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A Boom of New Urban Homes, One Tiny, Trendy Lot at a Time

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By Andrew Khouri

In the Silver Lake neighborhood, developer Trumark Homes hopes to break ground this summer on 70 small-lot, three-story homes with no backyards, most with rooftop decks. Trumark plans to sell them early next year for between $575,000 and $635,000.

“It’s an attainable price point for the young urban buyer,” Trumark partner Jason Kliewer says, adding that company is planning an additional 18 small-lot homes across the street.

Navar’s firm has designed most of its small lot projects in a strip of Los Angeles near the Culver City art district. Jeff Morrical and Phil Olson, both 31, moved to a three-story, small-lot home off La Cienega Boulevard in January, after deciding against “the romanticism” of rehabbing an older property. They paid $650,000 for the Modative-designed small lot within walking distance of art galleries.

“We like more density — more people around,” says Olson, who works in programming for a cable network. “You get the benefit of more dense apartment living, but it is like your own space.”

Many buyers see the small-lot homes as a better fit for Southern California than the dense multi-family projects built along L.A.’s expanding rail network, which have been promoted by local politicians, said Gerd-Ulf Krueger, principal economist at HousingEcon.com.

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