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Ask Curbed: Is Moving Downtown A Good Idea?

We love these questions you readers send, especially when someone is thinking about moving Downtown and needs encouragement. The comments usually turn into a horrific flame war within 30 minutes and somebody indignantly states "This is why I hate Curbed." In between flames, please try to help out this individual in need of guidance. Thank you.

Hi Curbed -- ...I am new to Los Angeles (from Iowa -- of all places) and find the common sense on your web site refreshing. Due to your (seeming) insight, I come to you for advice. My fiance and I currently live in Beachwood Canyon. We pay roughly $1800 per month for a one bed, one bath duplex. We have a one car garage and a washer and dryer. We do not pay for water.... I commute to Sherman Oaks, my fiance commutes to Santa Monica. We love our little place, but want something to help build equity. Here's our dilemma. We want to buy something that will appreciate, rather than depreciate due to the presumed LA bubble. We are considering a loft downtown and do not want to pay more than 300-350K -- with a goal of closing by the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009. The good thing about downtown is that I can, presumably, take public transport most of the way to Sherman Oaks. My fiance's commute won't change much. Downtown seems more affordable than anything in the west side or a safe part of the valley. We are also keenly interested in living in a place with character, not just another box on a street filled with boxes.

In all of your wise knowledge, what do you think? ... Given the myriad of factors, choices, and uncertainties, what do you suggest?

Please offer your help in the comments. Thanks.