L.A. Leads the Nation in the Number of Years it Takes Just to Buy a Home

L.A. Leads the Nation in the Number of Years it Takes Just to Buy a Home
Salih IGDE/Flickr

The different ways you can describe Los Angeles' craptastic housing market are almost infinite. We have it all—high rents, relatively low income, and stratospheric real estate prices.

The folks at the Martin Prosperity Institute, via The Atlantic's CityLab, have found yet another way to tell us the bad news.

If you look at average incomes and average housing prices in a given city, you can sort of come up with the number of years it would take to buy a home if you dedicated every last penny you earn to it.

This fun-with-numbers exercise excludes down payments and interest. And it's somewhat detached from reality, since most mortgages are based on 30-year terms.

But it does give us an idea of where we stand in the United States. And where we stand is on top, as in numero uno. CityLab:

Los Angeles jumps to the top of the list when we look only at large metros (those with over a million people).

Yep. L.A. beat out number two San Jose (both nearly tied with nine years), number three San Francisco (8.8 years), number four San Diego, (7.6 years), and number five New York (5.8).

L.A. Leads the Nation in the Number of Years it Takes Just to Buy a Home

Despite some of those cities' higher home prices (San Francisco, New York), their income levels can make them more affordable to locals. 

Otherwise, do you see a pattern here? CityLab did:

Nearly six in ten of the metros where it takes more than five years’ of income to buy a home are in California.

That quote actually refers to another CityLab list, which looks at all American metro areas, not just the largest ones. That one ranks Los Angeles second only to Santa Cruz, where it takes 9.3 years to get your house on.

The site also concluded that people living alone (as opposed to two-income households) would need 15.3 years of hard work to purchase a Los Angeles abode. That makes L.A. a third-place big city by that metric. We were beat by San Francisco (first at 16.8 years) and San Jose (second at 16.2).

Of course, you can always get out of the L.A. fast lane and get on the fast track to home ownership. The town with the quickest route to having your own place is Anderson, Indiana.

It would take you only 1.4 years to get a place there. That's probably the amount of time it would also take you to want to move back to a city you'd actually want to live in. Like Los Angeles.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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