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Housing Demolitions: The Return of the Bulldozers

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Below is an interesting article from Andrew Khouri at the LA Times. As the article notes, demolitions and new construction in beach communities and other desirable areas in California has picked up significantly.

The article doesn’t mention that many of these small cottages were built in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and 50s as summer homes. An example in the article is “a 3,500-square-foot, three-level house that replaced a small 784-square-foot cottage near the beach.”

 The zoning hasn’t changed. It just didn’t make sense to build a 3,500 sq ft house as a summer home in the ’30s. For the new owners, these are mostly primary residences and the owners work nearby.   It makes sense that the new owners will want to max out the lot (the lots are very expensive), but, as expected, some existing residences don’t want their communities to change.

From Andrew Khouri at the LA Times: Housing tear-downs on the rise as real estate rebounds

The front-end loader swung to the right and took a bite out of the shingled roof of the quaint cottage. The roar of the engine and crackle of buckling lumber carried down Elm Avenue in Manhattan Beach.

Within 40 minutes, a demolition crew reduced the 1950s one-story to rubble. The 782-square-foot house would be replaced by a 3,300-square-foot Cape Cod.

The upscale South Bay town of Manhattan Beach exemplifies the trend. Builders in the city pulled permits to demolish 84 residential units from July 2012 to June 2013, the latest available data. That’s nearly double the number pulled for the same period a year earlier.

In the city of Los Angeles last year, builders received approval to raze 1,227 houses and duplexes from January through mid-December, according to Department of Building and Safety records. That’s 29% higher than in all of 2012, though still well off the pace of more than 3,000 in 2006, during the housing bubble.


Calculated Risk

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