December 2007


I am making a free Seal Beach real estate activity report available to you, my readers.  Click here to get it. 

This real estate report will show you properties that are currently available. Give me a call if you would like more information on any of these properties.

We wrote about the upcoming Polar Plunge in an earlier post, so we thought we should also mention a couple of other popular activities coming up soon.

Saturday, April 5 is the 5K/10K run.

Saturday, April 26 is the 21st annual classic car show

Sunday, September 21 is the 3rd annual Japan American Kite Festival

I just read that our Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 2008 Polar Plunge Weekend on February 8 – 9.  I don’t know much about it but there’s a website www.socalpolarplunge.com that has more information. 

They plan an all-you-can-eat crab dinner by the Seal Beach Pier (on the 8th, the day before the main event).  On the 9th, brave participants will jump off the end of the Seal Beach Pier.

Sounds exciting!  Maybe not, but it does sound cold!

Seal Beach real estate is made up of several distinct areas or neighborhoods.  The locals refer to these neighborhoods, each with its unique characteristics, by name.  Here’s a summary.

The “Hill” area is located north of PCH and approximately 4 blocks from the beach. There are about 950 homes in this area – mostly single story tract homes built in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

There is a new complex north of the “Hill” called “Heron Point”.

Old Town” is located between the ocean and PCH.  This area is approximately 3 blocks by 18 blocks featuring a quaint Main Street, greenbelt including a library, strand, beach, and pier.  There are approximately 3600 residences consisting of single family homes, condos and apartment buildings.

College Park East is located north of the 405 and east of Seal Beach Blvd and adjacent to the Old Ranch Golf Course/Tennis Club. There are approximately 1650 houses.

College Park West is located north of 7th Street in Long Beach and west of the 605. There are approximately 450 houses.

Old Ranch is a newer community built in 2001 and located behind the shopping center north of the 405 freeway. This gated community contains approximately 78 two story homes

Surfside is the charming beachside community which is fenced and gated with controlled access. Surfside is located east of Seal Beach Blvd and south of PCH.

December 22 was the first day of winter for 2007-08.  That was Saturday and it was mild in Seal Beach.  We had a temperature high in the low 60’s.  There was no snow on the ground and no major storms drenching the community.

We took a walk along the strand and to the pier.  We visited with some friends by the children’s play area (adjacent to the pier) who brought their 2 year old daughter to play on the slide and swings.  From the pier, we watched the waves come in.  The low tide kept the surfers away.  Even the skim boarders were off doing something else.

I noticed 4 or 5 photographers with their gear in the area where the skim boarders normally operate.  The sunlight and clouds cast interesting light patterns across the ocean.  It made me wish I had brought my camera to capture the scene.

That was the first day of winter in Seal Beach.   Did I miss the snow?  NO!

Because of my experience with the Seal Beach real estate market, I thought I would share recent updates on the real estate situation here.   There are two helpful statistics when comparing different communities – the median sales price and the average sales price per square foot.

Here are those figures (median sales price and average price per square foot respectively) based on October 2007 as reported by www.dqnews.com.

90740 Seal Beach $948K (+ 1.8%) and $476

90814 Belmont Shore $645K (+ 7.1%) and $508

These figures show that even in this down market, the Seal Beach real estate market is hold its own.  Overall, prices have slipped in Seal Beach and properties are on the market far longer than we have experienced recently.  However, there has only been one foreclosure which is a far cry from what many doomsday analysts are reporting.

What does this mean for those interested in buying a piece of Seal Beach real estate?  There is favorable pricing and good selection.  In other words, this is a good time to buy.

I’ll post updates on Seal Beach real market from time-to-time.

The strandWhen we wrote the post the other day about our fire, we mentioned “the strand”.  Since this is one of our favorite places, I thought I should tell you about it.  This is a 7-block walkway adjacent to the ocean facing homes south of the Seal Beach pier.  It runs between Electric Ave/Seal Beach Blvd and the parking lot south of the pier. 

Once we discovered this beach pathway, we have been on many walks along this strand.  And we found it was a safe place to practice roller blading.  I felt bad for the other pedestrians who had to hustle out of the way of my almost out-of-control skating.   I took my bike down there once.  But the best way to experience the beach is to simply walk this stretch.  Houses are on one side, the sand and ocean on the other.   

Strands are not unique to Seal Beach.  Many coastal communities have them.  Here it is relatively uncrowded except for some of the summer months.  So a walk here is a quiet and reflective time.

When we walk the strand – we’ve found the early morning and evenings to be the most pleasant times – I am captivated by the sounds.  Ocean surf.  People enjoying conversation on their patios.  A little bit of traffic from Ocean Blvd.  Birds (sometimes this freaks me out because it reminds me of that Alfred Hitchcock movie).  And all of this with views of the pier.

I wish I could tell you that this is where I do my best thinking – reflecting on the meaning of life and the quest for world peace.  But what I really do is do nothing.  I just simply enjoy – and I’m revitalized by what I experience and am ready for whatever happens next.  And isn’t that the best thing?!

Call me at my office if you’d like to join me on one of these walks.

Fire in Seal BeachUPDATED: 12/16; 12/28

UPDATE: The fire was contained to the second floor of 212 Main Street.  The cause of the fire was an electrical failure in the attic.  It caused about $1 million in structural damage and about $500,000 to the contents of the building.  About 50 firefighters were dispatched to assist in the fire.

We took a walk to Main Street last night.  It was on the cool side – some might even say cold – for Seal Beach.  We walked along the strand which is one of more pleasant walks in town.  We just arrived by the pier when we saw the fire trucks a block or two up Main Street.  We had heard the sirens a few minutes earlier.

By the time we reached the intersection of Main Street and Central, we could see that the structure north of the Bank of America was engulfed in fire.  We could see flames coming through the roof and lots of smoke.  The Seal Beach fire department engines and other vehicles were around the building.  Since the road was blocked we couldn’t get around to the front side to see which business(es) were impacted.

For the next fifteen or so minutes we saw helicopters overhead and more sirens coming towards us – not all of them fire engines.

According to the Orange County Fire Authority, this was a three-alarm fire that caused $1 million in structure damage and $500,000 to contents in the building.  The fire was contained to the second floor and the bottom floor suffered water damage only.  There were no injuries.

Home Loan Online, Guitar Lessons, and RSVP LLC Events and Tours were located on the second floor.  D’Vine Boutique and Excellent Nails and Spa were on the bottom floor.

The real charm of Seal Beach is the area of the city south of PCH.  This runs the entire stretch from 1st Street to Seal Beach Blvd.  Because the ocean is both “south-facing” and “west-facing”, the north-east-south-west directions are a little convoluted.

The center of Old Town is Main Street.  It runs for a total of three entire blocks from PCH all the way to Ocean Avenue.  Not a long stretch – I agree.  Within this stretch are the Bay Theatre, a couple of surf shops, many restaurants, coffee shops, a bank, many one-of-a-kind shops, and my office.  I love to stand on Main Street before 10am and just watch what’s happening.  Sometimes it’s more of what’s not happening.

At Ocean Avenue is the Seal Beach pier – so everything flows toward the pier.  There’s not the hectic crowds like Huntington Beach – but it’s peaceful here even when the crowds are larger during the summer months.  It reminds me of Mayberry (you remember Andy Griffith, right?) but with the coastal flavor of Cabot Cove (remember Murder She Wrote with Angela Landsbury?).  People are friendly.  The store owners sweep the sidewalks and take a moment to smile and say “hello”.  Dogs are tethered to a bench or a tree – seemingly unbothered by the people strolling by – most of them are locals, anyway.

I have a couple of favorites along Main Street.  Coldstones (right by the pier).  Hennesey’s with their Tuesday specials (buy one, get one free), the sea shell store, Javatinis (the coffee shop), and the Hawaiian store.  The variety of shops is great for visitors, especially when you think that it is only three blocks long.

Stop by Seaside Brokers when you’re in town.  You would enjoy living in Mayberry-meets-Cabot-Cove.

The simplest definition for “berm” is “a mound of earth”.  In Seal Beach this berm runs almost the entire length of beach from the pier southward to the jetty.  It is more than simply a “mound” – it is about 12 feet high.  The south side of the pier is a low-lying area and subject to flooding during high tide and high surf conditions. 

Berms are formed naturally by wave action, but the berm in Seal Beach is man made to protect our low lying inland areas from the oceans during the ocean months.

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