Condos in Downtown LA — is this the time to buy?

It comes as no surprise that Los Angeles was rocked just as soundly by the recent housing crisis and subsequent recession that shook America (and the world). The actual statistics, however, may still shock those looking to buy a new home. Especially in the rapidly burgeoning neighborhood of downtown LA. In one development, for example, condos that had been converted from warehouses into chic, upscale modern residences priced in the $500ks to the $900ks in 2006 are now selling for as little as $70k. I know because friends of mine almost took the plunge… into a loss of home value on a magnitude of ten times!

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On the other hand, the sleek and luxuriant condos of Evo South (pictured above), are today priced between 1.2 and 4 million dollars. So the market… is healthy again?

That depends on various factors, of course, but the most telling one is, as always, location. Evo South, for example, is a literal stone’s throw from the famous Staples Center and LA Convention Center, not to mention various corporate headquarters and, crucially in Los Angeles, freeways. But then take the condo residences of Santee Village, located in Downtown’s famous Fashion District. These residences offer fine amenities, floor plans and perks as well. And at, if not a fraction of the cost, per say, a far more affordable price tag still with a downtown address. It just depends on which address matters to you — and how you see Downtown changing in the coming years.

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The Little Renaissance (a term I will try here to coin but not be offended when it never catches on) in Downtown Los Angeles has long been developing, with scores of new restaurants, clubs, bars and retailers opening up at a growing pace over the past decade or so. But it wasn’t until recently that it became truly tangible in a “The Cat’s Out of the Bag!” kind of way. Guess what: Downtown LA is now officially a cool place to live. Ergo, a cool place to own your own home. Said “Cat Out of Bag” factor, however, means that this area may soon be a cool place you can’t afford to buy! From Little Tokyo to the Financial District to the downtown museums to countless eateries and watering holes (most of which did not exist in decades past, or at least have radically changed), there is just so much to do. Some illustrative links for you:

CitySearch, a safe place to start:

The “Top 10” Things to do in Los Angeles:

A housing tour:

So from the penthouse bastions of LA’s very-well-to-do to more artist-inspired, unique condos, there are styles and mortgages for a variety of buyers right now. Will this be New York’s Greenwich Village of the 90’s or Williamsburg of today? If you love having lots to do, it may be worth a roll of the dice.

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