March 30

Pacific Palisades Real Estate Market Updates Available.
James Respondek

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Exploring the neighborhoods of Pacific Palisades: A guide to ocean-view homes

Asian woman with her son sitting on the chair eating pizza

Located about 20 miles west of downtown Los Angeles is the charming and picturesque Pacific Palisades neighborhood, an upscale community whose inception can be attributed to the late patron of the arts and philanthropist Huntington Hartford. In the 1950s, he commissioned the architect Lloyd Wright to design a space for creatives. Wright incorporated new design concepts into pre-existing structures and constructed new buildings altogether. This space opened upon the completion of more than 12 cottages and a central dining area in 1951, and Hartford established an artists’ colony with painters, composers, and writers enjoying international success through artistic events held in the locality. Within the next 15 years, Pacific Palisades became a destination for retreat and recreation among the city’s creatives, Hollywood celebrities, and affluent folk.

Pacific Palisades is cooler than inland Los Angeles. When visiting the place, it’s not hard to see why Hartford envisioned nurturing artists in that West Coast pocket. First and foremost is the pristine climate. SoCal is already known for its Mediterranean weather, but Pacific Palisades is exceptionally cooler than inland Los Angeles yet sunnier and less foggy than nearby Santa Monica.

Location is everything. Its location caters to a variety of lifestyles: it is not too far from the bustling Downtown L.A. and it’s sandwiched between the natural wonders of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Experiencing the best of both natural domains just takes a little uphill climb from the beach where numerous vantage points offer a panoramic view of the mountains and the largest body of water on Earth, be it hiking trails up in the hills or your home balcony.

Ocean views for all. Who doesn’t love a nice ocean view? The prospect of waking up to a Pacific panorama may be tantalizing, but not all homes with this feature are built equal. You may be a mid-career professional seeking an area close to schools for your young family, a retiree wanting to improve your golf skills with your newfound time, or an outdoor enthusiast craving adventure from ridge to reef. Read on to discover the many offerings for ocean-view lovers looking to purchase property in the neighborhood, and get an idea of the real estate market in Pacific Palisades.

THE ALPHABET STREETS

Surfing at sea!

In this family-friendly neighborhood, residents walk to the beach and dive right in

Welcome to The Alphabet Streets! Found just north of Sunset Boulevard, the Alphabet Streets are part of the North Village neighborhood, and some locals use these names interchangeably. It is actually one of two locales that comprise the Village, the other being the Upper North Village. The name of the place brings to mind the basics or beginnings and in this sense, it is very aptly named. Its first residents – members of the Methodist movement – built homes here as early as the 1920s, making it the first neighborhood in the Pacific Palisades. As the name suggests, streets here are organized alphabetically.

Why it’s popular. The Alphabet Streets are very popular among homebuyers since it has an old-town feel that makes it charmingly walkable. There is also an incentive to stroll around this quaint enclave because The Village (officially named the Palisades Village), a nearby shopping district, is accessible by foot. In this commercial area, over 40 businesses offer unique experiences that include outdoor yoga, live music, and an exciting food crawl among The Village’s restaurant scene. Residents here love tried and true grub hubs such as Alfred with their gourmet pastries and coffee. Hank’s is a classic American diner serving large portions of burgers and fries, but it also has a unique cocktail selection. Draycott’s has a French and Californian-inspired menu which is a perfect date place and middle ground between fine and casual dining.

Homes for sale in The Alphabet Streets. Smaller single-family homes line the narrow, mostly flat streets of this community, making its prices accessible to more prospective buyers. Because these are the properties that characterize the place, plots on Alphabet Streets range from 5,200 to 7,500 square feet, the small end of the spectrum for properties within the Pacific Palisades neighborhood.

Young families are a major market for Alphabet Streets properties where starter homes can still be found. Usually, this category consists of small bungalows worth around $1 million. Virtually all of the nearly 900 properties in the area have either been overhauled or demolished and reconstructed, and some of the more newly constructed homes are listed around the $3 million range.

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Why it’s best for families. With various options for education around The Alphabet Streets, families find it an excellent place to raise children. Most of the students living in the neighborhood attend public schools within the highly-ranked and well-funded Palisades School District. Numerous private schools and tutors also offer similar services, allowing for freedom of choice without compromising educational quality.

CASTELLAMMARE

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SOLD in the Castellammare neighborhood of Pacific Palisades: A combination of breathtaking ocean, coastline, and city views. Browse homes for sale in this neighborhood

Welcome to Castellammare! This idyllic coastal enclave can be found north of where Sunset Boulevard intersects with the Pacific Coast Highway and just south of Malibu. Most of its homes are built on a gradual slope that presents fabulous ocean views despite its proximity to the beach. Due to its topography, the area has narrow, picturesque, winding roads with Italian names. After all, Castellammare is a portmanteau of “castello a mare” (castle by the sea). But this theme is not just nominal, as the community enjoys cool ocean breezes and exudes a placid aesthetic charm similar to Italy’s Amalfi coast.

Homes for sale in Castellammare. This neighborhood has one of the highest densities of ocean-view homes in the region, with houses that vary from dainty villas with Italian influences to spacious, contemporary estates reflecting European design. Listing prices for the former typically begin at $1.1 million while the newer homes can go for at least $5 million.

Notable properties in Castellammare. One notable outlier is the “Castellammare Castle,” one of the community’s largest properties, which sold for $12 million in 2007 (or close to $18 million in today’s dollars). But one of the most prominent properties in the Pacific Palisades is the Getty Villa. Formerly owned by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, this expansive estate has been converted into a museum laden with over 44,000 antiquities from Ancient Rome, Greece, and Erturia.

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Who lives in Castellammare. Many entrepreneurs, Hollywood executives, and creatives who call the place home delight in the area’s access to outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming. One of the unique offerings of this Pacific Palisades neighborhood is its walkability to the sandy California coastline. Right beside the Thelma Todd Landmark Building on Castellammare Drive is the pedestrian-access bridge to Castle Rock Beach that boasts immaculate sunsets.

Local favorites. The local dining scene isn’t too shabby, either. A perennial favorite among residents is the organic restaurant Juicy Ladies on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Castellammare Drive. Further north on Palisades Drive is Spruzzo, an Italian-American restaurant famous for its cocktails, pizza, and other savory pickings. Locals get their sweet fix at K Bakery + Bakeshop, a chill cafe offering artisanal desserts and coffee.

MARQUEZ KNOLLS

MARQUEZ KNOLLS

Browse homes for sale in the neighborhood of Marquez Knolls in Pacific Palisades

Welcome to Marquez Knolls! Covering a large section of land north of Sunset Boulevard and half a mile west of Temescal Canyon, Marquez Knolls is an upscale, low-density, family-oriented community characterized by Mid-Century-style Ranch houses. As the name suggests, the residential structures nest on a beautiful hillside that provides resplendent views of the Pacific.

Award-winning schools in Marquez Knolls. Compared to nearby areas, the community has a younger median age. This reflects a high demand among young families due to the Marquez Knolls neighborhood’s proximity to award-winning private schools such as Calvary Christian and Corpus Christi. Marquez Charter School is also one of the best and most well-resourced public schools in the highly ranked Palisades School District. Alpher Music School along Jacon Way also caters to musically gifted youths. Overall, more than 10 schools can be found within a mile’s radius of Marquez Avenue, providing options for learners of varying aptitudes, styles, and preferences.

Homes for sale in Marquez Knolls. This hillside locale is known for the larger square footage of its properties, so the lower end for a Mid-Century single-family home is in the $1.5 million to $2 million range. Prices have more than doubled since the 2008-2011 housing market recession. Specifically, in the last 12 years, the median listing home price has more than doubled from $1.5 to $4.2 million, according to Realtor.com. Maybe more than any other area, Marquez Knolls residents own expansive lots with private pools and beautiful landscaping that not only ensure exclusivity but are also pleasing to the eye.

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No HOA, no problem. Despite the absence of a homeowner’s association in this Pacific Palisades neighborhood, the Marquez Knolls community makes it a point of pride to maintain the aesthetic appeal of their homes. This goes a long way in preserving the ambiance and value of the area.

THE VÍLLAGE BLUFFS

THE VÍLLAGE BLUFFS

This newly built, 8-bedroom Modern Contemporary stunner is one of many ocean-view homes for sale in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Village Bluffs

Welcome to The Village Bluffs! This residential area sits on a high ridge between the Temescal and Portero Canyons. It is generally referred to as the Via Bluffs after Via de la Paz, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare that connects it to Sunset Boulevard and the rest of the road network. Perpendicular to the southern end of this important artery is another “via” – Via de las Olas – a meandering, scenic route that traces the ocean-facing cliffside. Dotted across the entire stretch of this street are vantage points of the Pacific Coast Highway, neighboring communities, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the vast Pacific Ocean, living up to Via de las Olas’ English translation: “way of the waves.” Houses built along this coveted location allow one to literally wake up to an ocean view.

Accessible to amenities. While accessibility to such vistas goes a long way in improving quality of life, proximity to basic needs and amenities is a practical consideration that can’t be overlooked. Despite feeling relatively isolated, you would be surprised at how close this community is to The Village commercial district, a recreation center, and a pair of schools.

Walkable to schools and the community recreation center. Palisades Elementary Charter School and Village Elementary School are just half a mile from the southernmost ocean viewpoints in this Pacific Palisades neighborhood, which constitutes a relaxing 15-minute walk. This public and private school are just one block apart. A further half mile or 10-minute walk eastward is Palisades Recreation Center. This facility is a popular venue for outdoor activities such as picnics, barbecues, and indoor and outdoor sports. Further out, nature lovers have multiple options to choose from as the place is sandwiched between canyons to the east and west.

Homes for sale in The Village Bluffs. Homes in this prime neighborhood have a median listing price of $5.9 million. These properties are represented by different architectural styles including energy-efficient contemporary and modern homes, and Mediterranean-style estates that can amply regulate temperature 24/7. Approximately 670 homes and numerous condominium buildings make up the Via Bluffs community.

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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT RESIDENCE IN PACIFIC PALISADES

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Paradise

If you’re planning on acquiring real estate in the Pacific Palisades to live or invest in, determining your budget and lifestyle preferences can help you narrow down the communities and homes that fit your needs.

  1. Determine the type of home you need
    A good starting point would be determining the type of home you need. The three main housing options in the area – condos, single-family homes, and luxury homes – represent distinct tiers of affordability and lifestyle needs.

  2. Start your search
    Afterwards, diligently browse online listings within the Pacific Palisades neighborhood and narrow down which properties fall within your means.<

  3. Evaluate costs
    Next, evaluate additional costs outside of the home’s listing price such as property taxes and homeowners association fees. The latter can be expected in exclusive neighborhoods with nearby amenities.

  4. Imagine yourself settling in the neighborhood
    By this time, you will have formed a shortlist of properties that appeal to you. Try to conceptualize the day-to-day living in these places. What kind of community atmosphere do you prefer and how does the neighborhood fare in that sense? Which nearby features and amenities do you picture using a lot? How long would a commute take to the places you regularly go? Are there viable alternatives to driving? Being aware of your lifestyle preferences before deciding where to live grants you immense agency over your quality of life for the foreseeable future.

  5. Look into the neighborhood’s development plans
    Speaking of quality of life and projecting into the future, researching development plans and infrastructure improvements in the area can also help you make informed decisions that minimize risks and align with your lifestyle and investment goals. An area’s growth potential can be inferred from zoning regulations made publicly available by the Los Angeles City Planning department.

  6. Visit in person
    Of course, there is no alternative to personally exploring the various communities in the Pacific Palisades to get a better feel of the atmosphere. Reach out to residents or acquaintances you might have who live in the area to get a sense of everyday life in the area.

CALL JAMES RESPONDEK, THE GO-TO PACIFIC PALISADES REALTOR FOR 35 YEARS

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There are not many people more familiar with the Pacific Palisades neighborhood than real estate professionals who have been selling luxury real estate in the L.A. Westside for more than 35 years. Seasoned Realtor James Respondek takes pride in his career built on helping families and investors buy and sell luxury properties.

With over $1 billion in cumulative transactions closed and a sold portfolio that goes back to the 1970s, there is no better person to seek sage advice on upscale homes in the Pacific Palisades. Consult with James via email or give him a call at 310.488.4400.