Sunday's Los Angeles Times posited this opinion: Homebuyers are abandoning the ever pricier precincts of Echo Park and Silver Lake in favor of more affordable Highland Park and its environs.
Attracted by an abundance of foreclosures and aided by interest rates near record lows, renovators are giving distressed properties a makeover. They're then reselling them to young professionals priced out of nearby Echo Park and Silver Lake, who are finding Highland Park's bike lanes, Metro Gold Line stop and sidewalk culture a welcome respite from the automobile.
Are home buyers really rushing to Highland Park?
According to the real estate trend tracking website Trulia.com, the buying boom in Highland Park isn't reflected by the data.
The median sales price of Highland Park homes has actually dipped by $10,000 to $285,000 compared to this time last year. However, that number did rebound from a drop to $272,000 between September-November of 2012.
Sales are down as well, according to Trulia, from 41 in February of 2011 to 25 last month.
What the Times keenly notes, however, is 29.1 percent of homes purchased in the final quarter of fiscal year 2011 were bought be absentee buyers--investors.
So, are we truly dealing with a major real estate boom in Highland Park, or a concerted effort by flippers to spur gentrification by snatching up large quantities of Highland Park's vaunted Craftsman and Victorian housing inventory?
This isn’t the first time the Times has opined on the growing gentrification of Highland Park.
In both cases, we think the Times is generally accurate in their observations of Highland Park, but perhaps a little slow with trend-tracking.
The influx of galleries and design shops on York Boulevard is nothing new, and in fact, was reported by the New York Times in 2009.
According to Trulia, the post-crash peak of home sales in Highland Park homes actually occurred in January of 2010.
Is Highland Park changing, of course. However, that evolution is subject to its own peaks and valleys, and numbers show that the cultural changes occurring on York Boulevard don't correlate to any dramatic surge in home sales.