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More than half of LA residents are paying too much for rent

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The city is fifth in the nation in terms of renters stretched thin by housing costs

The high cost of housing in Los Angeles is very well documented, and so is the lack of affordability for many area residents. But a new report from apartment listing site Abodo yields some surprising results about how stretched thin LA renters are compared to those in other U.S. cities.

The study finds that 58.59 percent of renters in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area are cost-burdened, meaning that they spend more than 30 percent of household income on housing (the metric used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).

That 58.59 percent figure isn’t far off at all from the number a study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University came up with last year, which found 58.5 percent of renters were burdened by the cost of housing. It’s also high enough to earn LA the number five spot on Abodo’s list of metropolitan areas with the most cost-burdened renters.

The number four spot went to another Southern California metro area: the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario region, where 58.69 percent of renters are burdened. Altogether, nine urban areas in California cracked the list of 19 cities with the highest share of cost-burdened renters. Oddly, the San Francisco Bay, where rents are higher than anywhere else in the nation, was only ranked at number 66.

And that’s part of what’s surprising about this list. Notoriously pricey rental markets such as New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. had significantly lower percentages of cost-burdened renters than Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area, where rent prices are significantly lower than in LA, was ranked third on the list (first place went to Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach).

In part, this might reveal flaws in the 30 percent of income measure, but it also seems to provide further evidence that incomes aren’t keeping up with rent increases in Los Angeles.

In the LA area, where the median household income is $62,544, more than 75 percent of renters making between $35,000 and $49,999 are cost-burdened. Meanwhile, a substantial 46 percent of renters making between $50,000 and $74,999 are also putting more than 30 percent of their income toward housing. In the New York-Newark-Jersey City area, by comparison, the median income is nearly $69,000 and a little under 41 percent of renters in that $50,000 to $74,999 range are burdened.