Walking trails were a big draw for Minghua Liu and her husband to move to Irvine.

Suburban dream drives Irvine value

by TOM BERG

“People want to hike. They want to bike ride. They want to see nature. Irvine was far- sighted enough to provide all this.” – Joel Kotkin, author on the future of cities

Minghua Liu and her husband had been waiting years to take the leap.

They liked their West L.A. home, but there was too much concrete and clutter – and not enough fresh air and nature, Liu says.

“We’d been looking at Irvine for a long time,” she says. “With Interest rates so low, the time was right to make the move. We’re excited to be here.”

They chose Orchard Hills for its setting among hillsides of avocado orchards with views to the ocean.

And they chose it for three things that West L.A. lacked: abundant parks, a top-ranked public school district and public safety – all reasons Irvine ranks among the top five “Happiest Cities in America,” according to WalletHub.

“We want to have children,” Liu says. “So we needed a safe community with great schools and open spaces. Irvine has it all.”

As for leaving the big city lifestyle, Liu and her husband don’t see any trade-offs.

“Irvine has everything we like about L.A. — restaurants, shopping, easy access to the airport,”
she says. “But it is safer and has lots of parks, trails and areas to explore that Los Angeles doesn’t have.”

A virtual view

Liu and her husband fell in love with their future home before they even stepped foot in it.

That’s because Orchard Hills builder Irvine Pacific has created an easy approach that offers both virtual and safe in-person experiences.

Using Irvine Pacific’s 3D technology, they were able to take virtual tours of several models – seeing the layout and dimensions of each room from almost any angle.

“We toured the home from our house in L.A.,” Liu says. “We even sent it to our interior designer so she could begin her work.”

It also allowed them to host a “virtual housewarming” with friends and family across the region.

“It was great,” she says of the experience.

Preference for suburbs

Liu and her husband aren’t alone in their desire for more space.

It’s a trend that’s been happening for some time but was accelerated by the pandemic, according to Joel Kotkin, a renowned author on cities and Chapman University Presidential Fellow on Urban Futures.

He points to recent data indicating a strong desire for suburban life and the space it provides.

“Even before the pandemic,” he says, “Americans were three times as likely to prefer suburban life over the big city.”

This is the case in Los Angeles, he believes.

“It would be the greatest city in the world,” Kotkin says. “But it didn’t preserve open space as advised long ago and has been seeing a decline for a few years now.”

That’s making home values in places like Irvine stronger than in big cities.

“People want to hike,” Kotkin says. “They want to bike ride. They want to see nature. Irvine was far-sighted enough to provide all this.”

As for Liu and her husband, they found that value – and their dream – right here in Irvine.

“We chose Irvine and Orchard Hills because of the beautiful trees and rolling hills,” she says. “We see our new home as a wonderful long-term investment.”