Key Takeaways:

  • Home prices have increased for 5 consecutive years at an average annual rate of 11%
  • Real estate in the county is now 66% more expensive than 5 years ago
  • Price per square foot reached $389 — 69% higher than 5 years ago
  • Manhattan Beach has the most expensive median price per square foot in the county — $943
  • Lancaster is the most affordable city with a median price per square foot of $135

As one of the strongest real estate markets in California, the L.A. County housing market has been thriving over the past years. Our most recent research shows how the county figures have evolved starting with 2012 all the way through September 2017.

In 2012, the median sale price in L.A County was $334,000. The market spiked in 2013, and median prices increased 23% year-over-year to $410,000. After that, prices kept climbing, albeit at a slower pace, reaching $555,000 in Q3 2017.

Check out the table below and see how the median sale price in L.A. County has fluctuated over the years:

YEARMedian sale priceMedian sale price per sqftNo. of transactions
2012$334,000 $23083,341
2013$410,000 $27981,942
2014$450,000 $31174,648
2015$486,000 $33777,607
2016$520,000 $36276,993
2017$555,000 $38975,783*

*The number of transactions for 2017 was adjusted based on historical data to include an estimate for Q4.

Median square foot prices in L.A. County also followed an upward trend, reaching $389 per square foot at the end of September 2017. To get a full grasp of how prices have evolved in the county we delved even further, dividing the market by the number of bedrooms per property, and looking at the median price per square foot for each segment.

At a county level, the median price per square foot for a one-bedroom home rose to $501 (a 12% growth year-over-year), while for a home with over four bedrooms the median price per square foot increased only 2% compared to 2016, reaching a median of $299 per square foot at the end of Q3 2017.

Of the transactions closed in the first three quarters of 2017, 41% were three-bedroom homes, making this segment the most popular in L.A. County. Two-bedroom homes were also popular, accounting for 28% of closed transactions. Check out the chart below for a more detailed view:

Furthermore, we took each city of L.A. County and looked at all the residential transactions closed in the first three quarters of 2017. We then split them into six segments from studios to over-four-bedroom homes, and compared them with the ones closed during the same period in 2016.

Browse through the table below to see how each city fared in terms of median price per square foot:

CityStudio1234Over 4Overall
El Monte--$403$329$283$247-
Manhattan Beach-$809$1,380$1,022$865$783$943
Beverly Hills-$592$627$990$1,195$1,274$839
San Marino--$891$832$810$787$792
Hermosa Beach-$1,009$898$819$697$769$787
Santa Monica-$878$856$964$947$870$777
Culver City-$507$574$709$643$630$658
El Segundo--$575$666$631$478$629
West Hollywood$811$644$626$849$976-$626
Palos Verdes Estates--$739$657$649$584$605
South Pasadena-$581$669$652$607$526$592
La Canada Flintridge--$749$655$645$550$585
Rolling Hills---$531$562$540$557
Redondo Beach$1,438$783$650$563$497$476$548
Hidden Hills----$601$560$534
Rancho Palos Verdes-$349$443$527$518$474$523
Sierra Madre--$593$482$523$441$493
Rolling Hills Estates-$478$465$516$519$602$490
Temple City--$566$485$391$417$433
San Gabriel-$437$492$427$435$350$422
Monterey Park-$398$376$382$344$295$370
Long Beach$488$427$383$402$350$306$368
Los Angeles$845$555$453$379$328$366$367
La Mirada-$353$340$383$340$307$354
South El Monte--$415$353$279-$345
Bell Gardens--$380$295--$341
Pico Rivera--$392$344$291$251$336
La Puente-$265$307$341$309$279$334
Santa Fe Springs--$396$336$296-$330
Agoura Hills-$316$384$337$346$368$329
Diamond Bar-$300$324$351$342$274$326
San Fernando--$375$300$310$271$321
South Gate--$352$312$233-$321
Baldwin Park-$418$331$323$274-$317
La Verne-$405$299$333$297$273$316
West Covina-$360$303$328$285$229$309
San Dimas--$338$336$312$220$308
La Habra Heights--$374$342$351$262$301
Huntington Park--$318$297$250-$289
Santa Clarita-$355$307$296$256$217$271

Malibu, Redondo Beach boast the most expensive one-bedrooms in LA County

Malibu has earned the title of the priciest city in the one-bedroom category, with a dazzling median price of $1,719 per square foot. The median price per square foot in this segment recorded a year-over-year increase of 76% through September.

Following behind Malibu we have Hermosa Beach, where the median price per square foot for a one-bedroom home reached $1,009 in Q3. Bordered by Manhattan Beach to the north and Redondo Beach to the south and east, the beachfront city saw an increase in prices of 27% year-over-year.

When it comes to one-bedroom homes, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach feature median prices per square foot around the $800 mark, ranking fourth and fifth on our list, respectively. However, Redondo Beach steals the show on the studio segment, featuring the highest median price per square foot ($1,438), and recording a year-over-year increase of 69%.

As one of the biggest cities in the U.S., Los Angeles has plenty of high-end neighborhoods that give our top contenders mentioned above a run for their money. So, to make a fair comparison, we also looked at how the median square per foot price looks in the swanky neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

A surprising entry on our list is the small neighborhood of Glassell Park. The neighborhood, which seems to be enjoying a period of prosperity, had a median price of $1,020 per square foot for a one-bedroom home in Q3 2017. With more and more people being priced out of Eagle Rock and Highland Park, Glassell is on the verge of becoming the newest “it” neighborhood, and according to Los Angeles Times, the neighborhood’s future is looking better than ever. Another swanky Los Angeles neighborhood, the Pacific Palisades clocked in a median price per square foot of $870 for a one-bedroom.

Bel Air, on the other hand, didn’t make it on our list of one-bedroom homes due to the limited housing stock in this segment, yet it’s worth pointing out that for a two-bedroom home, the lavish neighborhood offered a median price of $1,201 per square foot.

Looking for a less costly alternative? Try Lancaster, La Puente or Downey

The city of Lancaster has started to slowly recover after taking some serious economic damage when the housing bubble burst back in 2008. Nowadays, the median price per square foot for a one-bedroom in Lancaster has appreciated considerably, reaching $195 at the close of September 2017.

Think Progress reported that three-time Lancaster mayor Rex Parris dubbed the city “the solar capital of the universe.” Parris explained that after the Great Recession, the city was transformed into a clean energy powerhouse, and is now producing the highest amount of solar power per capita in the whole state of California.

To succeed in this endeavor, the city partnered with SolarCity to install photovoltaic panels on municipal buildings and schools. Furthermore, the mayor also changed the zoning code, making it a requirement for new homes to be equipped to produce more energy than they consume. The solar power project, which started in 2015, has created over 1,000 jobs and has helped significantly in boosting the economy of Lancaster, contributing in part to the 27% year-over-year growth of the median price per square foot.

When it comes to commuting times, two better-located alternatives to Lancaster are the cities of La Puente and Downey. In La Puente, the median price he median price per square foot for a one-bedroom home has reached $265, while Downey has a median price per square foot of $272.

With prices well under the county median, many might be inclined to choose such a city to settle down in; but even if a median price under $300 per square foot might seem like a dream come true, facing a long daily commute could take a toll on one’s budget in the long run.

Beverly Hills is the hottest market for large homes in LA County

It’s no secret that Beverly Hills is known for its exclusivist mansions and sky-high prices. The luxurious city has a median price per square foot of $1,195 for a four-bedroom home, followed closely by West Hollywood, where the median price per square foot on the same segment reached $976.

Mansions with over four bedrooms also clock in with a hefty median price per square foot in L.A. County, with Beverly Hills being again at the top of our list. Here, an over-four-bedroom home features a median price per square foot of $1,274, followed by Malibu, where for the same type of home, the median price per square foot is $1,115.

Just like in the one-bedroom segment, it wouldn’t be fair to compare the exclusive cities of Beverly Hills or Malibu with cities as large as Los Angeles, where we can find plenty of high-end neighborhoods. So, we went on and looked at the luxurious areas of Los Angeles, to see how they compare with the posh cities of L.A. County.

For a home with more than four bedrooms in the Pacific Palisades, Brentwood or Westwood, the median price per square foot ranges from $927 to $953. In the same segment, Bel Air clocked in with a median price of $829, making the city of Los Angeles slightly more affordable than the exclusivist communities at the top of our list.

Where to look for more space on a budget?

The twin cities of Lancaster and Palmdale are in the spotlight for those looking to have more space at a reasonable price. Located in the Antelope Valley, Lancaster and Palmdale feature median prices per square foot of $122 and $126, respectively, for a home with more than four bedrooms.

The cities of Downey and Covina are also an option for those who don’t want to be too far away from the big cities. According to The Downey Patriot, the Downey housing market has been making huge strides in recovering from the 2008 crisis and reached a median price per square foot of $258 for an over-four-bedroom home at the end of Q3 2017. In the same segment, the city of Covina has a median price of $271 per square foot.

Roxana Poenar

Roxana Poenar

With a taste for learning, Roxana joined PropertyShark in order to expand her knowledge of all things real estate. Passionate about reading and travelling, if she's not at her desk or engrossed in one of her books, then she's probably packing her backpack for a new adventure.

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