When it comes to making sense of why housing in Los Angeles is so damn expensive, many point first at the lack of new units being built. (The disparity between wages and rents doesn't help either, of course.) New data from the Commerce Department,via the Wall Street Journal, shows that the Los Angeles metro area has seen a big increase in permits issued for multi-family residential projects (apartments and condos), but it's still not building as much as other big cities, and it seems unlikely it will be enough to help much with the housing crunch that's got rents through the roof.
The Commerce Department says that metro LA saw permits issued for just under 20,000 residential units in the first six months of 2015, up 41.4 percent from the same time last year. And 72 percent of all those permits were for units in big multifamily projects (as opposed to single-family houses), which is heartening because denser building will of course create a lot more housing in the same amount of space. But even with the big jump, the actual number of building permits is relatively low—Los Angeles only had the fourth most after New York (which had a 149.4 percent jump from last year), Houston, and Dallas. One report estimated that LA needed to be building 55,000 new housing units a year to keep prices in check.
· This Year's Busiest Home-Building Markets Favor Apartments [WSJ]
· Los Angeles's Big Plan For Pulling Out of Its Housing Crisis [Curbed LA]
· How Much Does Los Angeles Have to Build to Get Out of Its Housing Crisis? [Curbed LA]
· Los Angeles Housing Now More Screwed Up Than San Francisco [Curbed LA]