You've got a baby on the way. You're getting married. Or you just plain party a lot.
In any of those cases, sharing walls top-to-bottom, side-to-side with neighbors in an apartment building might not be ideal for you.
But rents are so ridiculously high in L.A. that the mere thought of renting a single-family home is pure fantasy for many. Well, people, your dreams can come true. We asked the kind folks at real estate site Zillow for help, and they gave us recent Zillow Rent Index data for single-family and multifamily rents in the L.A. area.
While the data includes apartments, a Zillow rep tells us their figures skew heavily toward single-family home leases. That makes sense. As you'll see, the prices would be hefty if they represented just apartment rents. One 2014 study pegged the average local 2-bedroom apartment at a seemingly low $1,398 a month, for example. The lowest rent on our list is ... $1,758.
We went through the Zillow data and came up with the best compromises between community setting and price. Here's our list of the 10 best L.A. neighborhoods for single-family home rentals:
10. Boyle Heights. Yeah, the real Eastside (not Silver Lake, Echo Park or Los Feliz) is changing rapidly. One key reason is that you can still find a place for a median rent of only $1,758, which is actually eight percent more than you would have paid in fall of 2013, according to Zillow. (Here's an apparent duplex for $1,800).
9. University Hills. We have more Eastside action for you, this time in the hills near Cal State L.A. Here you'll find a pad to call your own, at least temporarily, for a median lease rate of $1,866 a month. That's 5.2 percent more than you would have paid last year, says Zillow.
8. Lincoln Heights. Northeast L.A. is on fire when it comes to house flipping and rising rents, so we're surprised you can still find a humble abode here. But Zillow says you can get a place for the median rent of $1,934, which is 6.1 percent more than the price you could have locked in last year.
7. El Sereno. Ah yes, beautiful, hilly El Sereno. You wish you could afford South Pasadena or Monterey Park, but El Sereno will do. The median rent here is still under $2,000, at $1,953, which is 5.3 percent more than last year. (Here's a three-bedroom for $2,200).
6. Elysian Valley. We recently called this community, better known by its local name Frogtown, "L.A.'s hottest new neighborhood." It's not really new, but the 8,800-population neighborhood next to the L.A. river northeast of downtown is home to a growing number of artists and, of course, plenty of newcomers. Blame the still-affordable $2,149 median rent. That's up 4.6 percent from last year. (Here's a three-bedroom for $2,995).
5. Jefferson Park. The Arts and Crafts bungalows of Jefferson Park are to die for, so this community isn't exactly off the radar. But you can still find a place for the median rent of $2,155, says Zillow. That's a whopping 10 percent more than you would have paid last year. Lock in now. (Here's a nearby three-bedroom for $3,000).
4. Downtown. We're not sure you're going to find any single-family homes downtown, but if they exist (a few do, on the southern end, in the LAPD's Newton Division), the median rent is $2,201, which is, not surprisingly, 10.4 percent above last year's figure. Being where the action is will cost you.
Read on for our top 3 ...
3. Highland Park. The poster child for L.A. gentrification and ground zero for those who are fed up with newcomers and house flippers, this Northeast L.A. community still offers value for renters, with a median rate of $2,232, says Zillow. That's a 6.9 percent increase over last year's median. (Here's a bungalow for $2,650).
2. Harvard Heights. This is one of our favorite unsung L.A. neighborhoods. You'll find plenty of Craftsman and Victorian homes, many if not most still unrestored, in this neighborhood south of Koreatown. It is said to have the only remaining Greene and Greene house in the city. Zillow says you can expect a median rent of $2,251, which is 6.7 percent more than last year. (Here's a nearby five-bedroom for $4,000).
And the best place to rent a single-family home in L.A. is ...
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1. West Adams. This is another architectural treasure trove, with plenty of large Victorian, Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, and Beaux Arts homes to chose from. The community southwest of downtown is no secret, however, and bargains aren't common. Median rents have gone up a whopping 11.2 percent in the last year. Zillow says the median rent is $2,270. You'll pay a little more to be here, but you'll certainly look cool doing it.