Los Angeles

Downtown LA Apartments Are Trying to Attract Renters With Luxury Deals

Dozens of cranes are swinging through the sky in downtown, only outnumbered by the hardhats of construction workers, busy putting up yet another mega apartment building. LA's historic skyline is literally changing before our eyes.

"You'd have to go back to the mid-1920s to find a period of construction similar to what we are seeing downtown," Steve Basham, CoStar senior market analyst, said.

A new report from the rental website Zumper says this month, Los Angeles ranked as the second most expensive city for renters in the LA-metro area, just behind Santa Monica. The average one bedroom apartment is now up to $2,430, and there's no shortage of availability.

In fact, an explosion of new development in downtown Los Angeles means there are more empty apartments than ever before.

So while the new buildings are becoming more luxurious, the deals for renters are getting better and better.

CoStar is a company that tracks new construction.  Basham says the vacancy rate of apartments in downtown LA is currently 10.6 percent. That's as high as it's ever been.

"The perception of the area has really shifted, and the opening of these apartment communities is a big part of that," Basham said.

The 825 South Hill, a luxury apartment building, is set to open next year. When it's done, it's expected to be the tallest apartment building in Los Angeles.

At 53 stories tall, it will add yet another 500 apartments to the downtown area. And they are pretty fancy.

A two-bedroom, two-bath is about 990 square feet. It features hidden appliances, making it feel very spacious.

It goes for $3,000 to $4,000 a month, depending on which floor you're on. Every unit has a balcony and a view.

But in order to fill these towers, developers are now going extreme.

The Sofia building will offer a free gym membership that includes yoga and spin classes. There's even a karaoke room. And - drum roll - up to six weeks free rent.

In another building called Topaz, the deal is even better. They offer eight weeks free rent on some leases, which could save more than $4,000. There's also free parking, a resort pool, and a washer and dryer in the apartment.

A spokesman for the apartment says there are various types of people who live in the area, but they expect the type to go for the luxury downtown apartment would be a career couple who would entertain more and more at home, "as downtown continues to mature."

CoStar says more than 10,000 units have opened in downtown since 2014. There are another 4,300 under construction.

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