The High Cost of Renting in Los Angeles (and Nationwide)

Southern California Public Radio station 89.3 KPCC is doing a project on the “rent crunch” in Los Angeles. The rental market in Southern California is becoming increasingly unaffordable, with “about 20 percent of California households spent more than half of their income on rent in 2011, more than triple what it was in 2000, according to the California Housing Partnership Corporation.” As a rule of thumb, financial planners have typically recommended to renters not spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent, though that has been increasingly more difficult to do. A recent Harvard study showed that “half of all renters are now spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.” KPCC interviewed a few people going though this:

After a month of searching for something more affordable, Amy Ripley recently settled on an $1100 one-bedroom apartment in Echo Park, an improvement from the $1290 studio in Atwater Village where she lived before. Still, half her paycheck disappears every month.

“Saying goodbye to over half your pay every month is really hard, but that’s just the reality of it I guess,” said Ripley. “I have virtually no savings, which is hard to admit, but it’s true. All my money goes to bills and rent.”

Ripley, who works an office job, says saving for a down payment isn’t something she even thinks about right now; She’s tried to pare down her expenses as much as possible just to make rent.

Photo: Parker Knight

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