Scouring the market for a good deal on a house in Los Angeles is likely to be a very depressing exercise. With once-affordable areas seeing sales prices hit new, incredible highs and the expensive neighborhoods setting their own new records, LA seems like a horrible place to try to buy a place, but an LA Times opinion piece points out that it could be worse: you could be trying to buy in New York. Looking at numbers from 2014 sales on Redfin, PropertyShark, and Zillow, real estate data site NeighborhoodX found that, though LA is deeply unaffordable in terms of what percent of their income people have to pay to live here, it's still a better deal than New York. Well, duh. But comparing the price per square foot in specific neighborhoods reveals just how much fancier a person can afford to live in LA than in NYC.
Starting at the top, with LA's ritziest neighborhoods, NeighborhoodX looks at North of Montana in Santa Monica, which is here defined as the 90402 zip code, or "roughly the waterfront to 26th Street, between Rustic Canyon and Montana Avenue." (It was LA's most expensive neighborhood in 2014.) There, the median was $3.1 million, which is similar to the median sales price of New York's Tribeca ($3.3 million), which is walking distance to "some of the most picturesque neighborhoods in the city" and not far from Wall Street.
But space-wise, LA's got so much more to offer. The breakdown by price per square foot shows that North of Montana, at $997 per square foot, is a steal compared to Tribeca, which averaged $2,338 per square foot. Beverly Hills and Bel Air both average about $941 a square foot, which is less than half of what fancy Gramercy Park ($2,424) or Greenwich Village ($2,576) cost per square foot; "[a] $1.5-million house in Beverly Hills translates to a 642-square-foot apartment in Tribeca." Per-square-foot prices of a neighborhood like the celebrity haven of Hidden Hills ($503 a square foot) are similar to Brooklyn's Sunset Park ($538), described as "a mostly Mexican and Chinese neighborhood with good transit options."
Moving away from exclusive enclaves, the more middle- and working-class neighborhoods line up a little better between LA and New York. Van Nuys, with a per-square-foot average of $327, is about the same as Queens's Jackson Heights ($319 a square foot), "a charming immigrant neighborhood with plentiful Indian restaurants that's about 30 minutes on the subway from midtown Manhattan." Watts, which has an average of $212 per square foot, is a bit more expensive than Staten Island's Stapleton, "a struggling area close to the Staten Island Ferry," which costs about $198 a square foot. Northridge, at about $279 a square foot, is around the same price as the Bronx's City Island ($274), an island of desirable house styles (bungalows, Victorians) that "looks like a New England fishing village."
The neighborhoods where the cool kids live line up too. Bushwick ($427) per square foot is just under the per-square-foot price of Eagle Rock ($453) and Echo Park ($461), with Silver Lake's $507 a square foot not too far off.
But the best revelation in the entire analysis is that the coveted coastal 'hoods of Malibu ($905 per square foot) and Pacific Palisades ($900 a square foot) are way cheaper than the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus ($1,407), which is located along a 1.8-mile-long, deeply polluted canal/Superfund site "that that has tested positive for both gonorrhea and radioactivity." Even after a good rain, the beaches of Malibu aren't anywhere near that bad. So although LA is still the king of unaffordability, at least big bucks will get you close to the ocean and not a radioactive sludge canal.
· A Manhattan studio costs how much? What your L.A. money could buy in New York [LAT]
· Everywhere in Northeast LA Now Has a Median Housing Price Above $600k [Curbed LA]
· Median Housing Price Hits Record High in Upper-Class Parts of Los Angeles [Curbed LA]