Greater Los Angeles has the lowest rate of homeownership of all the major metropolitan areas in the US and the highest renter rate. New data released this week by the US Census bureau revealed that just 48.5 percent of residents in the Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim area were living in homes they own during the second quarter of 2015, down from 50.2 percent in the first quarter and from 49.1 percent a year ago, according to the OC Register. (For comparison, even renter-heavy New York is at 49.1 percent homeownership; it was in the top spot in the first quarter.) That's not terribly shocking: the housing market is returning to bubbliciousness lately, with record high prices driven by a very tight stock of housing. Meanwhile, wages continue to fall.
Even renting is a stretch for a lot of Angelenos in the past few years: LA also has the most people paying an unreasonably high amount toward their rent (when people start paying more than a third of their income toward housing, it starts cutting into other expenses and can really screw with the local economy). And so we've seen too that homelessness is now also rising in the region.
LA hit its highest homeownership peak (55 percent) during the last bubble, in 2005, and dropped to its lowest (47.6 percent) just in the last quarter of 2014.
Helpfully, journalist and web developer Ken Schwencke has created this map (via CityLab) showing where all those renters rent (in red) and where all those homeowners own (in red) using 2013 Census data, with each dot representing 25 homes. The two groups mix more in Los Angeles than they do in a lot of other cities but there are some clear trends: the central city is primarily renter territory, while owners are far more common in wealthy areas like the hills and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. But the main trend seems to be renters clustering around major arteries and dense, urbany areas, while owners buy in more remote, suburbanish zones, where they can get single-family houses and are more likely to depend on a car.
· Hard to buy: L.A.-O.C. has nation's lowest homeownership rate [CityLab]
· Where the renters are [Schwanksta.com]
· See How the LA Housing Market is Returning to Bubble Madness [Curbed LA]
· The Housing Market in Most of Los Angeles is Setting All Kinds of Record Highs [Curbed LA]