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You may not be aware of it but at one point while watching a movie or TV show, you may have come across scenes shot in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Encino in the San Fernando Valley. That’s because Encino is one of Hollywood’s preferred locations for an upbeat and vibrant Southern California suburb. Largely residential in nature but packed with all the great things that the City of Angels offers, Encino could be the perfect neighborhood for your next home or investment.
Read on to find out what you can expect from this wonderful L.A. neighborhood where mighty oak trees used to reign supreme.
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WELCOME TO ENCINO!
Fictional home to The Karate Kid, Cobra Kai, and Encino Man and actual home to more than 61,000 residents, Encino is a neighborhood so strategically placed that it’s virtually near everything, including top-rated schools, amazing nature destinations, and world-class retail and dining options. You’re also likely to spot a celebrity or two at the local grocery or mall on any given day, especially since a good number of Hollywood’s brightest stars, musicians, and head honchos have chosen to live here.
Two things make Encino stand out: the vast green spaces that make up almost half of the neighborhood’s total area and its rich cultural heritage.
A cultural hotspot – then and now
The San Fernando Valley used to be broken up into parcels of land and divided among pish settlers during the pish colonial era. The area where Encino now sits was named Rancho Los Encinos or The Ranch of Oaks as this section of the Valley was filled with oak trees. Soon after, the Rancho’s ownership changed hands and the area was developed into a residential community. Its name was retained, albeit shortened, but the oak trees from which this region was named were cut down to give way to development.
Thanks to the efforts of the community, the last remaining oaks in the area are now protected and stand as silent witnesses to Encino’s growth as one of Los Angeles’ most sought-after neighborhoods.
Encino also resonates in pop culture, especially in recent times with the revival of the rivalry between the main characters of the 80s blockbuster film, The Karate Kid, in the Netflix hit series, Cobra Kai. The dojos and the residence of protagonist Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio), who is now a successful car dealer, are in Encino.
Fields of green
Encino is nestled on the north slope of the Santa Monica Mountains. This majestic coastal mountain range on Encino’s southern side offers not only a bevy of parks and trails but also an opportunity to explore the rich biodiversity of the area.
Meanwhile, along its northern border, you’ll find the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area. It’s an immensely important spot in Los Angeles, not only for Lake Balboa and some parks that are found within its 2,000-acre coverage but also as a flood control basin that protects the whole city from flooding of the Los Angeles River.
These two nature spots in Encino keep residents close to the serene beauty of nature while still in proximity to the modern conveniences of the city.
LIVING IN ENCINO
Want to know why some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry and many wealthy Angelenos and their families own a home in Encino? Here are the top reasons:
Encino residents have the advantage of easy access to other strategic areas of the city and return home to the suburban tranquility of their community. Popular L.A. neighborhoods like Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks are just outside the neighborhood’s borders. Zooming out, you have the rest of the San Fernando Valley to explore for a wide array of shopping, dining, nightlife, employment, educational, and recreation opportunities, on top of the plethora of great attractions and things to do within Encino.
Encino is also located approximately 24 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles. You can take the subway, a bus, or a taxi to the area, or drive along US Route 101 or Interstate 5 to get there faster.
Encino has long been known as an affluent neighborhood – a reputation that has earned both cheers and jeers (depending on who you ask) especially when the 80s hit single Valley Girl by quirky American musician Frank Zappa was released.
The song may not have a glowing depiction of the locals but NeighborhoodScout.com’s report on Encino reflects a different profile. As much as 38.2% of adults in the neighborhood have a graduate degree, much higher than the US average of 13.1%. Most of Encino’s working residents also hold high-level positions in their respective places of work – 70.9% are in executive, professional, or management positions.
Moreover, you will find a strong sense of community in Encino, with residents caring for the neighborhood and each other. The locals are usually involved in a number of community causes and take an active part in community events and socials. Strong bonds among families are formed here, particularly with the shared schools, parks, and the various places where families can visit and enjoy each other’s company.
Lastly, if you’re a new resident, the locals will be there to welcome you and show you around. Friendliness and hospitality are trademarks of the community so adjusting to your new life in Encino is sure to be a breeze.
As mentioned earlier, Encino ranks high among Hollywood A-listers’ preferred neighborhoods, not only for the community’s proximity to movie and TV studios in the area but also for the privacy and tranquility it offers. Past and present celebrities who were captivated by the homes for sale in Encino include:
- ZENDAYA. This young actor who has carved a name for herself in Hollywood blockbusters like the Spiderman movie franchise and Dune now has a sprawling private property in Encino which she bought for approximately $4 million.
- SELENA GOMEZ. The phenomenal pop star bought a lovely Encino mansion for almost $5 million. The property was also home to the late rock musician Tom Petty.
- WIZ KHALIFA. A brand-new modern home located south of Ventura Boulevard became the property of this popular rapper to the tune of $3.4 million.
- JENNA DEWAN. Two years ago, the ex-wife of Magic Mike star Channing Tatum bought a mansion in Encino for $4.7 million. She now shares the property with fellow actor and partner Steve Kazee and their kids.
- JESSE TYLER FERGUSON. This star from the ABC hit sitcom Modern Family just purchased a newly built contemporary-style mansion in Encino for $8.7 million.
Serving Encino and the rest of Los Angeles is the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country. Some top-rated public schools in and around Encino include:
- Lanai Road Elementary School
- The Academy for Enriched Sciences
- Encino Charter Elementary School
- Hesby Oaks
- Emelita Academy Charter School
- King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science
Encino residents who prefer private schooling for their children will also find a host of excellent options, including:
- Crespi Carmelite High School
- Our Lady of Grace School
- Westmark School
- Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Day School
- Mirman School
- Berkeley Hall School
- Valley Torah High School
The neighborhood is also surrounded by esteemed higher education institutions:
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
- California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
- Pierce College
- Los Angeles Valley College
- West Coast University
Parks and recreation
The two nature hotspots near Encino – Santa Monica Mountains and the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area – are home to several beautiful parks with a variety of amenities and scenic trails that allow you to explore a rich assortment of flora and fauna up close.
In Encino’s part of the Santa Monica Mountains, you’ll find:
- San Vicente Mountain Park. Just off Mulholland Drive, this park offers some of the best sunset views and a vast network of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It is also the entry point to the Westridge Canyonback Park and the “Big Wild” – 20,000 acres of pure wilderness.
- Upper Canyonback Trail. Passing through the trail itself, you’ll come across some lovely Encino mansions in a housing development that breaks the Canyonback Ridge – after which, it’s nothing else but vast green space leading to the Big Wild. The trailhead is on Mulholland Drive.
The Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area is green space that Encino shares with neighboring Van Nuys. Apart from the approximately 10 miles of nature trails where one could go hiking or biking, other facilities in this area include picnic areas, a lighted soccer field and baseball diamond, and restrooms.
Encino’s portion of the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area is home to two golf courses: the Encino Golf Course and the Balboa Golf Course. Both were designed by William Bell but Balboa Golf Course offers a more challenging game for golfers despite being smaller than Encino Golf Course.
The many lakes in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area also make great fishing venues for trout, catfish, and bass. Popular fishing spots here are Lake Balboa and the Sepulveda Dam.
Other great attractions within the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area include:
- The Japanese Garden
- Woodley Park Archery Range
- Lake Balboa Park
Another public space in Encino that’s worth visiting is Los Encinos State Historic Park. Coming here is like stepping back in time as you explore the many well-preserved structures from Encino’s Rancho days. At the center of this park is a small spring-fed pond that may have been the reason why the pish colonizers decided to settle here.
Smaller but nevertheless attractive are neighborhood parks like Encino Park on Ventura Boulevard and Libbit Park near the Ventura Freeway.
Shopping and dining
Largely residential in nature, Encino doesn’t have large shopping malls within its borders. However, you don’t need to leave the neighborhood if you’re in the mood for some retail therapy or a food adventure – or both. All you have to do is to head to Ventura Boulevard – Encino’s main thoroughfare and epicenter of the neighborhood’s major activities.
The most popular among Encino’s commercial spaces is Encino Commons, a stretch of Ventura Boulevard from White Oak Boulevard to Balboa Boulevard. Locals have designated Encino Commons as a Business Improvement District, essentially elevating it from a mere stretch of road to a “premiere retail, dining, and entertainment destination” in the Valley.
Other shopping destinations outside of Encino Commons but still found along Ventura Boulevard include Encino Marketplace, Ventura Promenade, and Gelson’s Market. The nearest shopping mall to Encino is in nearby Sherman Oaks – Westfield Fashion Square.
For dining options, More than Waffles, Yamato Sushi & Teppan Grill, and the Encino branches of The Stand, Larsen’s Steakhouse, and Sushi Katsu-Ya – some of Encino’s most popular food spots – are also found along Ventura Boulevard. These restaurants offer a range of dishes and flavors that are sure to satisfy your every craving.
ENCINO HOMES FOR SALE
The Encino real estate market is a robust one with homes for sale almost never leaving the $1-million benchmark price. If home values do go below $1 million, expect a quick recovery by the next month. Listing prices have also been on a consistently rising trend for the past three years – a testament to sellers’ confidence in the desirability of their Encino homes for sale.
If you’re in the market for homes with lots of elbow room, upscale amenities, and the finest finishes, you’ll find the selection of homes for sale in Encino to your liking. There’s never an ebb in market activity for luxury homes in this popular L.A. neighborhood.
Moreover, as one of the oldest communities in Los Angeles, Encino is also a venue for finding beautifully maintained and preserved houses built between the 1940s and 1960s. There are also some residences constructed between the 70s and just before the turn of the millennium, as well as a growing number of newly constructed homes, some of which were built over older properties.
Dominating the Encino housing market are single-family homes, followed by predominantly mid-rise condos. A number of vacant lots are also on the market. One common factor among these properties is that they’re larger than the average home in other American neighborhoods.
Encino is known to have the highest concentration of free-standing single-family homes among all neighborhoods in the country. Many of the homes for sale in Encino sit on immense lots that allow homeowners to customize their outdoor spaces with special amenities like swimming pools, furnished patios, neatly trimmed lawns, elaborate gardens, and garages that could hold more than one vehicle.
Distinct architectural styles
Given the strong influence of masters of modern architectural design like Richard Neutra, Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, and John Lautner, it’s not surprising that many homes for sale in Encino sport the Mid-century Modern style.
Encino is also one of several communities in the Valley where builder William Mellenthin developed his own take on the Mid-century style – the birdhouse ranch. Featuring a distinct cupola on its roof, these homes are wildly sought-after for their rarity and unique style.
New construction homes in Encino are usually done in modern and contemporary designs but the older homes for sale here typically come in the following architectural styles:
- American Colonial
- Cape Cod
- Tudor Revival