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The essential Pacific Palisades homebuying guide

Pacific Palisades

Nestled along a three-mile coast between Santa Monica and Malibu, Pacific Palisades occupies a special place in every luxury homebuyer's list of real estate markets to explore in Southern California.

It's not quite far from the madding streets of Santa Monica and the rest of Westside Los Angeles, but sheltered enough that residents get to enjoy the beautiful mountain-to-sea location peacefully. For many, Pacific Palisades is that highly coveted respite, where time feels like it runs even slower than Los Angeles' relatively slow pace.

Are you planning on adding a Pacific Palisades property to your portfolio? Perhaps you're looking for a new place to call home. Below are several things to know to streamline your homebuying experience.

The geography

It's not often that a Los Angeles neighborhood offers direct access to both the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. Pacific Palisades does, however, and it's considered to be the community's most attractive feature. With the Santa Monica Mountains rising in the northern section of Pacific Palisades, residents love that they can easily take a trailhead to explore the vast expanse of nature that is literally their backyard.

Pacific Palisades occupies a sweet spot tucked between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The entire neighborhood languidly covers a little over 24 square miles of this region. This includes expansive state parkland, which residents get to enjoy year-round. Much of Pacific Palisades is located inland on rolling and rugged terrain that turn into coastal bluffs the closer you get to the sea.

Despite its size (it is said to be larger than the entire island of Manhattan), Pacific Palisades is home to only about 28,000 residents, offering one of the lowest population densities in the Los Angeles sprawl. The neighborhood is almost entirely residential save for a small collection of retail spaces in Palisades Village. If you want more dining, shopping, and entertainment options, Santa Monica and Malibu are close by.

Access points

There are two main roads that serve as Pacific Palisades' entry and exit points: Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway (or State Route 1). Both thoroughfares offer scenic drives, one going around the foothills and the other traversing the California coastline.

One caveat, however, is that both roads also tend to be busy. During rush hour, it can be difficult to get in or out of Pacific Palisades. Nights out and other escapades outside the neighborhood may require some planning.

The housing stock

Pacific Palisades neighborhood top view

A significant portion of real estate in Pacific Palisades consists of single-family homes in all manner of sizes and architectural styles. What catches the eye, however, is the neighborhood's collection of singular luxury properties, attracting A-list celebrities and high-profile individuals who prefer peace and quiet overexposure.

Homes for sale in Pacific Palisades

Pacific Palisades' housing market is fairly competitive, offering plenty of opportunities for both homebuyers and sellers. As of April 2022, the median home price in the neighborhood was $4.2 million, representing a 25.4% year-on-year increase. Homes for sale in Pacific Palisades generally spend an average of 42 days on the market, with some properties attracting multiple offers.

If you are buying a Pacific Palisades property, expect to pay more than the listing price. Homes for sale in Pacific Palisades have a sale-to-list price ratio of 101%, with nearly 43% of properties selling for over their original listing price. This trend has been steadily increasing over the recent years— 2.2 points and 12.9 points year-on-year, respectively. 105 homes have been sold in Pacific Palisades since the start of the year.

The typical Pacific Palisades home

The quintessential Pacific Palisades home is a four-bedroom, four-bathroom single-family property built on a generous lot with enough room for outdoor living or even expansion. More importantly, it will most likely be perched on a bluff featuring canyon, beach, or ocean views (or all three).

Beside single-family residences, however, homes for sale in Pacific Palisades also include condominiums, older properties dating back to the early years of the neighborhood, and unique mid-century gems, some of which are legendary in the annals of American architecture.

Architectural styles

The fresh air and coastal nature of Pacific Palisades allows many to get in touch with their creative side when building or remodeling their homes. As a result, the neighborhood features an incredible selection of different architectural styles, enough to excite even the passive observer of home design.

In addition to Mid-century Modern, other architectural styles present in Pacific Palisades include:

  • California Ranch
  • Modern farmhouse
  • Nantucket-style
  • French Renaissance
  • Italian
  • Contemporary
  • Spanish Revival
  • Spanish Colonial
  • Streamline Moderne

The neighborhoods

Real estate options and home prices can vary depending on the Pacific Palisades neighborhood you're exploring. To help you narrow down your choices, here are some of the things you should expect from each of Pacific Palisades' enclaves.

North Village/The Alphabet Streets

Located in the heart of Pacific Palisades near Sunset Boulevard, the North Village area comprises two sections: the famous Alphabet Streets and Upper North Village.

The North Village/Alphabet Streets area is mostly flat and is located within walking distance from The Village, Pacific Palisades' commercial core. This part of the neighborhood is also the oldest, developed in the early 1920s. As a result, the area features narrower streets and smaller homes, the biggest of which offer roughly around 7,000 sq. ft. One of the area's most defining features are its streets, named after some of the Methodist bishops that helped establish Pacific Palisades. These streets include Albright, Iliff, Kagawa, Ember, and Fisk.

Bigger lots and residences are found at Upper North Village, located on the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Square footage in this area can range anywhere between 4,000 and 40,000 sq. ft.

Castellammare

Closer to the Pacific Ocean is the Castellammare area, which rests on coastal bluffs overlooking Pacific Coast Highway and the waters beyond. Its narrow streets snake through the coast, reminiscent of seaside Italian towns and villages. It is easy to see why Castellammare (Italian for castle by the sea) is so named.

Like the other enclaves in Pacific Palisades, Castellammare also has two defined sections: the main Castellammare area and Castellammare Mesa. Both areas offer homes with stunning ocean views as well as proximity to a local attraction: the Getty Villa. Home prices in the entire Castellammare enclave can run from $2 million to over $9 million.

El Medio

El Medio's hilly location, spanning from Sunset Boulevard all the way across Temescal Canyon, blesses the enclave with some of the best views in Pacific Palisades. It is usually divided into two locales: Upper El Medio and El Medio Bluff.

Homes in the Upper El Medio area start in the foothills and wind their way up the Santa Monica Mountains— the vistas get better the higher you go. This, along with the sizable lots available, place local home prices in the upper end of the spectrum. Meanwhile, homes in the El Medio Bluff area are just as beautiful with unobstructed views of the Pacific but with more reasonable price tags. However, as the views become more breathtaking, so do the home values and prices. This goes for the entirety of Pacific Palisades.

Huntington Palisades

Widely considered to be one of the best areas to live in Pacific Palisades, Huntington Palisades is tucked between Chautauqua Boulevard and Potrero Canyon Park. The community is noted for its colorful history, close proximity to the beach, and oceanfront properties.

Homes in Huntington Palisades, which range from 7,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft., can easily fetch for over $15 million, making this area also one of the most expensive enclaves in Pacific Palisades.

Huntington Palisades

Marquez Knolls

One of the larger communities in Pacific Palisades, Marquez Knolls spreads from the southern bounds of The Highlands all the way down to the northern boundary of Palisades Village. The area is so named because of Marquez Elementary School, one of the two schools located nearby.

Marquez Knolls has two distinct sections: Upper Marquez Knolls and Lower Marquez Knolls. The former, being on higher elevation, boasts spectacular views as it inches higher up the mountain. It's also where you'll find homes from the 1950s and 1960s developed by Earl Lachman. Meanwhile, Lower Marquez Knolls features some newer homes, plus easier access to the area's schools and The Village.

Overall, home prices in Marquez Knolls swing from $2 million to over $10 million.

Palisades Highlands

Palisades Highlands, often referred to simply as The Highlands, is one of the newer developments in Pacific Palisades. Sitting in the Upper Ynez Canyon in the northern section of the neighborhood, The Highlands is home to several smaller gated communities. These include Palisades Hills, Palisades Country Estates, and The Summit.

Real estate options are more varied in The Highlands. Apart from single-family homes, the area also features townhomes and luxury estates. Since it is located farther from the ocean, homes in The Highlands considerably offer more value for money. Sunset Boulevard and The Village are a short distance away. Because of its high altitude, the weather is slightly warmer in Palisades Highlands.

The Riviera

The Riviera on the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains is reminiscent of the Italian and French villages it was inspired by. Streets in the neighborhood bear famous names like Amalfi and Sorrento, and most home sites feature awe-inspiring views of either the ocean, the canyons, or the Riviera Country Club, located nearby.

Because of its proximity to Riviera Country Club, residents often get to enjoy an array of amenities. Locals are also able to access Sunset Boulevard much easier than the rest of Pacific Palisades; it runs through the middle of the neighborhood, dividing The Riviera into two sections. Lots and luxury properties abound, ranging from $5.5 million to over $50 million in price.

Rustic Canyon

Rustic Canyon is in the eastern section of Pacific Palisades, bordered neatly by Sunset Boulevard, Brentwood and Santa Monica Canyon. One of its defining geographic features is Rustic Creek, for which the community is named after. Some pockets of the community are also lushly green, teeming with live oaks and California sycamores, to name a few tree species.

The variety of real estate options in Rustic Canyon can be exciting. In the parts closer to Santa Monica, you may find quintessential beach homes. If you are a fan of Mid-century Modern architecture, you may also come across older properties designed by renowned architects like Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., and Craig Ellwood. Near the historic Uplifters clubhouse, Rustic Canyon reveals a collection of post-war homes. One can say that the homes in Rustic Canyon have the most character in all of Pacific Palisades.

Home prices in Rustic Canyon can range from $3.5 million to over $15 million, with values dependent on age, location, and the provenance of the property.

Via Bluffs

Situated adjacent to Palisades Village is Via Bluffs, highly coveted not only for its proximity to Pacific Palisades' downtown but also for its ocean views. Home prices in this area can easily range between $4 million to $7 million, but because residents love living here so much, Via Bluffs listings can be scarce.

Apart from Palisades Village, Palisades Park and Palisades Elementary School are only a short walking distance away from the neighborhood.

Find a home you love in Pacific Palisades with The Valerie Fitzgerald Group

The Valerie Fitzgerald Group can be your guide to unlocking the best listings in Pacific Palisades and the rest of Westside Los Angeles. With over 20 years of cumulative experience buying and selling luxury real estate in the area, The Valerie Fitzgerald Group knows how to turn every transaction into a memorable experience.

Get in touch with the team, led by none other than experienced luxury Realtor Valerie Fitzgerald, to arrange for a private consultation that will help fulfill your real estate goals in Pacific Palisades. Call The Valerie Fitzgerald Group today at 310.285.7515 or send an email to start touring dream properties in Pacific Palisades.



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