Manhattan Beach Sand Section Homes For Sale

About the Manhattan Beach Sand Section

The Sand Section of Manhattan Beach is the coastal area of town. Manhattan Beach Sand Section real estate features a mix of housing options, with plenty of townhomes along with single-family homes and rentals.

The Sand Section runs the entire two-mile length of Manhattan Beach along the coastline and the Pacific Ocean, with the northern border at El Segundo and 45th Street, going all the way south down to 1st Street and the border with Hermosa Beach. The Sand Section’s eastern border is usually about four to five blocks in from the beach.

Single-family homes in the Sand Section tend to sell from $3M to $6m, making townhomes a more affordable alternative at $2M-$4M.

The priciest luxury real estate in all of Manhattan Beach is located on The Strand, with prices from $8M to $16M, occasionally much more.

Looking for a lot to build on? It will probably cost $3M minimum. A Strand lot could cost $10M or more in a prime location.

Sand Section Lot Sizes and Zoning

The typical full-sized lot in the Sand Section is 2700 square feet, often 30' wide by 90' deep. Some parts of town have slightly larger lots, and in others, “half lots” of about 1350 square feet can be found.

The area is zoned for fairly dense development. Zoning in the Sand Section typically allows for three-story homes with very minimal setbacks. People often build out to the maximum and don't leave much space for a yard. Parts of town allow, and encourage, townhome development, meaning two units on one lot.

New construction of a single-family home maxing out on a 2700 square foot lot will get you 4000 to 4200 square feet on three levels. Homes with more than 3600 sqft. must have 3-car parking. Some families choose to build a little bit less on a standard lot (below 3600 sqft.) and keep just a 2-car garage, allowing more living space on the lowest level.

Basements are allowed in most parts of Manhattan Beach and will count as livable square footage.

Townhomes will tend to be 1900-2100 sqft. inside, although 2-townhome developments on bigger lots can be 2500-2800 sqft. instead.

You can still see some of the original beach cottages built in Manhattan Beach in the 1920s and 1930s. Often the homes are less than a thousand square feet inside. But they are also often replaced by new construction, because the land underneath the old homes is worth many times what the structure is worth.

Downtown, Parks and Other Features of the Sand Section

Downtown Manhattan Beach runs along the western part of Manhattan Beach Boulevard, ending at the famous Manhattan Beach Pier. Some downtown development also runs north and south along Highland Avenue and Manhattan Avenue, closer to the water. The Metlox Plaza development downtown at Valley Drive and Manhattan Beach Boulevard is credited by many with reviving downtown and spurring a trend toward destination restaurants and top-tier dining.

The Manhattan Beach Pier and the county beach around it is always a focus of community activities, including surf contests, running races, pier fishing, volleyball tournaments and even an annual sand castle building contest that has run more than 50 years.

At the end of the pier is the newly renovated Roundhouse Aquarium, totally redone in 2018 in honor of the memory of local resident Harrison Greenberg.

In the middle of town, Bruce’s Beach Park is a vast hillside of grass with benches and basketball courts. Ocean views are unblocked and seem to go on forever from the historic park. At the bottom of the hill is a major Los Angeles County Lifeguard station, marking the spot where, in the 1920s, a local Black family (Willa and Charles Bruce) once owned a resort that was later seized by the city to create the park.

There’s not much debate about where the best surf is in Manhattan Beach: It’s in El Porto, the beaches at the northern end of town near the jetty at El Segundo. It’s a destination for locals and many others from around the area.

No matter where a home is located, north or south, in the Sand Section, probably the biggest distinction people make is among homes that are west of Highland Avenue, versus those east of Highland. West of Highland, homes are closer to the beach, and a lot of those homes have ocean views. An equivalent property west of Highland may be worth $1 million or more above the value for a property east of Highland. It’s really that big of a difference.

Also, generally speaking, homes south of the pier are more valuable than homes to the north. This is probably because the South End is smaller, quieter and less densely developed than other parts of the Sand Section, and almost all South End locations are considered to be walkable to downtown.


Based on information from California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of December 2nd, 2022 at 5:32pm PST. This information is for your personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties you may be interested in purchasing. Display of MLS data is usually deemed reliable but is NOT guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Buyers are responsible for verifying the accuracy of all information and should investigate the data themselves or retain appropriate professionals. Information from sources other than the Listing Agent may have been included in the MLS data. Unless otherwise specified in writing, Broker/Agent has not and will not verify any information obtained from other sources. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.