Buoyed by Silicon Beach, Westchester enjoys a housing surge

When Regina Freidin first moved to Westchester about 15 years ago, it wasn't exactly her first choice.

Her husband had grown up in the quaint, suburban neighborhood just north of LAX and wanted to move back. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and had in mind someplace more trendy. They had been renting in Brentwood.

"It's not like there's a stigma," she said. "But you know how if you live in the Palisades or Brentwood or Santa Monica, people are like, 'Ooooh.' Well, Westchester is just Westchester."

But 15 years and three Westchester houses later, Freidin says she wouldn't want to live anywhere else. And she has friends hoping to move there too. Even one from Brentwood.

This often-overlooked patch, known to many as a place they pass through en route to the airport, is having something of a moment.

Westchester's 90045 ZIP Code is one of just a handful of places in the region where house prices have returned to pre-crash levels, with the median price for a single-family home hitting $795,000 in the third quarter, according to CoreLogic DataQuick.

Those prices have climbed 25% in the last two years. A big reason: the southward surge of Silicon Beach.

The tech and real estate phenomenon that has transformed Santa Monica, Venice and Marina del Rey is now lapping at the edges of Westchester. Media and entertainment firms have been scooping up office space in Playa Vista, a master-planned community on the old Hughes Aircraft site just north of Westchester. Last month, tech giant Google bought 12 vacant acres zoned for a massive office complex.

"All these tech and advertising companies have really shifted the dynamics of the marketplace," said Stephanie Younger, a real estate agent with Teles Properties in Playa del Rey.

A wave of rehabs and additions has also driven prices higher. Construction crews are a common sight in Westchester these days, converting the neighborhood's traditional postwar ranch homes — built in the '40s and '50s for returning GIs and aerospace workers — into fully updated two-story affairs.

Laura Kellam

Laura has held her California real estate license since 2001, and she began her personal endeavors in real estate in 1996, as a single-family residential investor.  Well-versed in the Los Angeles market, Laura’s 20 years of experience as a buyer, a project manager during renovations and a seller throughout numerous single family residential transactions, and now in recent years, her additional and vast experience working with buying, selling and investor clients; all gives her a unique ability to service her clients needs. Laura treats each transaction with attention to detail and a complete understanding of both the excitement and the challenges of preparing, buying and selling a home. This experience allows her to achieve maximum results for her clients in a way that is as stress free as possible for the client.

Laura currently works with BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES, CALIFORNIA PROPERTIES, and holds active membership California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Board of Realtors® (BHGLAR).