When someone purchases a home, the hope is that it will turn out to be a good real estate investment, in addition to providing a nice place to live.
But in the Mansion section of the Wall Street Journal on March 5, there was a headline that property owners never want to read: “The Hot Venice Market Has Cooled.”)
The writer noted that Jordan Mazer paid $2.225 million in December for a property that was walking distance to the beach—but that was $213,000 less than a buyer paid in 2018, and $450,000 less than a buyer paid in 2016.
According to the WSJ, from 2012 to 2019, prices grew by an average of 17 percent a year in Venice, before beginning to reverse in July 2019.
The price paid per-square-foot for a single-family home in Venice dropped by 5.7 percent in 2020. By contrast, greater Los Angeles showed a 3.2 percent increase—despite the pandemic.
The price per-square-foot in the first quarter of 2016 when the market peaked in Venice was $1,287. The price per-square-foot today is $1,050. The inventory of available property increased in Venice, with 43.2 percent more single-family homes available.
According to the article, some people who left Venice were looking for larger homes in Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Topanga Canyon, but “a number of local real-estate agents cited another reason for the Venice market’s troubles: the city’s growing homeless population.”
Venice residents made a plea to Rec and Park Commissioners at a January 21 meeting to “save” Venice from the increasing homeless tents lining the streets.
Circling the News reported on the residents’ complaints: “It is a complete and total breakdown of society,” one said, noting that there were 213 tents in an 18-block area.
“There is no access to our iconic beach park,” another resident said, noting that the homeless activity at Venice Beach Park has resulted in societal norms being replaced; social order and law has been abandoned, leaving anarchy, the resident complained.
A third resident urged commissioners to come down and see it with their own eyes. “This is a Venice Beach Park crisis,” she said. “This harms tourists, small businesses, residents and the unhoused.
“This is a park, not a campground. Help stop the destruction of this park.”
The three residents spoke about cooking fires, the most recent of which burned down a 1953 building on January 18. Part of a homeless encampment with several tents located next to the building also appeared to have burned. The fire spread from that area to the adjacent commercial building, the fire department said.
Six fires were reported in less than a month between September and October.
Crime was up 42 percent and drug use was rampant. After CTN visited the area on January 22, we wrote: “Homeless tents lined the sand, and garbage and discarded belongings littered the sidewalk. Drug use was in evidence and I was glad I had a male companion accompanying me.”
The WSJ story quoted Councilman Mike Bonin, who said that homelessness was increasing everywhere in Los Angeles, including Venice. “Another reason is there is open space on the beach to sleep. I’m sure the fact that people are living on the street is impacting real-estate values where it is most concentrated.”
Bonin added that the solution isn’t to outlaw tents or encampments. “I want to build more homeless shelters in Venice and throughout the West Side,” he told the WSJ.