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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

Eagle Rock and Highland Park Art/Business Updates

Blue Dot is having their grand opening next Saturday, July 11, and is serving free yogurt and half-price Acai bowls at the Eagle Rock Block Party 7-9 pm.

The Loft Hair Lounge

Let's start off with an interesting sign noted at The Loft, a cool hair salon, at 5112 Townsend Avenue, right up from Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. You know, the corner where Pollen, the Botanical Studio (great orchids, special floral arrangements, soy candles, honey and more) is.   In case you can't make it out, the sign at Loft says: "Bare Hair Jen, waxing Brazilian, Manzillian what?" Go check it out, then tell me what a Manzillian is, ok?

Right next door, the long-awaited Blue Dot at 5110 Townsend is open at last and serving very refreshing frozen yogurt with various fresh and tasty toppings, as well as Acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry bowls. Acai is the new Superfood, the flyer says, and you will lose weight, become (appear? feel?) younger, be more energetic, sleep better, and improve your sex life if you have some. Hm. How could you go wrong?
I tried some yogurt with fresh peaches and it was really yummy. The Acai was interesting, not real sweet, very berry. Blue Dot is having their grand opening next Saturday, July 11, and is serving free yogurt and half-price Acai bowls at the Eagle Rock Block Party 7-9 pm.

If you are on Facebook, you can become a fan of the Eagle Rock Block Party. Or google it and find updates there. Here is what the Fan Page says about what it is: "The Eagle Rock Block Party is about creating local stimulus and reinforcing community spirit so that small town walking areas remain a part of the Los Angeles experience."

That's very cool, don't you think? I went last month and made it down a couple of blocks each direction from the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado Blvds. I had a lot of fun, some free snacks, ran into friends, and bought some really good deals. The participating stores all offer various discounts or deals or snacks and it's in conjunction with the NELA Second Saturday Art Walk. You can go to the NELAart website for a downloadable map, links to the bike tour (yes, you can bicycle with other people to the various art galleries), find links to participating galleries, shops, restaurants and bars.

While the Artwalk goes from 7 till 10, the Block Party goes from 3 till 9 pm. Have fun! Buy local! Be healthy!

Go to the source:

www.thelofthairlounge.com/

www.bughouse.com (why is this website here when it's not mentioned in the article? Because Jeff Bughouse invented the Eagle Rock Block Party. Check it out, Jeff and Rebecca have cool stuff.

www.bluedotacai.com

http://pollenstudio.com/

www.nelaart.org

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Market Update Highland Park 90042

From our spiffy Multiple Listing Service that has all the listings in one place, no matter what far-flung MLS an agent might put a listing in, our sales data are now much more complete. The following table is a sales overview comparing 2007 to 2008:highland-park-2007-to-2008

Highland Park has really been through the wringer, as we say in professional Realtor terms. From the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2008, the number of sales dropped 36%, and the lowest sales price dropped 56%! Wow, though the low sales price isn't as meaningful as the median and average prices which dropped by about 30%. The high sales prices of $950,000 in 2007 were mostly in the new development in the Monterey Hills, and that wasn't the case in 2008. In fact, the last house that sold over there was a foreclosure that closed at $705,000, a very significant 25% drop in price in one year.

What I think is really interesting about the trends in Highland Park is that the number of units sold appears to have bottomed out in the first half of 2008, with the second half showing an increase of 43%! The prices actually dropped close to 15% in the last half of the year. This indicates to me that we saw some kind of a bottom at that time in Highland Park, buyers perceived that there were deals to pick up, and the sales numbers, not prices, finally started to pick up.
In 2007, 7% of the sales were foreclosures, 1.6% were short sales, and 2.4% were trust or probate sales, for a grand total of 11% distressed sales. Compare that to 2008, when the sales were 45% REO, 10% short sales, and 2% trust sales, for a total of 57% distressed sales. Whew!

So what do we have going on in 2009? Of the 127 active listings, 39 are REOs, 31 are short sales, and 3 are probates, so 57% of the listings are distress sales. Of the 30 listings that went into escrow since January 1, 2009, 17 are REOs, 6 are short sales - 77 % are distress sales. Of the 18 closed sales, 11 are REO and 2 are short sales, which means that 72% of the sales are distress sales. What does all this mean?

- The bargain hunters are out and are buying. If you are a seller and you have to sell, you'd better be really well-priced and ready to negotiate further if you want to sell in this market.
- If you are a buyer and you see something you like, you'd better jump on it. The days of having your parents come the following weekend to approve your choice before you make an offer are over. In fact, if you need your parents' approval before you buy, you'd better bring them with you when you look at stuff.
- If you are waiting for prices to drop further, you may miss your chance to buy anything. Why? Because you won't know when the prices have bottomed out until you see that they have started back up. The minute that happens, sellers will be less negotiable and will wait to put their homes on the market. Simply put, there won't be anything good for you to buy.
- If you are a seller and you want or need to make a move, now is a good time because the buyers are out looking, but prices are still dropping, so price it right to start. That means price it under what the recent sales show. Yikes! (I know).

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This is the best business model for this economy!

For the People by the People
For the People by the People

Orecul77 is a new shop in Highland Park that offers several ways to be green by recycling, reusing, and especially reimagining the clothing that we already have. Tawny Lucero's unusual boutique is now open and ready for business. In every aspect of buy local, this is a great place. Tawny is local, she deals with local craftspeople, and her shop is close to everything on the York Blvd you also love like The York Pub, Johnny's and Marty's.

Still love that gray sweater but you spilled wine on it and can't get the stain out? Tawny will figure out a way to cover it up stylishly. Still love those jeans but they are so threadbare they are about to reveal way too much? She can help you re-engineer your own clothes, or you can buy something off the rack that she has created out of other clothes. What a unique idea!

You can donate old clothes and what she doesn't use she'll take to a homeless shelter. You can also shop for other cool items that are for sale on consignment, made by local artisans. There are bags, jewelry, craft items galore. Tawny also plans to have a story telling night on January 22 starting at 7 pm. It sounds unusual, but with some "bring your own" snacks and wine, who knows what creative tales may unwind?

Check it out at Orecul77, 5159 York Blvd, Highland Park 90042. Call her at 323-254-2600 for hours and more info.

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Why you should buy a house in Highland Park, Los Angeles, 90042

Here are the bullet points:

    • There are 131 listings today, December 4, in zip code 90042, and 98 of them are asking less than $499,000.
    • Highland Park has a long and honorable history in the development of Los Angeles.
    • Highland Park has the first and largest HPOZ in Los Angeles with many contributing structures that could qualify for Mills Act Property Tax Relief and also help to ensure that your neighborhood doesn'tend up being ruined by unbridled development.
    • There is a vibrant, unique, growing artistic element that adds style and character to the town.
    • There are lots of shops, galleries, restaurants and bars within easy access.

1. As in many somewhat economically lower end neighborhoods, HP was hit hard by the recent downturn and experienced probably three times as many shortsales and foreclosures than its neighbor, Eagle Rock, which today has 56 total listings with 23 less than $500k. So you can now find decent 2-3 bedroom, 1-2 bath homes in decent neighborhoods for anywhere from $300,000 to $450,000. Many need work and therein lies even more opportunity. Read about FHA loan opportunities in a soon-to-be published blog of mine and come shopping with me!

2. Highland Park, one of the oldest suburbs in Los Angeles, began as a lushly verdant area studded with sycamores and oaks that attracted artists, writers, and academics. Large Victorian, then Arts and Crafts-style homes lined the main thoroughfares and hillsides. Several universities began in Highland Park including the Los Angeles College of Fine Arts and Architecture, USC, what is now Azusa Pacific University, Whittier, Loyola Marymount, and Occidental College.

Known as a very highly rated liberal arts college, formerly attended by President-elect Obama, Occidental is still located in Eagle Rock, its third location in Northeast Los Angeles. Check out http://www.nelanet.org/reportsmaps/hphistory/ for a detailed history of Highland Park.
3.The decline of the area happened gradually when the early movie industry moved more towards Hollywood, businesses moved to the mid-Wilshire area, the middle class moved out to the suburbs, and the immigrant population came in as the real estate prices fell. A sad period ensued where grand old homes were destroyed, cut up into apartments, their wood siding was stuccoed and windows were barred. A preservation movement began in the early 80s, which resulted in the first HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) in Los Angeles being established in Highland Park. The Highland Park Heritage Trust has done great work to preserve the heritage of Victorian and Arts & Crafts era homes that remain. One advantage to HPOZ homes is that qualifying for Mills Act Property Tax Relief is much easier. I've sold several homes which have benefitted from this which has saved the owners up to half their original property tax bill.

4. A number of artists, writers and academics remained in Highland Park and are increasing in number as higher prices have driven them out of Echo Park, Silverlake and Los Feliz. The Arroyo Arts Collective just had its 16th tour, featuring about 100 artists in studios and homes all over Northeast Los Angeles, but concentrated mostly in Highland Park. Many of these artists have lived in the area for decades, through all the changes, the economies going up and down, the concrete going in, the bars and fences going up. There is also an upward looking commercial environment including restaurants, bars, art studios, and a variety of all the regular businesses that serve a community. Also, NELAart sponsors the Second Saturday Gallery Night where you can wander through the various galleries and see what's happening or join the Bike Tour sponsored by BikeOven and "go green."

5. Check out Folliero's, a neighborhood Italian restaurant since 1968, serving great pizza with thin crust still made by the founder, Tony Folliero. His daughter, Titina, now runs the place and you will love the staff, the food, and the convenient location at 5566 Figueroa St. Another great restaurant just across the street is the more recently established Cinnamon Vegetarianat 5511 Figueroa. Hipsters priced out of Hollywood are edging into a growing club scene that includes hangouts like The Little Caveand Mr. T's on Figueroa. A York Blvd scene near Avenue 51 is growing with The York PubJohnny's, and Marty's Bar (with valet parking, no less) all within a block of each other. You can check all these out on my Restaurant Guide, which you can have emailed or mailed to you for free if you contact me and ask for it.

One of my favorite discoveries is the Future Studio, which is the home of "Chicken Boy," a great icon of the offbeat artistic vibe of Northeast Los Angeles. Art Fein nicknamed Chicken Boy the Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles. A 22 ft high statue of a man with the head of a chicken, Chicken Boy once stood above the Chicken Boy Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Constructed in 1969, saved from destruction in 1984, Future Studio acquired the fiberglass statue and began searching for a home for it. Several museums turned down the opportunity to house Chicken Boy in their sculpture gardens. Finally, in 2007, Future Studio installed the statue at 5558 N. Figueroa St. You can see the statue anytime since it's outside on the roof, but the Studio is open by appointment (323-254-4565 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and on NELAArt.com's Second Saturday Art Walks. There is a room devoted to Chicken Boy including many actual items with Chicken Boy on them, and the profits go to the upkeep and preservation of Chicken Boy himself. For more info go to chickenboy.com. This Saturday, December 6, Future Studio has its Christmas sale from noon to 6 pm.

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