Los Angeles' housing situation is just sad. A rare upside is that it's so expensive to live here that parsing the numbers is an act of humor. Try not to laugh too hard.
A new analysis of L.A. real estate prices and incomes by real estate listings site Zillow concludes that Los Angeles is one of the most difficult cities in America in which to buy a home. Someone earning the median income would need nearly 200 percent of his or her annual income to come up with a 20 percent down payment on a median-priced Greater L.A. house, the report finds.
The median income Zillow cites for its analysis, $64,806, is higher than the U.S. Census Bureau's median household income for L.A. County, $56,196. The site's income data was pulled from Moody’s, and it includes statistics from Orange County.
Zillow, citing its own listings data, says the median home price in L.A. is now $590,000. Try finding a decent place in a neighborhood with good schools in L.A. for $590,000. Still laughing?
California leads the nation in the amount of cash it takes, relative to income, to get a home loan. “Among large housing markets, buyers in the San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles metros must come up with the largest percentage of their income to buy a home,” according to a Zillow statement. In L.A. and San Jose, a median-income buyer would have to part with 182 percent of his or her annual income — the highest percentage in the nation — to put 20 percent down on a house, the analysis found; San Francisco's figure was 180 percent.
In Greater L.A., 182 percent of Zillow's median income figure is $118,000. If you're paying half or more of your income on rent, which about a third of Angeleno renters do, then it could be many years before you come up with $118,000. Zillow says the two-bedroom median lease rate in the city of L.A. is $2,740.
Just be thankful you're not trying to buy in San Jose, where the median home price is nearly $1 million, the report states. The high price of home ownership is one of the reasons why “25 percent of first-time buyers rely on gifts from friends and family to come up with the cash to buy a house,” Zillow spokeswoman Jordyn Lee said via email.
Of course, in other parts of America the real estate game is not nearly as tough. The national median home price is — get ready for it — $192,500 (!), meaning a 20 percent down payment is only $38,500.