(Closed) Apartment Hunting: So Cal (Los Angeles) residents, rent to income ratio?

posted 4 years ago in Finances
Post # 2
Member
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Anywhere in the US, including LA is generally 25%-30% of your income. Look at the outlying cities. I paid $800 for a one bedroom house in Pomona, which was well below the value it should have been

Post # 3
Member
659 posts
Busy bee

Living in LA, you pay for your lifestyle. It can be very expensive or fairly reasonable if you compromise on this and that. You should find a roomate if you really want to save money although I understand if you don’t being newlyweds and all. 

The cheapest I’ve ever paid was $400/mo sharing a house in San Gabriel (15% of my post tax income back when my first priority was saving money). Meanwhile, I have friends who make the same amount of money as me who drop 1900/mo for a Hollywood apartment because they value being able to walk to bars (~50%). My cousin and former Roomate is currently living in a 3 bedroom house  in Van Nuys for 2100. He and his gf only rent out one of the 2 bedrooms because they value their office space. I’d guess that’s 30% of their combined pay. 

What do you value? What do you want in your apartment and what do you want to pay? 

Post # 4
Member
3442 posts
Sugar bee

I paid around 30% when I lived in LA, but I had a higher then typical salary. Where are you looking to live? 

Post # 5
Member
930 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I agree with theatrejulia. Look at outlying cities. SO and I love the south Pasadena area but can’t justify the rent there so we settled on a section of Alhambra that borders south Pasadena. We are in a two bed two bath splitting it down the middle and it is 20 percent of my income and 25 percent of his after utilities etc. For the Los Angeles area, if you can get to 30 percent or below, I’d say that’s pretty good. Good luck on your search!

Post # 6
Member
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Pantone032: I think that in any large city, you’ll find more people who devote a greater percentage to rent, BUT I do think that it’s a little less necessary to spend 50% in LA than in NYC or SF. I rented in NYC and I’m a landlady in LA and in my view, LA has a greater diversity of price when it comes to rent than you tend to find in a more compressed market like NY/SF. However, unlike NY, you usually have higher transportation costs (I probably spend $4K just on gas per year). 

Where are you trying to rent? If you’re looking at anywhere on the Westside (vaguely Santa Monica to Redondo Beach; Westood and into Beverly Hills) and trendier neighborhoods like Hollywood, Silver Lake, Culver City, and areas around DTLA, then you will pay a premium. Essentially, you will tend to pay less the further you are from the city center and out in the fringes–so the deep Valley to the W (Woodland Hills, Northridge, Tarzana, Reseda; Van Nuys and Burbank heading more NE); San Gabriel communities to the E. (Alhambra, Arcadia); and South Bay (Wilmington, Long Beach, San Pedro, Carson, etc.) to the S. Otherwise, you can look at communities that ARE closer to the city center but are probably a little rough (Boyle Heights, for example). 

As a landlady, I’ve rented to people who spend that much, although I will scruitinize their finances a little more because I want to make sure that their savings are strong and that they have good credit and strong references–in other words, you can spend 50% on your rent, but it could make you a smidge less competitive in getting a place among those who make more income. 

Anyway, in real estate, they say you have price, location, and condition, and you can get 2/3, but never 3/3. What are you 2? You can rent a private house in Pedro probably for the same amount that you could get a shoebox in Los Feliz…but your drive into say, Downtown (if that’s where you’ll be working) will be much longer.  

 

Post # 7
Member
733 posts
Busy bee

It’s more typical in so cal or the Bay area to spend more than 50% of your income in housing costs, but if you can make it doing that depends on how much you spend in other areas. Some people spend that in rent and do OK, and some people don’t. It also depends on your income. If you make, say 100,000 per month, then spending 60,000/ per month, or 60% of your income in rent probably won’t be a problem since you have 40,000 a month left for other expenditures. But if you are already lower income, then that kind of ratio won’t work for you. It also depends on your other debts. So, in other words, you just need to budget and see what you can afford.

Post # 8
Member
535 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

Pantone032:  My Fiance is the only one who works at the moment but we have slightly over a third of his take home pay after taxes dedicated to housing (not including utilities etc). We live in Santa Monica but I’m hoping to get a job soon so we can upgrade and get into a slightly more updated condo with a functional kitchen. Call me crazy but I’d love to have an island (DAMN YOU FIXER UPPER & HGTV!) 

Post # 9
Member
659 posts
Busy bee

BothCoasts:  That is a very thorough and thoughtful post. I’m not hunting anymore but I would have really appreciated the advice when I was first moving to LA. And that 2/3 thing is so true! 

Post # 10
Member
5878 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Pantone032:  I’d target not to pay more than 30% of income in rent.  It’ll be really hard not to go into debt if you go beyond that level.

I definetly think that your wife should serach for a more stable job, or a job in the off-season.  I also think you guys should consider finding a place with roommates.

 

Post # 11
Member
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I live just south of the LA county line. My husband and I currently pay $1400 for a 1 bedroom + loft. We live on PCH, and are getting a great deal so we are an outlier. Currently my rent is 17% of my monthly income. 

 

Like PP posters stated get out of the downtown area. Id suggest Pasadena/Alhambra/San Gabriel area. If 50% of your income goes to rent you are putting yourself in a tough situation if unexpected expenses come up(and they always do). 30% of your income should be what you are putting towards rent. 

Post # 12
Member
2680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California

50% of your income towards living is a lot!! I suppose it also matters though where your other 50% is going. For example, do you have a car payment, student loans, a nice chunk of savings, and excellent credit to reflect overly superb financial responsibility, or things like that?

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