First tenants along defunct freeway route finally buy homes from Caltrans

The phased-in land sale of about 460 properties is expected to continue until 2020

(Credit: U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)
(Credit: U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

After a two-year process, six former Caltrans tenants are finally buying their homes.

Some have been renting properties along the defunct 710 Freeway for decades and now have the option to own their long-time houses for reduced prices, so long as their income is less than 150 percent of the median income in Los Angeles County, according to the Daily Breeze (DB). Sales of the 460 homes along the project’s path will be phased-in over the coming years with the final set of properties expected to be sold in 2020.

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One resident who’s been renting her home for four decades is buying the 1,174-square-foot home for just over $150,000 compared to the market price of $814,000. “I think it is a really good deal but it sure took long,” the resident, Suzanne Talbot, told DB.

The freeway extension has been in the works since the 1960s. What was supposed to be a 6.3 mile addition to the freeway morphed into a tunnel before finally being put on hold last year– at least until further notice. In 2016, the state agency, Caltrans, announced its intention to sell homes back to renters in accordance with the “Roberti Law”, but Talbot and five other tenants are the first residents to actually complete the deals — and prices are adjusted for inflation, which, at least one lawyer is arguing, prices some of the current residents out of their homes. [DB]Erin Hudson