Huntington Beach, California, with a population of nearly 190,000, is the largest coastal city in Orange County.
It is famously known as Surf City USA for good reason – its 8.5-mile stretch of shoreline, hospitable climate, and beach culture combined with consistently prime surfing conditions make for the perfect surfer’s community.
Huntington Beach Homes for Sale
Prior to the arrival of the first European, the area was occupied by the Tongva people. In the late 1700s, Manuel Nieto, a Spanish soldier, received a land grant of 300,000 acres in what would become Huntington Beach from his country in part for his military service and as a means of stimulating settlement in the region.
Beach Boulevard, the main thoroughfare in Huntington Beach, was once a cattle route through the rancho that developed on Nieto’s property. In the following years, the land was inhabited by a number of people who gave it various names, including Shell Beach, Smeltzer, Gospel Swamp (that name was given for the revival meetings held on the area’s marshland), Fairview, and Pacific City.
It was during this last incarnation that, in hopes of accessing tourists who rode the Red Car lines that intersected Los Angeles and ended at Long Beach, the city aligned itself with railroad powerhouse and civic booster Henry Huntington. The City of Huntington Beach was incorporated in 1909.
Despite its trend toward tourism the community continued to rely on an agricultural economy with crops such as sugar beets and celery serving as mainstays. When oil was found in Huntington Beach, refineries soon followed. The city’s first high school, Huntington Beach High School, named its mascot the Oilers for the newly discovered natural resource.
Modern Natural Resources
Today’s Huntington Beach residents prize their coastline, having prohibited construction of any type on the beach without a public vote. Much of the beach on the north and south ends of the city are designated state parks. The city completed a $110 million restoration of wetlands in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in 2006. The reserve is a favorite of photographers and birders. Several other local marshlands were restored in 2010.
While the Huntington Beach oil supply is nearly exhausted, the industry continues to extract at a slow, steady rate, providing a consistent stream of income. The city hosts an offshore oil terminus for tankers supporting the Alaska Pipeline, as well as a terminus for the Orange County section of the pipeline. However, most Huntington Beach residents anticipate the day when the oil supply will be entirely depleted and the city will rely mostly on tourism.
Boeing, which built a major installation in town, is a significant contributor to the local economy, employing more than 4,000 people, as is Cambro Manufacturing, an international foodservice equipment firm, which maintains two plants in the city.
Tourism fuels the local economy, in large part owing to the city’s reputation as a Southern California beach community. The city owns the trademarks “Surf City Huntington Beach,” and “Surf City USA.” Its visitors bureau sought the latter in an effort to market the community’s beach culture. Downtown Huntington Beach boasts the International Surfing Museum, as well as the Huntington Beach Pier, an art center and shopping district.
With tourists and locals in mind, the city hosts several events throughout the year, including the US Open of Surfing, beach volleyball tournaments, a biathlon, kite festival, a Fourth of July parade, the SoCal Independent Film Festival, the National Professional Paintball League Super 7 Paintball Championships, and the winter Cruise of Lights Boat Tour.
In addition to its three public school district’s, Huntington Beach is home to Golden West College, a two-year associates and transfer school, an alternative school, several private schools, an independent study school, and a nationally recognized blue ribbon school.
Huntington Beach homes range from Southern California classic Spanish-tiled houses to newer homes built with Italian influences. The average listing price for mid-December 2012 was $717,632, up 0.7 percent from the same period last year.
Latest Huntington Beach Homes for Sale:
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(all data current as of 5/21/2013)
$619,900 : 5092 Galway Circle, Huntington Beach4 beds, 2 full baths
$839,900 : 16170 Alert Lane, Huntington Beach3 beds, 3 full baths
$524,900 : 7062 Betty Drive, Huntington Beach2 beds, 1 full, 1 part baths
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