A recent New York Times story about New Yorkers' newfound acceptance of Los Angeles and its quirky, West Coast ways claimed that our rents were “relatively cheap.”

Not so.

Not, at least, according to the Zillow Rent Index report recently released by the real estate listings site. Los Angeles rental prices as listed on Zillow's platform are greater than those in New York.

For April, the Zillow Rent Index (median) rent in Los Angeles was a whopping $2,498, according to the site. New York weighed in with a “ZRI” of $2,372.

L.A. also beat New York when it comes to year-to-year rent increases. We saw a 5.6 percent rise in rents, according to Zillow. New York saw a 3.4 percent boost.

Although Los Angeles is America's least-affordable rental market when median income is taken into account, these have been hard times for renters from coast to coast. “U.S. rents grew at their fastest pace in two years in April,” Zillow said in a statement:

Rental demand is skyrocketing, thanks to a combination of younger workers staying in rental housing longer and families turning to the rental market after losing their homes to foreclosure during the recession. Builders are doing what they can to keep up, but it can take a while to get large multifamily projects off the ground, and demand is very hot right now.

The amazing thing about the latest Zillow Rent Index, meanwhile, is that Los Angeles didn't top it. Nope. Other California cities dominated the top of the list.

Credit: Corey Miller/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

Credit: Corey Miller/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

San Jose had a ZRI of $3,287, putting the Silicon Valley town in first place. San Francisco came in second at $3,162. L.A. and New York are next, respectively. San Diego was in fifth place, at $2,330.

Zillow looked at rents in the America's 25 largest cities.

The site says that the rental pressure across the nation could translate to a “banner year for home sales.” So far, however, those sales remain lukewarm. 

Maybe that's because, in places like L.A., it still takes nearly half a million dollars just to buy a so-so house in a crime-challenged neighborhood. 

Keep dreaming.

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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