A lot of folks shake their head in doubt when we say L.A. has the worst housing crisis in America. New York's rents are higher. And San Francisco seems impenetrable to all but the well-paid programmers of Silicon Valley.
But, as UCLA researchers found a few years ago, the gap between income and rents is greatest right here in Los Angeles. A new report from rental site Apartment List, How Have Rents Changed Since 1960, basically affirms that.
The site looked at U.S. Census data between 1960 and 2014 to discover how rents and incomes have developed in major American cities over the years. L.A.'s median rent has gone from $836 in 1980 to $1,294 in 2014, the analysis found.
During that time, “Renters in Los Angeles struggled the most, as rents jumped 55 percent, even as incomes only increased 13 percent,” Apartment List stated.
Those figures are adjusted for inflation. Median rent has jumped from $568 in 1960 to $934 in 2014, not adjusted for inflation, according to data provided by a spokesman for the site. That's a 64 percent increase. L.A.'s median household income went up only 18 percent during that time, the site found.
More than half of Angelenos meet the definition of “cost-burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, Apartment List found.
“In Miami, Los Angeles and Orlando, for example, more than 55 percent of renters were cost-burdened in 2014,” the report states.
Los Angeles might have the biggest gap between rents and incomes, but there are few cities that offer an escape from the increasing gulf between your paycheck and your rent, the report says.
“Overall, rents have risen faster than incomes in nearly every city across the U.S.” since 1960, an Apartment List spokesman said. “The only urban areas where incomes kept pace with rents were Austin, [Texas], Las Vegas, and Phoenix.”