This past year was full of terrifying measures of Los Angeles's dismal rental climate. Phrases like "wildly unaffordable" were invoked and reports from Harvard and UCLA delivered the bleak news that too many Angelenos are paying more rent than they can afford (which is roughly 30 percent of their income). Now we see what all that high rent adds up to: residents in the Los Angeles metro area paid $34.2 billion in rent this year, second only to the New York-New Jersey metro area for highest cumulative rent, says Zillow (which makes sense, since it's also second in population).
In looking at the 25 largest metros in the country, Zillow found that Los Angeles metro area renters spent $1.7 billion more in 2014 than they had in 2013, for a 5.3 percent increase. (They estimate LA renters are paying $42 more per unit each month than they were last year.) They're not unique in that: the amount of rent paid across the country rose 4.9 percent, in part because there are just more households renting, but also because the average rent rose across the board.
Nationally over the past 14 years, "weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing" have contributed to the rise in rents, says Zillow's chief economist. "Next year, we expect rents to rise even faster than home values, meaning that another increase in total rent paid similar to that seen this year isn't out of the question. In fact, it's probable."
· U.S. Renters Paid $441 Billion in Rent in 2014, Up Nearly $21 Billion Since 2013 [Zillow]
· Rentally Deranged [Curbed LA]