Buying A Home in Redondo Beach | Jargon and Terminology You Need to Know


Redondo Beach has become one of the most desirable and hottest coastal Los Angeles County beach communities. Buyers find the combination of affordability, weather, location, schools, jobs, Freeway access, airport proximity, beaches and lifestyle to be unbeatable.

Whether you are a local or new to the area, chances are that you will have questions regarding some of our local terminology and the purchase process. In this post we'll address the local jargon and terminology and then handle the actual process in another post. (You can read answers to the most common Buyer questions here.)

If you want to view homes currently available for sale in Redondo Beach CA, scroll down to the bottom of this post. The results will update in real time whenever you revisit this site.

Please feel free to email or call me with any further questions.


Beach Cities or South Bay

The Beach Cities which are comprised of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach are found within the greater South Bay which also includes surrounding cities such as Torrance, Hawthorne, Gardena, Lawndale, Palos Verdes and others. These are all independent cities. So unlike other neighborhoods in LA (Venice, Marina Del Rey, Westwood, West Hollywood) which are part of the City of LA, these are independent cities with their own police, city councils, fire departments, schools, etc.

Even thought the schools in the South Bay are, in general, better than LA Unified, some of the differences in housing prices may be a function of the local schools. Redondo Beach has great schools.

North Redondo or South Redondo

This is probably the biggest choice that most home Buyers have to make. While both are City of Redondo Beach, there are many differences as well.

In South Redondo Beach many homes are west of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and many have ocean views. As a result, these homes have historically been priced higher than most North Redondo Beach properties.

Many of the streets in North Redondo Beach are narrower than in South Redondo and there is often a denser feel. On the flip side, North Redondo Beach is much closer to freeways cutting down on commute time. North Redondo is also closer to Manhattan and Hermosa Beach  and offers 90% of the same lifestyle at 50% of the price.


These are some of the most popular neighborhoods in Redondo Beach.


Golden Hills Tall and Skinny Sold by Ellis Posner
The Golden Hills (MLS Area 154) are found in North Redondo Beach. Most of the homes in the Golden Hills are "Tall and Skinny" Single Family Residences. By Tall and Skinny we are referring to multiple story houses on 2500 SqFt lots. Many have reverse floor plans meaning that the living room, dining, room and master bedroom are found upstairs with 2 bedrooms downstairs. That is the standard configuration built for many years and these homes are often around 1900 SqFt with 2 or 2.5 bathrooms. Newer variations may have a third floor loft. Older Tall and Skinnies may be around 1500 SqFt (with a standard floor plan). These homes typically have tiny backyards - maybe enough room for a barbecue and a table.

More experienced Realtors may further subdivide the Golden Hills into the Golden Triangle found west of Aviation Blvd and closer to Manhattan and Hermosa Beach and the neighborhood of Golden Hills south of Aviation and north of 190th St.


Queen's Necklace View
The Hollywood Riviera neighborhood of South Redondo Beach is found at the southern tip of Redondo Beach at the foot of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Many of these homes have "Queen's Necklace" views meaning that you can see the coastline and at night it is an amazing vista. Homes in the Riviera neighborhood are highly desirable and rival only "The Avenues" and the Esplanade in price and appreciation.

Ironically, as soon as buyers discover the Hollywood Riviera area the first question is usually "but is it Torrance or South Redondo Beach?" and actually it can be both.

The confusion started way back when ay back when the Redondo Beach PO was closer than the Torrance PO and it was more convenient for residents in the original Riviera homes to have their mail come through Redondo so they requested that their mail go to 90277 from which it was delivered. Fast forward to contemporary times and you might have a 90277 mailing address but be receiving Torrance services (Police, Fire Department, Schools etc). But don't worry, it's all good!

Although there are some condos, most of the homes in the Riviera are single family houses. There is a large townhouse community, Village Palos Verdes, that has recently been remodeled and is a great value considering location, views and amenities.

The Hollywood Riviera is identified in the MLS as Area 128.


TRW Tract Map
This is the most north east quadrant of North Redondo Beach bound by Inglewood Ave to the East, Manhattan Beach Blvd to the North, Vail to the West and Robinson to the South. You can find a nice SFR in the TRW Tract under $1M or a newer two story for above $1M. Lots are often large with some topping out at over 8000 SqFt.

The TRW Tract is found in MLS Area 151.

Many of the streets are on angles or curve providing a nice neighborhood feel.  Homes closer to the power lines or Manhattan Beach Blvd may sell at a discount to properties further away. Some of the streets in the TRW tract are Dow, Gibson, May, and Beland.


El Nido Tract Home Sold by Ellis Posner
This neighborhood is found at the southern end of North Redondo Beach just north of 190th Street. There are primarily Single Family Residences on 5000+ SqFt lots. You will find everything from original tract homes built in the 1950s up to newer 3000+ SqFt 5 bedrooms. Prices are similar to the TRW Tract but there are more homes in this area.

Many of the properties on the other side of the train tracks are actually in the City of Torrance with a Redondo Beach mailing address. Those properties often sell at a discount as do homes closer to the cemetery or train tracks.

As you go further west in this neighborhood the prices may go up. There are a number of condos and townhomes around Meyer.


Brookside Village Condo Sold by Ellis Posner
While not specifically their own neighborhoods, buyers looking for condos in South Redondo Beach will see listings in Brookside Village and The Village. These are distinctly different communities.

The Village is located along the ocean in South Redondo Beach just west of Catalina Ave and north of the Redondo Beach Pier. Many of these properties feature ocean views making them some of the lowest cost ocean view homes in the Los Angeles area.

Brookside Village is located further inland at the intersection of Camino Real and Prospect Ave. There are a variety of floor plans with most 2 bedrooms being around 975 SqFt and some of the 3s closer to 1200 or slightly over. This community is approved for VA and FHA financing.

Both communities have a number of pools and other amenities.



Detached N Redondo Beach 2 on a lot Townhome
Two on a lot townhomes are very common throughout North and South Redondo Beach and are exactly what the name implies: there are two townhomes (individually owned) built on the same lot. As such they are zoned as condominiums from a legal description and lender perspective.

Some of these are "attached" and some "detached", the difference being whether there are common walls or not. If any part of the structure is attached to the other unit, it is considered an attached structure whether there are living walls in common or not. For example, you will see that some of the 2 on a lots built in the late 19080s or 1970s may be attached at the garage only with a deck above the garage. Those are still considered attached.

Most two on a lots share a common driveway. Properties on corners, have their own driveway. In North Redondo Beach where the lots are larger, the front or "A" units may have an exclusive use front and rear yard. While the "B" units only have the rear yard.

Because some of the R2 lots in South Redondo are smaller, the front units may only have a front yard.

Many people consider detached Redondo Beach 2 on a lot townhomes to be some of the best values in LA County because in many ways these are similar to SFRs except you can get a lot more living space for less money as long as you don't need a large back yard.

These properties are built in a variety of styles with many tending to be Mediterranean or Spanish. Newer construction is often quite contemporary.


3 on a lot Townhome Sold by Ellis Posner
Three on a lot townhomes are more common in North Redondo Beach where there may be close to 1,000 units than in South Redondo. In North Redondo almost all of the 3 on a lot townhomes are attached. (There is an older variation floorplan that has a detached front unit and two rear units that are attached to each other but not the front unit.)

Most of the attached 3s have the same floor plan as Tall and Skinny SFRs meaning reverse, vaulted ceilings, etc. The front and rear units are usually most desirable because there is only one common wall. New properties have exclusive use front and rear yards for those units.

In North Redondo you most often will find 3 on a lots on Grant, Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Rockefeller and a few on Mathews.

While there are fewer attached 3 on a lots in South Redondo Beach, there is another variation of detached 3 on a lots. These are basically like North Redondo 2 on a lots with a third unit in the middle. There are both older floor plans that tend to be smaller and some of the newer units are 3 levels and quite large. Most often these are reverse floor plan


Single Family Residences are "houses". You own the land and the structure and can do whatever you want as long as it is within the zoning and legal guidelines.


As mentioned above while Townhomes are technically Condominiums, when you see Condo in the MLS description that most often means flat "apartment" layout as opposed to multi story which we refer to as a condo.


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