Category Archives: Community Profiles

Condos on Huntington Dr.

1122 W. Huntington Dr. #3
Arcadia, CA 91007


Asking Price $408,000 ::: Sq-ft 909
Purchased Price $285,000 ::: Lot Size (Condo Complex)
Purchased Date 10/29/2004 ::: Beds 2
Days on Redfin 46 ::: Baths 1.75
$/Sq-ft $449 ::: Year Built 1960
20% Downpayment $81,600 ::: Area Huntington/Sunset
Income Required $102,000/yr ::: Type Attached Condo
Est. Payment* $2,062/month ::: MLS# A08044138

*Estimated monthly payment assume 20% down, 30-yr fixed @ 6.50%

This property is located on Huntington Dr. along with a whole block’s row of other condominiums and apartment complexes. Take a quick look at this Craigslist search and you will find no shortage of units being advertised for rent. Rents range from $1,000 for a 1br/studio up to $1,695 for a “large” 2 bed/2 bath unit.

If you were to purchase this unit today with a 20% down payment, your mortgage will end up costing you $300 more than a comparable rental. This is on top of property taxes, maintenance and the ridiculous $140 HOA dues.

This property didn’t always carry such a large premium though. Take a look at the following sales history:

Apr 01, 1994 $95,000 —
Oct 18, 2001 $138,000 5.1%/yr
Oct 29, 2004 $285,000 27.0%/yr

Although the housing bubble had started well before 2004, let’s use the $285,000 as our base price and apply the standard appreciation over it:

3% $316,064
4% $326,935
5% $338,070

Currently listing for $408,000, this condo is at least $69,930 overpriced.

The monthly mortgage would actually be $1,709 if you bought it for $338,070; therefore breaking even as a rental unit. Personally, I believe this property is still overpriced and it’s realistic to consider its 2001 sales price of $138,000 to be the base price.

3% $167,232
4% $178,072
5% $189,500

You have two types of buyers who will consider this property. Someone using it as a primary residence and perhaps rent out a room or a cash flow investor. With today’s lending standards and the way the market is heading, would you put $81,600 to pick up this condo?

Community Profile – Highlands

We’ve been gaining some good ground in our readership and subscriptions over the past few weeks and for that, I want to thank you. For those of you who are relatively new to AHB and interested in the various Arcadia communities, I am working on a series of profiles that characterizes the various neighborhoods. Today’s post is the 3rd community profile – the Highlands.



The Highlands, so aptly named because it is located up the hill to the north end of the city, rests against the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s located north of Foothill Blvd and runs along Santa Anita Avenue bordering the Santa Anita Oaks community. It stretches east to the Whispering Pines gated estates and all the way up the mountain.


The Highlands is known for its view of the basin below. As you move up the mountain, the air gets a little cooler and the view a little better. The backdrop of the mountain is absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes we miss the mountains because of the infamous LA smog, but once you’re up in the Highlands – there’s no missing it.


You also can’t ignore the view of the city below once you’re up top.



The homes come in many shapes and styles. Except for the cluster of homes at the very top near Wilderness Park and the gated Whispering Pines community, most of the lots are of similar size ranging from roughly one-quarter to one-half acres. All the lawns were nicely manicured and many were also professionally landscaped.


There was also a great mix of architectural styles within the community. The majority of which would be single-story ranch style homes.


There were also some California bungalows…


Gorgeous traditional homes…


And of course the beautifully and unique Craftsman.


The roads are clean, wide, curvy and at times, quite steep.


Many are lined with great big, mature trees that tower over the lovely homes.


Instead of the normal community parks with open grassy areas, swings sets and tot lots, the Highlands offer something much more engaging – a Wilderness Park. It is a 120-acre natural preserve set high up in the hills that’s just flowing with all things nature. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy the local trees, plants, birds and animals. For those not quite as adventurous, head on over to Sierra Vista Park over on Sierra Madre Blvd.


The local schools in the area are Highland Oaks Elementary and Foothill Middle School.


In terms of market movement, I saw more homes for sale in the Highlands than there are listed on Redfin. There were also homes for lease and homes undergoing construction. All in all, I consider the real estate atmosphere in the Highlands similar to the rest of Arcadia. You won’t go more than a turn or two before spotting another sign in front of a property.


This is a wonderful neighborhood that is just starting to feel the pinch of the market. Since this is somewhat of a prestigious area, most owners were probably in decent financial standing even if they bought during the past few years. I suspect not too many of these were affected by the subprime fallout, but will most likely be hammered hard by the upcoming Alt-A (and even Prime) loan resets over the next few years. We will continue to track the progress of the housing correction as the ARM reset timebombs go off month after month.

Community Profile – Santa Anita Oaks

This week’s community article will profile the beautiful Santa Anita Oaks area. This serene neighborhood, also known as the Upper Rancho Estates, is essentially at the foothills of the mountains, located north of the 210 freeway. It’s also close to nearby commercial centers like Hasting Ranch which has Whole Foods, Corner Bakery, Sears, Aaron Brothers, Starbucks, Noah’s Bagels and Jamba Juice.


Santa Anita Oaks is bounded by Michillinda Avenue to the west, Santa Anita Avenue to the east, Foothill Blvd. to the south and Orange Grove Avenue & Sierra Madre Blvd. to the north. Notice the layout and size of the blocks in this community. These properties have some of the largest lot sizes in Arcadia.


This is as close to San Marino and South Pasadena as Arcadia will get. Just drive though it and you will see for yourself what makes this community so different than all the others. The wide streets and relatively few homes makes it open and inviting, yet secluded and private. This section of Baldwin Avenue, even on a weekend afternoon, had very little traffic.


Most of the residential streets are quiet with very few cars. Many of them are lined with giant trees that cover the area beneath with lots of shade. These trees are very old and not something you’ll find in many of the new developments. That is special to me and perhaps to many of you as well.


These lots are big enough such that even large sized homes and McMansions are set-back from the street. This creates the feeling that the homes are built proportional to the land on which it sits. It also makes the street seem wider than it is.


Another feature that stood out to me was the diversity in architectural styles in this community. These are not track homes and each one is different and unique in its own splendor. There are all the colors of the rainbow here including Tudor-style homes…


Traditional Ranch homes…



Colonial style homes…


and the ever popular Spanish-Mediterranean style home…


As I drove through the area I notice several construction sites in the process of rebuilding brand new homes. Some were just torn down and had nothing but a dirt lot. Some have the foundation laid out and the framework completed on what appears to be a more grandiose version of the standard new home. One even showed signs of gaudy McMansion blood running through its veins and I can only pray that I will be proven wrong. With the credit crunch continuing to wipe out the market, I look forward to seeing how these high-end homes will fare when it comes time to put them up for sale.


Lastly, I cannot end this profile without mention of the pride of ownership throughout this entire neighborhood. Each and every house is properly maintained. There are no trashcans sitting on the curb, no overgrown shrubs impeding the street, no open garage doors with junk visible to the passerby and no run-down cars in the driveway. In addition to that, many owners have taken it one step further with professional landscaping that include lush green lawn, seasonal flowers and trimmed treelines.



These are truly worthy million dollar homes. Most of the older homes were built and developed in the 1940s and have lot sizes ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 sqft. Even at the bottom of the previous bubble, these homes were going for $800k-$1MM+ in 1996 through 2000. There are currently 7 homes for sale in this community with the price ranging from $1.25MM to $3.50MM. Unless the market experiences a large over-correction, I suspect most of these properties will probably still be well above the million dollar mark when we hit bottom.

Community Profile – Peacock Village

This will be the first of several community profiles showcasing different areas in the city of Arcadia. The idea is to provide a general overview of distinct communities so that readers who are not familiar with the area have a better understanding of these places. While this has been on my to-do list for weeks, the credit goes to IrvineRenter over at IHB for coming up with this great idea. Without further adieu, our first community profile will be Peacock Village.


Peacock Village is bounded by Michillinda Avenue to the west, Baldwin Avenue to the east, Huntington Drive to the south and Colorado Street to the north. There’s a small area just west of Baldwin (north of the race track) that I also consider as part of this community.


Peacock Village is one of the older parts of Arcadia. A large piece of the land was bought by Scottish immigrant Hugo Reid in the mid-1800s and Hugo Reid Drive & Hugo Reid Park are named after this early resident. As you can see from the map, Peacock Village backs right up to the Arboretum of Los Angeles county. This is where the many peafowl reside, hence the name Peacock Village.


The peacocks are left to roam free in the surround neighborhoods and they frequently leave the boundaries of the Arboretum and enter the surrounding streets. Even as I drove through the neighborhood this past weekend I was stopped by many who park their pretty selves smack-dab in the middle of the road. These beautiful, yet stubborn creatures are the symbol of Arcadia.

One of the features that speaks to me is the tranquility of the neighborhood. The community is separated from the 210 freeway by Colorado Blvd and two high walls plus ample trees to remove the residential area from the road as much as possible. Although it is next to the racetrack, arboretum, Westfield mall and 210 freeway, it was astoundingly quiet on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t do a drive-by with a muscle car or a Harley-Davidson, but I felt like the hum of my engine was the loudest thing for miles.


Many of the streets are curved and less grid-like than the rest of Arcadia, yet the structure of the community resembles more of the new OC developments with its carefully planned entrances and exits. There are 4 in/outlets off Colorado between Michillinda & Baldwin and 3 in/outlets off Huntington Drive. There are several more off Michillinda and just one exit to Baldwin. Some of the streets are only outlets that denies entrance to the community through the means of tire spikes. This restricts unnecessary traffic flow into the community that may come from the mall, racetrack or arboretum. It works well too because I frequently found myself accidentally exiting only to circle around to find a way back in.

The roads are often lined with giant, old trees that cast a big canopy over the wide streets. The lots are not the biggest offered in Arcadia, but they are a bit larger than many others in the rest of the city.



On top of that, I often see peacocks in the front lawn of many homes. They bring a wonderful sense of nature into this little suburban neighborhood. Wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to wake up to on a lazy weekend morning?


To its west side there is Hugo Reid Elementary School and Park. A typical Saturday afternoon consists of an all-American little league game complete with hotdogs and cheering family members. The tot-lot next to the field was clean and well maintained. There was also a medium sized open grassy area beyond the outfield, several tennis courts and what looked like a small batting cage. This park speaks well to the family-friendliness of the neighborhood.


During my drive through the area I saw mainly older, but well maintained homes with clean-cut, landscaped yards. The were many traditional ranch homes as well as several contemporary and colonial style homes. Most of the homes were sized to fit the lot and I was happy to see only a handful of newer McMansions.




If I have showcased your house and you would like the picture removed, just leave a comment or send me an email and I will take the picture down. I chose these homes because they represent the neighborhood and are probably homes that stood out to me. Here are some more for your viewing pleasure.


It is neighborhoods like this that draw me to the city of Arcadia. This is a beautiful, clean and serene community that clearly depicts pride of ownership. I find this neighborhood very family friendly and would consider a purchase here myself. If you live in this neighborhood, I congratulate you on your purchase and thank you for doing your part to maintain the beauty of its character.