L.A. Real Estate: Studio City Is Ready for Its Close-Up
It used to be that being gay in Los Angeles meant living in one of the traditional strongholds of the gay community. That usually meant West Hollywood or Silverlake. As a real estate agent who has made his career in L.A., I can tell you that this notion of self-segregation by our tribe into its own reservations is as passe as frozen cosmos and a closeted soldier.
The traditionally gay neighborhoods of non-judgmental freedom have transformed over the years. Why? Not only because LGBT residents feel comfortable and at home in any desirable district in Los Angeles, but because of an influx of straight singles, couples, and families into those very same areas that used to be considered exclusively gay.
Homeowners and prospective homeowners of a particular intelligence tend to identify desirable neighborhoods less from the perspective of who lives there and more from a sense of home value, overall aesthetics, community, convenience, and safety. In short, the most important elements to consider when buying residential property. Sometimes, this type of location lies hidden to the less discriminating local or non-resident looking to relocate.
Studio City is one such place. Situated south of North Hollywood, west of Toluca Lake and Universal City, bordered by legendary Mulholland Drive and Coldwater Canyon, this small district of Los Angeles is exemplary in what happens when a critical mass of homeowners aren't satisfied with just having a house somewhere, but want to build a community.
Studio City is a collection of charming, classic homes and modern, understated condominium buildings. Many of the streets maintain their original and unique appeal featuring '30s-style street lamps and restored classic homes with plenty of surrounding property for landscaping and greenery.
In the hills south of Ventura Boulevard and leading to Mulholland drive is an intricate tapestry of hillside streets lined with beautiful homes that reflect the care and pride Studio City residents take in their community.
Lifestyle in Studio City covers a broad spectrum. Entertainment industry types - on both side of the camera lens - find Studio City a perfect home base both in terms of desirable property and proximity to Warner Brothers, Disney, Burbank production offices, and the CBS Studio Center (known to locals as CBS Radford), all literally a few blocks away. The eclecticism and artistic nature of many of the residents is demonstrated in the care with which the classic homes are being restored and new homes are designed.
There are a few bars in the area catering to the gay community. Those of us who appreciate the busy nightlife of West Hollywood find that a quick jaunt over the hill on any given evening places us in the heart of the action on Santa Monica Boulevard in less than 15 minutes.
Access to Hollywood and Downtown are simple, either by car or via the nearby Metro stop in Universal City. Neighborhood shops, bars, and restaurants are a pleasant walk away, and it's not unusual to run into neighbors or well-known actors along the way. (Just don't gawk. Leave that to the tourists.)
Ventura Boulevard is a moment's drive featuring some of the best eateries in the Valley and is renowned for its multitude of high quality sushi restaurants. Freeways nearby make longer trips to the West Side, Pasadena, or Northern Valley always easily navigable. Bob Hope Airport is only a few miles away in adjacent Burbank.
Of utmost importance when considering any location in Southern California is the sustainable and appreciable value of the property itself. Even at the height of the recent recession, property values in Studio City came down only a fraction of that which much of Los Angeles experienced, and a relatively tiny amount compared to the rest of the nation.
As the recession started to ease last year, home values in Studio City rebounded quickly and are currently at levels that are both affordable for those looking to buy into the area and quite comfortable for those with an eye on their home's equity.
Gary Steinberg is a Los Angeles native and licensed realtor with 15 years of experience in the L.A. area. Facebook: Home DealZ Los Angeles.