Thursday, June 28, 2007

Manhattan Beach CA: The Village.. a Tale of Two Townhomes

Pool Area Manhattan Village

For those of you not familiar with Manhattan Village it is the only gated community in the South Bay/Beach Cities. The Village is a mix of single family homes, Court homes(townhomes) and Patio homes ( townhomes) and is located behind the Manhattan Village Mall.

The Village is home to a number of celebrities who travel a great deal because they can lock the house, take off and know it will be secure from fans who want to see where Joe and Jenny Famous live. The Village is also home to a wide variety of residents from young singles to older residents who wanted to downsize but stay in Manhattan Beach.

For the purpose of our tale I'm only going to talk about the two bedroom plans. We'll save the story about the village as a whole for another post..

The townhomes (Court and Patio styles) range in size from about 1450 to 2100 square feet. Prices vary greatly according to unit size and view. Homes that overlook the golf course are more expensive then those that do not have a view. The Plan I, Plan II and Plan 5 are the two bedroom models. They are 1450 -1583 square feet and range in price from $795,000 to $1,300,000. Now that's a rather large price differential.. so what's the deal?

Plans I, II, III and 4 Court Homes Manhattan Village

Plan 5 Patio Home Manhattan Village

When Manhattan Village was being built in the 1980's almost all of the models... both single family and townhomes were at least two to three levels. However the builders did throw in a few one level 2 bedroom 2 bath units that were smaller then other townhomes. I don't know the exact number but I think there are less then 15 Plan 5's out of the 400 units that make up the Village. These units rarely come on the market and when they do they command a higher price then any of the other 2 bedroom plans by about $450,000 + and more then most of the larger 3 bedroom models.

Here's the secret.. if you haven't guessed... the Plan I and Plan II are tri-level and the Plan 5 is one level. There are a lot of people who have lived in Manhattan Beach for a long time. They love Manhattan Beach and while they might consider a second home in the desert but they don't want to live there full time. These people are usually 55+ and don't want to deal with stairs. The are also financially independent.

Over the years they have discovered the Plan 5 units in the Village and when one hits the market it usually sells very quickly and most of the time for all cash. A plan 5 closed a week ago .. it was listed at $1,299,000 sold for $1,300,000 and closed escrow in less then 30 days. One closed last fall at $1,200,000. As I noted they rarely come on the market.

So what's the point of my little tale? It might be time for the individual Beach Cities and builders to give a little more thought to Senior (55+) Friendly homes in the area. There are a number of residents who don't want stairs.. they are not infirm but are healthy and active. They want a nice place to live that's not 900 square feet and looks as if it's a converted apartment building. The don't want depressing; they just want something a little smaller then their current house in the beach cities that is secure.

If traveling is part of the life plan then they want a home in a community they can lock up and go and not worry. My 79 year old step-father spent 6 weeks in Antartica last year.... and is planning a trip to Africa to see Victoria Falls as I write.  Most of them don't want to move to Torrance.. which is the only city that currently has a number of 55+ developments. Beach people are Beach people and they want to be near the water. The people who are 55+ that I know want to stay at the beach. Scott Anastasi is building a new 55+ complex in North Redondo Beach near the Galleria and if they are as nice as Village Court they will be stunning.....but they are not close to the beach.

So here's a thought for our local beach communities and perhaps local builders.. why not build some one level units with an attached garage.. say 1300-1800 square feet or even a few larger two story units if they have elevators in Manhattan, Hermosa, South Redondo and El Segundo.
Maybe instead of office condos in our downtown areas how about some 55+ units where people can walk to the beach and the downtown areas and not have to deal with multi-level units .


Lynda Eisenmann said...

You are so right on track with this one. I see this happening all over as our population ages and it's going to continue.

Thanks for the great info, you always know what you are talking about!

Kaye Thomas said...

We are all going to reach the age where we have different housing needs then we did when we were young. The South Bay Beach Cities haven't paid much attention to the fact that residents are getting older

Laurie Manny said...

Well the South Bay isn't the only place that hasn't paid attention to the needs for senior housing. Long Beach is seriously lacking, with none at all in Downtown Long Beach, despite the voracious redevelopment.

As the boomers become of age to need this housing we are going to run into a real crunch.

Maybe we will see a whole new wave of conversions for seniors.

Kaye Thomas said...

Laurie- We need to rethink housing in some ways if we want to retain the older members of our communities.. and that means Moms, Dads, Grandma etc...