Should I Move to Los Angeles

Should You Move to Los Angeles?

Every time you check out Los Angeles real estate, you’re likely to hear stories about people leaving LA for the suburbs. However, despite some highly-publicized downsides, the city still has some unique perks.

Los Angeles is a place like no other. As the epicenter of the movie-making universe, this town is filled with celebrity sightings, tourist attractions, and fun things to do. All the glitz and glamor of Hollywood means that the region is filled with high-end restaurants, shopping, real estate, and more, making it easy for even non-celebrities to enjoy the high life.

Los Angeles Economy & Job Opportunities

Los Angeles is known for its thriving entertainment industry. With a population of almost four million, its residents are mostly Caucasian or Hispanic, well-educated and middle-aged.

In the 1700s, Los Angeles was just a small ranching community. However, the discovery of oil in the 1880s made the city’s economy rapidly expand. And when the city became a center for the film industry in 1910, its economy took a unique turn.

Los Angeles might have the largest number of filmmakers and major studios in the world, but that’s not the only source of jobs. 

The city is also the largest manufacturing center in the United States with the nation’s largest trading port in terms of value exchanged and tonnage handled. 

With a diverse economy that goes beyond its base of aerospace, entertainment, and tourism, there are plenty of opportunities in manufacturing, logistics, hospitality, finance, fashion, furniture, health care, engineering, and corporate management among others.

Los Angeles Real Estate & Cost of Living

The median list price of a single-family home in Los Angeles is $1,250,000, while the median list price of a condominium is $850,000, with the average number of days on the market at 98 for homes and 111 for condos.

According to Altos Research, the city is in a solid seller’s market as of December 2021.

The average rent for a 790 square foot apartment in Los Angeles is $2,563 according to RentCafe.

Three of the top neighborhoods in Los Angeles are Hollywood, Mid-City, and Alhambra due to their gorgeous homes and great entertainment options. However, if you’re looking for more of a suburban experience not too far from the city center, you might want to investigate Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Frogtown.

The kinds of homes you’ll find here are a blend of everything from rundown, outdated apartments to stunningly gorgeous mansions. Architectural styles range from ranch to craftsman to Spanish colonial to Victorian to modern.

Due to high tourism, there is a lot of demand for short-term rentals. Such rentals are restricted to one’s primary residence, must be registered with the city, and the registration number must be displayed on all advertisements.

Enforcement seems to be an ongoing challenge, and some residents worry that short-term rentals are reducing the supply of available homes and in some cases creating a nuisance.

Though the town has a reputation for being pricey, utility costs like electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash are actually lower than national averages. The average cost for utilities is $129 per month, which is $30 cheaper than national averages.

The overall cost of living score of Los Angeles is 173, which is significantly higher than national averages. Furthermore, the livability score is just 54 on a scale of 0-100 according to AreaVibes.

Los Angeles Food, Drink & Entertainment

Los Angeles is a total foodie town, with good restaurants everywhere, from Bestia to Water Grill to The Factory Kitchen. You also have access to delicious coffee shops and breweries like Verve Coffee Roasters, Earth Bean Coffee, and Boomtown Brewery.

Some of its most iconic restaurants include Cole’s Restaurant, Pig N Whistle, Spago, and Musso & Frank Grill.

Nightlife, cinema, and entertainment options include incredible spots like Elevate Lounge, 1 OAK LA, and Avalon.

Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, Ralphs, and Hughes are easily accessible in every neighborhood.

Fun spots to shop include the LA Fashion District, Beverly Boulevard, and La Brea Avenue.

Los Angeles Attractions & Things to Do

Los Angeles has many fascinating tourist attractions including The Getty, Universal Studios Hollywood, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

There’s also a vibrant art scene in Downtown where you’ll find numerous galleries featuring Ayin Es, Lauren Halsey, and Jibade-Khalil Huffman.

If you’re a sports fan, Los Angeles is home to the Los Angeles Clippers, Kings, Dodgers, and Lakers. Most residents follow the basketball and baseball teams enthusiastically.

The gorgeous weather of coastal California makes the city ideal for nature lovers. For a little outdoor fun, visit Echo Lake Park, Elysian Park, or El Dorado Park and Nature Center.

Los Angeles Transportation

Los Angeles is served by the Los Angeles International Airport, which has a lot of international flights and reasonable wait times.

Getting around on public transportation is challenging. Though the city does have some good buses, subways, and light rails, everything is very far-flung. If you want to travel outside your neighborhood, you’ll probably need a car.

Keep in mind that Los Angeles traffic is notably bad, and finding a good parking spot can be tricky. 

Due to the high risk of accidents, car insurance is much pricier than national averages. The average car insurance in Los Angeles is $2,597 per year, which is pricier than average state rates of $1,966.

Los Angeles Schools

Los Angeles has numerous universities, ranging from private options like Loyola to public options like the University of California. 

Schools in the area are known for providing a good education in healthcare and finance. There are also smaller, private colleges that provide a great education for people interested in media.

The public school system has been rated average to below average by Great Schools, but there are also many highly regarded private schools to choose from including Fusion Academy, Berkeley Hall School, and Lycee International. 

You’ll also find numerous local homeschooling groups as well if you prefer to educate at home.

The library system in Los Angeles is very good, with locations around town featuring programs like ESL classes, summer reading programs, and book clubs for both adults and kids.

Los Angeles Community Groups

If you’re religious, you’ll find a vast array of churches to choose from in Los Angeles including Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic churches.

And if you’re LGBTQ, you’ll find resources like the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Transgender Law Center, and the Trevor Project. 

In general, the city tends to be very LGBTQ-friendly.

Los Angeles also has numerous neighborhood and community organizations that you can become involved in, including Project Angel Food, Heart of Los Angeles Youth, and LA Works, just to name a few.

Other good places to meet people as a newcomer are local Facebook groups, Meetup.com events, and local support groups.

Los Angeles Health & Wellness

As for Covid restrictions, aligning with current state standards, LA requests that all travelers test for Covid within 3-5 days of arrival.

Currently the city is largely open for business, without capacity limits or social distancing requirements. However, masks must be worn indoors in public places.

Large indoor events and some employers may require the Covid shot, while children age 12 and up may be required to get one to attend school.

Keep in mind, these rules are always changing, so check official sources before making plans.

COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and boosters are FREE for everyone regardless of immigration status or healthcare coverage and are being offered based on Federal, State, and L.A. County Department of Public Health vaccine eligibility guidance.

Los Angeles Climate & Safety

Los Angeles’s weather is generally quite comfortable. 

In the summer it’s typically no hotter than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the winter it’s usually no colder than 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall and Spring are equally mild and have little rainfall.

The city has a reputation for being sunny, and there are usually only a few cloudy days in winter.

The city does have some serious problems with crime. According to Neighborhood Scout, it’s only safer than 13 percent of other United States cities. 

There have also been reports lately of crime spilling into the upscale neighborhoods, like Beverly Hills, for example, where homeowners are pooling resources to hire private security patrols to combat the problem.

A particularly concerning fact is that violent crime is almost twice as high as California averages. 

After significant budget cuts in 2020 and a corresponding increase in crime, in the fall of 2021, the police commission voted for a 12% increase in the police department’s budget to combat rising crime rates. 

Seriously, when the head of the police officer’s union says, don’t visit LA because, “We can’t guarantee your safety. It is really, really out of control…” I’d say that’s something to pay attention to.

The city is experiencing what many would call a homelessness crisis, with homelessness up by 13 percent from 2019. There is an especially big problem with tent cities. 

The city is working diligently to build housing and provide support, for example, government-sponsored tiny homes and camping sites that provide security and showers, but it’s a long, slow process, and not everyone wants the help.

Most city residents won’t deal with much wildlife, other than the occasional roach or harmless lizard. However, there are some reports of feral coyotes and the occasional mountain lion sighting if you live in the hills.

Los Angeles Politics, Government & Taxation

The Los Angeles city government has a reputation for moderate corruption according to the Daily News. A current FBI probe into corruption has revealed officials are often careful not to technically break laws, but they do accept a lot of indirect bribes. Overall, the city’s fiscal state is a little uncertain, and it has a very large amount of debt.

The city is decidedly liberal. As of 2021, 53% of registered voters are Democrats and 17% are Republicans.

At 9.5%, sales tax is a little higher than state sales tax, and property taxes are high as well. 

The average homeowner pays $3,938 in property taxes, higher than the national average of $2,471.

On the bright side, Los Angeles recently won the “Most Business-Friendly City Award.”

California income taxes are between 1% to 12.3% which is something to investigate further if you’re moving from out-of-state.

Los Angeles infrastructure tends to get a lot of criticism due to the urban sprawl and congested roadways. And water shortages are a recurring issue.

First responders tend to take quite a lot of time to respond to emergency calls, taking seven to eight minutes which is higher than national standards of six minutes.

The Bottom Line

If you’re single and looking for a lot of nightlife or numerous career opportunities… Los Angeles may be the right choice for you. However, it can be challenging to find housing on a single income unless you have a high-paying job.

If you’re a couple without kids looking for a town with an exciting and unique culture… Los Angeles may be the place for you. But if you’re concerned about affordability and safety, you might want to look elsewhere.

And if you want to raise a family in a diverse environment, Los Angeles may be a great choice… However, if you want low crime rates or good schools, you might want to check out nearby suburbs like Hermosa Beach or Culver City.

And if you’re LGBTQ… you’ll find the city to be very welcoming and accepting.

Where to live in America is a personal choice, because what’s important to us may not be important to you.

To help you find your perfect place, we recommend using a spreadsheet with weighted scores to help you clearly prioritize your choices. Our free template below can save you hours of time as you weigh your options.

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