What does the Silver Lake Reservoir’s dry look do to home prices?

Eastsider file photo, June 2012

Eastsider file photo, June 2012

Silver Lake Reservoir pictured earlier this year | Barry Lank


SILVER LAKE — There are many reasons why residents were happy to hear that the now barren Silver Lake Reservoir would start to be refilled next spring. But one reason is of particular interest to homeowners: the boost their property values get from a water-filled reservoir.

A view of the reservoir – even if it’s one where you have strain your neck to see some water – is enough to brag about in real estate listings. It’s going to take longer than expected to refill the reservoir, and it’s not clear how much of the basin will be refilled in a time of drought. Does a delay in refilling the reservoir lower the price of nearby homes? We asked a couple of real estate agents their opinions.

For Tracy Do of Compass, Silver Lake’s real estate market remains attractive, even with a temporarily dry reservoir. “Inventory remains tight, prices are steadily rising and I do not see demand slowing anytime soon,” she said.

And while the delay in refilling the reservoir is unfortunate, she predicted it will have no impact on local real estate values.

“When we tour our clients through Silver Lake these days we do see some initial disappointment, but it’s quickly shrugged off,” she said. “Home buyers understand that the work being done on the reservoir is temporary.”

But does the reservoir matter to an individual home price? Yes.

“If the reservoir were to disappear tomorrow, I estimate that property values for homes with reservoir views would fall by 10 percent,” she said. “That’s a lot.”

Rob Kallick, with Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Feliz, said the effect on price is hard to measure, since it seems like very few homes with reservoir views have come onto the market so far this year. But he agreed that the reservoir makes a huge difference.

“Being able to look at a large body of water as well as the hills and mountains beyond is what makes Silver Lake so unique and special,” he said. “People are willing to pay a premium for a prime reservoir view.”

Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.

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  1. It seems that the LA DWP has a plan in place to refill the reservoir with reclaimed (non-drinking) water which would be great. It is too bad that is not until next Spring, but it seems like a good plan.

    • Reclaimed water production isn’t infinite. Will the former reservoir be kept filled at the expense of needed irrigation at Griffith Park or future City projects?

  2. Bruce Brook Pfeiffer

    Of course we are trusting that this “reclaimed” water won’t smell rank but honestly has the LADWP earned such trust? Haven’t we learned from the Salton Sea debacle that a rank smelling body of water is a sure way to destroy a community? As the saying goes those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    • Echo Park Lake is reclaimed water so .. I think it’s probably gonna be fine,

      • No it isn’t. Potable.

      • Echo Park is “stormwater runoff” aka, non existent, so supplemented nearly 100% by potable……..it’s also 3 ft at the lowest to 10 ft. deepest, vs. 42 ft. in depth for Silver Lake….clearly a large difference in gallons…I believe at capacity SL is 800 Million gallons? Quite a “tall drink of water” no? keeping SL non-stagnant at that depth will be a challenge…best to come up with a way to shrink the footprint/depth?

        • Gotcha, thanks for the clarification.

        • At the LADWP meeting they discussed that they would need to install a water circulation system within SIlver Lake in order to prevent just such stagnation. It is why it won’t be refilled until May instead of immediately after the construction and testing of the new conduit is completed.

  3. “We asked a couple of real estate agents” Gee, what do you think they are going to say? Prices are dropping?

  4. Mr. Pfeiffer does Griffith Park smell like the Salton Sea ??

  5. If the reservoir is filled, the homeowners surrounding the lake should pay for it. If the taxpayers of LA are forced to pay for this, then the fences should come down, and the area should be a public park open to all.

    • Bruce Brook Pfeiffer

      Bill, I am in firm agreement with you. The more I think about some people wanting it to be a private keyed access park in the vein of Manhattan’s Gramercy Park the more annoyed I get. It got me thinking that keeping a fence up to satisfy the demands of the elites who live in close proximity to the reservoir is just as offensive, we just haven’t been seeing it since we are so accustomed to the fence. This should be an open park for all the people of Los Angeles, not a view feature for the few.

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