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Los Angeles's Insanely High Rents Have Become Unsustainable

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Renters probably haven't noticed, but rents are actually rising slightly slower in Los Angeles this year, according to the LA Times, reporting on data from real estate data firm Reis Inc. The average price for an apartment in LA County was $1,471 in the second quarter of 2014—that's just 2.4 percent higher than the same period last year, while the rest of the country saw an average increase of 3.3 percent. (Of course, there are still hot spots where rents are climbing, like Silicon Beachy Westside 'hoods and Downtown.) In the first quarter, however, data from rental site Lovely showed rents in LA shooting up more than 13 percent, faster than San Francisco. Reis chalks up the weak gains in the second quarter to "a sustainability issue," explaining that there just aren't enough people who can keep up with bigger increases, and that the numbers might point to a "topping out" for LA rents at least until more people get jobs or raises. (Meanwhile, landlords haven't gotten the news—about 70 percent in LA County say they plan to raise rents in the next year.)

Wages haven't increased with the cost of rental housing over the years, especially for lower-income households, but since people have to live somewhere (if they can), about a quarter of the city's residents are paying more than half their income toward rent and about half are paying more than the recommended 30 percent. "We're in a place we've never been before. The very low vacancy rate says rents should go up. The affordability problem says they can't," says the director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC.
· Rent prices in the Southland may be topping out [LAT]
· Los Angeles Has the Most People Paying an Insane Amount of Their Income Toward Housing [Curbed LA]
· Rentally Deranged [Curbed LA]