The median sale price in the South LA city shot up from $298,044 in 2014 to $485,000 in 2018, according to PropertyShark, making it the fastest-growing market in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. During that five-year period, the median sale price in the city of Los Angeles jumped 25 percent.
Real estate agents working in Inglewood say the city’s proximity to the Westside and Silicon Beach, its moderately-sized single-family homes, and suburban feel have made it an increasingly desirable place to buy a home.
“That quintessential three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,500-square-foot house on a residential tree-lined street, that’s what we found here,” says real estate agent Max Armand. After renting for a few years in Mid-City, he and his wife purchased a home in Inglewood’s Morningside neighborhood at the end of 2017.
While prices have soared, Inglewood remains more affordable than neighboring communities in the city of Los Angeles, where the median stood at $870,000 last year.
Major investments are pouring into Inglewood, from the $2.6 billion NFL stadium that’s set to open next summer, to the forthcoming train line that will bring three Metro stations to the city, to new small restaurants and cafes opening in downtown Inglewood.
“It’s popping over here,” says real estate agent Heather Presha, who joined Keller Williams Realty in Inglewood in December 2017 after working for a number of years in the Baldwin Hills and Windsor Hills area.
“The way things have been going, it’s been pretty crazy,” she says. “Four and a half years ago, I couldn’t get anyone get to move to Inglewood.”
Most of the demand, agents say, is from first-time homebuyers looking for single-family homes in the northern section of Inglewood
Presha said she recently had 17 offers for a small two-bedroom, one-bathroom home on the 700 block of East Fairview listed at $585,000. It’s in escrow now, she said, in the mid-$600,000s.
“People wrote letters, and it wasn’t investors, there was only one investor offer,” she said. “These are people trying to buy a place for themselves.”
Jennifer Okhovat, an agent with Compass, who has primarily worked in West Hollywood, has sold two condos in Inglewood in the past 12 months, one for $385,000 and another for $480,000—both to employees of start-ups.
“I don’t think that anyone thought that Inglewood would gain the momentum that it has,” she says.
“Buyers are being priced out of other neighborhoods and are seeing the potential that Inglewood has,” Okhovat says, “and the gentrification that is coming.”
In June, Inglewood Mayor James Butts said Inglewood was already experiencing unprecedented “economic prosperity.” He predicted that more was on the way, and acknowledged that renters needed help.
“There are longterm residents who are vulnerable and at risk of sudden displacement without some form of economic protection,” he said.
Powerful grassroots organizing efforts among renters in Inglewood have pushed city leaders to adopt rent control to help tenants as housing costs rise. Many of them blame development. For that reason, activists are trying to stop the construction of an NBA area for the Los Angeles Clippers and are pushing for the construction of affordable housing instead.
Those advocates would argue that gentrification has already arrived, and it’s doing harm, not good.
“People are always talking about gentrification about this and that,” says Presha. “But people want to buy and sell. That’s what I do. I just keep going.”