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Report: 58% of LA tenants are spending too much on rent

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Almost one-third spend more than half their income on housing

Aerial view of Los Angeles
According to a new report from Apartment List, Los Angeles ranks 95th out of the 100 largest cities in terms of affordability.
ShutterDivision | Shutterstock

Most Angelenos are all-too-well aware that the city’s rents are pretty high. But a new report from Apartment List illustrates how difficult it is for many residents to make those monthly payments.

According to the report, Los Angeles is the sixth most unaffordable large metropolitan area for renters in the U.S. Though other cities, like New York and San Francisco, have pricier rents, wages in those cities have kept pace with the cost of housing slightly better than in LA.

The analysis shows that 58 percent of renters in LA are cost-burdened, meaning that more than 30 percent of their income goes toward housing. Of that number, more than half—representing nearly one-third of the city’s renters—are severely cost-burdened, and spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent.

Nationwide, 49.7 percent of renters are cost-burdened, while 25 percent are severely cost-burdened. Both numbers have actually improved since the height of the recession, but even then, neither reached the level of unaffordability that now exists in LA.

Across the country, wages have lagged behind growth in rental prices, and the same is true in LA. Between 2005 and 2016, rents shot up 17.5 percent, while wages grew by a far less dramatic 8 percent.

A recent study from the University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate and Beacon Economics predicts that LA rents will rise by an average of $136 per month over the next two years. Whether incomes will keep up remains to be seen.