Altadena, CA is a booming city
In close proximity to the successful city of Pasadena, Altadena is earning well-deserved respect that is reflected in the value of its homes.
With the region northeast of downtown Los Angeles the westernmost area of what is called the San Gabriel Valley, entire neighborhoods and cities are on the rise. Nowhere is this clearer today than in Altadena, CA. Homes in Altadena are being restored to their original shine and Altadena real estate is through the roof when it comes to home values.
A friend of mine owned one of those 1920s storybook Mediterranean style houses with a red tile roof in Altadena. It was perched high on a ridge and nestled among mature trees. Rainbow-colored bougainvillea vines spilled from the rooftop. Sitting in the breakfast nook, one could marvel at the San Gabriel mountain range from its French windows. The house had plaster walls that met the ceiling in a curve. The floors were built with large wooden planks, giving the place a kind of Greek island art studio feel. An idyllic setting for those looking to get away from it all, the Altadena neighborhood sits just north of its older sister, Pasadena.
Just being close to beautiful Pasadena, of Rose Parade fame, has never been enough to create the real estate buzz Altadena has craved so far. After all, homes for sale in Pasadena have always been in high demand and the Pasadena real estate market is always booming. Now it’s Altadena’s turn and home sellers are giddy while home buyers grind their teeth from waiting too long to enter the Altadena real estate market.
John and Fred Woodbury launched the first subdivision, naming it Altadena in 1887. Recognizing the breathtaking scenic beauty of the hills below the Angeles Crest range, millionaires from the east erected the first mansions along Mariposa Street. This became known as the millionaires’ rank. Now fast forward to the era of civil rights, a generation later. When public schools were desegregated, a phenomenon known as “White Flight” occurred at this once desirable location. Caucasians withdrew and headed west, and the African-American population doubled in size overnight. Sadly, properties deteriorated and the area became a much less attractive neighborhood than it is today.
Thirty years later, the gentrification of Northeast Los Angeles began to take shape. Dilapidated and abandoned houses were bought cheaply and renovated, then overturned. Northeast Los Angeles became a prime target for real estate investors and modest middle-income buyers looking for their first home.
Before long, the community was thriving once again and the curb appeal of these older neighborhoods improved. The ongoing restoration movement in Altadena, which began in the 1990s, has helped increase property values. As things get fixed and the area becomes more attractive and expensive, the buyer naturally becomes more demanding and sophisticated. Like it or not, good or bad, the rich get richer, and those of lower socioeconomic status are often expelled. Some call it gentrification. Some call it progress. Once considered a common working-class neighborhood, Altadena now has a private country club with tennis courts and swimming pools. A striking contrast to what was “the other side of the tracks” during the 1980s.
For foodies with a sweet tooth and authentic Italian ice cream, drive down East Altadena Drive and find Leo Bulgarini ice cream parlor. The former Rome-born sommelier chose this trendy spot to open his gourmet ice cream parlor and that says it all. The new generation of “Hipsteropolis” bars is also coming to this side of town. If you have a good palette and crave a good French wine, Altadena Ale and Wine House is just around the corner. These specialty stores cater to the elite, which, of course, is a good sign that the Altadena community is definitely on the rise.
You can still find a single family home in this glorious horse country for less than half a million. In California’s booming real estate market, that’s unheard of. It won’t be long before the middle class loses price, so it’s time for home buyers to make their move. Start by hiring a real estate agent who specializes in the area and has been successful in helping Altadena buyers and sellers alike.