Business & Economy

LA rents becoming more affordable in 2017, legislative analyst says

The California Legislative Analyst's Office reports that Los Angeles and other major metros in the state are seeing an improvement in rent affordability in 2017.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office reports that Los Angeles and other major metros in the state are seeing an improvement in rent affordability in 2017.
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Being able to afford rent is at its worst historically in Los Angeles, but a new analysis suggests there's a glimmer of hope in 2017.

Rents have actually gotten a little more affordable so far this year, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

"For the average person, their income has gone up a little bit quicker than their rent did last year," said Brian Uhler, an analyst at LAO.

Rental Affordability
Rental Affordability
California Legislative Analyst's Office

Uhler said demand for rental housing had been rising because the housing supply couldn’t keep up with the job growth driving competition for rentals. But he said a pickup in residential development is relieving some of the pressure.

"I think that’s starting to balance out a little bit, coupling that with the fact that job growth has started to temper somewhat," Uhler said. 

He said fewer people are having to move for jobs and seeking apartments.

The improvement in rent affordability has been modest. Last year, renters, on average, put about 45 percent of their paycheck toward the rent. This year, it’s 44 percent.

That's still extremely high given that financial experts regularly advise that housing should not exceed 30 percent of income.

But Uhler says after a decade of soaring rents, this shift in affordability is definitely worth noting. 

Almost all of California's eight major metros posted improvements in rental affordability.

Rental affordability
Rental affordability
California Legislative Analyst's Office

Sacramento was the only major metro to see rent affordability worsen. Uhler said the area is seeing renters fleeing the Bay Area for the comparatively less expensive housing prices in the state capital.