Southern California Is Still Home to the Country’s Most Cost-Burdened Housing Market

Even the people who live in SoCal can't afford to live in SoCal

The So-Cal life comes at a price
The So-Cal life comes at a price
Owen CL/Unsplash

In news that is barely news, it’s expensive to live in SoCal. So expensive, in fact, that Los Angeles and Orange Counties are home to the most cost-burdened residents in the entire country.

According to researchers at Harvard University, 46 percent of all households in the two counties pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing, LAist reported.

While 30 percent is the minimum cutoff the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines as “cost-burdened,” many residents in the area are doling out even larger percentages of their income each month. A concerning 24 percent of the counties’ residents pay more than half their income for the roof over their head, meaning they meet the criteria to be considered “severely cost-burdened.”

By and large, renters have it worse, with 31 percent considered severely cost-burdened, compared to 16 percent of property owners.

If there’s any good news to be found here, it’s that these numbers seem to have stabilized in recent years. So it’s bad, but at least it’s not getting any worse. According to the Harvard study, the percentages of cost-burdened residents in these counties have actually dropped slightly since their peak in 2010. At that time, over half of all households in L.A. and Orange Counties were reportedly cost-burdened.

Unfortunately, while the region’s cost-burden may have stabilized, the availability of low-cost housing has not. According to the study, the number of housing units in the area available for less than $800 a month dropped from 412,623 units to 270,332 between 2011 and 2017.

If you want to live the SoCal dream, you have to pay the price.

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