Beach Condos in Long Beach Are Great Investments, Because of These Market Forces
Long Beach real estate has become a hot commodity in recent years, with all the improvements being done to the city. Buzz is getting out that Long Beach is a desirable place to live, with its fortuitous location right on the water with—as its name suggests—a very long beach with tons of public access. It also has a new running path that parallels the existing bike path, so that walkers and runners don’t compete for space with cyclists or drivers.
Long Beach has shed its former image of being a gritty navy town, and has escaped its legacy of interesting names like “Iowa-by-the-Sea” or even “Ghetto-by-the-Sea.”
Long Beach is instead celebrated for its diversity, independent businesses, a burgeoning craft brewery scene, eclectic restaurants, and all-around nice people, all in a gorgeous natural environment, hugged by the Pacific Ocean.
When I started in real estate just 6 years ago, it was in 2011 and in the midst of the worst recession people had seen in a long time, and property values were hard hit. Hardest hit were condos…. they were by far suffering with not only the neighborhood values going down, and thus dragging their values down with them, as with the case of single family houses, but when you own a condo, your property’s financial situation is tied to that of the entire building. So when you pay your mortgage and your homeowner’s association dues religiously, that is good, but your condo’s financial health also depends on others in the building paying their mortgage and homeowner’s association dues. Hence, values of condos suffered, as the situation of a few, which in some cases grew to many in some buildings, affected everyone in the same complex.
Beach Condo Values in Long Beach Are Affordable, and Their Values Are On the Rise
And as values went down for real estate in our area in general, the affordability of single family homes went up. So, people bought houses. They had cleaner financial bills of health, and they were affordable.
Properties specifically in the downtown area of Long Beach and in Alamitos Beach along the Ocean Blvd corridor were largely suffering during this downturn, and took longer to recover. While they were beautiful properties, many with gorgeous ocean views, people looked at them as luxuries they could not afford, and instead turned to single family houses to buy. So for a long time, their values were stunted.
Fast forward to now, 2017. This year has seen a very strong return of values and appreciation to these properties, with benefits to both buyers and sellers. At last! The oceanfront condos of Long Beach are being enjoyed for what they are, a terrific asset on one of the last remaining affordable beach-fronts in all of Los Angeles and Orange County.
Let me enumerate the benefits of these fantastic properties.
Benefits of Beach Condos in Long Beach
1. Location, location, location!
They are located in Long Beach, on the Pacific Ocean. In Long Beach, residents of these beachfront condos have access to Los Angeles and Orange County and are right in the middle of things. Not to mention a great airport, named the Long Beach Airport, with daily flights to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, New York, Utah and many other great locations.
2. Direct Beach Access
Many of the condos in the Ocean Blvd corridor offer direct beach access, meaning they are on the beach and ocean side of Ocean Blvd – you need not cross a single street to touch your toes to the sand.
3. Luxurious Amenities
Many of these condos have 24 hour concierge/security to receive your packages and secure the building, as well as luxurious pool and spa and gym areas that make you truly feel you live in a resort. Many buildings have bike storage rooms and some even have temperature controlled wine storage lockers for your wine collections.
4. Wonderful Communities
Many of the buildings have communities of residents who do things together. There are generally building-sponsored events, such a book clubs and fireworks watching parties.
Oh, yes! Fireworks from the Queen Mary on 4th of July and New Years.
5. City Access Without City-Living Disadvantages
Solitude and being away from the fray. Many of my clients buying oceanfront properties in Long Beach, these days, come from Los Angeles, which is getting busier and more built up every day. They are seeking a place of tranquility and solitude away from the fray, but they don’t want to leave the city entirely (e.g. move to the central coast or too far down to South Orange County). Long Beach offers “lite” city living with less congested traffic, more ocean, less honking, more friendly smiles.
How to Pick Among the Best Beach Condos in Long Beach
Let’s move on to how you can evaluate the various properties along the Ocean Blvd corridor. Here are my tips on that:
1. Choose Between “Downtown” and “Beachy,” to Pick the Best Neighborhood
The area along Ocean Blvd stretches from downtown Long Beach east toward Belmont Shore, but not all the way to Belmont Shore. It basically stops at Cherry Ave where the buildings stop at a lovely park on the bluff called Bixby Park. The closer you are to downtown, the more walkable your home will be to all the shops and restaurants and businesses in downtown, but the farther you are from downtown, the more residential and “beachy” it will be.
Decide whether you’d like the energy and walkability and convenience of being in or close to downtown, or if you’d rather have more seclusion and beach and less of the urban scene. Choose the addresses at 400 W Ocean or 388, 488, 700, 800, or 850 E Ocean for being right in or proximal to downtown. Choose addresses like 1310, 1400, 1500, 1750 E Ocean for being further from downtown and closer to Cherry Ave near the park and of course on the Beach.
2. EVEN numbered houses are on the beach side of Ocean Blvd!
Now that I am naming off specific addresses, which represent beachfront condos on Ocean Blvd, note that they are all even numbered on Ocean Blvd – which is the beach side of Ocean Blvd, while the odd numbers are on the opposite side and represent buildings that are much less expensive because to access the beach, one would have to cross the street, and find a public access.
1st through 15th Place Are Also By the Beach
Another tip about the area – there are plenty of non-Ocean Blvd addresses that are right on the beach, and usually those addresses are on a “Place” street – look for 1st Place to 15th Place for the area between downtown Long Beach and the park on Cherry.
Watch for Amenities You’d Like Your Beach Condo to Have
Think about what kind of amenities you would like from your beach condo – do you want a gym, pool, spa, and 24 hour concierge? These are available from many of the buildings in the area, and they have higher homeowners association dues to cover the costs. Smaller buildings with fewer amenities have correspondingly smaller dues. If you seek a full service resort-type building, check out West Ocean Towers at 400 W Ocean Blvd, The Pacific at 850 E Ocean, The Ocean Club at 1310 E Ocean Blvd, and The Queens Surf at 1750 E Ocean Blvd, to name a few.
Get an Amazing Realtor, Familiar with the Area
Finally, get with a great Realtor (like myself!) who knows the area well and can show you several of the buildings in the area in person so you can get a feel for what you sense you are most at home in. I can give you a great tour of the amenities and show you the differences between the buildings and communities and individual units, and give you a personal guided and informational journey, as I have personally lived there for over 8 years—I was a resident in The Ocean Club at 1310 E Ocean from 2005 to 2013!
So, there you have it: if you’ve been considering a beach condo, don’t hesitate to check out Long Beach’s gorgeous selection—one look and you’ll truly be hooked.