Category Archives: Housing

Los Angeles’ Economic Recovery: Jobs and Housing

We are seeing some positive upticks in the economic recovery around the world.  In Los Angeles – as in many other regions – there have been various ups and downs but latest news is indicating that at least in employment and jobs, things are looking up.

According to a recent report from the  UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, both the job and housing markets are showing strength in Los Angeles. The labor market in Southern California has returned 70 percent (52 percent nationwide) of the jobs that were lost at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Housing figures are likewise showing optimism.  In fact, housing has actually been one sector that has done quite well with the pandemic with the first quarter of 2020 having a 17.8% increase in median home price. In LA County sales jumped 117% and prices of homes increased 25%.

Housing the Homeless

Homelessness has been a problem in Los Angeles for many years. But what’s even worse as the predictions are looking at a further 86 percent increase in the problem, in part due to COVID-19. According to the Economic Roundtable’s Report Locked Out: Unemployment and Homelessness in the COVID Economy,’

“Over the next four years the current Pandemic Recession is projected to cause chronic homelessness to increase 49 percent in the United States, 68 percent in California and 86 percent in Los Angeles County. Homelessness among working-age adults caused by the current recession is projected to peak in 2023, adding 603,000 working-age adults to those already without a place of their own to sleep in the United States. California is projected to be home to 131,400 of those additional homeless adults, with 52,300 in Los Angeles.”

One possible solution is the creation of prefabricated homes in an area of North Hollywood that has all but been neglected.  It’s now been given a fun makeover and has resulted in the creation of 39 tiny units.  Known as Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village these tiny homes are much more economical, environmental and faster to build than regular homes.  These are being hailed as a possible solution to the problem nationwide, but especially in LA.   

While they are small (only 64 square feet and are adequate for at most, two adults), this is still way better than being on the street.  It took only 13 weeks for Lehrer Architects – in conjunction with LA’s Bureau of Engineering – from design to building completion to be ready.  Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission will be managing the project.

Home Purchase

“Location, location, location” said realtors for more than a century.  That is changing.  With more people being allowed and able to work from home and an increase in fear of being physically near to others, “location, location, location” is losing its power.  Instead, people are more focused on what is in the house rather than its whereabouts.

The drive to stay in Los Angeles (as well as other large metropolitan regions) is diminishing.   This is actually good news for the home buyer. According to California Association of Realtors Senior Economist Jordan Levine:

“That affordability motivator for going to a place where they can actually afford to be a homeowner is still there, and now they’ve got that wind in the sails in terms of that flexibility to be able to do that while still keeping their California-based jobs. Areas that are more affordable and folks can actually achieve home ownership now that they’re not strapped to these more dense, urban areas.”

For those who have long wanted to purchase a home but have not been able to do so until now, this good be a prime opportunity.  Many homes in Southern California are being sold at the lowest levels for years. 

California Housing

Homelessness has been an issue in California for many years with potential solutions constantly being drummed up.  Now though Airbnb has gotten involved in this issue with its recent pledge to invest $25 million which would be put toward the goal of creating affordable housing in California.  In the past, money has been put toward the problem from large corporations including Facebook, Google and Microsoft as well.

This money would be put in the two states most severely impacted by rising housing costs and increased homelessness: San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

The Trump administration recently arrived in LA to form a deeper comprehension of the homeless camps there.  Over the summer, the city’s Mayor asked the President to tour the streets of LA that he believes are home to over 35,000 people each night.

Another solution is rent caps which was approved by state legislators and will impact millions of tenants.  This has been one of the most significant initiatives taken to address affordable housing as it limits annual rent increase to 5 percent after inflation as well as implementing new impediments to eviction.  This would lead to greater rental security as well.  This legislation was reinforced by Governor Gavin Newsom who has prioritized tenant protection in his first year in office.

LA: The Housing Crisis

For years Los Angeles has faced a crisis of an inordinate amount of homeless individuals.  Many solutions have been proposed and executed over the years but still the problem remains.  Here we take a look at some of the latest news on this subject.

In 2018 21,631 homeless individuals were housed.  The amount of tax dollars used on this (millions) was 23 percent more than in the year before.  Still, this accounted for a doubling of the amount of individuals housed in 2014.

The question therefore remains though, why are there still so many people living on the streets, in vehicles and shelters of LA?  In 2018 the homeless figure increased 12 percent, rendering 59,000 LA county individuals homeless.

A new proposal by the LA City Council has just been voted in which could make matters a whole lot worse.  A prohibition against sleeping in vehicles in many parts of LA is to be put in place.  The rules make it clear that individuals will not be allowed to spend the night in their cars on residential streets or make their vehicles their homes “within a block of a park, school, preschool or day care facility.”

This ruling has angered many local activists who argued at the City Hall that such a measure was “counterproductive” to the 9,500+ individuals currently making their homes in this way.

City Council Funding

There have been a few approvals for councils for funding to facilitate, aid and enhance certain neighborhoods in LA.  In this article, we take a look at two of the recent ones.

Last week, a committee meeting of the Los Angeles City Council approved the framework of a policy that will administer the monies and application of the districts that are financed by the residents.  With this, community projects in needy neighborhoods will get the much-needed funds for such programs. Supervising this will be the EIFDs (Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts).

What is most welcome about the funding is that according to the office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, an increase in residents’ property taxes will not occur.  instead, a slice of the annual property tax hike will into a board (three Mayor-appointed council members; two council-appointed members of the public) governed independent fund.

In other news, Skid Row will be getting a large amount of money for extra services.  $2.7 million has been earmarked for homeless services in the area following the finding of the 16 percent increase in population there.  That money will be put toward: storage center upgrades (for homeless to store belongings), two additional teams of outreach workers, water fountains and attended restrooms.

Skid Row is the address of the most amount of homeless people in LA.  While money is directed there a lot (the city received $85 million in emergency funding from the state in 2018), the problems there run deep.

LA Housing Market

It does seem – at least at first glance – that LA’s housing prices are somewhat inflated.  But perhaps not.  ECSquared takes a look at what makes LA such a great place to live and why the current situation is that those selling properties are actually being shortchanged.

LA: Real Estate

When looking to purchase (or sell) property in Los Angeles County, it is beneficial to get an overview of the amount of sales; what the going rate is and the current market inventory.  In this video, Mike Weber, a broker from Keller Williams, speaks on these matters within the current ebbs and flows of the market.

Solving the LA Housing Crisis

Historically, housing has been a problem in California.  Getting affordable housing is a bit like finding a four-leaved clover or finding a needle in a haystack; it just does not happen very often.  And then for those who do manage to secure a good landlord with a reasonable price, if they then have to move, they need to start the process all over again.

Enter Elvina Beck, founder and CEO of Podshare.  An ambitious Soviet Union immigrant, she grew up believing “there [was] nothing [she] couldn’t do.”  And so she created Podshare to solve the LA housing crisis.  She explains:

“PodShare offers co-living across the city of Los Angeles for one affordable rate. Our custom built ‘pods’ are a re-design of the American bunk bed, and our layout is set for the maximum number of social collisions and security. We are currently in DTLA Arts District, Los Feliz, Hollywood/Vine and opening Venice in April 2017. With 3 locations on the East side, and our first on the West side, we plan to expand to a total of 10 LA county locations to become the first subscription-based housing model. Imagine going to sleep off Hollywood Blvd., jumping on the WIFI in the Arts District, sunbathing in Venice, popping your big jacket into a locker in Los Feliz and grabbing a bicycle, shower, food in the kitchen, and meeting friends from all over the world for $50 a night.

Like a gym membership for shared living or a Euro-rail pass to a flexible, affordable, and centrally located place to live and work – PodShare’s goal is to expand to San Francisco and San Diego in order to allow freelancers, digital nomads, travelers, and apartment hunters try living in different places before they settle down for an annual lease or maybe then never do and PodShare becomes the new mobile home?”

PodShare opened its fifth location in L.A. this year and is increasing in popularity.  Tenants usually have their own bed-areas (pods) but share public space like kitchens, bathrooms, living space.  Rent is substantially lower and the buildings are generally managed by a company different from the owner – often a local developer.

One happy customer – Nadya Hewitt claims she would never be able to afford the area without PodShare.  She said:

“Oh my gosh. I’ve looked at studio apartments in this area, in Hollywood, downtown. I mean we’re looking at almost $2,000 a month.”