Van Nuys or Venice, 1948

The Choice, in 1948
Pick your scenery, in 1948

What is more remarkable here, that Van Nuys was once priced higher than Venice? Or realtors once offered “clothes poles” as an amenity?

Or Venice was a choice at all?

In case you were wondering, $9350 in inflation adjusted dollars would be $91,921 today.

You could own a house, freshly constructed, near the ocean in California for $368.95 a month at todays wages.

As you may have already observed, the fates of Venice and Van Nuys, as neighborhoods, have diverged.  In Piketty-ish terms, the family which chose the smaller lot by the beach, as opposed to the larger one in the suburbs would have realized an exponential rise in capital over labor.


Here’s 6817 Matilija today, courtesy of Google Streetview.      Houses on this block are listed at $500,000.  And they’re selling!  Madness, right?  Until you consider the alternative.

Untitled 3

Here’s a house in Venice on the same block of Greenwood as the ad, listed on Zillow at $1.2 million. Two bedrooms, one bath.

Almost makes one nostalgic for clothes drying on a line in the sun.

One thought on “Van Nuys or Venice, 1948”

  1. In most jurisdictions these homes would not be legal to build today. First, the lot size is too small. Suburban zoning in new subdivisions almost always demands larger lots. Second, the homes themselves are too small. Even if the municipal authorities are willing to tolerate homes of this diminutive size (which most won’t) the ubiquitous HOAs almost always stipulate a minimum of 2,800 square feet. This is to keep out the riffraff. Then there’s the requirement for multiple off street parking spaces – very often covered or fully enclosed garage parking. That not only jacks up the cost of construction since a modern two or three car garage is about the same size as one of these little homes, but it also requires a larger lot. And none of these 1948 homes would pass inspection by the fire marshal if built today – even though they’ve clearly passed the test of time. The list goes on.

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