Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States, with a population of about four million people. When all of the smaller communities in Los Angeles County are included, the urban area totals more than 10 million people. It’s difficult to draw broad conclusions about such a huge and diverse region, but one thing is certain: Los Angeles is an expensive place to live. Los Angeles has a large effect on national culture, in addition to its palm-tree-lined boulevards and famous nightlife. Los Angeles has a higher concentration of jobs in the arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media than other cities, and many people come here to build a name for themselves in these fields. Los Angeles is recognized for its diverse makeup of ambitious city dwellers striving to carve out their own paths, from mansions to dive clubs. Los Angeles has it all, whether you wish to break into the entertainment industry or live in a varied area brimming with trendy clubs and venues.
In July 2020, Los Angeles received a score of 79.49 out of 100 on Numbeo’s cost of living index, which considers the cost of consumer goods such as groceries, restaurants, transportation, and utilities. This means that it costs about 20% less to live here than it does in New York City, the index’s benchmark. When you factor in rent, the score drops to 74.88, making it less expensive than San Francisco but not as much as San Diego. Seattle’s pricing is very similar to those in Los Angeles, but Portland is around ten percent less expensive.
Housing Rent Costs
The most significant element contributing to the high cost of living in LA is the high cost of housing.
Home ownership is out of reach for many Angelenos, with a median buying price of $650,000. (more on that below). As a result, almost two-thirds of the population rent their dwellings (a proportion which is higher than the national average, but in line with other big coastal cities). With so many people renting, availability is often scarce—the city’s vacancy rate in March 2020 was only 5.1 percent. The higher the vacancy rate, the more the prices for available units can rise:
New York and San Francisco, the cities with the highest rents, also have the lowest vacancy rates in the country. Los Angeles has a high average rent relative to the rest of the country due to little vacancy and high demand. Apartments in Los Angeles rented for an average of $2,545, nearly double the national average of $1,463. Rents in some of LA’s most fashionable districts are among the highest in the country. Playa Vista ($3,415) and Venice ($3,203) are two of them. Renters can save money by looking in the Valley (Van Nuys rents are around $1,960 per month) or northeast of downtown (Eagle Rock rates are around $1,931 per month). Even if these figures appear to be exorbitant, living in Los Angeles does not have to be out of reach. When you share a room with a roommate, you can save a lot of money compared to living alone. Bungalow’s average price for a private room in a shared home in Los Angeles, for example, is up to 7% less than the average studio apartment rent in the same district.
Purchase Price of a House
The sale of multi-million dollar houses owned by famous actors drives up the average purchasing price of a home in Los Angeles. The median sale price, which is the number at which half of all transactions are greater, and half are lower, can give you a better picture of the real estate market.
The typical sale price in Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York City is $738,000, which is slightly more than the median price in a number of other big cities. This is nearly three times the $245,000 national median purchase price. The median price of a condo in the city is $541,000, which is slightly less than the national average. Because Los Angeles is such a vast city, property prices vary greatly depending on where you live. Single-family homes in seaside Venice sell for $1,763,285 on average, while typical homes in Mid-City sell for $835,074. The median price of a home in Downtown Los Angeles is in the $700,000s.
Cost of Utilities
Living in Los Angeles not only allows you to enjoy the city’s gorgeous Mediterranean climate but also allows you to save money on heating and cooling costs when compared to other parts of the country. Many older apartment buildings in Los Angeles lack central heating and air conditioning, and most homes on the west side of town don’t require air conditioning due to the mild coastal breezes. As a result, Angelenos may anticipate paying around $30 less per month than the national average on utilities. The average monthly utility bill in Los Angeles is $129, which includes electricity, gas, water, and waste collection. Solar panels are an option for homeowners, and they can even get money back for generating extra electricity.
The Price of Food
Los Angeles, being the birthplace of the taco truck, is a veritable foodie’s paradise. Tacos cost roughly $1.50 to $2 each, but lunch in one of the city’s more upscale restaurants can cost up to $38.
That’s 28% less than a similar meal in New York City. The sales tax in Los Angeles will add 9.5 percent to the final bill. For the home cook, Los Angeles provides excellent products at a reasonable price. Groceries are often tax-free, and costs for staples like eggs, milk, and bread are comparable to those found elsewhere in the country. The average Angeleno will spend $375 per month on food.
Cost of Transportation
Los Angeles, despite its reputation for traffic, is a city of drivers. The city’s public transportation system, the LA Metro, is convenient for people who reside near transit lines; however, due to LA’s wide size, many areas and surrounding cities are not accessible by transit. Eighty-four percent of Angelenos drive to work, while only 6 percent take public transportation. Los Angeles has some of the highest gas costs in the country, with rates approximately a dollar higher per gallon than the national average during the last year. From June 2019 to June 2020, LA gas prices ranged from $2.75 to $4.25 per gallon, settling at around $3 per gallon at the end of the period. Only Hawaii has a higher average gas price than the rest of the country. Drivers in Los Angeles spend a lot of time on the roadway and a lot of money insuring their vehicles. The average cost of car insurance in Los Angeles is $1,964. This is $537 higher than the national average of $1,427 for comprehensive insurance. People residing in and commuting to Downtown LA, Korea town, Hollywood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Long Beach can use the LA Metro to save money on transportation.
The city of Los Angeles’ public transportation system offers bus and rail rides at $1.75 each.
Monthly passes start at $100, or $122 if you want to take the last bus. This is close to San Francisco’s ($98) monthly pass pricing and less expensive than New York City’s ($127).
Fitness and Recreation
Los Angeles is a fitness and entertainment hotspot where people want to look beautiful and have a good time. Although jogging is free, securing sidewalk space in your town can be difficult. A membership to a fitness club can set you back roughly $44 per month. Small community gyms, on the other hand, may provide more affordable possibilities. Fortunately, you may explore free paths and hiking locations such as Griffith Park or surrounding beaches. When you live in Los Angeles, you’ll need to budget for your nightlife.
Going out every night rapidly adds up, especially when you include admission fees and drink minimums. However, to give you an idea of what to expect, a new film at the cinema costs $15.49 without snacks.
Other Los Angeles Living Expenses
The cost of living index in Los Angeles is now around 79. It is commonly regarded as one of the most costly cities in the country, yet its citizens have access to a diverse range of local activities and unique sights. Aside from housing costs, the average monthly cost of living in Los Angeles for a single individual is a little under $1,000. A family of four will most likely spend around $3,600 per month. You won’t have to seek far if you’re looking for things to do in Los Angeles. Adults and children will never be bored in the area, which includes everything from Disneyland and California Adventure to Universal Studios and Legoland. While these amusement parks are not inexpensive, there are many other inexpensive things available, such as traveling to the beach, visiting Hollywood, or visiting local piers, such as the one in Santa Monica.
Los Angeles’ high living expenditures and housing costs need greater salaries, as seen by the city’s $15 minimum wage. That’s more than double the national minimum wage of $7.25, and it’s greater than California’s minimum wage of $10. In the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the average worker earns $28.74 per hour or nearly $60,000 per year. This is 12% more than the national average of $25.72, but not enough to compensate for the 42.6 percent increase in living costs. Jobs in the Hollywood film industry pay handsomely on the higher end of the salary scale, with typical producer earnings exceeding $76,000 per year. The city’s recent growth as a technology powerhouse has boosted demand for software engineers, who earn an average of about $106,000.
Salary in Los Angeles that Is Recommended
To rent a $1,500 condo in Los Angeles, you’d need to make roughly $5,000 per month before taxes if you followed the 30% guideline. This equates to $60,000 per year or $28.85 per hour. Of course, if you want to live a more opulent life or have children, you’ll need to increase your salary or reduce your rent. When estimating the cost of living in Los Angeles, keep in mind the living wage.
The livable wage is the amount of money required to live comfortably above the poverty line. According to MIT calculations, a full-time employee in Los Angeles earns around $19.35 per hour. Vacations, eating out, and entertainment are not factored into the calculations. It won’t help you save either because you’ll be living on the absolute minimum and won’t have any room for an unexpected bill. When you reside in the heart of a city, expenses can quickly mount. Before you relocate, make sure you analyze the work market and your pay expectations. According to Best Places, the typical household income in Los Angeles is $55,870, which is more than the national average of $53,482.
The Benefits of Living in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, There Are Numerous Outdoor Activities to Enjoy.
Los Angeles has a unique combination of trails, beaches, and typically pleasant weather.
You are always welcome to take advantage of everything that nature has to offer. Even if you don’t want to spend a day in the sun, you may go to festivals like the California Strawberry Festival, take advantage of the city’s free museum days, or spend an evening at the Santa Monica Pier. There are also dozens of parks to visit, including the huge Griffith Park in Los Feliz, which spans over 4,300 acres.
The City Offers a Wide Range of Professional Sports to Enjoy.
As of 2019, Los Angeles is home to all five major professional sports leagues, with most sports featuring two teams for your enjoyment. Basketball is a way of life in Los Angeles, owing to the Lakers and Clippers. You can watch the Galaxy and LAFC play soccer. The Dodgers are in town, as is a brief excursion to Anaheim to see the Angels.
If you prefer hockey to baseball, the Kings will be your club to root for each season. With the Rams and Clippers, the NFL has returned to Los Angeles.
The Drawbacks of Living in Los Angeles
Getting Around Los Angeles Is a Nightmare.
Living in Los Angeles has a lot of advantages, but it also has a lot of disadvantages. The traffic troubles in Los Angeles are legendary, especially if you happen to be driving during rush hour. INRIX analyzed data from major cities in 38 nations and discovered that traffic in this city is the worst in the world. Every year, you will waste over 100 hours of your life sitting in traffic. There’s no reason to believe that this problem will go away any time soon.
Parking in Los Angeles Can be an Absolute Nightmare at Times.
The fact that parking in Los Angeles is excessively demanding for cars is one of the reasons why so many companies offer valet parking. Parking signs can be extremely difficult to understand. You should carefully study each sign to confirm that you have the authorization to park in that location when you arrive. Parking restrictions are also strictly enforced, which means that if you misread the directions given to you, you are nearly certain to obtain a ticket.
Now that you know how much it costs to live in Los Angeles, you can decide whether you’re ready to relocate to the City of Angels. Before you make the decision, examine the differences between renting and buying a property, as well as your estimated transportation and energy bills. However, if you’re intending to relocate to Los Angeles, California, cutting your housing prices and obtaining higher-paying work will help you balance your personal budget.