Los Angeles Multifamily

16 Units – Just Closed Off Market | Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles

1241 & 1247 S. Dunsmuir Avenue.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
16 Units | Just Closed

We just closed a 16 unit value-add multifamily transaction, sourced off-market, which was located on the border Mid-Wilshire and Wilshire Vista neighborhoods of Los Angeles – two of LA’s well-established yet seemingly fast-growing rental submarkets. The property was located on South Dunsmuir Avenue near San Vicente Boulevard, a quiet tree-lined side street with a mix of single-family residential, multifamily (old and new) as well as small lot sub-divisions.

I like this area for a variety of reasons. It is close to major thoroughfares such as San Vicente Boulevard, Pico, Olympic, Fairfax, La Brea and it is a straight shot into popular parts of town like Beverly Grove and West Hollywood. Additionally, the real estate in this area is as diverse as the residents who populate it. As mentioned above, the properties in the area feature everything from new construction, to 1930s Spanish Duplexes, to charming SFRs and 1960s apartment buildings – the list just goes on.

This particular property, originally constructed in 1947, consisted of all one-bedroom floor plans averaging approximately 800 square feet, situated on an R-3 zoned 17,407 SF lot. The property was held by a family operator for over 30 years who like many other LA owners were seeking to transition to a slightly more hands-off investment out-of-state via a 1031 Exchange due to the heightened regulatory environment locally.

The purchasers were attracted to the value-add potential of the property in addition to its central location and proximity to areas like Beverly Grove, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. The property was delivered with 2 vacancies which the Purchaser plans to renovate and lease at market rent, along with other improvements to the property. The details of the transaction are below:

1241-1247 S. Dunsmuir Avenue. Los Angeles, CA 90019

$4,605,000 Final Sale Price
– 16 Units | 12,364 SF
– All one-bedroom floor plans
– Year Built 1947
– $287,812/Unit
– $372/SF
– 15.3 GRM

Additional Photos:

Los Angeles Multifamily

What $2,750,000 per unit buys you in Santa Monica – 1221 Ocean Avenue.

Douglas Emmett pays a record price for 1221 Ocean Avenue in the heart of prime Santa Monica

I don’t typically write about institutional transactions but this is what I would call a WOW price. Douglas Emmett, a firm that is very near and dear to me, paid a record-price for a multifamily asset in prime Downtown Santa Monica with the purchase of 1221 Ocean Avenue – which is certainly one of the most prestigious multifamily assets on the West Coast with unbelievable ocean views. The Seller was The Irvine Company, who had owned and operated the Class-A property for years. 1221 Ocean was one of a few assets that they own in Los Angeles – outside of their core market of Orange County.

Here are the deal Metrics:

  • $330,000,000 Purchase Price
  • 120 Unit Multifamily Property
  • $2,750,000 per unit
  • $1,800 per SF
  • 98% leased at close
  • 1,500 SF Average Unit Size
  • Closed April 26, 2022
  • Purchased in the low 3% Cap range
  • DE plans to continue to significantly upgrade units and common areas

The deal was purchased via a new Joint Venture managed by Douglas Emmett in which they own a 55% interest. The property is a nice addition to the vast portfolio of Class-A office buildings which they own in the area, in addition to their sister multifamily assets also in Santa Monica – The Shores and Pacific Plaza. Congrats to my friends over at DE on this incredible acquisition!

Los Angeles Multifamily Playa del Rey

Playa del Rey – LA’s Most Low-Key Beachside Community

An LA gem location hiding in plain sight

Playa del Rey is one of those small beach side pockets of Los Angeles that for the most part just flies under the radar.  If you don’t know where it is, chances are you have at least passed it going either to or from LAX or maybe you biked through on the beach path heading towards Manhattan Beach.  It’s not one of those areas like Venice or West Hollywood that people specifically seek out when they move to Los Angeles.  It’s one of those hidden gem locations that really is just hiding in plain sight – its where people move when they still want to be on the Westside but want something that’s a little more quiet and away from it all.

Location wise, Playa del Rey is sandwiched in between Marina del Rey to the north and El Segundo to the south.  And it’s right next to the Ballona Wetlands which is about 600 acres of protected saltwater marsh, just west of Lincoln Boulevard as you head towards the ocean.   It’s about a 30 minute car ride to Downtown LA with no traffic.

The area was established in the early 1920s but most of the homes and apartment buildings in the area weren’t built until the 1950s and 60s.  There’s only about 13,000 residents in Playa del Rey today.  It’s a small community.  Among the more famous residents was Jerry Buss, who owned the Los Angeles Lakers and lived in an area of Playa del Rey called the Bluffs which is perched on a hill and overlooks the Wetlands and the entire Westside.  Former Laker head coach Phil Jackson, also calls Playa del Rey home.  

One of the first things you’ll notice about Playa del Rey is that it’s not really like most beachside communities in LA County.  There’s no bougie aesthetic, there’s no chain restaurants or nationally-recognized coffee shops.  Its an area that has never really cared to be cool, But in a lot of ways it still is.  As somebody who grew up there, I can tell you that not a whole lot has changed in Playa del Rey over the years.  The residents are mostly easy going long-term locals who for the most part have a lot of pride being from the area. 

For such a small community, Playa del Rey has some pretty decent spots to eat.  Going down Culver Boulevard, you have restaurants like Cantelini’s which has been there for 50 years and has really good homestyle Italian food with a Dan Tana’s like vibe in the interior.  There’s Bacari PDR, which is a solid Mediterranean spot – who also has locations in Silverlake and West Adams.  There are also local watering holes like Prince of Whales and Mo’s Place which have been there for decades.  And The Shack, a kind of grimy yet delicious burger joint that will serve you a cheeseburger with a Louisiana Sausage inside of it.  My favorite place is probably the most low key of low key spots – Senor G’s…its a hole in the wall Mexican joint which serves up pretty fantastic Burritos.  

Like most communities near the water, real estate values in Playa del rey have soared over the years.  In the last year alone, there were 73 single family homes which sold in the area with an average price per square foot of $820.  The median home price in that same data set is right around $2 Million dollars.  This is not a geography where you will find $30 Million dollar homes, but make no mistake, it is certainly not cheap to live in Playa del Rey.

If you are renting an apartment, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,800 – $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom and anywhere from $2,700 to over $4,000 a month for a two bedroom.  

A lot of what is driving the demand for real estate in Playa del Rey is the influx of the tech and media companies which have dominated Playa Vista just on the other side of Lincoln Boulevard.  To name a few, you have companies like Google, Youtube, Facebook, Electronic Arts and so many others that populate those office buildings.  Playa del Rey has in a lot of ways been the beneficiary of the high rent spill over from Playa Vista.  For instance, it is tough to find a one-bedroom for rent in Playa Vista right now that is under $3,000 per month.  So Playa del Rey is positioned as the nearby and more affordable option.

The multifamily investment sales market in Playa del Rey is really no different than single family…the prices are high and there seems to be more demand than available supply.  There’s only about 200 multifamily buildings in the area that are 5 units or larger.  Of those 200 buildings, only four of them are over 50 units.  In other words, this is not an institutional submarket as far as multifamily properties are concerned.  It’s mostly small properties that are 5-15 units with Mom and Pop owners.  And as far as multifamily sales, it’s pretty low velocity.  There were only 3 multifamily properties which traded hands in Playa del Rey in the last 12 months.  Those sales metrics averaged right around $500,000 per unit with cap rates just under 4%.  If you are not in the multifamily space, that is an expensive deal.  Like most Westside buyers, the people buying multifamily in Playa del Rey aren’t really buying for cash flow. They’re buying for appreciation and rent growth – not to mention a stellar location.

As far as development is concerned, there’s really not a lot of it happening in Playa del rey, simply because it’s just hard to do.   In 2018, the LA City Council voted unanimously to block the construction of Legado 138.  Legado 138 is a mixed-use development which proposed 72 apartment units and 7,500 square feet of commercial space right on Culver Boulevard near the water. Local advocates argued that it would trigger a development rush and endanger the culture of Playa del Rey.  

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Playa del Rey and even though I live on the opposite side of town now, I still love going there.  It has a rich history and the fabric of the community is tight knit and well-established.   Location-wise, I like that it’s close enough yet far enough from everything at the same time.  And if you’re a beach person, the ocean is right there.   Let’s be honest, Playa del rey is never going to be Santa Monica or Venice.  And it will it almost certainly never be Malibu.  And that’s what I love about it.  It’s an area that never tries to be anything that it’s not – Playa del Rey just flies under the radar – unassuming and uniquely itself.  

Los Angeles Multifamily

Just Closed – 1540 S. Orange Grove | 8 Units

Mid-City Los Angeles Continues to Stay Hot

Congratulations to the Buyer and Seller of this incredibly well-located 8 unit value-add property located in the heart of Mid-City Los Angeles’ Picfair Village (near the intersection of Pico and Fairfax). This pocket of Mid-City continues to stay strong in terms of multifamily investment sales and overall rental demand. Renovated 1960s-vintage one-bedrooms can easily achieve $2,000+/mo and two-bedrooms $2,800+/mo. For this property – there was approximately 45% upside in rents from current to market.

The Seller, as is the case with many local Sellers, was a generational owner who was fatigued by the ongoing stricter rent control laws and overall government regulation that is typical in the Los Angeles apartment business. They had recently allocated significant capital expenditures towards the completion of their mandatory seismic retrofit – a mandate bestowed on about 15,000 other local LA property owners who own 1960s properties with tuck-under parking spaces).

The marketing of this property saw a competitive process with multiple offers generated for the Seller, and ultimately went to a Buyer with an extensive real estate background. The Buyer was attracted to the overall growth of the area, which includes a 28-Unit new construction project on the two adjacent parcels. Among other things, he plans on immediately renovating the two vacant units – as well as building two additional Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the tuck-under garage spaces to generate additional income. The purchaser utilized short-term bridge financing to acquire the property.

Transaction Details:

  • $2,200,000 Sale Price
  • $275,000/Unit
  • $364/SF
  • One 2-Bedroom and one Bachelor unit Vacant at closing
  • Financed with private bridge loan
  • 45 day total Escrow
Los Angeles Multifamily

I.D.E.A.L. Benefits of Real Estate Investing

Among the many benefits of real estate investments are Income, Depreciation, Equity, Appreciation and Leverage.

One thing for certain in real estate investing is that different investors have different investment criteria in terms of what they are looking for in a real estate investment. There are investors that buy for cash flow. There are investors that are looking to park money for appreciation and bank on rent growth. There are investors that are looking to buy, renovate and quickly flip out of that investment.

If you are starting out, a great (and simple) place to start when evaluating the benefits of real estate investing is to refer to the old real estate acronym I.D.E.A.L.


If you are buying investment property, at the very least that investment should produce some income in the way of cash flow. On a very basic level, here is how that works. Let’s take the following example for a multifamily property.

$1,000,000 Purchase Price
$80,000 Annual Gross Rents
($32,000) Annual Expenses

$48,000 Net Operating Income
($36,000) Annual Mortgage Payments

$12,000 Annual Cash Flow. Assuming you put down 30% and financed 70% that is about a 4% cash-on-cash return.


Real estate has many incredible tax benefits, but one of the best tax benefits is depreciation. Simply put, depreciation is a non-cash expense (effectively a tax shield) whereby an investor can shield from taxes most or even all of the rental income generated by this particular real estate investment.

Depreciation allows investors to spread out most of the cost of real estate purchases over a period of 27.5 years (for residential buildings). If you own a multifamily property and you have been utilizing the depreciation tax shield for over 27.5 years, you may consider selling as you will likely be paying significant taxes on your rental income. Once your property is fully depreciated, it may be tax-inefficient to own this particular investment property.


As you continue to make mortgage payments towards your investment property, you will continue to pay down the principal balance of your loan. As a result, the longer you own investment property, the more equity you will continue to accumulate both from the principal reduction and appreciation of the property itself.


Over the long run, real estate prices and rent tend to appreciate (i.e. increase in value) at a rate somewhat akin to inflation (~3-4% per year) – sometimes greater in core markets like Los Angeles. This is known as passive appreciation. And while it might not sound like much, when combined with the other benefits and when compounded over long periods, passive appreciation can build enormous wealth.

On the other side of the appreciation coin, is active appreciation. Active appreciation is achieved by actively putting a plan in place to increase the value of your property. In Los Angeles, and in particular with Rent-Controlled properties, this may come in the form of offering cash-for-keys (aka tenant buyouts) for lower paying tenants. Once those units are vacated, many investors will allocate capital towards renovating these units in order to achieve at or above market rents.


Most real estate transactions are acquired using leverage (or loans). The power of leverage cannot be understated in real estate. Taking the example above, you can put 30% down and control a $1M asset. Leverage can significantly amplify the returns on your cash invested. But on the flipside, leverage can also magnify your losses significantly should the market go south.