Sunday, July 13, 2008

Adelaide x 4

There are four listings on Adelaide Drive (the north edge of Santa Monica, overlooking SM Canyon). Above is the landmark Craftsman bungalow at 236 Adelaide, 8 bed/4.5 bath, asking $7,995K.

For this house, with the lawn looking out at the view and great Moreton Bay Fig tree in the back, if I had 8 million lying around, bubble or not.... BTW, you know I try to do something different for photos; this was taken in 1978.

"Located on one of the most scenic & historic streets in Southern California this Landmark property rests on over 3/4 of an acre w/spectacular views of the ocean & mountains. Constructed in 1911 by Isaac Milbank & owned by the same family for nearly a century, some say this is the best example of Craftsman style in Santa Monica. Graciously perched above the street the property boasts expansive lawns, mature trees, pathways, gardens, & several ancillary structures. Truly a piece of So Cal history...."

Or you can buy the little house across the street on the edge of the canyon at 237 Adelaide, 1/1.5, asking $2,895K.

"Platitudes aside, this is simply the best view in the best location in Santa Monica. Ocean,canyon and mountain views above Santa Monica Canyon!! Living room w/2-story ceilings, wall of glass. private pool, separate private office Bedroom wing off of patio area. Fabulous location for buyer/investor looking to live or build. It is currently a stunning pied-a-terre..."

Or up the block at 526 Adelaide, 7/4.5, $7,950K:

"Only a handful of regal homes grace the south rim of Santa Monica Canyon overlooking the Gold Coast, Santa Monica mountains and azure Pacific. So, it's rare indeed when one of these great estates is offered for sale. For the first time in 33 years, this one-time home of Santa Monica's first mayor will find new owners. In pristine condition, the lovely gated property includes 7BR's and enclosed pool house. Walk to the beach, Montana Ave. or the bluffs above the sea. Imagine the possibilities...."

Or the first of the two houses on the north side, at 645 Adelaide, 7/6, $7,395K:

"This Mediterranean inspired estate is situated on one of Santa Monica's premier streets boasting views of the ocean, mountains & canyon. This home has been masterfully re-defined & updated w/state-of-the-art materials & finish reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast. 6BD, 6BA + media rm, den/ofc/7th BD. Gourmet kit w/stainless steel appliances. Features walnut hwd flrs, custom archways, beams & molding. Elegant master w/custom closets, French doors & lg balcony overlooking patio & pool w/amazing views...."


Anonymous said...

OMG, I love this house. It has been one of my favorites for years. I used to dream of owning it and was delusional enough into my 20's to think that if I had a great career like being an attorney, then it could be a possibility. HAH! Welcome to Southern California, where earning a couple hundred K doesn't get you squat!

van said...

this is a great histori house. but because of its historic status, it would be impossible to alter in any way.

Anonymous said...

outside is gorgeous. inside is attrocious.

Anonymous said...

right - lawyers can't afford the 90402

Anonymous said...

doctors need not apply either

Anonymous said...

These properties are all massively overpriced. The U.S. is in the process of a complete financial meltdown. Wait a year or two, and you can buy then for $500,000 apiece (because lenders will come back even though I believe they're all going out of business). But if prices stay above $500,000, don't blame me!

Bears, did I get that about right? ;)

Anonymous said...

IMB goes down and these over priced homes come on the market! What a slap in the face of our banking and financial system!

Epsilon said...

An older doctor married to an older lawyer could afford one of these places... combined, they could clear $2 million a year (assuming they're both partners or have very successful private practices).

I can't imagine paying $100,000 a year in property taxes, though! I think I'd offer $4,000,000 for the house, and $4,000,000 more for the furniture.

And what's with everyone in Southern California pretending they live in Italy? Reminiscent of the Amalfi coast? Wonder if the Realtor has even been to Europe...

Reno homes said...

If I had the money...

"Or you can buy the little house across the street on the edge of the canyon at 237 Adelaide, 1/1.5, asking $2,895K."

Sounds more like me.

But right I second the motion of epsilon (if it really is $100k), $100,000 for taxes might be too over the top, even if my name was Ryan O'Neil.

rosebud said...

It's great that this property getting listed gets boths bulls and bears excited. I think it sheds a little light on the mentality of buying (or being able to buy) property in certain select areas of the country. Granted, for most of the people on this board, that excitement doesn't extend to the rest of SM... but perhaps it does for others (ie buyers). Maybe this emotional response is another one of the reasons we haven't seen the same massive reductions in certain key areas yet?

Anyone going to guess what it will sell for, and how fast?

Anonymous said...

i am looking at comparing the franklin school to rooselvelt -

i have been told a number of times that franklin has a higher family income that roosevelt

the logic is that franklin's catchment area has a lot more SFR than the roosevelt catchment area - the Franklin catchment includes a lot of SFR south of montana while roosevelt's south of montana area includes almost all condos

also - roosevelt catchment extends south of wilshire in some areas

is this true -

i dont want to make value judgements only to figure out what the truth is

Anonymous said...

The popularity of Franklin and Roosevelt has swung back and forth over the past 20 years, but Franklin is generally considered to be a better school. Speak with current and former parents and check the web resources such as

You will most likely want to plan on a private school starting in 6th grade, however.

WarChestSM said...

"Franklin is generally considered to be a better school"

Agree with this statement. Went there and it was great. I hear it is still an exceptional school (no reason to assume otherwise as well).

"You will most likely want to plan on a private school starting in 6th grade, however."

Strongly disagree with this. I have reiterated my support for both Lincoln (middle) and SAMO (high) many times here and on my blog. Went to both of them. Excellent teachers, honors and AP classes, just as much opportunity to get into top tier colleges, many other kids with high income/high education parents, etc, a little taste of "the real world" which you won't get at private school in the area. Not looking to get into an argument with all the pro-private school folks -- just wanted to show a little support for what seems to be an under appreciated school system (at least amongst posters on the blogs) that we have here in SM.

WarChestSM said...

Oh and Roosevelt is exceptional as well - I did not mean to put it down at all. Difference between it and Franklin is pretty minimal.

...and you can brag that your school is in "the 90402".

Anonymous said...

I assume that it has been at least 10 years since you attended these schools. Much has changed in that time (Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, 9/11, budgets have been slashed, etc). Also consider the recent problems at Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

I'll jump in and bridge that ten year gap and say, I've got kids at Lincoln and Samo, and I certainly wouldn't send them anywhere else.

The heat that those schools get on these blogs is totally unjustified and really annoying, as it comes exclusively from posters who DON'T HAVE KIDS IN THE DISTRICT!

WarChestSM said...

True, I haven't attended these schools that recently. However, I know people in the area with kids who have been through SAMO more recently and I haven't heard anything more negative. I continue to hear great things about the teachers, music program, etc. I also recently ran into an old teacher of mine who teaches AP classes at SAMO. I specifically asked him about the quality of kids coming through his classes (and the AP classes in general) and he said that he has continued to be very impressed with his classes of kids. We talked about the school in general and one interesting thing he said was that there are actually less kids there on permit than there were when I was there. He also seemed to think that the whole "race wars" thing was way overblown and not much of an issue (especially for those on the honors/AP track). Like I have always said, those on this blog who raise their kids well will likely not even be concerned with the "other" part of SAMO. Your kids will be in the honors/AP classes with kids from similar high income/high education backgrounds who all go to top UCs and ivy league colleges.

The incident at Lincoln was very sad and unfortunate. However, it was an isolated situation. Maybe there is an argument to be made with respect to how the administration handled parts of it (I admit to not knowing the full details), but ultimately we are talking about one teacher. I don't believe that simply going to a private school would shield you from the very rare single bad apple.

But I guess if people want to continue to have a terrible view of the non-elementary public schools then that should drive prices of real estate down...that's ultimately what us bears want, right?

I mean, unless you make huge money and are a wealthy 90402 buyer, the great schools are a big part of the SM premium that is baked into property prices here and should be a big reason why you are buying here!

Anonymous said...

i want to answer the poster that said the following

i would move to any of the other nice communities in northern or southern my opinion the westside is, by far, the single worst relative value in the entire state when you factor in the: terrible public schools--i.e. everyone is paying a premium based on prestige/ego rather than quality schools, for the most part terrible housing stock/lots, and lack of any real towns/villages of any real charm. i wonder sometimes whether it is because the percentage of well educated people is lower on the westside than, for instance, many nicer areas of the bay area that the prices here don't reflect reality. anyway, i am a small business owner and am considering relocating my business to a more desirable area than the westside.

my answer is that if you care about maximizing profit and you can run your business from everywhere you should consider nevada - there is no income tax and the housing is dirt cheap

my point is that if you care about where you will put the most after tax income in your pocket then west side is not the place

however, if you care about a nice environment to live in, and you have unlimited budget, consider north of montana. you can walk to all the stores and restaurants on montana - and have a pretty full life without having to get in your car very much.

neighbors are nice, the sea breeze keeps the temperature comfy

sidewalks are always clean, little crime north of montana. what's not to like?

i mean you will pay $4 million for a nice house and then 40k per year in property taxes and high income taxes and etc but if you have unlimited budget then n of montana is very nice place to live.

if you don't have unlimited budget then go consider another place

Anonymous said...

if you have $4 or $5 million to spend on a house then north of montana is a nice place to spend it

i don't think there is a debate here about that

the question being debated is the following - is it BETTER to

(1) buy a vacant lot north of montana, hire a contractor and build your own house

(2) buy an already existing house north of montana

(3) rent a house north of montana and wait a year or two or three and THEN buy when you think prices have bottomed

that is the debate - there are good persuasive arguments for point number three but i haven't heard any arguments that persuade for point one or two

Anonymous said...

There is a whole other element to the decision whether to buy in 90402 or not - who do you want to hang out with -

i mean walk down to montana - the people are wearing flip flops - they are very casual and relaxed

it is not a stressed out hyper competitive vibe like what you find in beverly hills. it is laid back

i have to cite the following post from a few months ago - the bottom line is that the vibe on montana is DIFFERENT - there is no other place in southern cal where there are three thousand houses next to each other, with the houses changing hands between two million and five million - with a liberal relaxed progressive vibe. the one location where you get that is north of montana - i am not saying that everyone that wants to drop 2 to 5 million on a home wants that exact vibe, let's say the number is small. but if that is what you want, then n of montana is the only place to get it

respect all the posts that have come before me.

I have to dispute the one writer who said

The super wealthy can plunk down millions elsewhere and get a lot more, and have much richer neighbors.

I guess he was saying that if you can truly afford to spend $4million on a house why would you buy in 90402 where your neighbors do not look super rich, do not dress like super rich people, do not have the mannerisms of super rich people.

I think that is precisely the point. If you live in 90402 you don't have to dress a certain way or drive a certain car. Your kids don't grow up feeling "rich" the way they do in some other neighborhoods.

All the bears keep saying that 90402 doesn't have the same vibe as Beverly Hills or Bel Air.

Perhaps the ranks of the people with $4 million to spend on a house is diverse enough that many of them don't LIKE the vibe of Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

Perhaps there is a niche among people that can afford to live anywhere that choose the 90402 precisely for what that last poster laughs at

February 12, 2008 5:20 AM
Anonymous said...
If you want to spend $4 million and be around snooty snobby people, spend the $4 million in Beverly Hills

if you want to spend $4 million and be around people who are more down to earth, wear faded t shirts, go to yoga and drive a prius, move to the 90402

it is a different culture, a different vibe. Who do you want to spend time with -

Anonymous said...

note - no one is arguing that 90402 is WORTH 4 million a house

no one is arguing that the price of houses in 90402 will go up

the only narrow modest point being made is that IF you absolutely MUST live in a neighborhood where the average house is 4 million - you may want to choose 90402 as the place to move to (rent or buy) instead of choosing bel air or holmby or newport beach.

again, this is NOT a bullish argument for the 90402 simply an argument that, putting aside the cost, that for a certain narrow type of person the 90402 is better for that person than the alternatives

Anonymous said...

All of the energy and thought being placed on understanding and analyzing what happens in the 90402 and why is a complete waste of time IMO. TO me it's like hearing people discuss intracacies of the mating habits of brine shrimp. Though perhaps interesting at an intellectual level, in the grand scheme of things it is completely irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Simply one of the nicest houses in Santa Monica. Puts the big crappy bubble houses to shame with its attention to detail and design. Hard to price it rationally. If I had to dough I'd buy it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:30 about Manhattan Beach?

Anonymous said...

MB is only for if you're a sporty type. more on the conservative side politically.

and definitely not if you're a minority.

Anonymous said...

i'd like to hear more opinions about manhattan beach

whenever i have been down there i have seen very very few visible minorities

on montana i have seen plenty of visible minorities

i want to make sure that is consistent with what other people have seen - if you want your kids to see a lot of minorities and diversity you will see more of them on montana than in MB and thus montana is better in that way

Anonymous said...

10:38 - If your kids grow up in the 90402 they don't feel rich? Ludicrous. About half your post is made up to support your argument. Montana isn't that laid back; it's barely different from Beverly Hills, Bel Air, etc. Get real.

Anonymous said...

90402 is about as diverse as MB, which is not that diverse. I recently moved to SM from MB and there are plenty of minorities living there, but it's not representative of LA at all.

Most of my friends are still down there and I think I had a diverse group of folks and none of them were republican. I'm sure there are many, but it's still Los Angeles County and most people are Dems.

What sucks about MB is lack of interesting cultural activities, the dearth of tasty cuisine, the collegiate party scene (loud at times), and trouble getting out of there to go elsewhere. 90402, on the other hand, has better access, is quieter, and you get a yard with your $2mm-$10mm purchase. At MB, you feel relaxed all the time because you are basically at the beach all the time. There's no mistaking it for anything other than a beach town. Your life will revolve around that because it's too much trouble to go anywhere else, so you chill out and relax, maybe trek up to Playa del Rey for dinner if you are feeling crazy.

To me, the 90402 feels like the average parts of San Marino with the added benefit of an ocean breeze. Both areas have shopping districts with the most useless collection of meaningless goods one has ever seen. Both areas have good schools although from what I understand the edge goes to MB on that one.

I disagree with the guy who thinks MB is "sporty types." I don't even know that means, but there's a lot of sedentary folks lounging around on their beautiful decks drinking vino and chatting with friends. What is the downside of physical fitness anyway? Or did someone read that a few hockey players live there and a few LA Lakers players live in the MB Village (not really MB)?

I'm in the sub $1.5mm category of home, so I really can't get a decent place in either, but I expect to be able to do so within a few years and my money is probably going to Malibu where I'll burn down in some raging fire.

Anonymous said...

thanks for an honest and well-balanced post. it is nice to have someone on this board without an agenda

so thank you

Anonymous said...

i have to say i see more flip flops and tie dye tee shirts on montana ave than i do on rodeo drive

so i have to say that the feel is different

Anonymous said...

The only certainty is that people who make enough to afford $4 million homes don't spend their time posting on blogs about NOM vs. MB.

Anonymous said...

response to anonymous 838am and posts following...

my point is that i consider how much value i get on the westside for $4m or so based on how nice a home, yard, community, schools i can buy versus in other areas (since i'm fortunately a small business owner that isn't tied down to location). in my opinion NOM isn't very nice at all compared to many other communities in CA (e.g. many of the upscale and nicer communities in San Diego, OC, and the Bay Area). I am really saying that I also consider the "relative value" of let's say NOM versus just the "intrinsic value" of a NOM and was really responding to those in another thread saying that if you "don't like the westside" that is irrelevant as that is not the point of the blog. however, it is relevant for thinking about value.

Anonymous said...

i respect very much what you are saying

but on a value basis you get more value in nevada

Anonymous said...

In the schools discussion people should keep homeschooling in mind. My kids have transitioned directly from home school to SMC which is a fantastic value. They can come out of high school age with 2 years of real college under their belts at a very low price. SMC is far more "real world" than any public high shcool I have seen and my kids love it. They also have plenty of high shcol level classes and I am planning on sending my youngest sooner. Instead of AP courses which cram for tests, the kids can take real college courses. There is also less of a pressure cooker environment that the kids get in the other schools I am familiar with here that my kids' friends go to which are Pali, Brentwood and SAMO.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the above poster - i know that is a good choice

that being said, what about the poster that said "

All the bears keep saying that 90402 doesn't have the same vibe as Beverly Hills or Bel Air.

Perhaps the ranks of the people with $4 million to spend on a house is diverse enough that many of them don't LIKE the vibe of Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

i really haven't heard any 90402 bears respond to that one - i mean every one of the 90402 bears seems to assume that the people that have 4 or 5 million in cash to spend want snobby bel air or BH

isn't it possible they are just like you and they want the relaxed vibe of flip flops and yoga in the 90402 ??

Westside Bubble said...

I still fondly remember the hardware store and stationery store on Montana, and Fireside Market before Wild Oats.

Yes, it's a cute street, but other than groceries there's nothing I'm interested in shopping for there anymore. Flip-flops, really?

Which parallels how north-of-Montana has changed, from a neighborhood where middle class people could buy to one filling with faux-Mediterranean McMansions.

Epsilon said...

I agree with Westside... Montana is a bit lame. Maybe if I ever become a millionaire, high-end yarn, doggie clothing, art gallaries, and a members' only dry cleaner will be important to me, but right now, when I walk to Wild Oats, I don't see anywhere I want to shop... or even where I aspire to shop.

This is not to knock the neighborhood, but the idea that it's some unique So. Cal. paradise is silly.

Anonymous said...

I love this house. The inside needs lots of tlc, but after seeing it at brokers caravan, I actually got separation anxiety an hour later and went back for a second look. I think it will go fast. The grounds are amazing. I love the giant fig tree!!

Regarding the hole Montana Ave vibe, you should have been here back in the 70's and 80's when the street had an authentic home town feel. What's so great about not being able to find a seat at Father's Office, paying too much for a cup of coffee or having to put up with obnoxious type-A dog owners???

Anonymous said...

I agree, Montana is nice for Santa Monica and the westside as there are so few real neighborhoods and "villages"...however, it's really not very charming or even pragmatic as others are pointing out.

Anonymous said...

Montana is not that great on an objective scale, but if you want a true neighborhood feel with sidewalks walking down a street that is not too crowded with traffic i think montana is all we have

for example, in PP the downtown has sunset cutting right through it so cars move quickly - the speeding cars really kill the feel of the PP for me

then san vicente in brentwood has huge traffic problems and horns honking

also plenty of pedestrians killed along san vicente in brentwood due to this

westwood village has plenty of drunken college students and homeless folks

what i am saying is montana avenue isnt that great - certainly i find it hard to like any of the stores

but it is the best we have in los angeles if you want a place that feels safe and clean and feels like a neighborhood

so yes i think montana avenue is part of why 90402 carries a price premium

Anonymous said...

I would bet that 90% of the people you see on Montana don't happen to live north of it. They are coming from south of Montana and other cities.

Anonymous said...

"Welcome to Southern California, where earning a couple hundred K doesn't get you squat!"

And when you get to three hundred, you realize it gets you squat times 1.5. With my supposedly good salary, all I can afford north of Wilshire are condos. With empty lots going for $1.5 (and this is not even NoMo), I simply can't get a house in the franklin or roosevelt districts. I'm going to wait this out, I must believe that the bubble will erase itself here too and that one day a $1.3 million mortgage would buy you a small two bedroom.

"What's so great about not being able to find a seat at Father's Office, paying too much for a cup of coffee or having to put up with obnoxious type-A dog owners???"

Thank you, thank you anon. Not to mention the horror of seeing a Williams Sonoma going up there soon, or the increase in homeless vagrants and panhandlers right on Montana. I guess the city council will do the work of the SM housing bears for them with their fear of tackling that problem.


Anonymous said...

the question being debated is the following - is it BETTER to

(1) buy a vacant lot north of montana, hire a contractor and build your own house

(2) buy an already existing house north of montana

(3) rent a house north of montana and wait a year or two or three and THEN buy when you think prices have bottomed

To get back on this topic, the buy/build decision is a tough one.

This is the era of 'monster mansions' which may come to a close with more zoning action/less approvals at any time. If you plan to build a reasonable size with LEED type features (encouraged in SM)then I would not worry about today versus 3 years.

My site selection criteria (I have bought existing and built) has everyhting to do with adjacent construction. If the neighboring houses are restored classic or recently built, then you know how your existing or to-be-built house will work. Look out for 2-3-4 aging small SFR's in a row - you may be the one who gets the superzise next door or both sides!

Anonymous said...

9:50am - That doesn't seem to be debated here at all. Do you think if you suggest it as so then it will be true? I would disagree. The debate seems to center on whether the market will fall in 90402 and why/why not. Maybe you and the San Vicente traffic deaths guy can meet in person to discuss.

Westside Bubble said...

This is the era of 'monster mansions' which may come to a close with more zoning action/less approvals at any time.

I agree with Anon 11:44. The city tightened zoning against 'monster mansions' north of Montana in 1999 after a lot of controversy and public meetings that took over a year.

Between that action, the socioeconomic changes since then, and no current push for further tightening, I don't expect any new changes.

Anonymous said...


i respect what you are saying

with an income of 300k there is no single family house you can prudently buy

dont be bamboozled in to buying something you cant afford - wait it out

Anonymous said...

well the low end for a brand new home in 90403 is today i think 2.1 million

(1) buy land for 1.4
(2) build a house for 0.7 million all - in

move in to the house - having spent 2.1 million

note that this is NOT for a house with nice finishes - this is for bare bones basic construction

2.1 is what it costs in the 90403

Anonymous said...

"2.1 is what it costs in the 90403"

Um, thanks for the info but we already know that. What we're debating is when will this stupid valuation go down like it has in even Beveryly Hills and Palisades, how far it will go down, etc.

Anonymous said...

The prices NoMo are unlikely to go down very much. Waiting for them to come down is a waste of time because there will always be buyers, both foreign and domestic, with more money and motivation than you or me. Just look at the whole McMansion trend. Most of the money is foreign, our dollar is so weak that its practically half price for international buyers. While we wait, they buy.

Anonymous said...

Why would a foreign or super rich buyer ever bother with NOM? There are no true trophy properties for people with true wealth who are not price sensitive. What kind of person worth $100m buys a cookie cutter mcmansion stuffed on a small cramped lot where you can hear your neighbor's phone ring?
NOM is instead for those who are well off (most likely net worth of $10m or below) or those who are over reaching--don't kid yourself that NOM is an elite community and that these people are not price sensitive. In almost all other parts of the country, NOM would be just a typical suburb but on abnormally small lots--it's just not very nice and therefore unimpressive to buyers with true resources

Anonymous said...

I agree. All of you NOM worshippers have bought into a "cult" where a group think mentality of (1) those who spend their time aspiring to NOM and (2) those who feel a sense of accomplished from having "achieved" NOM have actually convinced yourselves that NOM is an exclusive high-end neighborhood. That myth is what perpetuates pricing that makes no sense. If you asked most people, most sophisticated knowledgeable people, if they thought Rancho Santa Fe or NOM/Santa Monica was a more elite and nicer neighborhood. I would wager most would say RSF without a doubt. Yet in RSF you can buy much nicer homes on much greater lots and get much better public schools for a lot less than NOM. Now there are many reasons obviously to live in Santa Monica than RSF--but to see that kind of valuation discrepancy seems like a sign of a bubble.

Anonymous said...

i agree - the 90402 is really hurt by the fact that lots are too small -

that is why the buyers that can afford it buy two lots next to each other and then build on the combined lot -

go to 20th and alta and you will see a buyer who is doing just this

bottom line is lots are too small for the area to really be ideal so until more lots are combined it won't appeal to the high end

and this could take many many years -

if you really love land please avoid n of montana it is not the place for you

Anonymous said...

but why have one of the biggest lots/most expensive homes in a less than truly upscale neighborhood? doesn't that violate real estate rule #1 of location and not having the most expensive home on the street?

Anonymous said...

"that is why the buyers that can afford it buy two lots next to each other and then build on the combined lot -

go to 20th and alta and you will see a buyer who is doing just this"

Generally speaking, the city DOESN'T allow this. Dunno what the story is here, but don't count on it happening again.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the scoop on lot combinations -

as i drive around north of montana there seem to be more of them
but just above you have a poster saying the city doesn't allow this

if you combine two standard 90402 lots you get 15 thousand square foot lot that is almost half an acre and makes for a bigger legal house