The LA metro area has record low numbers of homeowners, but it's not Anaheim that's pulling us down. A new UCLA study has confirmed what many California homebuyers have long suspected: Los Angeles County is the least affordable place in the country to buy a house. KPCC reports UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs study of LA's widening income gap found that a combination of stagnating wages and home prices rising to new heights have lead to the problem.
Despite LA being the least affordable place in the country to live, it is not the most expensive city. In 2013, the median home value in San Jose was $639,100 to LA County's median of $410,500. The Bay Area had us beat in terms of housing prices, but the cost of living was offset by the fact that wages by the Bay are much higher. That greater earning power translated into a higher percentage of homeowners in San Francisco, too. The study found that the Bay Area had a home ownership rate of 54 percent to LA County's 46 percent in the years 2011-2013. (Both lagged way behind the national homeownership rate of 65 percent.)
Angelenos are spending more of their earnings on rent than their counterparts up north. LA County residents were spending 47 percent of each paycheck on housing alone, an earlier UCLA study had shown. "The ones on the bottom have a hard time paying for housing," the study's co-author, Paul Ong, told KPCC. It makes sense that people dropping almost half their paycheck on rent aren't going to be able to save to buy a place to live.—Jeff Wattenhofer
· LA is country's least affordable housing market, UCLA study says [KPCC]
· Mapping Los Angeles's Lowest-in-the-Country Homeownership [Curbed LA]