It’s cliché at this point to say that the real estate market is “hot” in Northeast Los Angeles. It has been five years since Redfin, a real estate firm, ranked Highland Park as the nation’s hottest neighborhood and four years since Eagle Rock came in second in that same ranking. 2017 was yet another blockbuster for NELA real estate and 2018 promises more of the same, not only in Highland Park and Eagle Rock, but also in Glassell Park, Mount Washington and nearby eastside neighborhoods.
“Last year was even more intense than we thought it would be,” said Tracy King, a veteran NELA realtor. “I just don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
To put the market’s continued rise in perspective, the median sale price for a home in Highland Park in Jan. 2014 was $470,000 compared with $750,000 in 2017. In Eagle Rock, the median price in Jan. 2014 was $539,000; in 2017, it was over $800,000.
Of 335 homes in Highland Park that sold in 2017, 37 went for $1 million or more, according to MLS records sourced from Redfin. Of 200 homes in Eagle Rock that sold in 2017, 50 went for $1 million or more. The highest-priced home sale in NELA last year was on Neal Dr. in Eagle Rock, where a 5-bedroom, 4-bath midcentury sold for $2.11 million.
Several trends are driving prices up: Low inventory creates competition among buyers. At the same time, relatively affluent buyers who have been priced out of L.A.’s westside are putting their money into homes in the zip codes of 90041, 90042 and 90065. Real estate investors are also buying.
Ms. King said that a fixer-upper in Eagle Rock listed at $399,000 recently drew over 400 people to an open house. Ms. King has also seen people paying upwards of $800,000, especially north of Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock, tearing the houses down and building anew.
In the process, “average” homebuyers are increasingly pushed to surrounding neighborhoods. Liz Johnson, a realtor with the Tracy Do Real Estate Team at Compass said that buyers priced out of core NELA neighborhoods are looking east, to El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, Monrovia and Duarte. But as buyers move east, prices in those areas soar. Price growth last year in Lincoln Heights, for example, was much greater than in Eagle Rock.
Many current and would-be homeowners are asking if the new federal tax law, with its limits on deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes, will soften the market in NELA in 2018. The answer appears to be “no.”
“The overwhelming desire to own a piece of California real estate will overcome whatever the tax bill presents,” said Ms. Johnson. “Buyers are more concerned with just getting an offer accepted.”