Perhaps you can no longer afford the neighborhood where you now live. Or maybe you have the budget for a swank pad but can't seem to find one. Or it could be that you're simply sick of relying on your car and want to live near the train. If so, might we suggest that you steer your rental hunt in the direction of one of these 15 L.A. neighborhoods?
Hollywood, Koreatown and Echo Park are brimming with rental units, but you're going to be part of a large herd if you're hunting there. And, as you're probably aware, the cost-to-quality ratio for an apartment can leave a lot to be desired.
Looking for the next best (or maybe even better) thing? Here are some ideas.
5 L.A. Neighborhoods for When You're Priced Out of Your Dream 'Hood
5. Harvard Heights
This gem of a neighborhood south of Koreatown is not without crime and gangs, but like pretty much everywhere in the L.A. Basin, it's changing fast. Its stock of Craftsman homes is desirable, even if many have been divided into apartment units. We found a one-bedroom listed in the area for $950.
The home of Elon Musk's rocket ship dreams, SpaceX, is looking up. It's not far from the golden sands of Manhattan Beach. And Inglewood's NFL revolution will be taking place right next door. We wouldn't be surprised to see rents here explode. Still, it's a community where homicides take place all too frequently. We spotted a listing for a one-bed, one-bath for $1,015.
3. Arlington Heights
This community is southwest of Koreatown and includes a mix of California bungalows, two-story Craftsman homes and disco-era courtyard apartments. In Country Club Park, part of Arlington Heights, you'll even find straight-up mansions. Graffiti is rife, and the neighborhood is filled with Korean, Mexican and Central American immigrants. The ethnic eats are solid. And if you're a clubber, you could even walk to Union, formerly Jewel's Catch One. We found a listing for a one-bed for $1,195.
2. North Hollywood NoHo is a known entity, particularly because of the success of its Arts District and because of its Metro Red Line subway stop. Those are toward the south end of the community, however. As you head north, immigrant watering holes and industrial warehouses abound, and rents seem to get cheaper. Of course, it's still the East Valley. We found a listing for a one-bed, one-bath unit near Burbank's Bob Hope Airport for $1,350.
This is where Mid-City meets the Westside. There are tons of 1950s- through '80s-era buildings lining the narrow streets off La Cienega Boulevard just north of the 10 freeway. It's a traditionally African-American area. Bonus: The La Cienega Farmers Market sets up shop every Thursday. We found a listing for a one-bedroom apartment nearby for $1,500.
5 L.A. Neighborhoods Where There's an Abundance of (Not Necessarily Cheap) Rentals
Los Angeles' rental vacancy rate is less than 3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means we have a trifecta of housing misery that includes low-income earners (the median individual take is $28,555 a year), low rental availability and some of the nation's highest rents. One way to prepare yourself for the challenge when you go apartment hunting is to know where the fish are biting. Here are the five L.A. neighborhoods with the greatest number of units available in February, courtesy of the website Apartment List.
This has traditionally been one of the most transient rental communities in Los Angeles, mainly because every four or five years a whole new crop of UCLA students moves in. The apartment stock in the neighborhood, nestled below Bel-Air, is hardly priced for starving students. Rents have become so high that Bruins have pushed south into once-sketchy Palms. There were 104 units up for grabs in Westwood last month, Apartment List says. The average rent, according to listings site Rent Jungle, is a parentally challenging $3,326.
The traditional landing pad for young newcomers to Los Angeles is still an entry point to the city, even if rents are almost unreachable for starving actors. Like Koreatown, Hollywood is chock-full of multifamily buildings that range from slumdog-apropos to millionaire-worthy. Apartment List tells us you had your pick of 141 units last month. Your average rent is $2,370, according to Rent Jungle.
DTLA is hotter than the Coachella festival at 2 p.m. So while 160 units were available last month, be prepared to pay up. The Arts District, the Old Bank District and the Fashion District are all brimming with loft-dwelling hipsters. Rent Jungle says the overall average lease rate downtown is a whopping $2,680.
2. Marina del Rey
This unincorporated community next to the slips of the marina is almost void of single-family homes, but apartments and condos abound. And you'll pay dearly. Apartment List recently ranked Marina del Rey as the second most expensive rental community in L.A. for two-bedroom units. The median price to lease such a pad is $3,640 a month, the site says. There were 163 units available in February.
This area, including Koreatown, had 244 units available last month. That's not surprising, given that block upon block in the area is zoned for multifamily units. Some brick walk-up buildings (like the one used to depict the façade of Jerry Seinfeld's New York apartment) date to the 1920s and earlier, but there was a multi-unit construction boom in the 1970s and '80s. If the building you're looking at was up before 1978, it's probably subject to rent control — a big plus. The median “inquiry price” for a one-bedroom unit — meaning the rate that hunters are hoping for — is $1,500, according to listings site Zumper.
5 Metro Rail Stops With Affordable Housing Nearby
The American Public Transportation Association says you can save $12,960 a year in Los Angeles if you use public transportation instead of your own car. That's enough cash in some neighborhoods to cover more than half a year's rent. To plug into that kind of reward, however, you'll probably have to locate near a subway, light rail line or bus-friendly boulevard. Here are some Metro rail stops with housing stock that will help you save money on rent and transportation.
5. La Cienega/Jefferson
This neighborhood at the foot of the Baldwin Hills is preparing for an influx of newcomers. High prices on the Westside are pushing prospective buyers and renters south and east. The addition of a Metro Expo Line station here has developers eyeing the land. The planned Cumulus project would add 1,200 housing units, a grocery store, eateries and office space.
This Metro Gold Line stop near Lincoln Heights is close enough to hipster hotbeds Chinatown and Atwater Village that you're within walking distance of locally brewed craft beer. But it's far enough away that you can still find cheap rents and authentic taco stands galore.
3. Westlake/MacArthur Park
People have been waiting for Westlake to gentrify for years, and although there are sure-fire signs of newfound youth — including the Teragram Ballroom music venue — it's still a gritty neighborhood along the Red Line that bows down to certain gangs. Apartment stock goes from the pricey Italianate villas of developer Geoff Palmer to straight-up slums near the park.
2. San Pedro Street
Downtown is gentrified to hell, and to live there with all the other cool kids you'll pay a premium. Strangely, the influx seems to halt like water at oil along the 10 freeway. Just a few blocks south of your friends in the Fashion District, you'll find much cheaper rents near the Blue Line's San Pedro Street station.
Koreatown, with high online search rates for prospective renters and the highest apartment inventory in L.A., is no secret spot for Angelenos looking for a pad. But this northeast edge along the Red Line is grittier and more affordable, and it provides access to nearby Virgil Village, Silver Lake and East Hollywood. You'll save money commuting to both work and play.