Living in Los Angeles does things to a person… and selling real estate on the Westside of Los Angeles does even more. Please remember that I live and work in a city where restaurant valets begrudgingly park a BMW because they’re used to “driving” Buggatis, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and MacLarens (albeit for only a few feet). Many women carry handbags with price tags that could have otherwise provided food and water to several underdeveloped nations. When those sort of things become your reference point for normal (or, at least “accessible”), the actual normal world can take you by surprise.
Case in point: I recently read that the median average price of a home in the US was $249,000.
Now, if you are reading this in LA, SF, NY or any other city that can be described with two letters and no appended state, I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw off the floor. If you don’t live in those places, you can immediately go to the next paragraph.
Living and working in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country can give you a skewed view of what life is like everywhere else, and life in LA starts to feel average. Surely there must be homes in LA that are selling at the national median price. A quick search of LA’s Westside on the Multiple Listing Service showed exactly two single family homes for sale at $249,000: One was a mobile home listed by an out-of-area agent (who put it in the wrong MLS area — it’s not in LA), and the other was a bank-owned teardown in an area that I believe I drove through when making a right instead of a left off the freeway.
Time for some perspective: In the entire Los Angeles metro market, the median home price is $589,000. To put an even finer point on it, the median home in Malibu sells for $2,563,400 (and yes, the commas are in the right places). Looking at those numbers, I began to wonder if I was crazy living here and if I was truly out of touch with “the normal people.”
For a reality check I called a normal person. My cousin, Madeline. I know that Madeline is a “normal” person because: 1) She lives in Indiana; 2) She is 48 years old and I can tell when something bothers her because her forehead actually moves; and 3) If she does own yoga pants, she never wears them out of the house.
After the brief “hellos” and “how are yous” I got to the point. “Am I crazy to live in a place where the median home sells for over two and a half million dollars?”
Her answer was, “No f—–g way!”
After I confirmed that, yes, this was the actual median price and that my clients usually pay much more for their homes, she asked if she could visit for a few weeks… “Oh, and do you think you can introduce me to some of those Malibu guys?”
As I drove back home along Pacific Coast Highway I kept fantasizing about the “simpler life.” The “$249,000 for a home life.” The “Indiana Hallmark Channel type of small town snow on the ground for Christmas sort of life”…
But a funny thing happened: I passed Nobu. The Spicy Açai Martini began it’s siren call, joined by the memory of this insane custard-coddled egg-soy infused dessert I recently had there. I made a U-turn (without causing an accident) and pulled into the parking lot.
Running into some friends, I joined them at their table and sat watching an incredible sunset over one of the best ocean views in the world.
I might consider Indiana when it gets an ocean.