Downtown Fullerton Real Estate Market Conditions
Real estate in Downtown Fullerton, California continues to be popular, even in the midst of a very sluggish real estate market plagued by short sales and foreclosures. While prices are certainly not up, the close proximity to the shopping, entertainment, and nightlife offered in Fullerton’s vibrant Downtown has definitely kept the values from plummeting as much as some other areas. A sure sign that the cliche axiom about “location” still rings as true as ever. Many Fullerton home buyers, especially those at the entry level, still adore Downtown’s charming Craftsman bungalows homes and this has also kept the area very popular. Whatever the reasons, the Downtown Fullerton area still rates very well on our Orange County Real Estate area rating system.
Recently SOLD Downtown Fullerton Homes
Downtown Fullerton homes IN ESCROW
Recent Downtown Fullerton Home Sales Statistics
Last Months Single Family Homes – 9 Standard Sales, 15 Short Sales, 5 REO’s
Last Months Condos/Townhomes – 2 Standard Sales, 1 Short Sales, 0 REO’s
Average sale price in Downtown Fullerton was $546,364
Houses averaged 12 days on the market before selling
$244.72/sqft is the average selling price per square foot
Downtown Fullerton homes sold on average of 98% of original price
Highest sale price was $896,000
Lowest sale price is $57,000
Homes under Contact
26 Downtown Fullerton homes currently in Escrow
Average listing on market for 26 days
Average price is $256.80 per square foot
Active Downtown Fullerton Listings
36 Total Homes 30 Single Family, 6 Condos/Townhomes
Average List price per sqft is $285.50
Average listing has been on market for 12 days
Average list price is $562,927
Highest priced listing is $1,399,000
Lowest priced listing is $64,000
Sold homes for Fullerton
Avg price per square foot
Downtown Fullerton Real Estate News
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History of Downtown
As the heart of the city of Fullerton, Downtown has a significant history. Settled in the 1860’s, Fullerton offically was founded in 1887 by the Amerige brothers. As the domain of farmers and ranchers, Fullerton eventually became a major stop on the railroad lines for its famed citrus crops. As such, the city started very near this railroad and branched out into the area known today as Downtown, and eventually out into the suburbs. Most of the development of Downtowns first neighborhoods started in the 1890’s and continued right up until the late 1930’s. The predominant architecture of the time was Arts and Crafts California Bungalows, Spanish Revival Bungalows, and the ever-popular Craftsman style.
Downtown Fullerton’s residential neighborhood layout consists of a loose arrangement of various historical neighborhoods. Some are protected under preservation laws, others are not. The 8 predominant historical neighborhoods that make up the Downtown Fullerton preservation districts are (going from East to West) East Whiting, College Park, East Townsite, West Townsite, Barranca, Jacaranda/Malvern, West Whiting, and Wickett Square.
Here’s the maps of a couple of these significant areas (the rest to come next month):
Many of the neighborhoods in Downtown Fullerton are classified as R1P and R2P zoning. The “P” portion throughout much of the Downtown neighborhoods signifies that this is a preservation district. Preservation district are preserved for both the uniqueness of architectures and the historical significance of the area. One should inquire with the city if they have any specific questions about this designation, but it basically means that the homes façade, landscape, and streetscape are to be consistent with the architectures and styles of the early 20th century. As such, homeowners planning on making external changes, additions, or improvements should contact the city’s planning department to make sure their plans are acceptable.
Many people will find the preservation zoning to be a real positive attribute in that it will keep a continuity of architecture and style throughout the neighborhood. Others may find the zoning to be too restrictive for their needs and as such should carefully consider whether they will be able to stay within the constraints of the zoning regulations without cramping their personal style.
Dual Residence Zoning
The “2” portion of the R2P zoning refers to the possibility of adding a second unit to many of the properties. This second unit is a big bonus in that it can add extra income to a property that is already owned by an investor or it can create an income stream to a homeowner for supplementing their mortgage payment. Some properties may not be capable of adding a second unit without partaking in considerable rebuilding or obtaining additional consent from the city. This is yet another area that should be further investigated by prospective home buyers.
Even with the dual residence zoning, many Downtown Fullerton homeowners may not want to add a second unit. If they choose to keep their home a single residence, they will still reap the benefits of the areas larger than normal lots, which make excellent backyards.
Mature trees, flat streets, and cute vintage streetlights make Downtown an excellent area for taking a leisurely walk. Many of the trees in the area are nearly 100 years old and make for a fantastic canopy when taking a leasurely stroll around town.
Most Downtown Fullerton homes are lucky in that they were built at a time when builders were true craftsmen and many materials were of very high quality. Starting at the bottom, nearly all foundations within the neighborhood are raised concrete, making for easier plumbing repairs than their slab cousins. The downside is that raised foundations on older homes tend to be places where water drainage can accumulate and cause movement. Also, there are some examples of very poor concrete that has diminished in integrity over time. The integrity of the foundation should go on your “must inspect” list.
Where home buyers find raised foundations, they often find original hardwood flooring and most of Fullerton’s Downtown is no different. This high quality flooring exhibited throughout the area can look incredible if property maintained and cared for.
You’ll find the lumber in most of the homes to be of actual size, like say a 2×4 is actually 2 inches by 4 inches, wheras today a 2×4 is actually only 1.5 inches x 3.5 inches. While the lumber may be beefier than modern lumber, the spacing of the boards may not be as narrow as modern building code would want. For this reason, homeowners really need to be careful and acquire professonal help before altering any structural components of their home.
The early 20th Century Arts and Crafts movement was a time when detail and creativity were highly appreciated in everything, including home architecture. Home shoppers will find this is exemplified in Downtown Fullerton homes by an astounding array of built- in cabinets, shelves, seats, ironing boards, and niches. These “built-ins” provide an excellent opportunity for homeowners to showcase their creativity as well as add to the feel of a custom home. Still, homebuyers must remember that many of these homes are approaching 100 years old and there are no guarantees about the maintenance each house has seen. It is still a very wise idea to have a professional home inspector take a look at any home you are going to purchase while in the escrow process.
Downtown Fullerton homes built between 1915 and 1930 do share many external similarities. Some of these similarities are the cornerstones behind the popularity of the modern craftsman bungalow. Upon first glance, one will often note the attractive wood siding, large picture windows, and generous front porches that have become the trademark of these homes. Inside the walls, early century homes will often have unique ceilings, moldings, and doorways.
The California bungalows that have been mentioned throughout this review have seen a tremendous increase in demand over the past ten years. Whether it’s the relative scarcity, the nostalgia associated with them, or just the fact that people think they are adorable, there is no doubt that the homes within Downtown Fullerton have a highly coveted aesthetic appeal.
City with a Soul, a “non-Orange County” Orange County City
Downtown Fullerton is not only a center of commerce but also a special gathering place for area residents. Lots of restaurants, an active Thursday evening farmers market, pubs, bars, theatres, and an annual New Years celebration give the area a real sense of community. Living in the Downtown has become popular since the area can be a truely walk friendly neighborhood, as evidenced by the high Walkscore ratings. Fullerton is also known for an appreciation of the fine arts, a long standing significance in the music and rock worlds, and has recently become home to many skin art business (aka tattoo parlors). For this reason, most newcomers to Downtown Fullerton say its an Orange County town with a very un-Orange County feel.
Close to Colleges
Just a short wallk or drive form Fullerton College the area is also very close to Cal State University of Fullerton as well. With both of these colleges continuing to grow, the area is becoming a even more attractive opportunity for faculty, administrators, and students. As such, prospective area landlords should not have a problem keeping their properties occupied for top dollar.
Close to Train Station
Any working Southern Californian knows the grind of a daily commute through heavy traffic, but Fullerton Downtown may actually have a viable alternative to this drudgery. Many residents, working in L.A. or other parts, are saying “good-bye” to the daily commute and “hello” to services such as Metrolink. Users do not have to contend with freeway gridlock or have to worry about trying to avoid an accident. As always, prospective train commuters should check with the Fullerton train station for schedules and availability.
Expert Insider Information
Value Added Projects
If there ever was a group of homes built with “future opportunities” in mind then these homes would have to be it. Many of the homes have small basements under the foundations that some rumor to have been bomb shelters. Modern uses for these include wine cellars, music rooms, and art studios.
Often, homeowners will be able to add laundry hookups to the garage and can turn the laundry rooms in these homes into another bedroom or den. As long as the room is large enough to meet the code requirements, this can be a relatively quick way to add equity. Attics are another feature of some of the larger Downtown homes that may provide an opportunity to add a loft, bedroom, or even another residence. Some real concerns for these types of projects will be the nature of the homes foundation and of course, approval of the city.
Historical Catalog of Fullerton Homes
In addition to the historical designation of the neighborhood, the city has shown other interest in preserving, respecting, and appreciating much of the real estate in Fullerton’s Downtown. Throughout the last twenty years, a non-profit group known as Fullerton Heritage has used their photographers to create a public catalog of the homes within the neighborhood. This catalog is available for viewing at the Launer Rooom of the Fullerton Public Library. It’s often fun for Fullerton Downtown home owners to take a trip to the library and possibly see some old pictures of the neighborhood, maybe even their own home!
Parking an RV or boat on the premises of these homes can definitely be possible in many instances due to the access granted by many alleyways. Even large rigs can often be accommodated with the help of a motorized dolly. This is another application where potential home buyers will need to consider the ramification of the preservation zoning and its potential affect on the parking of their vehicles. This is best done by home buyers at the city level.
Downtown Fullerton is not only an older area, but it is one that has seen some very positive transformations over the past ten years. Many dilapidated properties have been restored and brought back to life by a long list of real estate investors. The good news is that there are still some homes in need of repair. These fixer opportunities are a chance for prudent investors to beautify a community while making a little money for their efforts.
Air Conditioning And House Fans
Even with the mild Southern California climate, summer can often bring some fairly hot temperatures to the area. Many of the homes within this and other older neighborhoods were not built with central air. In most cases, it is completely possible to add a central air conditioning system if ceiling fans and window units are not getting the job done. One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to cool these homes is by adding a whole house fan. While they are nothing new, whole house fans are becoming very popular as a supplement to, or replacement of, a central air conditioning system. They are anywhere from two to three feet in diameter and mount in the ceiling behind a discreet and attractive vent cover. The fan operates from a wall switch and will essentially pull hot air out of the house while simultaneously pulling cool air from outside into the home. There are some requirements one must understand about these units but when combined with the rebate that Southern California Edison currently gives, the value of these $200-$300 fans is unparalleled. Read our whole house fans post to learn more about these handy pieces of equipment.
A big part of Fullerton’s history revolves around the railroad that was once used as a hub for exporting the local orange crop. Since real estate in Downtown Fullerton was one of the first developments of the city, it makes sense that the railroad tracks are somewhat nearby. Many Homeowners, especially on the east side, will still hear whistles from the passing trains during both day and nighttime hours. Prospective homebuyers need to investigate this for themselves to see if it suites their needs.
Small Business in Community
In addition to the larger areas of commerce, a few of the local streets are home to some very small office and professional buildings. In fact, many of these office buildings were actually homes at one time and the processes of city redevelopment and rezoning have made them viable office opportunities. Small business owners, dentists, lawyers, accountants, architects, consultants, and other service providers will find that the surrounding streets may make it possible to someday work within walking distance of home.
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