The SCV vs. The SFV: A Showdown

    Any out-of-towner who visited the SCV and SFV for a day could immediately lay out some differences between these two geographic population centers.


    SFV vs. SCV

    They would instantly observe that SFV homes were built, on average, 20-40 years before the homes in the SCV were built. Below, look at the picture in the upper right. Those red dots are homes built in 1955 that sold recently. As you move clockwise through the images, you see more homes built in the SCV as each decade progresses. Santa Clarita is starkly, much younger than the SFV.

    They’d notice that the SFV has been laid out in square mile sections, with virtually all streets having no curves or variation in them. The lots, on average, are somewhat larger than those of the SCV.

    At left: Curvy roads in West Hills of SCV dictated by terrain. At right: Van Nuys rectangular plotting.

    The visual differences don’t stop there: throughout the SCV, there are hills that give thousands of lucky homeowners wonderful views of their city. Other than an odd hill in Northridge, the SFV is an absolutely flat basin. For those wealthy enough to live in the Santa Monica Mountains south of the 101, they too get wonderful views, if they can afford to pay the current $1.17 million median home list price.

    Perhaps the single biggest visual difference between the two is the WIRES. Both areas have them, but in very different ways. San Fernando Valley neighborhoods were built back when soldiers were coming home from WWII and were grateful to have a home they could afford, made possible by builders being as utilitarian as possible, so all wires, phone, AC and later cable, were strung up in the air reaching out to each and every home. The result is usually an eyesore in any direction you look, and this isn’t a small factor in the opinion of many.

    Santa Clarita buried all their cables (except in Newhall which was built out before master planning came about) and opted for the fewer high tension towers stretching around the valley. Make no mistake, they are an even bigger eyesore when you see them, but there are far fewer of these monstrosities in the SCV.

    The LAUSD is the sole supplier of public education in the SFV, and it has been a notoriously under-achieving one at that. Santa Clarita has many schools that compete for national awards and overall, the safety and excellence of SCV schools is well known.



    This contributes to a culture of success and growth. Life in the SCV feels different for many, than life in the San Fernando Valley. Because there is 1/10th the population in virtually the same amount of space, there are more open spaces, parks, and frankly…opportunities.

    Businesses in the SFV have FAR more competition than those in Santa Clarita. People from Glendale rarely drive to Woodland Hills to go to a great restaurant. Residents of Santa Clarita drive from Canyon Country to Stevenson Ranch every week. Santa Clarita retains a small-town atmosphere, with an identifiable City Council and government.

    The SFV is simply a collection of neighborhoods that happen to exist near each other, with virtually no distinguishing factors other than the price of homes… When Santa Clarita has activities, it feels like the entire city is invited. They used to have a San Fernando Valley Fair, but it faded away, replaced by individual smaller events, that residents one neighborhood over never hear about. The SFV is simply too large for most messaging to get through to everyone. In Santa Clarita, there is one mall, one main newspaper and one radio station, plus Facebook to keep people in the loop. Don’t underestimate the power of the paseos that serve as a circulatory system for pedestrians and cyclists of every neighborhood. People can actually walk/bike somewhere in the SCV, meeting other people and have fun doing it.


    This is a real estate-related story, so it’s time we dive into the concrete differences between the SCV and SFV in housing. The only massive difference you’ll see in homes is in floorplans and layout. Many owners of SFV homes have added on to their homes wherever they could, whenever they could. The reult is a lot of homes with bizarre layouts, where you might walk into a bedroom from a kitchen, or half to go through a bedroom to go to the back yard.

    Very few homes in the SCV have had additions done to them. That’s because of one major factor: HOA’s… As you look at all the numbers to come, remember to factor in 2 things that the majority of homes in Santa Clarita have, that the SFV does not: MELLO ROOS and HOA’s.



    There has been a severe change in the time it takes a home to go into escrow from just a year ago. Due to the small supply, homes in Santa Clarita rarely make it past 2 weeks without going into escrow, a drop of 28%.


    Anytime price rise in double digits year-over-year, you have a problem. Affordability issues for single family home buyers are even more pronounced in the SFV than in Santa Clarita.


    Of course, the winner is determined on a case by case basis. Looking for a home close to where you work? You’re more likely to find that in the SFV. Searching for a view home under $555,555? Santa Clarita is your only option.

    There are excellent schools in both valleys, though the SCV has a clear advantage with much lower drop-out rates, and higher standardized test scores than those in the SFV.

    What about other quality of life issues? Who is closer to the beach? Even. SCV residents can reach Ventura beaches in the same time it takes SFV residents to make it to Santa Monica beaches. Things to do? The edge barely goes to the SFV as they are simply closer to clubs, stadiums and attractions than Santa Clarita residents are, for now. There are precious few attractions in EITHER valley that people would drive an hour to visit. The Japanese Gardens in Encino vs. Six Flags? Tough to compare.. Santa Clarita is widely considered the better place to raise a family, but sub-par for singles.

    The melting pot that is Los Angeles is perhaps most prevalent in the San Fernando Valley. If you thrive on multi-cultural events, and welcome the dozens of languages spoken there, the SFV will feel like home to far more people, though Santa Clarita is constantly being underestimated for how much diversity they have there as well. You’ll find Armenian churches and Arab mosques in BOTH valleys, among the large collection of Christian churches.

    There are great things about each valley, and for those who are hoping to begin their dream of home ownership in either area, feel free to call or email me for more information or listings.

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