No place is perfect; that's why I've moved so many times. I happen to like the natural attributes of southern CA near the coast; we can change almost anything except the wx. But I must admit the wx here the past two weeks has been awfully chilly...we're actually using the heat almost every day, which isn't the norm. Might be the end of the world. L.A. doesn't have a lot of HOAs, but most 'new construction' in developments or subdivisions do. Unless you're pretty wealthy, then you can easily avoid them even with new construction -- but most of us can't afford that. It's interesting that the 'very high end' new construction, like Hidden Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, etc. do not have restrictions. But I can't afford those places, and the majority can't. So, it's 'older homes' for me.