Finding a decent place to rent in Greater Los Angeles is a hot topic.
A UCLA study last year found that slightly more than half of Angelenos rent our digs, and that we pay nearly half of our income to do so. Personal finance site NerdWallet says it's not getting any better, either. Average rents are expected to rise 8.2 percent next year, with vacancy rates continuing to drop.
There's a place for you out there somewhere, though.
The recently site looked at the availability of units, nearby jobs and income-appropriate rents in communities with 20,000 or more residents to come up with a list of the “Best Cities for Renters in Southern California.”
NerdWallet admits it had a hard time coming up with areas that had “rent that is less than 30 percent of residents’ median income,” a metric it recommends for renters. Only one town on the list, Loma Linda, made that cut. And it's way out there … in Loma Linda.
Here's the list:
10. San Gabriel. This town in the heart of the Chinese-American San Gabriel Valley had the lowest median rent on the list: $1,798. Go for the price, stay for the food.
9. Monrovia. This town in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains will cost you … two hours a day to commute to and from central L.A.
8. Tustin. This Orange County town used to have a gang problem and an adjacent Marine Corps base. Now it doesn't have much of either. Plus, it's about 50 percent renter-occupied.
7. Redondo Beach. Once a middle-class beach town, Redondo has come up, like much of the rest of the South Bay coast. The median rent is said to be $2,715.
6. Costa Mesa. The poor man's Newport Beach has a 5.7 percent vacancy rate, which, apparently, isn't bad.
5. Newport Beach. This Orange County blue-blood enclave has the second highest median rent here: $3,242. But, hey, Kobe Bryant is your neighbor if you live here.
4. Irvine. This increasingly Asian-flavored South Orange County town is often named America's safest city. Renters make up about 50 percent of the population, NerdWallet says.
3. Loma Linda. NerdWallet says more than 60 percent of the folks here rent, and that the prices are “middle-of-the-road.” We say the road to get to this San Bernardino County town is way long. It's out there.
2. Manhattan Beach. Nice town if you can afford it. NerdWallet admits this is “one of the most affluent cities in Los Angeles County and Southern California.” It recently made our list of most expensive rental communities in L.A.
1. Goleta. This Santa Barbara County city is near UC Santa Barbara and has a median household income of $73,691, NerdWallet says. Nearly half the folks there rent.
No matter where you end up, the site warns that “renters will have to be prepared for a competitive market that doesn’t favor them.”