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Mapping LA's Deeply Divided Renting vs. Buying Cultures

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Los Angeles has the highest rate of renters in the US, according to the Census—in 2013, 53.1 percent of LA County's population was living in a "renter-occupied unit" (compare to about 45 percent for the state of California or about 46 percent for New York City). But LA County's a big place and that's not at all the whole story. As you can see in this map of the Census's renter rates between 2009 and 2013 (navigable version below), LA is largely divided between rental areas (blue) and ownership areas (green). Most of Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, and Santa Monica, for instance, have rentership rates in the 80 and 90 percents; but most residents in the Hills and large swaths of the Valley are owners; rentership rates in those areas are often as low as 5 or 10 percent.

The trend is obvious: more urban areas are dominated by renters. High rentership rates track closely with a USC Geography thesis that found LA has a core and it runs roughly along Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards, between Downtown and the beach. In the Valley, high rentership rates more or less follow the path of the Orange Line busway. That makes sense—denser areas have more multi-family units appropriate for renting, while more sparsely populated areas are dominated by single-family houses. (Residents of the former, incidentally, use fewer resources, drives less, and probably interact a lot more with their communities, just sayin'.)

Also not surprisingly, some of the most renter-heavy areas are now some of the most Airbnb-heavy—a map of the most lucrative neighborhoods for the short-term rental service roughly duplicates this one. Landlords seem to have figured out that if residents like renting a unit in a particular area, visitors will like renting it too. A study out in March found that, as Airbnb takes rental units off the regular market, rents in those neighborhoods have increased more dramatically than in other parts of the city.

· USC Geography Student Finds LA Has a Very Long Urban Center [Curbed LA]
· The Nine Neighborhoods That Make All the Airbnb Money in LA [Curbed LA]