Manhattan Beach, a beachfront town of 3.9 square miles, is probably one of the most desirable communities to live in the greater Los Angeles area… if you can afford it!
GQ Magazine named Manhattan Beach one of the nation’s six best beaches in their July 2014 issue but that distinction comes at a price. In 2016, Forbes ranked Manhattan Beach at #74 on its list of America’s most expensive zip codes with a median home price of $2,815,327. A December 2017 Property Shark study reported the City of Manhattan Beach had the highest median price per square foot for residential properties ($943 per foot) of all 88 cities in L.A. County.
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While you can find homes that are more expensive in terms of total cost in neighborhoods like Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Malibu, Manhattan Beach has the highest cost per square foot. Malibu comes in second highest with a median price per foot at $933 and Beverly Hills was third at $839 per foot. Land values in Manhattan Beach rank among the highest per square foot in the nation and in the section of Manhattan Beach known as The Strand, prices are around $10 million for a 3,000 square foot piece of land. Despite the high cost, the real estate market in Manhattan Beach is reported to be quite healthy per Zillow with home values rising steadily.
The higher cost per square foot may also be due to limitations imposed on the size of homes that can be built in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood. In 2010, the Manhattan Beach City Council enacted size and appearance restrictions on new homes built to preserve the appearance of the beachfront town. The regulations were prompted after three building lots were joined to build a 16,000 square foot beachfront home in 2008.
Manhattan Beach Lifestyle
Manhattan Beach is a vibrant community with well maintained properties, clean air brought in from ocean breezes and much cooler summer air temperatures than the inland areas of Los Angeles. The Strand bike path winds along the oceanfront between modern mansions and wide stretches of sand lined with volleyball courts. Manhattan Beach Pier features a quaint aquarium and views of surfers. There are several parks, and a small downtown area with boutiques, brunch cafes, pubs & creative, upscale eateries.
While a list of prominent residents from Manhattan Beach in Wikipedia reads like a who’s who in Hollywood, entertainment, sports and high finance, it’s a laid-back community popular with families and outdoor enthusiasts from many walks of life. Whereas its neighbors, such as Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, function as quaint beach towns, Manhattan Beach is more of a beach city, with commuters from the finance and tech industries mingling with retirees and families.
Manhattan Beach Population and Schools
The Manhattan Beach population is just over 35,000 people with a median household income of $139,000 annually. The median age is 40.9 years old but the community represents people of all ages fairly evenly. Your neighbors in Manhattan Beach will be well educated. It has the highest percentage of residents with a bachelors degree of any Los Angeles suburb. For your children, The Manhattan Beach Unified School District has test scores ranked #3 in the state of California and Forbes magazine ranked Manhattan Beach Unified as the sixth best School District in the U.S.
Manhattan Beach Amenities
The beachfront town is a hub of activity. The streets of downtown Manhattan Beach, the parks, the Strand and the sands of the beach of are home to events year round. There is always a beach volleyball tournament or a sidewalk sale coming up. Each August, the city hosts the Manhattan Beach Open Volleyball Tournament and the International Surf Festival.
Just steps away from the Manhattan Beach Pier is downtown Manhattan Beach. Downtown is home to over 150 retailers, including children’s, mens’, womens’, home furnishings, art galleries, and more! You will also find over 50 restaurants, cafes, delis and coffee shops, some with award winning chefs and ocean view dining. If you are craving fresh, local organic foods, every Tuesday over fifty food vendors gather downtown for the Manhattan Beach Certified Farmers Market.
Other major amities include The Manhattan Beach Country Club, the Marriott Hotel and Golf Course, Fry’s electronics, supermarkets, multi-story office buildings, and shopping malls where you will find stores like Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Macy’s and the Apple Store.
Neighborhoods within Manhattan Beach
Though the city is small, residents have divided the city into distinct neighborhoods known as the “Strand”, “Sand Section”, “Hill Section”, “Tree Section”, “Gas Lamp Section”, “The Village”, “Manhattan Heights”, “The Knolls”(East Manhattan Beach), “Liberty Village”, “Poet’s Section”, and “El Porto”.
The “Hill Section” is known for its high priced homes where many of the residences are remodeled or newly constructed. The steep hills allow panoramic ocean and city views. The nearby “Sand Section” is notable for its quiet walk-street neighborhoods adjacent to the ocean. Oceanfront homes stretch along the bike path and walking lane of “The Strand” (note: The Strand is a 26 mile bike path running along most of the Southern California beaches which this section of Manhattan Beach is named after). “The Strand” section of Manhattan Beach includes some of the most expensive real estate per square foot in the United States.
Manhattan Beach Crime Rates
In terms of crime rates, indexes rank it as equal to the California average for all crimes and 67% lower than the California average for violent crimes. Property crimes are ranked 12% higher than the California average. Had the comparison of Manhattan Beach been limited to just the greater Los Angeles area, the crime rates would be seen as very low.
The California Dream
Manhattan Beach is one of the spots where you can truly live the “California Dream.” It offers a healthy lifestyle in a town that has the perfect balance between a quite beach town life and the activities and amenities of a major city.