Perhaps the most depressing thing about L.A.'s out-of-reach real estate market is that the homes that might be remotely within your grasp are ridiculously priced and offer minimum lot sizes, puny square footage, and few amenities.
In some cases you'd be gambling everything you have (or everything you borrow) on tear-downs or fixer-uppers. In many markets in the United States the same money would bring you stately mansions. Really.
In Los Angeles, one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation, what you get for about $700,000 and up is this:
4434 Saint Clair Ave., Studio City. This one is billed in its Redfin listing as an “opportunity for a contractor or investor” and a possible “tear down.” Come again? You're paying a smidgen under $700,000 ($695,000 is the ask) for a place that's not even ready for normal habitation?
4935 Enfield Ave., Encino. This $719,000 shack of a home boasts “double-glazed windows!” says its Redfin description, along with fruit trees (wow!) and “a big wet bar that can be turned into a mother-in-law suite.” The place is billed as an “opportunity.” It looks like an opportunity for demolition to us.
15219 Hesby St., Sherman Oaks. Another “opportunity,” this one is in a neighborhood of $1.6 million homes, according to its listing. Our boss says it looks like a place a squatter would call home. It's only $739,000.
4721 Greenbush Ave., Sherman Oaks. We're talking a cul-de-sac, “great schools” and hardwood floors. All good. Oh, and your kids might lose their ball on the 101 Freeway, because it's right frigging there. How convenient for only $799,000. (Freeway on-ramp not included.)
17369 Hatteras St., Encino. Ooh, she's quite a looker. At least this isn't an opportunity. At least it's been remodeled. It even has the requisite granite countertops. But just look at it. Now ponder the price: $899,000.
11262 Otsego St., North Hollywood. Ah yes, the hometown of Adam Carolla. And he says such nice things about it. This listing's highlight is that it might be zoned for apartments. It has three rental units on-site already. Price? $976,000.
12124 Cantura St., Studio City. The listing says this home is “awaiting your creative touches.” Our boss calls it “pre-flip.” Either way, you'll have to fork out $1.025 million for the privilege of buying a home that's not ready for prime time.
4646 Greenbush Ave., Sherman Oaks. A three-bed, three-bath billed as “a successful architect designer's redesign” that includes “rare Ann Sachs [sic] tile.” Check the map, though. This one also comes with a freeway. For $1.3 million.