How much are you willing to pay to live in Echo Park? How about $587 a square foot?

Photo from Redfin.com

With only a little more than 1,000-square feet of living space, the two-bedroom cottage at 1616 Cerro Gordo Street  in Echo Park is not much bigger than a three-car McMansion garage. In fact, the 102-year-old house in the Elysian Heights section does not even have a garage  No matter.  Only 10 days after going up for sale at an asking of $595, 000 in early May, the house with clapboard siding and a fountain  in the front yard went into escrow in only 10 days after receiving six offers, two of them all-cash, reports listing agent Judy Oroshnik.  The winning buyer – one of the all-cash bidders –  paid $10,000 over the asking price  and closed on the property near the end of June.   At  $587 a square-foot, the price – based on square footage – was among the highest paid for an Echo Park house in recent years, Oroshnik said in an email. “The market this spring has been a wild ride,” she said.


  1. Just goes to show how stupid some buyers are. For that money, there are PLENTY of other much larger and nicer houses around, and on larger lots and in better neighborhoods (for instance, the house in brand new condition near me in Silver Lake that is 50% larger and on a lot 50% larger and with a view across the Westside.)

    This sale was an aberration, not what to expect — as the monthly published prices for which houses are actually selling in that area is not at all in that price range. Sounds to me like someone who didn’t know the area and didn’t know any better got snookered by a real estate agent.

  2. @Mark,

    Or maybe like so many Home Buyers in this market, they simply wanted the place-resulting in an over asking price cash sale. Anyone who can pay $600,000 cash for anything is not being snookered. They clearly have cash to spare and are spending freely.


  3. C Pinky Luat Young

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for this comment. As a Realtor myself it’s always helpful to hear about other properties that seem to outperform other homes yet don’t sell as fast. What street is that 50% larger and 50% larger lot with view of Westside that you speak of? I have buyers for it if it’s the value you describe! The inventory has been so low for 2012 vs. the number of ready and qualified buyers that it is definitely possible that this sale was not an aberration as you state but simply an example of someone falling in love with a home. If you know Cerro Gordo, you can understand how someone would appreciate a private and quiet pride of ownership street.
    While you make some great points, Real Estate continues to be an unpredictable, competitive, and emotional wild ride for all sides and for many reasons- cash buyers, low interest rates, renters wanting to end their cash losses every month , cash holders looking for diverse investments, and yes, as you say – lots of great areas to make one’s home in.
    Speaking on a professional as well as personal level, I can assure you that Judy Oroshnik is hardly the snookering type and remains one of the long time trusted and respected Realtors in our community . A property is only worth what someone is willing to pay- even cash. Maybe that person is stupid as you say- but they obviously felt it was the right choice for them.
    Best of luck to you-

    C. Pinky Luat Young, Realtor

    • THIEF!!!!

    • “…renters wanting to end their cash losses every month,”

      Huh? Show me a current sale in which ALL the monthly costs (mortgage, insurance, property tax, HOA fees, etc.) is less than a comparable rental.

      “A property is only worth what someone is willing to pay- even cash.”

      That’s more like it.

      • @Fleaman – What’s a 1 Bedroom/1 Bath house in Echo Park rent for these days? I have a two bedroom technically, but I see it best utilized as a 1 Bed with Office. Gated off-street parking. No garage.

      • We’ve been in our place in Mt. Washington for almost 2 years now, but we are paying less for all that than the art loft we were in downtown for 13 years previously and now we have land to plant.

        • We just left Downtown from our 850 sq. ft. loft across from Staples Center because the rent was about to go up something ridiculous. Over $2500 for a 12 month lease, $2800 for month to month. We started looking for a house right after that. It does seem cheaper to buy than rent right now. We started to look at how much rentals were in Glassell Park (90065) and they are generally more than buying a similar house in the similar area. It is a wild ride as properties that don’t suck are pending within 7 days generally by all cash buyers.

      • It’s always entertaining to watch the renters who read this blog become experts in real estate when a topic like this come up!

        Look guys it’s real simple. The inventory in this area is low, especially for houses that have the amenities like this one and there are people who recognize the upside potential for this area.

        Maybe they over paid a little for the property but that tends to happen once you’ve lost out on three properties prior because of the competitive nature of the market.

    • I was not talking about a house up for sale, but one that was just sold — and by flippers seeking top price. Same price as this much smaller one. And the front yard would rival Huntington Library with its plantings — literally.

      And like I said, the numbers published monthly show that $600,000 is NOT the price range of places selling in that area. I’m not talking of what people are asking; I’m talking of what people are actually paying.

      Hey, it looks like a fine house. I could say good things about it. But there is no way I could say $600,000 worth of good things about it — not when so much more is available and in better areas at that price. And when interest rates go up 5 points over what they are now, and put severe pressure on hosing prices — watch out for that investment!

  4. Cerro Gordo is a beautiful (but very steep) street! Beautiful house.

  5. Ah , yes as I sit here on Cerro Gordo Street in my amazing house that I only paid 150,000 for in 99″ , i laugh at all the bandwagoners to Echo Park that are paying insane prices like idiots in the neighborhood that i grew up in and have called home since 1967 .
    This has always been a great neighborhood to all of us who have lived in this gem before it was “hip” .
    Good luck with that mortgage .
    Sincerely ,
    Mr. $750.00 Mortage payment a month

    • Tert-

      their mortgage is 0. They paid cash!!! Laughing at all of us paying compounded interest…..Cash is King I guess…..WHO has that kind of disposable income!?!?



      • My business partner is looking at buying a 4-plex. Not quite all cash, but close enough. There are people out there who try to live a modest lifestyle in most ways and spend their money on investments. You wouldn’t believe some of the projects we work on, mansions overlooking the ocean being used as a a couple week vacation house.

    • And so you’re stuck in 1999? Are you still watching Friends with baited breath? The world moves on, including the rise and fall of neighborhoods.

    • Someone please explain inflation to Tert. And someone please explain that people move, populations shift, and that not everyone wants to live on the same block for their entire life.

  6. I’ve been in this house…its great. who cares what people decide to spend their money on.
    everyone gripes too much these days…

  7. Typical replys by a real estate agents, “its always a good time to buy”, “for what you are paying in rent, you can own”, if it sold for 1,000,000, it would be “it’s an up and coming neighborhood” . I always love the be “near all the hip bars and shops”, yeah but I just dropped 587 a square foot and don’t have any money left to shop or drink at these hip places. $587,000 x 6 percent = $35,220. Maybe that is why this sale makes sense to them.

  8. Julie,

    The reason people care is because it sets a precedent for home prices in that neighborhood. If this is a sign of things to come, anyone who is not seriously rich can forget about buying a house in Echo Park.

    • This is exactly right! This house has set a new precedent in Elysian Heights! No other house has sold near $600/sqft …. in that neighborhood, most have sold in the $400/sqft range.

      • That’s exactly right. When you find someone you can hoodwink, you do so to the limit, and then cite that to all other buyers as the “going price” of the neighborhood, regardless of the fact it is not at all the price of the neighborhood — even though the real truth in the monthly sales figures shows otherwise.

        The sole reason this was put out to the media is because it is so out of whack with the area! If this were close to the going price, they would not have gone running to the media to get it headlined!

        In fact, when the agents don’t have a recent crazy overbidding, they do have a tactic of what they call a “setup” or “pinball” home, where they drastically overprice and then use it to point out to buyers and tell them that is what they have to expect in that neighborhood, so this other one that is actually only somewhat overpriced now seems like a good deal! You can read about that in the LA Times at:


        • The article is a year old and does not apply to this situation. The market is hot in this area and people are willing to accept less square feet to get a price they can afford. Everyone has their opinion as to true worth but the market value of property is determined when the sale has closed by what someone has paid for it.

          • Sorry. The article is only a month old. I still don’t think it applies to this area due to the small cottages that seem to make up the high square foot prices.

  9. Tert, you write as if you were a certified twerp! Why all the hatin’? Because you had a job and enough money to buy a $150,000 place in 1999 you have to rub it in? That’s a lot of money! And only a dick would have called you a bandwagoner then…All “those idiots” who put their money down are the ones making you able to gloat!

    • No , because i grew up here, and have been able to stay in the magical place i grew up in and have called home all my life .
      Since 1967. When I was born .
      My parents have been here since ’52.
      Thats what makes it special .
      Sorry that this is where i have gone to school , have all my childhood memories , still have some friends here etc…actually , I’m not sorry .
      The dicks are the folks who buy homes here than charge crazy amounts of rent .

      • You’re kind of dumb. You can’t charge a given rent unless someone is willing to pay it… if it’s overpriced, why would people pay a high rent???


  10. This is a very nice home with a feeling of being someone’s private oasis. There are not that many charming properties out there on the market so the good ones stand out and bring buyers. Other places in EP have sold for all cash for more $ than this home. They just haven’t been picked up as a story in a blog.

    BTW, Judy Oroshnik sold us our lovely property in EP 14 years ago. She is a very professional agent who has lived in Echo Park for decades and I highly recommend her.

  11. If you look at the listing, the same home sold for $661,000 in 2006 so actually it was a bargain.

    • Bargain @ $605,000? 2006 was basically a stones throw from the peak of bubble prices. On average, the median price in SL/EP has dropped about 30% from the bubble peak. 30% off $661k would be $463k.

      It’s unknown how much updating $$ was put in since 2006, but it seems like most of the updating/remolding happened around 2002 (sold for $227k) to 2003 (sold for $525k).

      So from the sounds of it, looks like the sellers were the one’s who got the ‘deal’.

  12. At the time we bought this house it was the most expensive at 169.000 thousand three where 3 other interested parties but they wanted to pay 15,000 to 20 thou less than asking.We offered full price with the request escrow close in 30 days I cant discribe the elation we felt knowing we where stayin in E .P with a duplex . MAN color US happy we use the whole house. Maybe someday we will rent in no hhurry Enjoy our freedom

  13. I love this house. It was up for sale when I rented the corner house on Cerro Gordo (maybe 8 years ago). I thought about buying it then, but alas it was priced too high then. I had just driven by it before it was put on the market recently and thought about how I still loved it. I’m not surprised it sold fast. It’s a very charming home and whoever bought it has enough to also pay to replace their brakes more often on that crazy hill.

    I was about to buy again (been putting offers in for 6 months) and was realizing that as a house, not investment I will still lose money versus renting. That is even with my 20% down and low mortgage prices. It’s just the nature of the real estate beast here.

  14. This is a beautiful house. Fully move-in ready. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  15. prrrrrraaaaa . prrrrrrrrrrraa. prrrrrrrrrrrrra…….pop………………………..pop.

    welcome to my hood chavalas.. que no..

  16. marked/märkt/

    1) Having a visible mark: “plants with beautifully marked leaves”.

    (of playing cards)
    2)Having distinctive marks on their backs to assist cheating.

    Which is it? Or is this some more dumb “fakebanger” language.

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