking.
The Tree Section- Bordered by the Sand Section to the West, Rosecrans Blvd. to the North, Sepulveda Blvd. to the East, and Manhattan Beach Blvd to the South, the Tree Section received its namesake from the street names most of which, well . . . are different species of trees. This area offers slightly larger lots than the Sand Section they are typically 40 ft wide and approximately 125 ft deep, allowing a full 8 feet of distance from your neighbors and a bit of a back yard. There are many classic post-war homes still maintaining their original character intermixed with homes that have been re-built over the last two decades. The newer homes are typically around 3,200 sq ft., as opposed to the original homes that are closer to 1,500 sq ft.
Pros- a neighborhood with lots of character; walk-able/bike-able proximity to the beach; charming streets; great access to popular local commuter routes.
Cons- if you are a back yard person, they still are typically small; some inconsistency in overall aesthetic of the neighborhood; many prefer not to be close to the refinery that borders Rosecrans Blvd.
American Martyrs- A special pocket of Tree Section homes that are near American Martyrs church and school. These homes often come at a premium partially because they feature most of the benefits that the Sand Section offers combined with the benefits of the Tree Section. With larger lots the homes provide the best of both worlds: a yard, sometimes a view, and an easy stroll Downtown or to the beach.
Pros- plenty of parking available; close to the beach; benefit of larger yards; classic neighborhood feel.
Cons- depending on the street and block, home to some of the most expensive Real Estate in the area.
The Hill Section- Located South of Manhattan Beach Blvd, West of Sepulveda (to Ardmore) and bordering Hermosa Beach on the South, this is the most prestigious residential section of Manhattan Beach. The Hill Section boasts even larger lots, many of which have outstanding vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the largest homes in town are built here and they sell for multi-millions. This is one of the only areas where you can get a large home, a large lot, and still have gaping ocean views. If you can capture all of that it amounts to a fairly hefty price tag.
Pros- estate-styled homes, prestige, beautiful vistas, larger lots, outstanding central location
Cons- price; steep hills or sloped streets which are not as “kid friendly” as some like; slightly farther from the beach than some may like to be.
East Manhattan- The area East of Sepulveda Blvd and South of Manhattan Beach Blvd is known as East Manhattan Beach and is appreciated for consistently having some of the largest lots in town; most of which are 50 ft by 150 ft, allowing for slightly larger homes and spacious, pool-sized back yards. With 5 ft setbacks, you have the most distance from your neighbors and the most privacy of all the Manhattan Beach neighborhoods. The newer homes are usually over 4,000 square feet. For families, it allows the easiest commute to the Middle and High Schools as both are located East of Sepulveda, as well as excellent proximity to popular local commuter routes (for mom and dad).
Pros- typically the largest lots; more privacy; plenty of parking; larger, wider homes; more home + land for the money.
Cons- you are not likely walking to the beach or downtown; lack of any ocean views.
Liberty Village- Bordered by Aviation Blvd. to the East, Manhattan Beach Blvd. to the South, Sepulveda Blvd. to the West, and Marine Ave. to the North, this area is very similar to East Manhattan. One noticeable difference is that a large portion of the area has lots that are approximately 5,000 square feet (but still 50 ft in width). Though slightly smaller, they still allow for similar privacy and distance from your neighbors than locations West of Sepulveda Blvd.
Pros- affordability; proximity to the freeways, LAX, and daily shopping; slightly larger lots.
Cons- you are not likely walking to the beach or Downtown.
Manhattan Village- The only gated community in Manhattan Beach. It is located East of Sepulveda Blvd. and North of Marine Ave. The development was built in the late 1980’s with a combination of single family homes, townhomes and court-homes. The development offers many outdoor activities, including swimming pools, and is also bordered by an executive 9-hole golf course.
Pros- tasteful conforming neighborhood aesthetic; 24-hour security; gated & guarded entry; shared community amenities; walking distance to banks, shopping, dining & movie theatre.
Cons- bit of a distance from the beach; mostly townhomes with small patios; community rules and regulations.
For an in-depth look at each section of Manhattan Beach, visit www.SouthBayRealEstateGuide.com or contact the office for a copy of our exclusive South Bay Real Estate Guide.