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Many renters in Los Angeles don't plan to settle down here, study says

FILE: Renters who don't want to settle down in Los Angeles cite affordability as the biggest reason why they plan to move, according to a new study. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Seventy-seven percent of Los Angeles renters plan to relocate to a different city, higher than the national average and, not surprisingly, the most-cited reason why is affordability, according to a new study from the rental site Apartment List. 

The researchers also found many young people move to Los Angeles with plans to stay only for a short time, following a national pattern where young, educated workers "flock to expensive metros to work for a few years after college or graduate school," but move when ready to settle down, the study said.

Nationally, 64 percent of the renters surveyed said they expected to move from their current location. In coastal metro areas, people who had plans to move cited the high cost of living as the reason. But in inland metro areas, primarily in the Midwest or South, they pointed to better job opportunities as the reason for wanting to relocate.

The study surveyed over 24,000 renters, including over 1,000 renters from Los Angeles. 

In Los Angeles, 49 percent of renters surveyed listed affordability as their top reason for moving. Almost 20 percent wanted to relocate for better job opportunities and one percent cited weather. 

Sydney Bennet, a researcher at Apartment List,  said people who want to move out of Los Angeles don't necessarily want to move across the country. Riverside is the most popular destination for people moving within the state while Phoenix and Las Vegas are the first and second most popular destinations outside of California.

“You might only be a four-hour drive away but you have a really different more affordable lifestyle," she said of the movers. "You can buy a five-bedroom house for the price you might be in a small, two-bedroom in Los Angeles."

People may also want a change of pace, Bennet said. That might explain why the third most popular place for Angelenos to move is Atlanta, Georgia.

Bennet said many young people don't come to Los Angeles with visions of settling down. The reality of housing prices in the city is often too daunting.

"It would take millennials 21 years to save up for a down payment [for a house in Los Angeles] at their current savings rate," she said. 

But people nationwide are still moving to Los Angeles for better job opportunities. 

"It was one of the most popular cities. I think one thing is a lot of young folks who are pursuing different careers, maybe in entertainment, or just want to live in a fun, exciting city, are willing to maybe have extra roommates to be able to live in L.A. ...,” Bennet said.

One of the surprising findings of the study is that renters are no longer interested in moving to San Francisco. 

"I think [it] may be the cost of living has gotten so high that it actually is really deterring those young folks from moving there,” she said. “And that's something that's not quite seen in L.A. yet."