Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

LA's housing market has made West Adams hot

by Leo Duran | Take Two®

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Realtor Natalie Neith, a 30-year resident of West Adams, stands in front of one home in the neighborhood. Leo Duran/KPCC

To understand how hot L.A.'s housing market is, turn to West Adams.

The neighborhood straddles the 10 freeway as you drive between USC and Culver City, and it's the only place in Los Angeles that's among America's top 10 competitive markets according to real estate site Redfin.

"I think we've been discovered and forgotten over the years," says realtor Natalie Neith who's lived in the neighborhood since 1986.

But there's something different at work nowadays if bidding wars are erupting over bungalows.

"Those would have been, five years ago, $300,000," she says. "Now, they're at least $650,000."

A home in the West Adams neighborhood of L.A. Competition over houses there have made it one of the hottest real estate markets in the country according to RedFin.
A home in the West Adams neighborhood of L.A. Competition over houses there have made it one of the hottest real estate markets in the country according to RedFin. Leo Duran/KPCC

Neith pins the recent changes in West Adams to one booming sector of L.A.'s economy: the tech industry in Silicon Beach.

"The people that work there can’t afford to live there," she says, pointing out the extremely tight housing market on the Westside. "To get a tiny little house there is going to cost you over a million. Here, you can get so much more of your money here and you’re not that far away."

And it's more centrally located than another burgeoning L.A. neighborhood, Highland Park.

"If you work on the Westside, or even if you're not that far on the west, that's a long way away to go," says Neith.

The creation and expansion of Metro's Expo Line train has something to do with the market, too, she thinks.

"It’s a great boon for people who maybe work in Culver City or they work on the westside," she says. "They have great transportation to get across town."

Homes in LA's West Adams neighborhood typically have about 4 bedrooms, according to realtor Natalie Neith. But this home is so big that it's being divided into 8 condos.
Homes in LA's West Adams neighborhood typically have about 4 bedrooms, according to realtor Natalie Neith. But this home is so big that it's being divided into 8 condos. Leo Duran/KPCC

West Adams' housing stock is solid and pretty diverse, as well.

The kinds of homes Neith deals in vary between one-story bungalows to five-bedroom Craftsmans.

The people of West Adams are as equally varied.

"We are a mix of everything, just like Los Angeles is and just like the United States is," she says.

That's partly derived from history: in the late 1940s, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racial covenant laws.

That allowed minorities like African-Americans and Japanese-Americans to buy homes in neighborhoods where they were once banned by local laws, and West Adams was one of those places.

But there's probably no bigger sign of change to the neighborhood than one particular store that's moving in.

"Well, you know the holy grail is Trader Joe’s. Everybody wants Trader Joe's," she says, "and West Adams is going to get a Trader Joe's!"

It's obviously good business for a realtor like herself, but Neith is excited about what's in store for her neighborhood and future neighbors.

"The entire center of the city is being discovered by people, just like you who never knew it was here," she says, "and that’s only a good thing."

Do you live in West Adams, too, and have a different take on the housing market? Let us know in the comments.

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