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Should You Buy or Rent in Los Angeles?

Thinking of moving to Los Angeles? If you’re ready to relocate but aren’t sure whether it’s better to buy or rent a home in LA, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • How well do you know the LA area?
  • How long do you plan to live in The City of Angels?
  • What part of LA do you want to live in?
  • Can you afford to buy a home in your neighborhood of choice?

Now that you’ve thought about these questions, you’re ready to begin your research! Explore the pros and cons of renting vs buying in LA below!

Jump to: Best Places to Buy a Home in Los Angeles | Best Places to Rent a Home in Los Angeles

Reasons to Buy in Los Angeles

Homeownership is a major commitment—financial and otherwise—but it’s well worth it for those who are ready to plant roots. Here are just a few of the benefits of buying a home in Los Angeles.

Smart Investment

Los Angeles is one of America’s most desirable and populous cities. Partially driven by its multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry, The City of Angels has opportunities abound for people who live there. For LA homeowners, one of these opportunities is the city’s high appreciation rates. Properties have consistently grown in value over the years, and the Los Angeles housing market is among the hottest in the country. Also, given that just 37% of Los Angeles residents are homeowners, there’s a more lucrative advantage if owners choose to sell, as homes are highly sought-after in the area.

Rising Property Values

By buying a home in Los Angeles, you’re gaining equity in a city where property values are almost always on the rise. Given this, you’d have more leeway to buy another home sooner in the future—assuming you use the profit from your sale to do so. You may end up paying a capital gains tax on the sale, but your bottom line will still likely be higher than other cities with lower property values. Even if you choose not to sell, equity has a variety of other practical applications.

More Stability

Purchasing your own home carries greater permanence than renting, so if you’re moving to Los Angeles for the long term, homeownership may be the right move. From establishing yourself in a community to building long-term social connections and beyond, buying a home offers a strong sense of stability. There are so many different communities in LA, each with such distinct cultures and lifestyles, and finding your niche within one as a homeowner can be very rewarding.

Home-Sharing Ability

California’s Home-Sharing Ordinance makes it possible for homeowners to rent out a portion of their home to short-term renters, which can help with mortgage costs. Especially for those who plan on living in a more expensive area of the city, house-sharing is a convenient way to alleviate the cost of homeownership without having to opt for a rental. And like any landlord, homeowners who share their property with a renter still retain all rights associated with being the title-holder.

Control Over Your Space

By buying a home in Los Angeles, you can say goodbye to leases and the restrictions that come with them. Whether it’s something as small as changing your paint colors to making more significant renovations, homeowners are entitled to alter their property however they choose. You could even knock down an entire wall and change your floor plan.

Best Places to Buy a Home in LA

Below are the Los Angeles neighborhoods and suburbs you should check out if you’re interested in buying a home!

  • Brentwood
  • Glendale
  • Mid City
  • Playa Del Rey

Brentwood

  • Home Price: $1,628,579 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 85% of California cities

Brentwood is a beautiful, safe place to live for those looking at the higher end of LA’s real estate market. Buying a home in this popular West Los Angeles neighborhood—which is just across the 405 from University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)—is definitely a worthwhile investment. Residents are close to great shops, art galleries, restaurants, as well as amazing schools like Brentwood Science Magnet. Brentwood homes range from sleek, modern condos to traditional Craftsman single-family homes—plus, you can even find charming bungalows throughout the area. Quiet and well-manicured, Brentwood is truly a fantastic choice if you’re moving to Los Angeles in search of your forever home.

Glendale

  • Home Price: $639,700 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 75% of California cities

Nestled between the mountains and the Los Angeles Zoo is Glendale, one of the best Los Angeles suburbs to buy a home in. From shopping on Brand Blvd—home to a famous stretch of retailers within the suburb—to enjoying the fresh air in public green spaces like the 709-acre Deukmejian Wilderness Park, people living in Glendale have plenty of things to do just outside their front door. If residents want to venture into Greater LA, they have easy access to the 210, Ventura, Glendale Fwy, and the 5. Homes in Glendale vary from Spanish Revival properties to stunning townhomes and beyond. Glendale also has a strong school system and a variety of family-friendly activities, so those moving to Los Angeles with children can feel confident planting roots here.

Mid City

Spanish duplex in Mid City. Photo by Instagram user @tiaoproperties.

Photo via @tiaoproperties

  • Home Price: $435,677 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 30% of California cities

A relatively affordable neighborhood, Mid City has a lot to offer. This neighborhood has mostly Craftsman and Spanish-style homes interspersed with hip cafes, cozy bakeries, and unique public art. Mid City is quiet and diverse, making it a top pick for families, who are sure to love the neighborhood’s proximity to high-quality local schools and relative affordability. Thanks to its Central LA location, Mid City also offers an easier commute to other parts of the city than other neighborhoods. Plus, that means other great LA amenities and things to do are never far!

Playa Del Rey

Modern house in Playa Del Rey for sale. Photo by Instagram user @brandonvphoto.

Photo via @brandonvphoto

  • Home Price: $873,850 median purchase price
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 80% of California cities

What better way to get the Los Angeles experience than by living near the water? Check out gorgeous Playa del Rey, another of Los Angeles’ best neighborhoods for home buyers! In addition to the sand volleyball games and surfing at Playa Del Rey Beach, residents of this neighborhood are right across from the surf-less shores of Marina Beach, where they can paddle board, go boating, and more! But hitting the beach is far from the only thing to do in this stunning LA neighborhood—people love the fresh seafood at top local restaurants, shopping at waterfront boutiques, and hitting up Playa Del Rey’s nightlife. As for real estate, you’ll find homes at all price points in a variety of styles, including ranch, Craftsman, and more.

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Reasons to Rent in Los Angeles

For those who prefer a less permanent living arrangement, renting is the way to go. There are a number of benefits to renting a home in LA. Greater affordability, the ability to move around more often, and less maintenance responsibilities are just a few of the things you can enjoy as a Los Angeles area renter.

Try Different Neighborhoods

Unless you’ve been living in Los Angeles for a while and are already familiar with the different neighborhoods and suburbs, you might not know where you’d like to end up. As a renter, you have the freedom to move around more often and live in different parts of the city before settling down. You can try out laid-back seaside living for a little while, then move further inland to a more urban area—or vice versa!

Less Expensive

Especially in Los Angeles, where home prices are about three times higher than the national average, renting is significantly less expensive, as nearly 75% of the average home-owning Angelenos’ paychecks go toward mortgage payments. This is likely—or at least part of—why the majority of people living in LA are renters. On top of that, it takes at least four years to break even on a home purchase in Los Angeles. In other words, Los Angeles has one of the highest lengths of time you’d need to live in a home for it to pay off.

Better Commutes

A national study has shown that, in general, renters have shorter commutes than homeowners, and this is definitely the case for many living in LA. Certain homeowner-heavy neighborhoods are less commuter-friendly than other places near the city center, where renters tend to live. Neighborhoods with lots of renters, like Echo Park and Koreatown, offer comparatively short commutes to Downtown LA.

Maintenance & Repairs Are Included

As a renter, it often falls on your landlord or rental management company—not you—to deal with home maintenance and repairs. Not only is this convenient, but it can also save you money you’d otherwise be paying out-of-pocket to fix things. No matter if it’s something as small as a leaky sink or as major as roof damage, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to handle it on your behalf.

Access to Great Amenities

If you rent an apartment complex or condo, you may also have access to free amenities like a pool or gym. Not only does having on-site amenities eliminate the need for paid memberships at community centers or gyms, but it also means you won’t need to commute every time you want to work out or go to the pool. While not guaranteed with every rental option, many rental properties do offer certain perks for their residents.

Best Places to Rent a Home in LA

Below are the Los Angeles neighborhoods you should check out if you’re interested in renting a home!

  • Atwater Village
  • Echo Park
  • Mid-Wilshire
  • San Pedro

Atwater Village

  • Home Price: $1,496 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 53% of California cities

Public parks in the area—like the scenic North Atwater Park and family-focused Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park—provide Atwater Village residents with a true rarity within the LA metro: green space. Yet within Atwater Village’s surrounding green space is a bustling urban city scene. Los Angeles residents who live in this neighborhood are always within walking distance of things to do, including hot bars, great shopping, and mouthwatering gastropubs. Plus, renters can find properties in this LA neighborhood ranging from Tudor-style cottages to Spanish Revival homes, as well as many contemporary apartments.

Echo Park

Contemporary apartments in Echo Park, LA. Photo by Instagram user @facadesplus.

Photo via @facadesplus

  • Home Price: $1,241 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 38% of California cities

Echo Park is a fast-growing hub for art lovers moving to Los Angeles in search of the thriving entertainment and culture scene the city is known for. This chic neighborhood has a wide selection of affordable rental properties, boutiques, several top-notch restaurants, and plenty of art. Sports fans interested in renting a home in Los Angeles will also love the neighborhood, as Echo Park is home to Dodger Stadium. Residents of this area can spend their days hiking, picnicking, or just enjoying the California sunshine at Los Angeles’ oldest and second-largest park, Elysian Park. It’s also conveniently located just north of Downtown LA and has easy access to the interstate and several major roads!

Mid-Wilshire

  • Home Price: $1,221 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 31% of California cities

Next door to popular Koreatown is Mid-Wilshire, known for Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile! This one-and-a-half-mile strip between La Brea and Fairfax Avenues offers trendy shops and foodie-approved restaurants. Mid-Wilshire also boasts a section of the city’s famed Museum Row, as well as other fascinating stops like the Petersen Automotive Museum! The area is part of the Slow Streets initiative, which makes roadways safer for pedestrians, and particularly children. In addition, Mid-Wilshire has several great schools, like Larchmont Charter School and WISH Community School. Popular property styles in Mid-Wilshire include Spanish Revival single-family homes and towering apartment buildings.

San Pedro

  • Home Price: $1,288 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 47% of California cities

Find affordable oceanside living in scenic San Pedro! You’ll be able to swim and surf the day away at great beaches like White Point Beach and Cabrillo Beach, as well as enjoy the neighborhood’s many other coastal amenities, including fresh seafood spots like San Pedro Fish Market & Restaurant. Another benefit of living in San Pedro is the diverse local culture. From corner stores and Mexican restaurants to Italian delis and more, this LA area has a wealth of unique cultural experiences. Also, with beautiful Long Beach just down Seaside Fwy, residents are never far from even more great things to do! Renters can find a variety of apartments in San Pedro, but there are a number of Spanish Revival and Craftsman homes available for lease, too.

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Whether you buy or rent your home in Los Angeles, Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage options throughout the LA metro that can help with your transition. Find a storage unit near you!

Neighborhood and suburb statistics from AreaVibes

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