After soaring to record heights last year — beyond even the Great Recession peak — the metro Los Angeles housing market began cooling off last summer, according
  to the real-estate database website Zillow. But Pasadena buyers shouldn’t get too excited, because the area is quite desirable and prices are still hefty. Zillow reports that the city’s median home price is $879,000, still up 4.7 percent over the same period last year.

But there is good news for prospective homeowners — there’s simply more out there. Around the country, inventory increased 3 percent over last year, the first such rise since 2014. And buyers willing to add some sweat equity to their mortgage package might find some tasty deals to be had.

What you get for…


HOW MUCH:  $500,000

WHERE:  80 N. Raymond, #112, Pasadena

WHAT YOU GET:  Studio with one bath

SIZE:  545 square feet


This corner studio may be cozy, but it obeys the first law of real estate: Location, location, location. It puts you in busy Old Pasadena, mere steps from the Levitt Pavilion of Performing Arts, the Metro Gold Line, Armory Center for the Arts and a flurry of cool shops, bars and restaurants. Indeed, this 1996 condo complex has been part of the downtown revival bringing buyers back from the suburbs, closer to numerous amenities. Even better, the studio has been completely remodeled, and its modest size is enhanced by huge windows on two sides, which flood the space with light. The one-bath unit has stackable laundry machines, granite counters, central air, a balcony, recessed lighting and one parking space (you’ll need it). The monthly $297 homeowners’ association dues covers earthquake insurance, security, hot water and more. A pied-à-terre, anyone?

CONTACT: Luka Mihovilovic, United Real Estate Los Angeles, (626) 616-0457

Under $1 million

HOW MUCH:  $949,000

WHERE:  4831 Mt. Royal Dr., Eagle Rock

WHAT YOU GET:  Three beds, two baths

SIZE:  1,340 square feet


This Spanish Mission-style home may need some help with curb appeal, but it has something else to compensate: spectacular views and light through an entire wall of windows overlooking the Griffith Observatory and city lights from Glendale to Century City. Built in 1974, the home was recently renovated, with new bathrooms, kitchen with quartz countertops, recessed lighting and flooring. There’s also a sunset-friendly balcony that stretches from a bedroom through the living room, central air, a two-car garage off the kitchen and a sizable 16,950-square-foot lot, which includes an adjacent lot, so no one can build on it and block your view.

CONTACT: Suzi Dunkel-Soto, Keller Williams Realty/Arcadia, (626) 386-7888


HOW MUCH:  $2,395,000

WHERE:  5026 Castle Rd., La Cañada Flintridge

WHAT YOU GET:  Three beds, 2.75 baths

SIZE:  3,362 square feet


This Country French Revival estate was completed in 1932 for public-school teacher Francis Brown McCollum and his French-born second wife, Yvonne, to make her feel at home. Yvonne was also a public-school teacher, but the $3,000 building cost (under $300,000 in current dollars) was within their means. The first things that strike you are the mature fruit trees and other landscaping on the nearly one-acre plot and the generous use of stone throughout the home. There are several private patios (on the roof, under a trellis), a formal living room with views of the pool, a formal dining room with a fireplace and a family room with a balcony overlooking the front gardens, a stone fireplace and a built-in desk. The lower level has a guest room with a separate entrance. Other perks: a wraparound driveway and an attached two-car garage.

CONTACT: Heather Scherbert, Coldwell Banker/La Cañada Flintridge,
(818) 903-3393


HOW MUCH:  $16.8 million

WHERE:  1161 Virginia Rd., San Marino

WHAT YOU GET:  seven bedrooms, seven baths

SIZE:  9,912 square feet


This 1913 Italian Palladian Villa has a stellar pedigree, its design by Robert D. Farquhar, whose architectural projects included the Pentagon and The California Club in downtown L.A. The two-acre-plus estate lies behind a security gate and boasts 16-foot ceilings, a marble foyer, hand-carved marble fireplace mantels, an oval, walnut-paneled library, solarium, elevator and stately living and dining rooms. A circular staircase connects to the second-floor children’s playroom and six bedrooms plus the master suite. The spacious grounds include a pool and spa, a fruit orchard, a north-south tennis court,  a reflecting pond and guest apartment

CONTACT: Yennis Wong, Berkshire Hathaway, (626) 440-5100

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