Los Angeles’s prohibitively high housing costs are forcing many residents to flee the city for more affordable urban areas, according to a new report from BuildZoom and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley.
Numerous studies have concluded that the number of people moving out of (and all of California) is higher than the number of people moving in. This study goes further, examining where new residents are coming from—and where outgoing residents are headed.
According to data from the analysis, the five most popular urban areas where LA residents moved to between 2010 and 2016 were the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Dallas.
New residents most often come from some of the same places. The most popular points of origin were San Diego, the Bay Area, New York, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.
One key finding is that the places where LA residents move to varies quite a bit depending on income.
The most popular destination for those who moved away from Los Angeles between 2010 and 2016 was the San Francisco Bay area. During that time, 177,779 households made that move, and more than 40 percent of them earned above $100,000 (far higher than the $68,000 median income in the LA area).
The most common out-of-state destination for those leaving Los Angeles is Las Vegas. Between 2010 and 2016, 139,447 LA households resettled there, but less than 15 percent earned over $100,000. On the other hand, nearly 60 percent brought in under $50,000 annually.
As the report notes, urban areas like Las Vegas, where housing prices are significantly lower than those in Los Angeles, are significantly more popular with lower earning residents.
In an extreme example, more than 5,000 households earning less than $100,000 moved from LA to Yuma, Arizona, where the median rental price is around $831. Exactly zero Angelenos earning above $100,000 made the same move during the years examined in the study.
The authors of the report argue that, while urban areas like Las Vegas may offer low housing prices, they also may have fewer high-paying jobs, meaning that residents moving there must make difficult tradeoffs.
To ensure Los Angeles is able to keep more current residents, they write, local leaders will have to address the region’s affordability crisis.
“An essential step, lies in building substantial amounts of new housing at all levels of affordability, within reasonable proximity to the economic opportunity at the heart of the region,” the report says.
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