Santa Monica Real Estate – A Market Study

Santa Monica Real Estate – A Market Study

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Santa Monica Real Estate – A Diverse Beach Paradise

Santa Monica is one of the most coveted markets in Los Angeles for both renters and buyers.  While it is often considered one of the wealthier areas in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Mapping Los Angeles project the median income for the area is actually average for the county of Los Angeles.  This is likely due to the diversity of property values within the sub-regions of Santa Monica.

Overview of Santa Monica Real Estate

Santa Monica is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the West, Dewey St. and Airport Ave. on the South, Centinela Ave. and 26th St. on the east, and San Vicente on the north.  The Santa Monica real estate market breaks neatly into five separate zip codes.  The 90402 zip code is north of Montana Ave. (shaded in blue), the 90403 zip code is roughly between Wilshire Blvd. and Montana Ave. (shaded in green), the 90404 zip code is north of Pico Blvd., south of Wilshire Blvd., and east of Lincoln Blvd. and 12th St. (shaded in yellow), the 90405 zip code is south of Pico Blvd. (shaded in red), and the 90401 zip code is south of Wilshire Blvd., north of Pico Blvd., and west of Lincoln Blvd. and 12th St (shaded in orange).

While they are all within the same city, the zip codes can be drastically different in price.  Generally speaking, the further one ventures north in Santa Monica, the more suburban, and expensive, the area becomes.  Similarly, as one travels west toward the beach, the Santa Monica real estate market becomes progressively more expensive.  The below graph of median quarterly residential sale prices in Santa Monica illustrates the stark difference in pricing between the 90402 zip code, the northernmost zip code, and the remainder of the Santa Monica real estate market over the past three years.

Santa Monica Real Estate Median Residential Sale Price

* Data Source – theMLS

The zip codes are also drastically different in character.  The 90402 and 90405, the northernmost and southermost, zip codes consist primarily of single family homes.  The 90402 zip code, predictably given its expense, contains larger properties on larger lots, while the 90405 zip code is more dense and contains smaller homes and lots.  The central zip codes of 90401, 90403, and 90404 are more dense, with 90401 containing a large proportion of condominiums and the 90403 and 90404 zip codes containing a higher proportion of townhomes.  The 90401 and 90404 zip codes contain more commercial property and are more dense due to their proximity to Downtown Santa Monica, while the 90403 zip code is more residential.  The below graph displays the difference between the zip codes with respect to property types.

Santa Monica Real Estate Percentage Single Family Homes

* Data Source – theMLS

Thus, purchasers looking for single family homes will likely have more success in the 90402 and 90405 zip codes, while purchasers of condominiums and townhomes will find more properties in the central zip codes of 90401, 90403, and 90404.

Desirable Sub-Regions of Santa Monica Real Estate

As is normally the case, the school districts within the Santa Monica real estate market play a major role in determining supply, demand, and price.

The Roosevelt Elementary School District

The Roosevelt Elementary School district (ranked 10/10 by Great Schools) overlaps the western portions of the 90401, 90402 and 90403 zip codes.  The price per square foot in the region can exceed $1,000, with single family homes in the 90402 zip code selling comfortably above $4,000,000.00.  Given the overlap into the 90401 zip code, there are also opportunities for less wealthy home buyers to secure townhomes and condominiums at more comfortable price ranges.  However, opportunities in the 90401 zip code are limited, with only 63 residential units having been sold in the past three years.  The Roosevelt Elementary School district area is also serviced by Lincoln Middle School (9/10) and Santa Monica High School (8/10).

The Franklin Elementary School District

The Franklin Elementary School (10/10) district covers the remainder of the 90402 and 90403 zip codes.  It is also served by Lincoln Middle School (9/10) and Santa Monica High School (8/10).  Because it is further east, and because of the large proportion of townhomes in the 90403 zip code, the properties in this district tend to be more affordable than those located in the Roosevelt Elementary School district.  Moreover, because it is further from the commercial developments in Santa Monica’s downtown region, the area tends to be more suburban and residential than the Roosevelt Elementary School district.  In the 90403 zip code in the Franklin Elementary School district, buyers can expect to pay upward of $600 per square foot.  Buyers in the 90402 zip code in the Franklin Elementary School district should expect to pay upward of at least $1.5m at no less than $800 per square foot in the past three months.

Recent Market Trends In Santa Monica Real Estate

The Santa Monica real estate market’s recent expansion has been significant, with the median sale price increasing over 38% in the past three years.  Its growth has not, however, outpaced Los Angeles County, which has seen an increase in median sale price of over 43% in the same time period. According to Zillow, home values in Santa Monica are expected to increase another 3.9% in the next year.  As shown below, the growth rates of Los Angeles County and Santa Monica are relatively similar, with Los Angeles County slightly outpacing Santa Monica.

Esquire Real Estate Santa Monica Median Residential Sale Price

Santa Monica Real Estate Promises A Safe Investment

The Santa Monica real estate market’s slightly slower growth is likely because the it was not hit nearly as hard by the recession as Los Angeles County.  The median sale price in Santa Monica dropped from approximately $1m in late 2007/2008 to approximately $750,000 in 2011, a drop of approximately 25%.  Meanwhile, Los Angeles County saw a drop from approximately $872,000 in late 2007 to $363,000 in late 2011, a drop of over 58%.  This was likely due to Santa Monica’s highly desirable location, which keeps demand high even when the market overall experiences a slump in demand.  Thus, although its growth has been relatively tempered, the Santa Monica real estate market promises a much safer investment than Los Angeles County as a whole.  There will always be purchasers looking to move into Santa Monica due to its excellent weather, proximity to the beach, and excellent schools.

If you would like to further discuss how Esquire Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. can help you in the Santa Monica and Los Angeles real estate markets, feel free to give us a call at 213-973-9439 or send us an email at info@esquirereb.com.

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