Providing Better Shelter

Costa Mesa Westside, Affordable Housing with Style, and bettershelter

pete-and-steve-bettershelter.jpgAs I mentions in a previous post (“Price Reductions in Southwest Costa Mesa“), an area in Southwest Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa Westside, to be more exact) has some interesting architecture that is worth a look. Some feel that this part of Costa Mesa is seeing some changes for the better. Some renovated bungalows on Bernard Street are examples of this revitalization and interesting architecture. (For another example of this revitalization, see “Westside Costa Mesa Revitalized.”)

One of the participants in this transformation is bettershelter, the real estate and development firm that renovated 12 Bernard Street bungalows with a mid-century architectural style (the 1.7 Ocean development). Bettershelter’s goal is to provide affordable housing that has some style.

Since it appears that these developers have added value to this area, I applaud what they have done on Bernard Street. However, with these homes priced in the $500,000 range, while maybe reasonable by Orange County norms, many hard-working Orange County residents are still priced out of the home-owning market.

I hope that these developers continue with this kind of work. But what needs to be done, or not done, to allow the average working person to share in the Orange County version of the American Dream is a discussion, or discussions, worth taking up in the future. For now, if you have an opinion on this, please leave your comments.

PHOTO COURTESY The Daily Pilot, “Developers build beach houses for first-time buyers,” Pete Zehnder and Steve Jones, developers of the 1.7 Ocean bungalows on Bernard Street in Costa Mesa Westside

Note: See upcoming posts for information on which Bernard Street bungalows are currently on the market.

  • Julie Lance

    Yes, the average working Orange County resident should be able to afford a house near where they work and want to live. I like this idea.

    Now, to play devil’s advocate… who says that the “average” working person should be able to afford to live within 5 miles of the beach. This closeness to the ocean is an automatic price upgrade… i.e. prime real estate ain’t cheap. The lower your income, the further inland you must live, right? At least that’s how it gets played out.

    I feel sorry for the guy in 554B that bought his little bundle of joy for $599k when others are going for $519k now… blame the market or location of the units, I guess.

  • Sylvia Walker

    Thanks for joining in on the discussion. I always enjoy a good sharing of ideas, both pro and con on a subject. There are many things that I could say on this topic, for now I will try to keep it short:

    First, this is near the beach, but as you probably noticed this area has been considered in need of rehabilitation for some time. Therefore, a lower price is in order.

    Second, we probably all want (and need) low- to moderate-income workers working in jobs that are located within 5 miles of the beach as well as many other places. So isn’t it advantage to all of us if they live near where they work instead of clogging up the roads on long commutes from the Inland Empire? (Traffic congestion is often sited as the number one complaint of residents in many areas.)

    And finally, we are not necessarily talking about disadvantaged wage earners. We are talking about the worker making the median income in Orange County (I believe it is in the mid $60,000s and above), not being able to afford to buy a home in Orange County. Do we really want Orange County to be only for the rich? (One of Debbie’s recent posts has some interesting stats on this: See Wow! C.A.R. Reports 24 Percent Can Afford Housing In So Cal.)

    By the way, I am guessing that the person who bought the home for $599k when others are going currently at $519k, got hit by the market turn down, like so many other have. Good sleuthing on finding the numbers for this unit.

    Again, thanks for joining in on the discussion. I enjoy the debate, so keep the comments coming!