Los Angeles is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. That can make it tough for regular folks trying to live and work here. But there are still some really nice neighborhoods in the L.A. Basin proper that you can own a home in for less than $500k (in many cases less than $400k.). You don't have to move to the San Fernando Valley or San Bernardino, and since these homes are in the center of Los Angeles they're all great investments with a tremendous potential for appreciation.
Before I start listing specific areas, remember that homes for under $500k can pop up in places that you might not expect. The Hollywood Hills is a perfect example of this. Usually there is an issue of some kind: the home is odd in some way or a fixer, it's on a small or irregular lot, the new Metro line is going in three doors down, the numbers never lie. However, there are many good deals of this type to be had and the upside of some of these properties may be just what you're looking for. In general, it's a good idea to work with a Realtor so you know everything that's available and what you're getting into.
The neighborhood at the top of my list is Baldwin Hills. This is a charming neighborhood of two to four bedroom post-war (1940's), ranch style homes, located in the center of town between Culver City and the Crenshaw District (where there are also a lot of great homes in this price range.) You can get beautiful homes here for the high-$300 to low-$400k's. The Baldwin Hills also offer the most relatively inexpensive hillside homes in Los Angeles with some of the most spectacular views in the city. There are also some really nice homes from $400k to $500k on the southern flank of the Baldwin Hills on Overhill, and La Tijera between Slauson and Centinela if you're interested in this area. Northern Inglewood also falls into this category (as little as $350k) but is not technically Los Angeles.
Another great area to check out is known as Picfair. This is the area around Pico and Fairfax Boulevards. Actually everything north of Pico and (as you head towards Wishire,) and west of Fairfax (towards West L.A.) gets more expensive, but there are some exceptional deals, many for less than $400k to the south and east. There is also a great pocket of $400 to $500k properties nearby a little further west between La Cinega and Robertson just north of the 10 Fwy right next to Cheviot and Beverly Hills.
Koreatown can be loosely defined the area between Vermont and Arlington/Wilton from Beverly all the way down to the 10 Fwy, though you'll find people from many cultures here. There are too many different neighborhoods here give a more detailed breakdown, but there are usually a fair number of opportunities here for under $500k, including a lot of great old craftsman and even late-Victorian homes.
There are two other neighborhoods with a kind of Downtown vibe worth mentioning here. Though many parts of Hollywood are more expensive than you might think, you can still occasionally find good deals for under $500k on either side of the 101 Fwy (usually south of Hollywood & Sunset Blvds.) Then continuing on the 101 there are more good deals (even as low as $350 to $400k ) on either side of the freeway as you approach Downtown L.A.. This area is just south of the popular neighborhoods of Silverlake and Echo Park.
Finally, if your a beach lover you can occasionally pick up smaller homes in Culver City, Palms and Mar Vista from Venice Blvd., down to Culver and Ballona Creek. The trick here is to keep a close eye out for new listings, and put down a offer pretty quickly when a good deal catches your eye. Though houses for under $500k get a lot rarer as you head west across the 405 Fwy, I'm particularly fond of the area between Washington & Culver just west of Centinela where bargains occasionally pop up.
There is one other neighborhood that I'm going to mention here. Though it's not in the L.A. Basin proper, Mt. Washington is just north of Downtown behind Dodger Stadium. A variety of homes can be had in this older hillside community with spectacular views for under $500k. This area five minutes from Downtown, close to both Hollywood and Pasadena, and enjoys all the shopping you can handle in nearby Glendale.
Drop me a line anytime if you'd like more details about any of these neighborhoods, or want to go and check out these great opportunities for yourself.
AJonesREALTOR / Andy@JonesResortProperty.com
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