How Lots of Cars and Low Incomes Keep LA So Unaffordable from Elaine Golden-Gealer

CarLos Angeles is the most unaffordable city in the US for both buying and renting a home when we consider housing prices and incomes. But what about when we look at a more whole picture of affordability? Well, then LA is still wildly unaffordable, but the specifics do get a lot more complicated. New York’s Citizens Budget Commission has just released a series of reports on affordability in the city that contains loads of information on Los Angeles and other cities too; they show that LA’s cost of living isn’t entirely unreasonable for rich people (duh), but it is mindbogglingly out of reach for, say, single people or the working poor. Overall, it’s really only the fifth most unaffordable city, for a “typical” household.

The CBC reports use the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Location Affordability Index, which incorporates housing prices combined with transportation costs, in relation to income: “transportation costs typically are a major component of household budgets, usually second only to housing … a tradeoff between housing costs and transportation costs often exists, and taking both into account can provide a better measure of residential affordability in an area than only considering housing costs.” LA’s transportation costs aren’t as high as one might expect for such a car-dependent city, but they aren’t so low that they can make up for the city’s relatively low incomes. Here are a bunch of charts, here to explain more:

Click here to see the charts

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