U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > Los Angeles
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 03-17-2012, 12:17 AM
 
223 posts, read 360,937 times
Reputation: 186

Advertisements

Hello,

I work in Santa Monica a few blocks from the beach and have been renting an apartment in Palms/Culver City area. With mortgage rates and what appear to be a flattened housing market I am now considering home ownership. Anything close to SM is incredibly overpriced. We have a household income of about 125k and can afford roughly 300-400k for a small home or condo. No plans for kids and doubt that changes.

Ideally we would like a small 1200 SF home but can't get anything on the west side for that. Even a decent condo is over 400k. I'm stuck working a good job in SM with everything remotely close to it being overpriced. Even the areas that are semi-affordable (parts of mar vista, fox hills) are sketchy for the amount of money they cost.

Where should I be looking? Areas I have been considering are Sherman Oaks (close to 405, i could come into work extra early to minimize the morning drive) and Woodlands hills (mainly because of canyon route to work). Living at either of those places gets me the heat and roughly a 1 hour commute.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-17-2012, 10:54 AM
 
120 posts, read 408,106 times
Reputation: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmblackflag View Post
Hello,

I work in Santa Monica a few blocks from the beach and have been renting an apartment in Palms/Culver City area. With mortgage rates and what appear to be a flattened housing market I am now considering home ownership. Anything close to SM is incredibly overpriced. We have a household income of about 125k and can afford roughly 300-400k for a small home or condo. No plans for kids and doubt that changes.

Ideally we would like a small 1200 SF home but can't get anything on the west side for that. Even a decent condo is over 400k. I'm stuck working a good job in SM with everything remotely close to it being overpriced. Even the areas that are semi-affordable (parts of mar vista, fox hills) are sketchy for the amount of money they cost.

Where should I be looking? Areas I have been considering are Sherman Oaks (close to 405, i could come into work extra early to minimize the morning drive) and Woodlands hills (mainly because of canyon route to work). Living at either of those places gets me the heat and roughly a 1 hour commute.
you need to go up to 700K. Buy a SFH. I am assuming you are clean in terms of debt, so you should have no problems at all qualifying for home in 700-800K range with your 125K income and 20% down. If not, i highly recommend palms, mar vista, or westchester (west of la tijera) for a small home for 550K and below. they are easy to find. stay off the 405 and 10 freeways at all costs man!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2012, 11:43 AM
 
4,028 posts, read 8,297,103 times
Reputation: 2871
You should continue to rent.

If you are totally desperate for a house, then you can find something in your price range in Lake Balboa, or even more so in Northridge and Granada Hills. But then you have a pretty crappy drive. But IMO buying a house in that area is life fail. Even though your mortgage will be cheaper than renting, you'll likely have several hundred a month in gas costs and wear and tear on your car, in addition to losing an hour of every single working day of your life.

People that claim renting is like throwing money away REALLY miss the big picture. Its a false claim and one that should be ignored. You should buy when it makes sense to do so from a life and financial perspective. You should not buy because some dingbat throws out a nonsensical cliche. You should DEFINITELY not buy right now because you think you'll build equity(that takes 10 years if the market stays flat) or because you think its a great investment(investments have to rise in value more than inflation to be a great investment....homes historically rise around 3-4% a year, just barely beating inflation and certainly not outperforming the stock market or even govt bonds).

Granada Hills:

17733 LOS ALIMOS St, Granada Hills, CA 91344 | MLS# F11159183

Lake Balboa:

17642 LEMAY Pl, Lake Balboa, CA 91406 | MLS# F11154677
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2012, 11:24 PM
 
33 posts, read 86,540 times
Reputation: 35
hey tmblackflag, you have touched upon one of my fave subjects. Not sure of what your level of "decent" is since everyone's gauge is different but considering you seem to be looking at buying when you see an opportunity I believe you would at least research/consider the following. If I were a 1st time buyer today with a great job on the Westside and the funds to jump into a single family home budgeted in the 400k arena, I would be looking into the mid city area just below the Miracle Mile nabe moving towards the 10fwy. More specifically below Olympic as the area North is quite up there in price. How far South and East would depend on your comfort level. If you really loved city living, were into the urban scene and a pioneer, I'd advise you to jump the 10 freeway and head South to the Adams district along the train. But I know it's not for everyone. That said, North of the 10fwy can be very doable for 1st time buyers if you are not expecting move-in ready. Nice housing stock with great bones and best of all right in the middle of the city about half way to the beaches and Downtown. Not to mention so close to desirable amenities (shopping, museums, Farmers market etc...) and central to other great neighborhoods like Culver City, Miracle Mile, Bev Hills.... I believe the elbow grease here would payoff.

For the last 25 years and even longer....homes and neighborhoods keep improving as they move south towards the 10 freeway. On the Westside, folks thought areas "South" of major blvds. such as Wilshire, Santa Monica, Olympic, Pico etc. were less appealing....today its a completely different story with home values almost untouchable for 1st time buyers. The same movement is happening today with the Mid City area where in the past, everyone stayed north of Wilshire but now, the section just south around Olympic reaps a whopping 700-900k for a nicely fixed up property. The city has visually improved major thoroughfares such as Washington Blvd and there is a strong potential for shops to emerge as the infrastructure is already there. Since kids are not an issue for you, school districts are not a concern. Even then, school districts change when folks invest in their homes as there is added pressure to up the ante. Also, folks willing to be pioneers will invest by the train leading to SaMo that should help anchor the south of the freeway at some point. (But yes, this is longer term)

Overall, it's really a matter of finding a home with good a structure on a nice street. I would look for coffee shops sprouting, strong & emerging neighborhood voice, and basic clues that would show signs of a great community brewing. If you aren't into fixers but see one on a great street, try not to discount it as a paint job or clean-up can do wonders.

As far as a condos, your price range seems to still be doable in sections of the Westside. Check out the Sawtelle area.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > Los Angeles
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top