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How much does it cost to buy near the Expo Line?

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The train passes through some of the highest—and lowest—priced areas in LA

Train arriving in Downtown Santa Monica
Home prices are higher in Santa Monica than in any other area the Expo Line passes through.
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It’s been less than a year and a half since Metro’s Expo Line extension opened, bringing rail riders to the beach for the first time since LA’s streetcar system was dismantled in the 1950s and ’60s.

Already, the train has proved to be a hit with riders; in June, it hit a daily average of more than 64,000 boardings—a ridership threshold Metro didn’t expect the line to reach until 2030.

Meanwhile, development close to the tracks is booming, with multiple large residential, office, and mixed use projects popping up around the line.

Given the Expo Line’s popularity—and the number of LA neighborhoods it passes through on its 15-mile route—we decided to take a close look at how much it takes to buy in close proximity to the train line.

To do that, we enlisted the help of research and analytics firm NeighborhoodX. Below is a chart detailing home prices in neighborhoods near the Expo Line. To correct for cost differences based on the size of the home, the prices charted are on a per-square-foot basis.

Looking at the chart, it’s clear that the Expo Line passes through very economically disparate parts of the Los Angeles region. More simply put, the train travels between two very expensive neighborhoods (Downtown LA and Santa Monica), stopping at a few other expensive neighborhoods—and some very affordable ones—along the way.

Not too surprisingly, the priciest neighborhood on the list is Santa Monica, where the average price is $1,024 per square foot.

To put that number in perspective, consider that in 2010, the median size of a newly built single-family home in the western United States was 2,143 square feet. In Santa Monica, that home would cost, on average, a little under $2.2 million.

Average prices are also high in Culver City ($839 per square foot), Rancho Park ($817 per square foot), Downtown LA ($749 per square foot), Palms ($747 per square foot), and Sawtelle ($645 per square foot).

In each neighborhood, the average price is significantly higher than the Los Angeles-wide average of $417 per square foot.

But prices drop significantly as the line moves east (of the six most expensive neighborhoods the train passes through, four got stops as part of the westward extension to Santa Monica).

Prices in West Adams ($419 per square foot), Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw ($413 per square foot), Exposition Park ($391 per square foot), Leimert Park ($376 per square foot), University Park $344 per square foot), and Historic South Central ($278 per square foot) are all right around or below the LA-wide average.

It may not be too surprising to see that homes sell for more money on the Westside, but other neighborhoods along the corridor could be catching up.

Fran Hughes, branch manager at John Aaroe Group’s Baldwin Hills office, estimates that home prices in Expo Line-adjacent neighborhoods like West Adams, Leimert Park, and Baldwin Hills have risen as much as 40 percent in the past few years.

“Everything is changing dramatically,” she tells Curbed. “People who bought two years ago are kissing our faces.”