It is well known among real estate professionals in the San Marino, Arcadia California area of the huge influx of Chinese and Asian investments being bought there. In both commercial and residential real estate, these investors flush with cash are buying up the local property fast. Whether it is a teardown to build a new “McMansion” or invest in apartments or commercial buildings, this is where the Asian market loves to buy real estate in California.
What is it that drives luxury home buyers and all cash investors to this area east of Los Angeles when the beach and Beverly Hills are well within their grasp? Community, schools, restaurants and the local culture of nearby Monterey Park for starters.
Real estate professionals understand that this has been a long time in the making. All the diverse cultures in Los Angeles tend to have their own local areas mapped out, and likewise does Monterey Park. The desire of the recently rich Chinese investors to buy property in Arcadia was laid down by the local community decades ago.
As the influx of wealth is both from foreign investors and first, second and third generation Asian Americans, this is the place for “their culture”.
You will see 18 year olds driving brand new Aston Martin DB9’s Maserati’s and Ferraris to $6 a meal restaurants and boba tea shops. You will see young women and mothers with coach purses, $1000 shoes and expensive clothes at the “Ranch 99” discount food stores. What you rarely see is the older generation displaying any form of this ostentatiousness. It is tolerated by the elders, and having your 17 year old granddaughter drive a $400k sports car is the preferred way to show off, if you must. It is all about the family, education and a tight knit thriving community.
For the local population that have lived in the community for decades, they would sooner build a luxury property on the land they own. They have no desire to live in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica as everything they need is in the local community. Also, as the San Marino high school is one of the top in the nation, this remains a huge buying factor too.
Only a few miles away is Pasadena, where the main street Colorado Blvd is becoming a commercially derelict region with empty buildings everywhere east of Lake St. Why is such a large California city such as Pasadena falling to ruin while the quiet suburb Arcadia rules?
Pasadena holds little interest for the Chinese and Asian buyers. It is simply, not as “Asian friendly” and since Arcadia and particularly San Marino are the “hot spots” to buy. Pasadena is considered “outside the loop”. This would be like going to Beverly Hills and saying you live in Culver City, there simply is no comparison.
What does it mean to have this kind of fluid wealth injected into a former modest east LA suburb? Little has changed in terms of what you see on the main streets. People in Arcadia and Monterey Park are used to going to less than spectacular strip malls to shop or dine, cheap or extravagant.
Remember you may be dining in a 4 or 5 star restaurant in a 1980s never rehabbed strip mall, it is just the “local way”. So will you now have to pay luxury prices in Arcadia? It depends, you can get some of the best food in LA at super cheap prices. You can also find $600 per ounce “silver mountain tea” outrageously priced “medicinal cures” and jade “wealth charms”.
With the grandmothers and older generation in charge, no one can open a bakery or grocery store with “west LA” prices here. No matter how much net worth they have acquired they will say “you charge too much” and that is that.
If however you go to the Bentley dealership and buy your niece a car “cash only” and she covers it with Pokémon stickers, it is perfectly fine. It is all a matter of principal here. Chinese clients are often cash buyers who need translators, EB5 financing and help with their specific buying demands.
Does the house face west or east? What is the feng shui qualities of the home? These are some of the main concerns most Americans never ask, but when your culture is 4000 years old there is a tried and true method. And with all that cash floating around Arcadia for real estate, hey! There just may be something to those gold and jade lucky money charms after all!