“Silicon Beach” Comes with as Pretty of a Price Tag

The Westside of Los Angeles is a desirable location for many potential homebuyers. It is conveniently close to beaches, freeways and other attractions. However, obtaining a home there is a bit of a challenge, as the median home price has risen nearly 20 percent in the last year.

Tech workers migrating to Southern California’s “Silicon Beach” are driving already steep rent and home prices even higher. At its peak, the median home price in neighborhoods stretching from south Santa Monica to Marina Del Rey was $925,000 in 2007, before falling to $694,000 in the first three months of 2010.

The surge in real estate has raised the area’s median home price to $925,000 because workers want homes close to the new Google campus. It opened two years ago in Venice and the company leases three buildings housing hundreds of workers. Many tech workers are also employed by small startups and drawn to the area by the relaxed environment and beach.

Facebook and Microsoft have also recently opened office nearby, offering a change of pace from the pressures of Northern California’s Silicon Valley.

As the regional population increases, the average price of apartment rents has risen too. The average price of rent on the Westside is $2,401 a month which is up 5.3 percent from a year ago, and nearly 20 percent from its low during the recession.

The new faces in area are not being well received by longtime residents who worry that the unique vibe of Venice will be changed by techie newcomers. The effect is not as pronounced as in San Francisco, where affluent workers from Google and Facebook have also driven up real estate prices.

The Silicon Beach area is relatively small and the growing tech scene has even priced some techies out of the neighborhoods.

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