Property Investment: 3 LA Mid-Century Modern Homes You Can Buy Right Now For Under US$1.5 Million


Property Investment: 3 LA Mid-Century Modern Homes You Can Buy Right Now For Under US$1.5 Million

Looking to invest in Los Angeles real estate? Mix past and present with the mid-century modern.

Published on 30 August 2017

This City of Angels loves its mid-century modern homes. Over the past decade, their timeless and minimalist design has once again returned to popularity. These properties – which can be found primarily in California and some suburbs in the Northeastern US – were typically built between the late 1930s till the 1960s, however, many have now been renovated. And while keeping their clean original design on the exterior, the interiors have been brought up to 21st century standards. As have their prices.

The average Los Angeles house price is currently US$417 per square-foot, making it the fourth most expensive residential market in the US. However, the city is large and prices can vary substantially depending on which neighbourhood you are in. Beverly Hills, for instance, averages US$1,081 per square-foot, whereas Hollywood averages US$562 per square-foot and Boyle Heights comes in at a mere US$307 per square-foot. Considering the median house price in the US is around US$200,000, living in almost any part of Tinseltown will set you back more than double this amount.

Mid-century moderns have seen their popularity as well as their prices soar. Even celebrities are cashing in on this craze. One example is Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey, who has a beautifully restored mid-century modern currently for sale at more than double her original purchase price. If you find a nicely renovated property, look to pay a significant premium. However, you’ll be getting to live the Mad Men dream, while having a solid return on your investment. Let us take you on a tour of three LA mid-century moderns on the market right now, which you can purchase for under US$1.5 million.

15420 Deerhorn, Sherman Oaks, 91403

Images sourced from Keller Williams Realty

In Sherman Oaks, where the average price per square foot is US$522 and price growth has been a strong 7.4% over the past year, you can purchase a fairly sizeable mid century modern for under our US$1.5 million. Built in 1957, this 1,806-square-foot home offers three bedrooms and two bathrooms in a light-filled space. Wood adorns the floors and ceilings throughout and there’s a spacious design studio where the garage once was. Hidden away from the main road, the home has been intricately remodelled to a high standard. Although above the average price per square foot in the area, the quality of the design and the location justify the relatively high price tag. The home last sold in 2007 for US$1.3 million and is now listed for US$1,399,000.

Sherman Oaks is located north of Bel Air between the Hwy 405 and Hwy 101. It offers a suburban lifestyle with great access to the rest of LA. There are excellent coffee shops such as M Street Coffee, a local farmer’s market, parks and an abundance of shopping at the Galleria and Westfield.

15534 High Knoll Rd, Encino, 91436

Images sourced from Sotheby’s Realty

For our next property, we head to Encino. Average price per square foot here is US$497 and prices have risen 6.9% over the past year. At US$1,499,000 or US$661 per square foot, this mid-century modern just meets our price requirements, and although slightly below the US$1.51 million median home value in this zip code, it is above the price per square foot average in Encino. At 2,250 square feet, this is not only our most expensive property on the list, it’s also our largest. With four bedrooms and four baths, mountains in your backyard, and a private setting, anyone looking for a sleekly designed home, this one could be for you.

The property was first built in 1961 and is located in Royal Oaks near plenty of shopping, including the illustrious Whole Foods. Encino is just west of our previous property’s Sherman Oaks neighbourhood and northwest of Bel Air, the Hollywood Hills, and Beverly Hills.

8604 Lookout Mountain Avenue, Los Angeles, 90046

Images © Simon Berlyn

Located in the famous Beverly Glen, just north of the Bird Streets of the Hollywood Hills, our final property at Lookout Mountain Avenue is a mid-century modern that evokes a ranch feeling. Currently priced at US$1,350,000, this 1,359 square-foot three-bedroom, two-bathroom home last sold for US$1,030,000 in 2007. That’s well below the average US$2,270,100 in Beverly Glen although close to the US$989 price per square foot average. The prestigious neighbourhood saw home prices soar 6.6% last year alone. The multi-storey property comes with a large rear garden and swimming pool perfect for enjoying the fine weather in Southern California.

Centrally located, this home, built in 1957, is up in the hills and a short drive is required to get to most restaurants and shops. If you have the opportunity, you won’t regret buying in this exclusive neighbourhood.

The bottom line

The mid-century modern is iconic in its design and status. Built during a turning point in American culture, the timeless style remains popular today. All three neighbourhoods reflected a price-per-square-foot for a renovated mid-century modern home as higher than the going average and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. However, the properties we featured are fine examples of renovated homes in good neighbourhoods. If you don’t mind putting in the time and effort to renovate one yourself, then your returns could be even higher.

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