Monday, March 5, 2007

North of Montana Storybook

"North of Montana" on the Westside doesn't mean somewhere in Canada, it means the richy part of Santa Monica, north of Montana Ave.

This $2.15M 3 bed 2 bath house on 22nd St. is the first low-end house on the market there this year. As in, the agent during a busy open house yesterday said there were already 3 offers to tear it down to build a new "monster mansion." Which would be a real shame, as this 1927 house is really cute and in good condition, an opportunity to fix up in place or keep the front and add on behind. Expect the city Landmarks Commission to weigh in if a demolition permit is requested.

(The listing was confused what style to call it, first Spanish, then Tudor. I'd call it "Storybook," like the witch's house in Beverly Hills.)

Last year saw low-end houses north of Montana falling to $1.6M for 450 Lincoln and $1.86M for 620 17th, both closed in November. A high block of a higher-numbered street is considered more prestigeous, though, and this is a larger and nicer house. A new big 2-story house here would sell for over $3M or $4M.

Back in the crash of the early 1990s, "lot value" (tear-down) houses north of Montana fell from over $900K in 1989 to below $600K in 1994, over 1/3.


Anonymous said...

I know it is true, but calling a $2.15M house "low-end" really shows the insanity of this bubble. Those neighborhoods are nice, but are there really that many people in the greater LA area who can afford it? Hopefully all the mortage brokers will be selling soon and driving prices down. I for one will leave the area if the drop isn't closer to 40% than 30.

I always wonder on these bogs, what jobs are there that support hese prices? I make very good money, and can't fathom buying a 2.15M 3bd house. Nor can I afford it under any rational lending regime. Who are the buyers? Drug lords? Mortgage brokers? Is everyone inheriting massive amounts of wealth?

Westside Bubble said...

Who? Successful Hollywood directors, writers, and actors. Inherited wealth. Successful tech entrepreneurs. JFK's nephew.

Not even the traditional successful professionals - doctors and lawyers - can get into north of Montana any more.

Anonymous said...

Great site!

Can you enable your RSS feeds so other sites can feature your coverage?

Westside Bubble said...

Thanks! I think RSS and Atom feeds are enabled, but I'm no authority on them. Please let me know what if I need to do more.

dwr said...

"Who? Successful Hollywood directors, writers, and actors. Inherited wealth. Successful tech entrepreneurs. JFK's nephew."

I've looked at most of the sales north of Montana over the last couple of years, and have yet to see a buyer with the last name of Scorsese, Pitt, Cruise, or DeNiro. People who make 100K are taking on $1 million in mortgage debt, and people making 200K are taking on $2 million in mortgage debt. Neither is sustainable.

"Not even the traditional successful professionals - doctors and lawyers - can get into north of Montana any more."

Change "any more" to "for now".

Richard Mason said...

I can't get over the fact that according to the 2000 Census, the median household income north of Montana was only $118K. Okay, the 2000 Census was seven years ago, but still. Surely not everyone in the zip code has helmed a successful movie project or sold their company to Google since then.

Number from:

Anonymous said...

dwr and richard,

People who make 100K and take out 1 Mil in mortgage still cannot afford it unless they have 2-4 Mil for a down payment. So, if they make 100K, they need to be independently wealthy in order to buy north of Montana. There is no way your average working guy making 100K with some cash in the bank can afford to buy there, even with the most "creative" of loans.

Richard - median listed income may be 118K, but that does not account for older retired folks who have lived there for a long time, and all the other wealthy folks that have a small "reported" income but are worth a fortune in other ways.

Westside Bubble said...

dwr: Two examples of movie people north of Montana are:

1. If you saw "Who Killed the Electric Car", the scene where actor Peter Horton's EV1 (the last one) is hauled away is in a north-of-Montana alley.

2. The co-author and co-producer of 2006's Best Picture Oscar-winner "Crash" lives north-of-Montana.

Both moved from smaller one-story houses nearby to their current big two-story houses, probably around five years ago though, not at the peak.

anon: Agreed, there are old-timers there. Must feel pretty weird how the neighborhood has changed. Twenty years ago Merihew Nursery, gas stations, small markets, and the hardware and stationery stores on Montana started leaving.

BTW, this house listing is gone. Figured it would go fast. There's a new bottom-end one for $1,995K on 16th.

Joey said...

My friend is buying around 24th and San Vicente. He is a tech entrepreneur and sold him company for about 7 mil. He also has about a mil in equity at his current place in W. Hollywood. Despite this, he is still struggling to afford to buy in this area.