An El Sereno Home Sold for Nearly $1 Million: What's in Store for This Eastside Neighborhood? (laist)
By Nadra Nittle, LAist, March 2, 2017
A year ago, real estate agent Tyler Harman made what he called an “outrageous prediction” about El Sereno. He announced on his blog that the working-class neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles would see its first million dollar home listing in 2016. His forecast almost came true.
A newly built El Sereno home sold on Nov. 30 for $920,000. The sale was such an anomaly that the real estate professionals involved, Maribel Benitez and Kelly Tran of RE/MAX Elite Realty in Alhambra, sent out a notice about the feat to community members. “All cash and closed in 15 days!” the flier boasted.
With five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the 3,500-square-feet house dwarfs the modest homes built in El Sereno after the neighborhood’s annexation into Los Angeles in 1915. While its size and newness contributed to the cost of the home, in the 4200 block of Barrett Road, the fact that the average house in El Sereno is well below the cost of properties in hipster hotspots like Highland Park makes the neighborhood a prime target for newcomers. But home values are already rising, spiking by 11.5 percent to an average of $461,100 last year. New housing developments are in the works, and art galleries, coffee shops and pizzerias have all opened in recent years.
The trend has alarmed Michelle García Gutiérrez, who cofounded El Sereno Against Gentrification two years ago. “It’s a lot like colonialism and the various forms of oppression that have led to the homeless crisis,” she said. “Homes are being sold for [well over] the asking price, and luxury housing is being created.”
While Gutiérrez doesn’t speak for all residents, El Sereno has a history of fighting development. Community members have driven out condominium builders and opposed projects that endanger hillsides or clash architecturally with existing homes.
But some residents welcome newcomers to the area. They say they’re more concerned that business owners there invest in the community. For realtors, however, El Sereno’s growing popularity means a bigger bottom line.