Los Sardines: The Cramification of Southern California housing. Some of the most cramped living in single family homes is occurring in the Southland.

There are major ramifications for the rental revolution that is occurring.  Some people think that living in cramped quarters is perfectly fine but common sense will tell you otherwise.  Both UCLA and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have found that living in crowded homes is not ideal.  Children from crowded home have poorer health, carry worse scores in both math and reading tests, and exhibit more behavioral problems even when taking poverty into account.  Yet all of these hipsters moving into crap shacks somehow think that living in a 500 square foot closet is awesome because a taco joint opened around the corner.  A taco with salsa is not going to compensate for your kid attending a poor performing school.  It is one thing when poverty forces you to live in a certain area.  It is another thing when you are paying $500,000 and living in an unsafe and crowded neighborhood just so you can get “in” on the market.  It is hard to believe but Southern California is now home to some of the most crowded zip codes in the nation.

Living in cramped SoCal

According to the data the most crowded zip code is the 90011 zip code owned by Historic South Central.  According to the research crowded means that there is more than one person per room (living rooms included).  According to the data found by the L.A. Times 42.2 percent of households are crowded in Historic South Central.  Take a look at the figures:

– Historic South-Central (90011): 42.2 percent – top crowded place in US

– Pico-Union (90006): 42.6 percent – coming in second for most crowded place in US

– Huntington Park (90255): 40.2 percent – third place spot for most crowded place in US

– Westlake / Lafayette Park (90057): 39.9 percent

– Boyle Heights/east East LA (90023) : 39.5 percent

This data is accessible here.  Here is quick look:

crowded la

But let us look at the median home price for each of these zip code:

90011:                   $290,000

90006:                   $530,000

90255:                   $365,000

90057:                   $1,415,000 (only from two sales so sample size too small)

90023:                   $337,000

The point of course is that these are not “cheap” areas.  Cheap relative to SoCal housing but not affordable when you look at incomes for those living here.  We already have evidence that 2.3 million adults now live with their parents deep into their 30s and 40s for economic reasons.  Many parts of L.A. are housing multiple people under one roof.  Even in apartments we are seeing a massive number of roommates simply to afford current rental prices.  This merely adds more people density into an area not designed for high populations.  Take a look at this picture of the 405 from 1960:

freeway 405

A more recent photo of the 405:

Memorial Day Travel

Los Angeles is a renting majority county.  I think people are coming to terms between reality and fantasy.  The idea of SoCal being an open place with accessible housing for all is really a gridlocked concrete jungle pushing people into living like sardines.  Those that want to buy in some markets need to convince their own common sense that a tiny place is “worth” the price they can pay because of what?  The beach that is more than an hour away in traffic?  Florida also has beaches and more reasonable real estate prices.  The mountains?  The U.S. has plenty of mountains in many states.  Jobs?  That might be a good reason but when we look at affordability, LA/OC is the most unaffordable market in the country.  When we look at things of course, we realize some are simply living a Hollywood version of SoCal.  Even a key selling point, the weather, has caused us to be in an epic drought.  But who cares right?  Who needs water when you have granite countertops, recessed lighting, and stainless steel stoves!

What many are living is that they are paying a large portion of their income in rents:

paid out

Most are paying more than one-third of their income in rents or housing costs.  And yet somehow, this is where the pent up demand for future buying is going to come from.  We are trading on low volume at a time where the stock market is on a six year bull run.  Interest rates need to stay low to keep this party going further.  In the mean time however, the above data reflects the consequences of hollowing out the middle class.  Living in a $700,000 crap shack isn’t the California Dream but that is how it is pitched.  The glamour of the beach and sunshine but take a trip to a popular beach on the weekend.  You battle traffic during the week and then you are going to battle it on your day off to play weekend warrior.

The fact that L.A. has some of the most cramped zip codes for single family homes should tell you something.  They don’t write that on the housing ads that you are going to live like sardines all for the incredibly high price of SoCal real estate.

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98 Responses to “Los Sardines: The Cramification of Southern California housing. Some of the most cramped living in single family homes is occurring in the Southland.”

  • “… Southern California is now home to some of the most crowded zip codes in the nation.”

    It must be time to split the existing zip codes into two. Problem solved!

  • I read that there is 12 months of water left in the reservoirs. If that is anywhere close to true and CA residence are forced into a 50% cut of their water usage, that may be a trend that takes some of the luster off living in CA. I mean, the weather is great, but we have no water for the unwashed masses. Time to move to the great Northwest???

    • Indeed Jim. Now mix in a 7.3 Richter shake and what happens in those overcrowded, no gas, no water, no electricity crap-shack-deathtraps will be on par with Haiti (minus the cholera hopefully) and the luster of LA Real Estate is gone until the next wave of developers can get shovels in the dirt to re-position the “distressed” assets.

    • Howard Johnson

      There’s a lot less than 12 months available

    • Residential water is a fallacious argument. Residents only use 15% of the water. Agriculture uses over 70% of the water and the remainder is by industry. Even if all the residents were cut off from water tomorrow, it would only signal a 15% drop in use and there would still be a crises. Blame it on agriculture, where people purposely let run water and waste it, so they can get the same allocation of water next year.

      • Roughly 70 percent of residential demand in California goes to outdoor irrigation. California’s cities and suburbs used approximately 8.9 million acre-feet (maf) of water in 2000, or about 232 gallons per capita per day (gpcd). This total—often known as the “urban” water demand—includes all residential, commercial, governmental, and industrial uses, with residential uses constituting about two thirds of the whole, or 5.8 maf. In the same year, California’s farmers irrigated an estimated 9.6 million acres of cropland with 34.2 maf of water.

    • Paul - ( not a Realtor )

      …. Yes .. however Southern California has 10 years supply of Liquor and Beer,
      and if you include “phony” Craft Beers — then we have 17 years supply of LIQUID REFRESHMENT which can then be Re-Directed to WATERING LAWNS and GOLF COURSES… Why are we worrying ???

      • Carlos from Oxnard, the Newport Beach

        I am just concerned about the water for Corona, where we get the best beer, Corona. Crowded houses with extended families is very cultural for Mexicans, but not for Anglos. Central L.A. is heaven compared to most places in Mexico. I understand that you Anglos have not accepted the Mexican way of life, that is fine. Come to Oxnard, by the sea. Come visit me at the Marina and I will get you into an Anglo house here, with the ethnic Taco stand(cousin Martha runs it) thrown in for free. I hear that Zillo says that home values are up if you live within walking distance of a Taco stand.

  • Unreal that you can post this story and not mention the elephant in the room, that a large percentage of this “cramped living” are illegal immigrants who are happy to live in these conditions.

    • That’s a pretty broad statement, Abby.

      Can you back that up with data or are you just a dirty racist?

      Just because someone has different hair color or skin color than you does NOT mean they are an illegal immigrant

      • Everbear,
        You are a complete idiot. Abby’s a racist because she states a well documented fact about LA housing? You’re clearly not familiar with the terms “hot racking” and “clown houses”, so I’ll save you the time of looking them up. These are terms created by writers of the L.A. Times describing a wide-spread issue that L.A. County has experienced for decades. Illegal Aliens living double and quadruple up to make a wage and send it to their families back in Mexico. Many of these hard-working men and women work 2 and 3 jobs. Read more, speak less.

      • Abby’s comment has nothing to do with racism, only reality. Stop interjecting political correctness into an analysis of the marketplace

      • The Mexicans have been loading up houses for years. Of course. Now it’s bad cause Americans are packing them in. You know who uses water? (and every other overloaded service in SoCal) ILLEGALS. Why are the Mexicans I see not the ones in the Ford commercials?

      • Paul - ( not a Realtor )

        The best way to determine how many homes have CROWDED Multiple-Family Utilization is to ASK THE SLUM LANDLORDS … How much INCOME are you getting from each house that you own ??? The higher the Rental Income .. the more people living in one of the SLUM-Lord’s houses. ……. Simple Math !!!

    • WeDontMakeThoseDrinksNoMore

      No one cares, like my SoCal inlaws who work construction/blue collar jobs who endlessly complain at every family function how wages are way down, competition for jobs is up, losing their jobs, can’t buy a house, crowded neighborhoods, traffic, kids schools going downhill, job markets stinks, etc. yet they vote a straight Democratic ticket every time without question, happily support “immigration reform”. They’re far more interested in angry discussions about Reagan, Bush, Romney, Koch Brothers, etc. ZZZZZ. Huell Howser California Gold reruns on an endless loop, gather ’round, all is well. And nope, I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, just a fascinated bystander.

    • Exactly, that is the dirty little secret of many cities that claim success in “intensification”.

      There are two mechanisms by which “intensification” can occur. One is the addition of floor space upwards. The other is crowding.

      It is an interesting historical factoid, that Manhattan over many decades increased its floor space tenfold as its population halved. The highest urban densities in human history have always been associated with crowding, not impressive built-UP form. Lagos and Dhaka are among the densest cities today without a skyscraper to be seen.

      As incomes rise as economic development occurs, it is a given that humans will seek more urban private living space. If there is the option of horizontal, suburban private lot living, many people will choose this. In the absence of that, people will still seek more floor space, and this has to be provided by building “up”.

      But here is a reality that all planners and density advocates (and even most economists) seem to have not noticed. There is no city that adds floor space by building “up”, where this space can be described as “affordable”. Affordability seems to require freedom for the city’s developers to bring more actual land supply into its economy. In that case, it is possible to have affordable tall-building floor space as well as affordable suburban housing. Houston today is adding tall-building floor space that is ridiculously affordable, in stark contrast to the many cities whose POLICY is to “provide for growth with intensification” (and which have imposed growth boundaries or proxies for them).

      New York of course had far less affordability problems everywhere while it was freely sprawling for dozens of miles in several directions, at low density. The worsening affordability always correlates with “running out of LAND”, not with constraints on vertical supply.

      Hong Kong has 26,000 people per mile and at least this is partly due to building “up” rather than crowding, but the median multiple for “housing” is around 15 to 17. And HK has unique attributes and history that makes it a poor example for whole nations to model their housing policy on. For example, it is a true “global” city and has a high proportion of transients in its population – people who come in for a few years to make a good income and then get out to somewhere more livable.

      But most cities, most of the time, that claim some “success” in intensification within a growth boundary – such as Vancouver and Auckland and UK cities and many Australian cities – the intensification is primarily in crowding, much of which is among immigrants, along with locally-born lower-income people. Young singles renting their accommodation also tend to be major sacrificers of space, co-renting with more and more others per unit of space.

      Another sickening irony of this crowding is that often it is in the least efficient locations rather than the most efficient locations, when the point of the policy of intensification was to increase efficiency. In fact you decrease efficiency when population distribution is skewed towards inefficient locations. This happens simply because location efficiency is priced into property anyway, and the more expensive the prices are everywhere, the more people are forced to locate in “the only places they can afford”. (It is a lie that anyone in these conditions can save on “housing plus transport costs” by locating “more efficiently” – real estate markets simply do not work that way).

      The unaffordability/crowding phenomenon in US cities is often more complicated than a simple “save the planet” growth boundary policy – it can be rural zoning in all municipalities surrounding a growing city. A kind of “local democracy” Green Belt effect.

    • Citation needed. The LAT article is about legal immigrants.

  • If you are unemployed and still living with your parents, it is time to move out of Los Angeles. There are plenty of jobs in other states where you can actually buy a nice sized house and have a good quality of life where your money would go much further.

    Wait, the weather there sucks? Nevermind.

    • The Raleigh-Durham area has starter homes under $100,000 with property tax less than $1000 a YEAR. Because of the Research Triangle and other programs, the area has good jobs. Add in mild climate, low cost of living and good colleges, it’s a good place to live.
      Why are you living in your parent’s basement in LA?

  • I’ve lived in Los Angeles all of my life, and I’ve rented for most of that time. The overcrowding and traffic have gotten so bad that I don’t want to go anywhere so I stay home on the weekends. I start my job at 6:30 a.m. to avoid the morning traffic, but get stuck in traffic when I leave to go home at 3:00.

    My boyfriend and I would love to move in together, but he has a 2-bedroom apartment for only $1,200 per month (rent control) and I have a 2-bedroom a mile away that I’m paying $1,510 for (no rent control, but a reasonable landlord!). Moving in together will inevitably mean a loss of two bedrooms. We can’t afford to buy even a miniscule condo at current prices.

    My adult children are in worse shape. My 30-year-old daughter is living with her boyfriend in his mom’s house; they’re saving to eventually buy a house. My 27-year-old son is still living at home with me, because his $15 per hour doesn’t net him enough for an apartment.

    The drought may solve these problem for all of us in another year, but I’d love to know where 38 million displaced Californians are going to live!

    • ” I’d love to know where 38 million displaced Californians are going to live!”

      If you want a reliable water supply, try Portland or Seattle…. or almost anyplace east of the 100th Meridian. Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nashville, and even Detroit……. and all the other cities and towns that were trashed to drive settlement in the west. There’s also Dallas, Austin, and Houston.

      Sure, the weather in these places may suck compared to CA, but cold, wet places tend to have much more ample supplies of water without dependence on dams and reservoirs, of which we have built as many as we have even half-decent sites for. If the thousands of dams, reservoirs, and aquaducts, large and small, cannot keep the area adequately supplied, it is time for people to move.

      • No! Don’t come to Texas, especially North Texas, there is no more space fro anyone here. The illegals and the Yankees from up north have filled it to the brim. Not to mention all the surrounding southern states that have fled their own states in search for work. It is like the Greatest Depression. It will take you months, to find a mediocre low paying job.Forget about a good paying job, most are taken by the Yankees, they come with education and networks. And the rent and the price of food has gone higher. Everything is ridiculously priced high. We have literally people sleeping in cars with license plates from other states where they thought they could just come over and get a job and now they are homeless and a bother to those around them. Squatting is illegal here, but people are doing it anyway. My neighbour died and a week later there was 7 people living in his house who were not related to him. From Kentucky all bunched in a little house. They are still there and have no jobs they are living off welfare thanks to two little kids they have. It is horrible please don’t come here it is a ticking time bomb. I will explode soon!

    • Lord Blankfein


      You and your boyfriend pay combined almost 3K per month in rent and you are claiming you can’t buy a miniscule condo together. The equivalent housing monthly nut should let you buy in many nice areas in this city. Something doesn’t sound right here…

      • $2700/mo might get you a $500k mortgage–after putting down $100k+ in DP. Not many have this kind of DP cash, even after years of working in the mediocre LA job market. Then add the cash for closing costs. Even if they do, the competition from high- or all-cash offers squeezes out people that even have 10-30% DPs in LA. The housing market here is not normal.

        So to recap above, $600k does not buy you much of anything in LA unless you’d like to commute hours (traffic) away from the far reaches of the Valley or Inland Empire, or you want to dump another $100k+ into remodels to hide the ’70s ugly.

    • Howard Johnson

      The problem is not more people, it’s people’s stupidity and complacency.

      You do not need to live in the city where jobs are. Hello! Paradigm shift. Start an online business like every other smart successful business and live wherever the hell you want. Ebay has been around for 16 years and people are STILL clueless. All you need is a secure internet connection and a damn post office (and a Howard Johnson for when the i laws come visit).

      Enjoy your life, it’s shortl

      • “Start an online business like every other smart successful business and live wherever the hell you want.”

        Yeah it’s so easy even a caveman can do it! Seriously, people should be more prudent and open to relocation, but to suggest that it is as simple as starting an internet business is retarded. The larger issue is we have massive over capacity in the worldwide economy that there is no way for wage growth to correct. But in places like LA the FEDs efforts to boost asset prices make things harder on the working people dealing with the non-CPI-real-world-inflation side effects of that action. More so than pushing on a string the FED has been stretching a rubber band for 7 years. Until they either stop stretching or the band snaps the situation in metro areas will continue to stratify. Not everyone has it in them to uproot and escape the madness. Even relocating is no guarantee of success as we can see with the current oil bust. If you’ve got a stable place to live with family there is no shame in riding this cycle out.

      • I assume you’re kidding, because “start an online business” is terrible advice for most people. Unless you find a niche market without much competition (nearly impossible), write well, have a good work ethic, and a talent for marketing, it’s a time and money pit. Ebay is a joke – a giant garage sale where there is no profit to be had except in massive quantities of Chinese merchandise and/or by pure luck. I just bought 4 (that’s FOUR) USB cell phone wall chargers on ebay for $7, new. I’ll let you guess how many of those he has to sell to pay his rent, and how miserable he is packing and shipping them, all while stressing out over feedback.

        If you want to start a business where hard work can make you successful, and which has relatively low startup costs, think “service” – junk hauling, house/office cleaning, dog grooming/walking.

    • Interesting reading SandyCo… but if you’re serious with your boyfriend… could a solution be found…. where you rent just one place together – a new place.. nicer place… with 3 beds – and pool the costs (say up to $2500 pm rental). Although it would have to be quite some understanding on part of b/f to allow your adult son to also live with you in a new rental (I assume your kicks up some of his earnings towards your current rental).

    • The government is over-fixated on the water shortage. The water shortage is a slight problem that is being blown out of proportion. Next, the same government will limit new water hookups … meaning far less new homes will be built, because of the minor water shortage. In turn, this will cause existing home prices to jump higher since the politicians will limit the number of new homes built.

      • son of a landlord

        I don’t see how this water shortage is “minor.” Haven’t you seen the photos of the depleted lakes and reservoirs?

      • @son of a landlord,

        If the water shortage were an issue then lawn watering and car washing would have been banned. Instead the only new rule in place is “…using a hose without a shut-off nozzle…” is now illegal.

        The fact that the California government is not building desalinization plants or water pipelines to bring in out of state water makes it clear this is a non-issue by those in power.

  • All this drought talk, and in my neighborhood I often see people watering their lawns during or just after a rainstorm. It’s also common to see water excess from over-watering flowing down the street & sidewalk for blocks. People in LALA land could care less about drought conditions. If they did, no one would have wasteful lawns.

    • So true. Every house on my street waters the sidewalks, driveways, street-parked cars, and pavement 2-3 times a day. They even do it when it rains! We also like to wash our cars a lot–you never see a dirty car in LA traffic.

    • junior_bastiat

      I was watching one of those car chase videos a few weeks ago, thing lasted maybe an hour going on the streets and freeways of LA and I noticed a LOT of green lawns. Kind of surprised since I’ve been seeing articles almost daily that proclaim what a disaster Cali is in due to the drought. Guess there’s a lot of hyperbolic hot air out there designed to set the table for raising taxes on the fools who still call that state home. And all those illegals won’t care – taxes? We don’t need no stinking taxes!!

  • All this stuff has happened already in the UK and there they are probably one cycle ahead of California. Google the term “generation rent” and you will see an abundance of articles on the UK in the search results.

    The cause of this, is their 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. There has been a series of papers from Paul Cheshire (London School of Economics) and various colleagues over the years, tracking the difference in urban land prices per square foot, between UK cities and benchmark US cities of similar population only with no growth constraints. In 1984 the difference was a factor of at least 120, and a factor of 320 in some places. By 1998 the upper factor was 700, and in a work published last year it was said to be 900.

    There is simply no amount of “trading down in living space” that can make housing costs sustainable to everyone, when this kind of inflation in the cost of space is happening. In fact, the more people you cram in, the higher the rents for space get. It is a lie that upzoning and building up and intensifying will restore affordability, as the advocates of “save the planet” urban planning in Vancouver and Portland and California and Australia and everywhere claim. All it does is deliver ever-fatter gains to the landlords, land owners, and mortgage financiers.

    And following the UK and California (and Vancouver), exactly the same trends are starting to show in all Australia’s major cities and in Auckland New Zealand. It could also be said to be a similar problem in many European and Scandinavian cities.

    You can look at a blog called “bubblebubbledotcom” for some charts of all the house price trends in numerous countries. This is a global problem.

    The sole causative factor in all cases, is new forms of constraint on the supply of land that is allowed to be developed for housing. Mostly this is explicit “compact city” urban planning, but there are exceptions where the policy is not an explicit one but ends up having the same effect. For example, rural municipalities with their own strict rural zoning might as well be a growth boundary. Or National Park land that is not for sale.

    It is hard to deny that there has been a global mania for “saving the planet from urban sprawl”, that correlates with the globally simultaneous house price inflations. Other factors are very unfortunately providing red herrings to divert attention away from the real cause. For example, there have been episodes of easy credit before in many countries, that did not cause house prices to bubble, in fact it got more houses built at a constant affordable price, just as still happens in Texas. For just one example, see Prof Nicholas Crafts essay “Escaping Liquidity Traps: Lessons from the UK’s 1930’s Escape”

    It is cited in this essay of mine that includes more examples and argument:


    Ironically, the famous Piketty thesis about inequality that has left-liberals so worked up, has been pointed out by an increasing number of economists to be utterly wrong in its conclusions because ALL the inequality is in fact in the data on housing – NOT on “returns to capital” in the sense of PRODUCERS investment in capital. But left-liberals regard urban growth containment planning as an article of faith! Again, here is another long commentary of mine, on this general phenomenon:


    Young Californians at least have the luck that they can easily flee to Texas. Where do young Australians go? Or young British?

  • Acerbic and on point as always Dr. HB. Keep it up!

    The conversion to serfdom continues as the lucky, ruthless, and corrupt financier/developer class becomes the landlord dukes and barons in the corporate state oligarchy.

    Why do the hipsters’ pants ride above their ankles? For the love of Pete we are in a drought. Maybe they like to look at each other’s socks while gnoshing on Calamari and Kalamata tacos with sustainable single varietal olive oil aeoli infused organic heirloom cherry tomatoes garnish.

  • “The drought may solve these problem for all of us in another year, but I’d love to know where 38 million displaced Californians are going to live”!

    Good question, as most of Oregon and Washington state are declaring emergency drought conditions in the majorities of those states counties. The next 5 years should be very interesting for the West Coast, if the weather continues on as it has over the last 3-4 years. Time to invest in desalinization plants???

    • Jim, what you say does not apply to WA. WA, west of the Cascades has more water than you want. WA east of the Cascades never had too much water – it is dryer than CA. Most of the water in Eastern WA for domestic and agriculture comes from big rivers: Yakima river(brings water form Cascades where there is plenty of precipitation), Snake River (brings water from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming) and Columbia River (brings water from BC and ID).

      These are very large bodies of water of very consistent flow. Due to these big rivers, eastern WA doesn’t suffer from drought (it is always drought in a desert). Therefore, it can absorb millions from CA with no significant impact on water resources. Like someone mentioned, most of the water is used for agriculture.

  • it’s not that children living in crowded homes do bad in school and have poor health. but rather poor people in living in poor neighborhoods are not highly educated nor high earning so they pass down the genes

  • asians who live in crowded conditions do well in school and are healthy

    • Citation needed.

      • east asians in china korea japan taiwan hong kong etc as well as the san gabriel valley

      • My family were refugees living in cramped conditions in the 80s. We are now pharmacists, doctors, teachers, network engineers, programmers and one slacker lol. Not bad if you ask me. I’m not the slacker btw

  • Found an interesting article: Life in the sprawl
    The takeaway paragraph is:
    “Paradoxically, perhaps the city’s biggest strength is its sprawl. Unlike most other big cities in America, Houston has no zoning code, so it is quick to respond to demand for housing and office space. Last year authorities in the Houston metropolitan area, with a population of 6.2m, issued permits to build 64,000 homes. The entire state of California, with a population of 39m, issued just 83,000. Houston’s reliance on the car and air-conditioning is environmentally destructive and unattractive to well-off singletons. But for families on moderate incomes, it is a place to live well cheaply.”
    If true, I’m surprised that California issued that few permits; maybe it really is a supply problem (along with many others).

    • Ca is lacking jobs and natural resources to grow At the pace of Texas. Mainly because of overpopulation, an insane ca government who taxes the shit out of everyone and gives it to the majority poor population and illegals. So, why would they issue permits for constructing more housing? It’s not the solution an will only cause more problem.s

      • Howard J, etc: Same with Fla. as California (I left Fla 33 years ago moved inland to Ala) high prop taxes, crammed housing in central and So. Fla. water problems there are different than California, sink holes and awful sulfur tasting drinking water. California is a rat hole with influx of immigrants sucking the system dry. Refugees form the middle east, Somalia are in enclaves in the mid west, elsewhere sucking the tax payers. Check out: channelingrealitycom and clarionproject.org and search: cloward-piven agenda

      • If the probem is overpriced “crap shacks”, wouldn’t the solution be greater supply? Hopefully driving the price down?

  • More great color from DHB. In the DC market all the inventory has been scooped up in the last two weeks. Looks like people are trying to get ahead of a spike in interest rates and buy anything in sight as long as it isn’t a total dump.

  • All that will happen is we will be forced to pay more for water and turn on the desalination machines. It’s solves a major problem of rising sea levels also if we pump water out of the ocean. I don’t know why we aren’t focused on desalination.. We live next to ever rising ocean due to the glaciers melting!

    • Solar powered desalination plants up and down the coast would make all the sense in the world for SoCal. However, that would cost billions. And CA kleptocrats would much rather waste $100 Billion on a bullet train to nowhere.

      • When push comes to shove… If we REALLY do run out of water in a year or two. An executive order could be made to cancel the Bullet Train and put everyone on THAT project onto the RUSHED building of solar powered plants up and down the coast. I’m sure the engineering and physical welding laborers talents are interchangeable to some degreee. Think of all the JOBS created for that alone! Be sort of an oil boom for Cali job creation wise. So water might be really expensive for awhile…

        It won’t get too expensive though… because other states with TONS of water will just ship it in and sell for a premium.. but still undercut the desalination plants.

        Just saying… Those predicting dire consequences for So Cal due to lack of water are probably going to be mistaken. If we didn’t live RIGHT next to the pacific ocean I would change my tune. But just look at the Middle East… how do they survive with so little water?

        It’s not even like a new technology needs to be created.. We’ve got efficient solar power already… we have pretty advanced Desalination techniques that use less energy than in the past.

        The only thing I read is the water is so pure and lacking in minerals after desalination that it’s bad for pipes. If that’s the case.. I’m sure we can just mix in some minerals before it’s pumped back into the residential homes.

      • son of a landlord

        Why do you assume the desalination plants would be “solar powered”? Is it necessary for them to be solar powered? Or is that just your preference?

  • I like the freeway comparison pics. Densification…

    My older boomer relatives tell me of their ‘struggles’ to buy houses in the 1960s-early-70s, that are now worth fortunes in the SoCal forever house price inflation… lot of hard work like this…


    Free love on the free love freeway,
    The love is free and the freeway’s long
    I got some hot love on the hot love highway,
    I ain’t going home cause my baby’s gone.

    • Too funny.. I have albums filled with photos like those. I also have found that boomer (and older) relatives who are trying to dole out housing advice rarely pay attention to prices outside of their own neighborhoods. When I say 700k for a “decent” place they think I’m talking about some fully custom five-bedroom with an ocean view, not a 1200sq ft crapshack in Torrance that hasn’t been updated in forty years.

  • Since I came into the World, I’ve lived in the following SoCal towns/neighborhoods:
    Highland Park (grew up there), Fullerton, Brea, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Costa Mesa and Orange. The only one I’ve owned in is Orange. All the rest were rentals while going to school or starting a career. And I didn’t live in the best areas of those towns, either (except maybe where I lived in Highland Park). I never lived anywhere with an ocean view. I don’t know what kind of background the average poster on this blog has, but maybe there are a lot of spoiled privileged people in here with tastes way above their budgets?

    I also can’t recall a time when there weren’t Asians and Mexicans living here. I like some things about the variety of cultures in those groups and there are some things in those cultures I’d rather pass on. I’m sure they feel the same way about me and my culture. As long as they don’t carry on their culture at high decibels way after dark, I can be flexible.

    I don’t think that many will leave here due to “water shortages” or “housing shortages” or any other shortage that comes as a result of economic dislocations caused by Government meddling or incompetence. Hopefully common sense market driven solutions will come about that will make everything work out in the end. I’ve spent several hundred dollars and a lot of hours of sweat equity upgrading the irrigation systems I have here and it looks like it may be paying off in better landscaping and lower water bills. We’ll see this Summer.

    One comment about genes in the poor neighborhoods and intelligence cannot go unchallenged. One of my Dad’s friends was a carpenter who lived in Echo Park who had one of his sons grow up to be a Math & Computer Science Professor at one of America’s most famous Universities. I studied Population Genetics in college, and for traits like intelligence that are governed by multiple genes, the average intelligence of a child is the average of his parents’ intelligence and the average intelligence of the larger population from whence they came. This is the “regression to the mean” phenomenon. The intelligence will be distributed around the new mean normally, which means that there will be low intelligence and high intelligence outliers. Having intelligence does not guarantee strong motivation or strong morals. As the Bible says, the race is not always to the swift nor victory to the strong…

    • i humbly stand corrected

    • what’s that movie with lou diamond phillips about the math teacher in east la?

    • i have mexican coworkers who are products of catholic schools and usc, but they are not recent immigrants

    • If you are poor, there’s a good chance that you are not exceptionally intelligent. If you were, you wouldn’t be poor. There are obviously exceptions to everything, but such exceptions don’t invalidate the general rule.

    • Demographics can change radically within in a few generations. In 1960, Caucasians comprised 80 percent of Los Angeles County’s population, but since then their numbers have been decreasing, due especially to moves to outlying counties and to other states and increased immigration of other groups. Now only 28 percent of county residents are Caucasian.

  • As people have stated, many families share household due to economic status, lack of a good paying job, and sometimes culture. Multiple generations in one household is common for many cultures, but it’s not common for Caucasians in the United States.

    Living all over the U.S. I have found that California housing is not that far off from most other cities in the United States. Sure you can live in rural areas for cheap but that is also true of California.

    In California you can rent a decent two bedroom for $2000 to $2500. And many other cities in the U.S. it may be $500 cheaper. What they don’t tell you about that in those cities you’re going to have $400 a month heating bill in the winter and a $300 a month cooling bill in the summer because it’s hot and humid. If you can afford Southern California, it truly is a great place to live.

    It only some socal cities are high density. The OC feels very much like any rural city in the US.

    • “The OC feels very much like any rural city in the US.”

      That is one of the dumbest comments of all time. Even though you’ve traveled the US, you have now outed yourself as the village idiot.

  • Rumplestiltskin

    Lets call a spade, a spade. What two cultures living in southern Ca. actually live like you describe? Illegal Mexicans, and legal Asians. When my Asian relatives came here, (Boat People from Vietnam), they were at times living 15 people to a home meant for four or five. As they grew into their jobs and earned enough money doing whatever was needed, they all eventually bought their own homes and all, and I mean all sent ALL their children to college.

    From what I’ve seen, living with multiple families in one dwelling is relegated to one culture, and that is the Hispanic culture. Now couple that with the old Standford “Crowding Experiment” and you get a swarm of gang members with nothing else to do but create problems.

    And, just as in the crowding experiment, they end up killing each other and having all kinds of problem even to the point of killing their babies and or eating them. Of course I know Mexicans don’t eat their young. I was referring to the rats in the experiment.

    Anywhere animals are crowded into too small a space, they go nuts and begin killing each other. Do the Gangs of LA bring anything to mind?

    • i remember asian gangs in the 80’s and 90’s who were killing each other

    • Carlos from Oxnard, the Newport Beach

      There are cultural differences. Mexicans are laid back, easy going, typical southern California style. Vietnamese are Vietnamese. They are not like Mexicans, according to the boomer vets. Anglo culture is different as well. We are just one big “salad bowl” as President Obama has said. Governor Jerry Brown went to Mexico and gave a Texas style welcome to them and said, “you all come to my state.” Gov Brown just came out of a meeting with President Obama and said that the Republicans were acting “unchristian” in suing Obama over the open border policy. Lets be realistic, southern California is going to look the same as Mexico. The show can keep going as long as northern California Silicone valley keeps sending the tax revenue down to us. We will get real mean if they ever stop.

      • in mexico, the ruling class are the 1% spanish europeans, and 99% native americans are dirt poor who come over here.

        same story in calif. 1% american ruling class and 99% serfs, proles, wage slaves and debt slaves.

  • This talk about Texas, PLEASE FOLKS IF YOU WNAT TO GET CAUGHT IN A HOUSING TRAP MOVE THERE? Oil and energy per-say especially after the Iran deal will be worth what gold was before subprime where $350 a ounce was consider good.

    Ca. AZ, Oregon, Wash, and for the most part Nev. are still more diverse economies. The major hit that Texas,CO.LA,Montana,Wyoming,ND are going to be devastating blow to those states. The groundwork is in place now, with rising interest rates around the corner and oil to be hammered over the next decade and beyond, the states close to Ca and North West will not only survive but will boom.

    Water you say, this is been the subject of debate since the transcontinental many years ago, nobody will move West because of water, how did that work out? Ca. in the 1970’s have little to no rain for the decade, in 2015 39 million people later and house prices out of sight still talking about their demise along with AZ and NV kids not going to happen, just don’t move to the states above.

    Because the real crisis is right in front of your face, China is stock piling, Russia knows what is coming and the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia which is the odd country out, those energy dependent states are going to fall quickly.

  • Check out this 1930’s stucco stunner in Glendale.


    Love this part of the listing “Self important hipsters can keep walking- this is a place for meditation, truth, good food and great blues guitar.”

    Make sure and take a look at the “Wine Cave”. It’s absolutely stunning and a real selling point.

    I suppose this is not a bad deal for a 3/2 1500+ home in Glendale. I assume some people don’t mind living across the street from a school. Home just needs some kitchen and bathroom updating.

    • Laura Louzader

      That really is a beautiful little house, Hunan, laughably cloying ad copy aside, and it’s a bargain compared to other houses posted here in the same price range. I’d keep that vintage bath tile, and the other vintage details and the architecture are beautiful. Where I live, I would pay perhaps $300K for it, but it is a gift for the price in L.A.

      And some people with kids like living near the school their kids attend. I know I would.

      • Are you kidding? Glendale is not worth $500/sq foot. Have you been to Glendale? It’s cute, but the Armenian Jersey shore culture is a bit off-putting and it’s not central to anything unless you happen to work there and don’t mind the mediocre restaurants and schools.

    • I’ll do you one better. Gotta love the creativity of the copy – “A true relic of years bygone is now available for sale. Built during an era when pride of craftsmanship was evident in the finished product, this two-story single family residence is eagerly awaiting its new owner to come and restore it to its past glory. Info herein is not verified by the agent or the seller. Please see private remarks.”


      • Wow….looks like they filmed a Saw movie there. And all that could be yours for just under a half million bucks. I wanna buy it just so I can tear it down and rid it from this world. That is also a pretty rough neighborhood.

      • Looks more like the house in “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane “.

      • lol. 1/2 a mil. And with upgrades and rehab it would be the most expensive house for miles, imo.

    • I don’t get it. Close to $800K to live in Glendale? My bro and SIL were looking at a place in Berkeley at about the same price, same size roughly. I don’t get why a place near Silicon Valley, a major university, and close to San Francisco would go for the same as a place in Glendale, which is about as far from DTLA as Berkeley is from SF. If you were investing $800K over a long period of time, would you rather do it in a place with growth industries like the Bay Area or Glendale? This house price is absurd. The only people who think this is a good deal are people who’s interest lies in escalating housing prices.

      • Like it or not, Glendale is a very desirable place to live for a lot of people. Considering the current market conditions, this place is priced to sell.

      • Glendale is Armenian heaven. Hence the high prices. Nothing but BMW’s and MB’s. Just like Pacoima is Mexican. Berkeley is just a bunch of has been hippie druggies with some of the robbers from next door Oakland. We all know what Oakland is. Berkeley is a crazy down.

      • @Hunan – didn’t say I liked it or didn’t. It just makes 0 sense and indicative of a bubble. IMO you can have two of the three in the same sentence – Glendale, desirable, & $800K. You can have Glendale and desirable but no way you should have $800K. Similar with $800K and desirable – you have to kick Glendale out of the sentence.

        @Aram – it’s easy to afford a fancy car if you live with your parents and they pay for all your food and housing. In fact, you could do it on $10/hour!

    • “Self important hipsters can keep walking-”

      “Special spots are everywhere- a wine cave, massage room, a covered patio that Hemingway would covet.”

      Ha ha ha! Wasn’t Hemingway a self-important hipster? If not, why did he pub crawl with a publicist to document all his confrontations and fisticuffs?

  • These past few days in Los Angeles and SoCal have been miserably hot and the air thick with smog today is simply disgusting. So much for the ridiculous notion that this is the weather capital of the world. The grass isn’t always greener in SoCal rather it’s likely less green at times like this.

    • Totally. If you leave LA for a while and come back, you realize how thick and gross the air is compared to everywhere else. The Santa Ana’s blow all that gross desert air into LA. There’s a lot of particulate matter.

      • Seriously. I just washed my car and when I left work last night it was already covered in a layer of crap again. Screw the drought, I’m gonna go get it washed again this afternoon.

      • Nowhere close to the way it was in the 70s, believe me.

  • First came to the SFV in 1956 with parents who bought a half-acre home in Panorama City for 30K. So many orange groves and farm land. It was paradise. There was only one shopping center on Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City. It had three department stores, which was a big deal. And life was good in the 1950’s. Little League was everything and a mailman could support a big family and buy a beautiful new home just from that job.

    Now, I try to drive as little as possible. I hate traffic. I get flipped off regularly by impatient drivers. I don’t even recognize this place. But I’m also a weather-wuss and I like the moderate weather here.

  • Anyone have a view on real estate in El Segundo and Playa Del Rey? Prospects for appreciation given boom in surrounding areas?

    • I’d probably skip boh and look towards Westchester.

      • son of a landlord

        I don’t understand why El Segundo or Westchester are considered desirable. They’re right next to LAX.

      • Specifically, I was talking about a neighborhood east of Sepulveda (between Manchester and Howard Hughes) that is filled with mostly original post-war homes. It’s actually pretty easy to move through LA from there, and LAX plane / car traffic isn’t a huge issue. They are still pricey, but it’s probably easier to find a non-flipped crapshack in a good neighborhood there (that will appreciate once Google etc comes to town) than anywhere else.

        Maybe it’s time to finally start looking at the fringes of Inglewood as an investment.. I’m really not sure of anything at this point.

      • @son of a landlord, downtown El Segundo has a “Leave it to Beaver” small town feel, and the schools in El Segundo are top notch. The commercial and industrial areas can be quite busy.

        @Chris, Google has been in SoCal for many years, mostly in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook have offices nearby as well. Which is probably why property values and rents have exploded in Santa Monica, Venice and Marina Del Rey. Google has been in Playa Vista for a while as renters. Google allows Youtube video content creators with at least 10,000 subscribers to use their Playa Vista production facilities for free. So, nothing new here…

      • @son of a landlord, Westchester near LMU is nice. Westchester east of Airport Blvd/La Tijera is like being in Inglewood.

      • Son of a landlord: BECAUSE it’s right next to LAX. A lot of pro athletes and minor TV stars live in El Segundo. People you would recognize but maybe not know their names.

    • I saw a $850k townhouse in El Segundo yesterday. It was about a block from what appeared to be a major oil production plant and a cement factory, or something like that. Definitely not a great location. However there are some nicer parts of that town. But housing isn’t cheap there. I also drove through Playa del Rey. It was super crowded with traffic as beach goers were piling into the area. It’s got a nice little area like the Strand in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, but I’m sure it’s not much cheaper to buy there. There is one area of PDR that is mostly condos, which aren’t overly expensive if you do t mind hearing planes take off from LAX every few minutes and breathing whatever pollutants they are emitting.

      • What you were seeing is one of Chevron’s oil refineries and the famous Hyperion waste treatment plant which takes all of LA sh*t and cleans it and pumps it into Santa Monica Bay.
        that being said, is it any surprise El Segundo (El Stinko) prices are so high…. there are lots of high paying jobs in SouthBay LA – people who want to be near the SOuthBay of LA but cant afford Redondo, Manhattan, Hermosa, Palos Verdes end up buying in El Segundo….same goes for Playa Del Rey….

  • Here’s a big reason it sucks to rent. No matter how you try to coat it, fact is… you are at someone’s whim and mercy.


    • How about being at the whim and mercy of municipalities when making improvements to your property, or when they asses your land incorrectly? How about being at the mercy of contractors you’re paying for repairs and maintenance? Or the mortgage company when a payment isn’t made? How about those new neighbors making things intolerable and moving means losing money? There’s no free ride that comes with owning. Stop with the bullshit already.

  • America’s Most and Least Affordable Housing Markets – Demographia 2015


  • Don’t feed the troll.s

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