Ask and you shall receive.
Somebody must be paying attention to our moaning and whining about L.A.'s housing crisis, because thousands of new apartments are being built this year. In June, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies concluded that Los Angeles needs 382,000 new units for extremely low-income renters. And in 2014, Mayor Eric Garcetti said we need to develop 100,000 new units to keep up with demand.
A new analysis of construction in 50 American cities by rental website RentCafe found that Los Angeles developers appear to be listening, as more than 20,000 new apartments are expected to be built this year.
“Greater L.A. is one of the pack leaders in terms of new apartments projected to hit the market this year — 20,205 new apartments,” says site spokeswoman Camelia Bulea. “This represents 6 percent of the total estimated inventory expected to be delivered in 2016 across the 50 largest U.S. [cities].”
Most of those units — 51 percent — will be one-bedroom affairs, the site reported. Two-bedroom units account for 33 percent of the new development.
The Los Angeles market, which for this analysis included Orange County, ranks fourth among the top 20 American cities seeing the most units built, according to RentCafe.
Houston (26,000), Dallas (23,000) and New York (21,000) ranked first through third, respectively.
You can do the math and quickly conclude that L.A. still needs more apartments before it puts a dent in the current housing shortage. In yet another estimate, the California Housing Partnership Corporation says we need nearly half a million new units to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, USC demographer Dowell Myers said we added only about 12,000 units last year, as the county's population grew by an estimated 50,000 residents.
So even with 20,000 new apartments coming online in 2016, population pressure will continue to keep vacancies (estimated at 3 percent) low. And high demand and low supply means, of course, higher prices.
“Los Angeles remains one of the top markets for rent growth, as the rents are expected to increase 7.1 percent by the end of the year,” Bulea said.