The Many Identities of Southern California

The Many Identities of Southern California

A look into the homes and lifestyles in four prominent markets

The allure of Southern California is easy to understand. Ideal year-round weather, beautiful beaches, a robust job market, and the reality of embracing the casual California lifestyle every day has kept the area’s real estate market strong, despite unprecedented housing prices.

Although dozens of zip codes meld into one another across the region, each region takes on its own identity and those choosing to buy homes in each area shape these communities over time. In this blog post, we’re providing a look at the home trends taking shape in four key local markets and including a few communities that are worth a look:

Coastal Orange County

The picturesque communities that dot the coastline between San Diego and Los Angeles are home to Southern California’s most discerning residents. Whether cozying up in beachside bungalows or living large in stately seaside mansions, the residents of Newport, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point expect their homes to match their luxurious lifestyles.

Those living in these elite communities elect to live here to enjoy the exclusivity, and eclectic feel brought together by varying architectural styles. Buyers in these affluent areas gravitate towards luxury and updated homes flush with high-end finishes, forward-thinking design, and personalized elements that will make their homes stand out and evoke an everyday sense of opulence. With an appreciation for individuality, homeowners here are also more likely to build custom homes where every detail becomes an extension of their personality and style – from the ocean view to the bathtub.

Noteworthy Communities

Greater OC

Orange County is home to some of the country’s best examples of pristine master-planned communities including Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, Lake Forest, and Rancho Mission Viejo. An ideal choice for families, these areas offer newer homes in neighborhoods that prioritize pedestrian-friendly traffic and tot-lot access coupled with award-winning schools and convenient shopping centers. Each community has been purposefully planned to provide residents the ability to live in a safe, beautiful, convenient, and amenity-rich community.  With easy access to beaches, shopping, dining, entertainment, and many top local employers, these idyllic communities in Orange County make sense.

On the top of the list for families looking for homes in these neighborhoods are modern updates and community amenities such as pools, walking trails, and community centers. Although open-concept living and gourmet kitchens lead to multiple offers and fast sales, many shoppers in these areas are more concerned with bedroom count and square footage than design trends.

Los Angeles

People seek residence in Los Angeles for sunny weather and big city vibes that create an urban energy hard to replicate elsewhere. Residents choosing to make their home in the city of angels enjoy a diverse population, ample economic opportunities, and a laid-back, yet always trendy lifestyle. With so much to see and do, location takes top priority when searching for digs as the city’s sprawling nature, growing population, and lack of public transit have created a daily traffic nightmare. For those shopping for a primary residence, just a few miles further from the office can add hours to weekly commuting times.

Each L.A. neighborhood appeals to a different subset of residents. From modern downtown high-rises to the touristy streets of Hollywood, there’s a place for everyone to fit in. The one thing most have in common is a surplus of hip bars, restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, which makes walkability another important aspect for homebuyers.

For a recap of the hottest LA neighborhoods, we recommend this article from

With so much to see and do in the area, L.A. residents are more willing to compromise on the style and design of their homes to live in their chosen neighborhood. Because location is key, we expect more builders to find pockets in already desirable areas. As the city continues to grow, there is also a renewed focus on investment properties, specifically on multi-family units, where the builder can capitalize on land usage while providing inventory and homes at a more approachable price point than single-family options of comparable square footage.

Noteworthy Communities

Inland Empire

Just sixty miles east of Los Angeles, the Inland Empire offers a California experience all of its own. Residents here are situated in the middle of Southern California’s coast, mountains, desert, and vineyards. While people were historically drawn to the area for its lower cost of living (compared with Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego), increasing populations in recent decades, have given way to a burgeoning community rich in amenities that make everyday life comfortable and convenient.

With countless sprawling suburban neighborhoods, families can find homes that fit their needs and budgets. Similar to many family-oriented neighborhoods throughout Orange County, those shopping for homes in the Inland Empire are seeking many of the same practical features, especially room to grow and amenities’ that make life with young ones a bit easier like garages, bonus rooms, and spacious yards.

Noteworthy Communities

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