The groundwork for the upscale Westside neighborhood of Cheviot Hills was laid in 1923 when a single subdivision began sales of lots on a previously undeveloped patch of rolling hills 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.
It was prime real estate. In a newspaper advertisement for that first tract, which its developers dubbed Country Club Highlands, its marketers laid out its charms: a “combination of low prices, high elevation, beautiful view” that was near “the airline to the beaches, with the Wm. Fox Studios right across the street, and three country clubs nearby!”
They also made a selling point of the developer’s adoption of advanced brick home construction techniques, which included the use of steel beams for stability during earthquakes.
The price for these homes? $750.
Houses in the Highlands sold well, and within a few years two more subdivisions had broken ground in the area, although with substantially higher prices.
Monte Mar Vista, with its curvilinear streets and underground utilities, offered homes for discerning buyers starting at $3,900. Contemporary photographs show large homes representing styles as varied as Spanish Colonial and Tudor springing up from the nearly treeless landscape seemingly at random, some of them a stone’s throw from the nearby oil fields.
But it was Cheviot Hills, which opened a few years before Monte Mar Vista, that would set the bar highest in terms of luxury. The brainchild of developer Frans Nelson, the tract was named after the scenic range that marks the southern border of Scotland.
Lots here sold for just over $1,700. Purchasers who wanted Nelson to build a home for them were spending a minimum of $10,500, and often as much as $50,000. To put it in perspective, that’s around $750,000 in 2017 dollars, a mighty sum that is still less than half of the median price of a home in Cheviot Hills today.
With its proximity to two movie studios (Sony is just a few miles down Motor Avenue from Fox), Century City and the Westside tech ecosystem, Cheviot Hills remains a popular destination for affluent commute-averse home buyers.
A Westside oasis: Cheviot Hills, with its winding, wooded streets and spacious homes, is a welcome residential respite from West L.A. traffic and noise.
House beautiful: With a wide variety of styles ranging from ranch homes to modernist McMansions, Cheviot Hills has something for every (expensive) taste.
Location is king: Got a meeting at Fox, and then a powwow with your agents at CAA, followed by a power lunch in Culver City? You can do it all without ever getting on a freeway.
A victim of its success: Tear-downs are becoming more of a thing in Cheviot Hills, with Ray Bradbury’s former home just one recent victim of the trend.
Kristian Bonk of Results Real Estate Group has been selling homes in Cheviot Hills for 18 years, and he’s seen it go one way: up.
“It’s traditionally been a middle-aged neighborhood, but millionaires are getting younger, and they’re moving to Cheviot Hills,” Bonk said.
He added that the community is built around the Rancho Golf Course, a public course where nearly everyone in the neighborhood has spent time putting, driving or grabbing lunch. In addition, the residents get really into Halloween; Cheviot Hills has been ranked the top neighborhood in the city to trick-or-treat.
“If something becomes available, buy it,” Bonk said. “Price-wise, Cheviot Hills will become a Beverly Hills soon enough.”
In the 90064 ZIP Code, based on 24 sales, the median sales price in July for single-family homes was $1,438,000, according to CoreLogic. That’s a 10.6% increase in median sales price year over year.
The only public school in the Cheviot Hills boundaries, Overland Avenue Elementary, scored 946 in the 2013 Academic Performance Index.
Outside the boundaries, highlights include Clover Avenue Elementary, which scored 952, and Westwood Elementary, which scored 945. Castle Heights Elementary and Canfield Avenue Elementary scored 898 and 889, respectively.
Times staff writer Jack Flemming contributed to this report.
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