Los Angeles

Thousands Left LA, and Experts Say Rent is to Blame

But that doesn't mean the cost of renting is going down.

More than 13,000 people left Los Angeles County between 2017 and 2018, according to Census statistics. And experts say the cost of rent is the driving force. 

According to residential rental service Zumper, Venice has the highest average rent of anywhere in the city of Los Angeles: more than $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

And on Abbott Kinney, there’s one unit that rents for $25,000 a month.

Some say it’s that kind of environment is driving people out — like the Gerlach family.

The Gerlach family is now enjoying a much bigger life in Oregon, after leaving Southern California and its skyrocketing rents.

They once lived in a 900-square-foot apartment El Segundo, paying nearly $2,000 a month for rent. After much debate, the family packed up, and moved to Eugene, Oregon, where they bought a 1400-square-foot home.

Gerlach said their mortgage is $1,500 a month.

"Although we loved living in LA, we knew we were paying a premium to be away from our family. With one child, and one on the way, we decided to move," he said via interview from Oregon.

Census figures show LA County lost more 13,241 people last year. A big reason: the cost of rent. LA residents spent more than $40 billion in rent in 2018. Studies show that nearly half of LA residents pay more than 30% of their income toward housing, and experts say rising rents show no sign of slowing down.

"On a year over year basis, Los Angeles is actually one of our fastest growing top cities," said Crystal Chen of Zumper.com. "Our February report shows Los Angeles [one-bedroom apartments] were up over 8% which is especially notable because it’s a slow moving season right now, so seeing growth of that caliber just goes to show the high demand."

According to Zumper, the average for a one bedroom in Santa Monica is now $3,500 a month, $2,400 in Glendale, $2,330 in Los Angeles, and $2,270 in Culver City.

A study by the California Housing Partnership shows LA County has lost more than $5,000 affordable housing units in the past decade when they converted to market rent. That’s something the Gerlachs no longer have to worry about.

"We’re able to buy a brand-new van to transport our kids around and the best part is we only have to do one income, which we would never be able to do in LA," he said.

According to the Zumper study, LA is second only to New York in amount of rent paid, and of the $500 billion spent monthly in the nation, 12% comes from Los Angeles.

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