Warning. If you're apartment hunting in Los Angeles, you may want to close this browser window right now, because this article will ruin your day. In fact, if you're apartment hunting in LA, you may want to pawn your laptop, most of your possessions, and start interviewing four or five potential roommates, because the rent situation in LA is lunacy. But for those curious, Rentcafe has taken the 2015 median rent data for every zip code in Los Angeles and put them into a handy map of unaffordability. Never has visualizing a housing crisis been so fun!
First the good news: there are still some "reasonable" rents in LA, you just have to stretch your definition of LA to find them. To get a taste of some cheap rent, one has to settle in the northern outskirts, tucked far beyond Angeles National Forest in the high desert. Palmdale and Lancaster are the only neighborhoods in Los Angeles County where the median rent is still below $900.
Here's how bad the rent situation in LA County was in 2015: the least expensive median rent in LA County wasn't even in LA County! According to Rentcafe's research, Rosamond (which is actually in Kern County) has the cheapest median rent price in the LA area. For just $675, you can live like royalty in beautiful Rosamond, California.
Once the rent stats start getting into zip codes more in the heart of the city, those median prices immediately jump up to the "over $900" range even in the least expensive places. And even more unfortunately for renters, those neighborhoods will almost certainly not stay in the least expensive category for long. Inglewood, now at a median price of $925, is about to get an NFL stadium and the real estate flurry that comes along with it. Jefferson Park/West Adams, median price $917, is buzzing lately as a hot up and coming neighborhood (Not to mention its victory in the 2015 Curbed Cup). El Sereno, at a median rent of $995, is right smack in the middle of the Northeastern LA corridor that has developers and gentrifiers salivating. These rent numbers could be wildly outdated in just a short amount of time.
As for the most expensive median rents in town, they're pretty predictable, with the Westside best represented. Sunset Park in Santa Monica tops the median rent list in Los Angeles at $3,832 a month. Just to perversely bask in that unbelievable wealth for a moment, that's a shade under $46,000 a year on rent alone. Median rents for the rest of Santa Monica are all clocking in above $3,000 as well.
Beach living is not the only prohibitively expensive lifestyle in Los Angeles. Landlocked living can also cost you a ransom in rent: Downtown's median is $2,530, and over near USC, the median rent is a stunning $3,500. West Hollywood just cracked the top 10 most expensive with a median rent of $2,441.