Real estate: L.A. housing suits newcomers' lifestyles

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Certainly, a gated Beverly Hills estate is in no danger of losing its coveted status. Nor is a homeowner likely to feel fleeced for investing in a beachside home in Malibu or a sprawling villa in the Pacific Palisades.

But with more than 40,000 people moving to Los Angeles every year, many from other U.S. cities, residents have begun searching for other options that might allow them to ditch the car on weekends or converse with neighbors without having to scale security hedges. Thanks to the city's vast expanse, there is a plethora of options -- as long as residents are willing to take a long view and invest in the promise of up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Downtown Los Angeles is growing fast and furiously as the city's true urban center, with developers working mightily to build an area that can offer inhabitants everything from luxe apartments to cutting-edge restaurants, rocking bars, verdant parks and powerhouse gyms, all within easy walking distance.

Hollywood is following suit, with several new developments offering apartments -- with every amenity -- close to the studios, and for the night owls, a strip packed with bars and clubs.

For those who don't want to give up the idea of a home but still crave the familiarity of a neighborhood where residents know one another's names, four of Los Angeles' oldest districts are ideal solutions, as long as one is willing to invest in a home that has character, but might need a little work. On the other hand, when the work involves tending to original light fixtures, painting century-old moldings and preserving a historic site, it's not about pain, say those who are doing just that, but about passion.

Following are some of the places to live where neighbors still gather in plazas, knock on one another's doors and home remains a haven.



MORE REAL ESTATE COVERAGE

L.A. housing suits newcomers' lifestyles

Developing downtown for residential use

Vintage H'wood buildings get new lease

Comparing L.A. loft prices to other cities

TLC boosts 3 L.A.-area enclaves

National landmark to shine again


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