Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'll Take Manhattan... Beach

Manhattan Beach Strand

Often while perusing other blogs I'll see comments from consumers questioning values in Manhattan Beach compared to other places like Malibu or Santa Monica. I often wonder if these comments are from people who actually live in our little slice of paradise or are reading People magazine.

For those of you wondering why Manhattan Beach continues to draw people willing to put down some big bucks for a home on a tiny lot when they could buy acres in Malibu... home to the Stars.. for the same price... two words.. Malibu Fire then in a few months two more words Malibu Mudslides.

No question Malibu is beautiful but it is not a great place to live if you have to get to the office every day or really like your home. California is an arid climate and we either seem to be in a drought condition or blessed with an overabundance of rain. Both of these climate dilemmas cause massive problems in Malibu. Too little water and the hillsides get dry.. one spark and the area goes up in smoke.. literally. Too much rain and the hillsides can't hold the water and the neighborhood winds up on Pacific Coast Highway.. literally. PCH in Malibu has been often blocked for months forcing residents to go over the mountains to the 101 Freeway to get out. This can turn a 45 minute commute to LAX into 90 minutes.

I love Malibu... it's truly beautiful. My heart goes out to the fire victims and the loss of 49 homes is huge. This isn't a once in a lifetime occurrence it is a way of life for those in live in Malibu in the canyons or on top of the hills. If you live in the Colony or anywhere along the coastline you can expect severe winter storms to heavily flood or destroy your home on the ocean. This is why I live in Manhattan Beach not Malibu... and why others also choose to live in Manhattan Beach.

I don't believe we have ever had a raging firestorm in Manhattan Beach. We can and do get some big waves pounding our shoreline but The Strand in Manhattan Beach sits well above the beach. Hermosa can get a few scares but the beach there is very wide and the retaining wall well designed so flooding is rare.

Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach and PCH in Hermosa get torn up on a regular basis but we can still get from point A to point B without packing a lunch or hiring a guide. LAX is less then 10 minutes.. downtown LA 40 minutes. Raleigh Studios.. when the Writers are not striking is 10 minutes. The 405 is 15 minutes if you take Rosecrans. All in all our little communities are in an ideal location.

Santa Monica just doesn't have the same feel as our little beach towns. For one thing, Santa Monica doesn't have a lot of coastline available for homes. Santa Monica has rent control which sounds good but in practice creates more problems then it solves. Building a home can take years not months to get through plan check and receive approval. We gripe about traffic but Wilshire Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd are another world. Santa Monica is big and you don't have the same sense of a small town community that you find in the Beach Cities. There are some wonderful old homes in Santa Monica and some amazing homes north of Montana but finding a home with an ocean view in Santa Monica is tough and the prices make the Beach Cities look like real bargains.

So while Santa Monica and Malibu are beautiful and have a lot more land then our little communities... when all is said and done I'll still take Manhattan.. Hermosa... Redondo.. or El Segundo with all our quirks.


Anonymous said...

Blatantly self-serving...hard to take seriously.

Kaye Thomas said...

Anonymous 9:40,
That's an interesting comment..I've spent time in Malibu and lived in the Santa Monica/Westwood area.. I decided not to live in either place long before I went into real estate. But then I would never live in the Valley either..

Lenore said...

You forgot to add one more thing about beach towns and that's clean air. LA and the cities surrounding have poor air quality. As a Northern California Gal, that's #1 on my score card.

I also agree, why would anyone rebuild a home in an area that burns down repeatedly? Why is it allowed by the county, the city, insurance agents? We all end up paying for these fires and earthquakes that take place in our state.

Kaye Thomas said...

You are right.. The ocean breezes keep the air clear and the temperature on the moderate side.

I think that if they allow residents to rebuild they need to impose significantly stricter building standards and brush control in those areas. In the San Diego fire the properties that escaped relatively unharmed were those with the concrete roofs, fire retardant siding and wide areas that were cleared of brush.

We can't do much about the earthquakes but we have learned to build better buildings and therefore have less overall damage.

Anonymous said...

Not to pop anyone's bubble, but we all live downwind of China. They are putting so much polution into our environment it is funny we decided to stop smoking at the beach.

Kaye Thomas said...

Anonymous 6:15,
You are right of course... but think how much worse it is to be downwind inland.. I'll still take Manhattan Beach.

I was in China a few years ago and was truly appalled at how careless they were with industrial waste.. pretty scary.