Multi-Million Dollar Houses Are Chasing Away Long-Term (And Fun!) Renters
Walk along The Strand in Hermosa Beach, CA, and you will see runners, bicyclists, people walking dogs – lots of people walking dogs – and tanned Southern Californians playing beach volleyball and other games on a long, wide beach.
You will also see fences around homes and several newly-built houses that all look the same.
The former is the old Hermosa and the latter is the new Hermosa. The latter is also changing the face of Hermosa and it’s not good.
All over this small beach city of Los Angeles, decades-old houses are being torn down and replaced by look-alike spec houses.
At first, those houses all looked like a Macaroni Grill with its signature stone walls or entrance. Now, they are like two-story versions of those those modern high-rise offices and apartments, the blue-glass-and-concrete-look that present no personalty.
You know, like the Manhattan Beach library.
Go inland a few blocks and you’ll see more construction. Long-standing apartment buildings are being razed and replaced by high-end units.
All of this modernization is forcing out long-time renters (you know, the fun people) and forcing them to move elsewhere. I’m one of those people and I know of another person who lived in the same house for more than 12 years until she was booted after the place was sold for more than $7 million. It’s now one of those houses on The Strand with a fence around it.
This is not good. Hermosa has a long history of being a relatively inexpensive place to live with a true Southern California beach vibe. Beach volleyball, riding bikes on The Strand and then hitting the bars was the routine for the residents.
It was a haven for waitresses, servers, flight attendants, just-out-of-college people who moved here because they got jobs in Los Angeles and independent workers like myself. We would go out to the restaurants, to the bars and spend money every weekend (sometimes every night) enjoying the life that was Hermosa.
Now, tho, skyrocketing rents – ours went up 25% a couple years ago in a single month – are forcing these people out of the city because they (we, actually) can no longer afford to live in Hermosa.
As for myself, I had to retreat more than a mile inland to Redondo.
Those new spec homes are being listed for $10-14 million. Who, other than a fat-cat CEO, investor, athlete or celebrity can afford to live in Hermosa at those prices (how about a 2-bedroom monthly rent of $7,500)? Surely the supply far outstrips the demand. And what happens when all those other places get completed and go on the market? There can’t be that many people with that much money moving to Hermosa. This isn’t exactly Malibu.
Whoever they are, the ones that are here now are boring.
It used to be that on weekends, people filled nearly every patio on The Strand. Friends of people who lived there would go to hang out, stop there during a bike ride and use is as a staging area for beach volleyball and going to the beach.
Look at those patios now – they are all nearly deserted. Except at the few remaining old houses, where fun renters still reside. For now.
One of the reasons for those empty patios is that nobody is in the houses. I’ve seen some people come and go, but are permanent residents even moving into them? I’ve seen a couple rented out for corporate events – one a swanky cocktail party – and commercial shoots (in one, a girl in a grass skirt was standing on the beach wearing a pineapple on her head so if you see that commercial, you now know where they filmed it).
Hermosa is still hanging on by a thread because not all the fun single people have been forced out but in a couple of years there will be more empty patios and this once-lively beach town – a true jewel of the Southern California lifestyle – will be an empty shell of its former self.
And that’s too bad.