Affordable Housing

27 08 2016

West Hollywood, California

Lucille Ball’s first owned house in southern California is on the market, a house that she bought into the marriage with Desi Arnaz, though by the time they divorced, they had sold this one and moved to Beverly Hills.

Let’s look see about some details:

Every room’s a Ball room! The first-ever Hollywood home owned by ‘I Love Lucy’s’ Lucille Ball goes on the market for $1.75m

(snip)

A real slice of Hollywood history is now on the market: The home that Lucille Ball moved into after signing to RKO Pictures in 1933.

Then just 22, the future star of sitcom ‘I Love Lucy’ took up residence in 1344 North Ogden Drive, a 1,874sqft, two-bedroom home that was soon inhabited by her whole family, who followed her out from New York to Los Angeles.

I’d like to guess that that $1.75m price is at least somewhat inflated for its numismatic value (*), but I just looked up for sale listings on Zillow for West Hollywood, and that is very much a typical price for that square footage.

What does this mean?

In 1933, a 22-year old rookie B-picture contract player could afford that house in that place.  Could a 22-year old rookie B-picture contract player afford that house in that place today?  Hardly.  Unlike what I noticed about the book and movie Mildred Pierce, this is definitely a real-world example, and not a dramatic embellishment.

(*) – I know “numismatic” is only supposed to refer to specie coinage, in that a numismatic coin has value above the pure value of its pure precious metal content, and “bullion” is the term for coins that are worth no more than their precious metal.  However, I’m coining (no pun intended) a new usage for the word, to refer to anything that for some reason has more value than its pure market value disregarding that reason.  I was thinking at first that the house was worth more than comparable West Hollywood houses only because Lucille Ball once owned it.


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3 responses

27 08 2016
Joshua Sinistar

You’re missing the race angle. Real Estate nowadays has less to do with square footage and features and more to do with the skin hue of the demographics of your neighbors. In a black neighborhood, The Taj Majal would probably be listed around the cost of a ’74 Chevy Vega. However, in a Mayberry Suburb, Snoopy’s Doghouse would probably go for several Million Dollars US, even if the flying feature was broken from the Red Baron’s stunning gun accuracy.

27 08 2016
countenance

The sq ft thing is relevant within the confined geography of West Hollywood. I already guessed it’s one of the few livable areas in SoCal, hence the sky high prices. Believe me, never put the concepts of me and being unaware of the race angle in the same sentence. But my point is the affordability of housing in quality neighborhoods for young people starting out. It existed in West Hollywood in 1933 but does not in 2016.

27 08 2016
AnAnon

“Could a 22-year old rookie B-picture contract player afford that house in that place today?” – Certainly not, and numbers tell the tale: California in 1960 had only 16M Americans. Today it has 39M people.




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