For the man of moderate means . . . within reach of the city, ocean and mountains . . . accessible by auto or trolley . . . in a thriving community . . . 50x150-ft. lots for as low as $1,400; additional bargains in 80x160-ft. lots priced from $2,350.
Except for the word “‘trolley"--the dead giveaway in this real estate ad--one could be reading just another modern-day lure to some obscure area of the Inland Empire or an undeveloped subdivision deep in the San Fernando Valley.
The community being touted as so attractively “affordable” in that May, 1922, issue of the Los Angeles Times, was beautiful Beverly Hills!
At this point, many readers might well be muttering: “I know, I know . . . I could have been a millionaire today.”
Back in those days, it was important to young families looking to buy on the Westside to know that Los Angeles High School was well within reach of the community of Beverly Hills. And it seemed reasonable then to set building costs at a steep $5,000 minimum, and reassuring to know that iron-clad restrictions that had been designed to protect property value would be in effect up to 1950.
Purchase terms required one-quarter down and the balance to be paid in three equal payments--6, 12 and 18 months at 6% interest.
The Frank Meline Co., one the big real estate advertisers of the day, capitalized on the fact that Beverly Hills already had 30 resident millionaires with “show-place dwellings on its picturesque hills.” And they bragged about sewers, telephone system, sidewalks, parkways and ornamental street lighting already being in place, to lure the buyer.
Lots earmarked for the “millionaires” had, of course, much higher price tags. Properties with 100-foot frontage started at $5,000 and estate parcels of 2 to 13 acres required a more substantial investment of $20,000 or more.
Meline summed up his exuberant sales pitch with the comment: “Beverly Hills is not an experiment.”
We’ll buy that.
Hind Site will be a continuing column, looking at changing values in Southern California real estate.