Los Angeles – the La-La Land known for being the city of stars and where most people go to “make it big” is an iconic travel destination and a home to nearly four million residents.
Cost of Living in Los Angeles – Pros and Cons
Allegedly the city of Los Angeles began when the 11 descendants of Spanish families in the region made a settlement there. This group was known as the Los Pobladores.
Things didn’t take much change in 1848 when California officially joined the United States. And it wasn’t until 1885 when the transcontinental railroad between Chicago arrived there that the community began to see a rapid increase of interest.
To take advantage of the opportunities in oil, agriculture, real estate, and tourism, the protestant families from the Midwest and South began moving west. With new inventions making paths people were seeking daily entertainment and Los Angeles began to be the home of the new movie-making industry.
The city would eventually have an onrush of fame because of Hollywood and it became famous throughout the world. Then came World War II giving the city a surge in new industries that helped to create a beneficial manufacturing sector that exists to this day.
The entertainment, tourism, and the high-tech sector are still continuing to see sturdy growth even though the older industries have seen declines. The city can be considered as a trailblazer in freeway development when its public transit system began to struggle.
When it comes to making a move and living in Los Angeles, there are definitely some highs and lows to consider. We’re here to help you weigh and balance out the good and the bad, here are some pros and cons of living in LA.
Pros of Living in LA
Being known for its pleasant and stunningly beautiful weather that lasts all year long, LA sees nearly 300 days of sun.
Even winter days in LA aren’t as harsh, the average reaching to 60F most days. During summertime, it tends to stay at 90F or below which can still be pleasant as you get to make way towards the beaches, parks, a number of hiking trails, outdoor entertainment, outdoor dining, and much more.
There’s always something to do on a fairly warm, humid-free day. Yes, the weather in LA does not stay humid, making the summer days even more enjoyable.
You will almost always find yourself tangled up with something or the other to do in LA. There are a number of outdoor activities to choose from. Also, not to mention the constant rush of events happening around.
If you don’t want to laze around in the sun there are still plenty of places for you to go such as the California Strawberry Festival, you can also take advantage of the free museum days in the city, or have some evening fun at the Santa Monica Pier. There are dozens of parks for you to enjoy as well, including the massive Griffith Park in Los Feliz that covers more than 4,300 acres.
3. Job Opportunities
Being a land of opportunities, LA is just the place to go if you’re looking for work. No matter what your expertise is, you will not have a hard time getting yourself employed here.
With production and entertainment companies being large at business, you will be able to choose from any strand you want.
Even for startups, independent entrepreneurs, and freelancers who operate in the gig economy, there is enough infrastructure to provide the support they need.
And if you’re just on the verge of starting your career, the hospitality industry still pays well enough to get you into a home under most circumstances.
Contrary to the likes of other big and bustling cities, LA has a surprisingly relaxed lifestyle. Life in a big city can be quite stressful and hectic at times but it’s not so for LA as it seems to flourish on a well-maintained work-life balance.
Just by the look of it, you can make out that LA is a relaxed place. From the attires to the “just be yourself” attitude that folks carry around. People wearing suits with a briefcase in their hands, running to a typical 9-5 job isn’t a scene you’re likely to find in LA.
For the most part, this city has an amazingly refreshing belief of a healthy work-life balance, which will draw you more into it.
5. Diverse Culture
Well known and loved for being a “melting pot” of a number of cultures, the LA community has a variety of every element from design, art, music, food, and so much more. The expressions, the interactions with people from a vast number of cultures will let you learn and experience quite a lot.
Living in LA, you won’t have to go very far to have an exchange of new places, people, and experiences.
Cons of Living in LA
1. Traffic is a Nightmare
LA is almost equally known for its traffic as it is for its fame. There is extreme traffic congestion as it is remarkably worse than other busy cities such as New York and London. When living in the City of Angels, congestion just becomes a part of your everyday life as an estimated time of 102 hours a year is spent in peak jams.
But once you become a part of the LA community, you just learn to accept it and traffic in time becomes a part of your life here. It’s not all that bad if you can listen to a good podcast while you’re waiting!
Not having quite an extensive public transportation program like most other metropolitan cities, LA is widely known for its bad traffic scene. Due to the lack of rapid public transportation like Bart in the Bay Area or the Subway in NYC, it is almost impossible to live in LA without a car, which only adds to the expenses, it has also added unnecessary stress and time to get from one place to another.
3. Competitive Housing Market
In terms of both buying and renting, the housing scene is competitive in LA, so much that it can be a draining experience for most people.
Renting a beautiful spread is quite pricey, exclusively for ex-pat families who won’t be considering sharing their space. For people looking to make a purchase of a property, the housing market will still be difficult to break into as it is tremendously expensive.
4. Natural Disasters
Unfortunately, this beautiful city is no stranger to natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, and mudslides too, at times. There is a low chance of such an intense event occurring but still, there are earthquakes that are frequent in the region.
And if you are someone who’s not used to this natural event, then you might have to consider living in LA in this regard.
The crime scene in LA isn’t certainly as bad as they show on TV but before you make a decision to make a move here, you better do your homework and take a proper look at the crime statistics.
Especially for the neighborhood where you are planning to make a move. You can also check out the surrounding areas of any apartments or houses you’re eyeing on Google Street View, ask people around, your co-workers, friends, and acquaintances, and make your decisions accordingly.
Cost of Living
Keeping all the Pros and Cons in check, you may have made your decision to go and settle in LA or not to do so. But if you are planning to pay a visit, here are some basic points to know about the Cost of living in LA.
If buying a house in Los Angeles is in your budget, you will have to get yourself ready for tight competition and prices that reach a lofty-level. The average cost of an LA home is somewhere at $764,528, according to Zillow.
And if you are planning to buy in the LA area, it is more advantageous to get pre-approved for a mortgage as this will help you incredibly when sealing a deal with the seller. You may also research the present mortgages accessible for a home in L.A. using tools such as a mortgage calculator.
Based on the figures from Numbeo.com, as of Sept. 2020, the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be at approximately $2,230 per month.
An average three-bedroom apartment can get over $4200 if you happen to get roommates. On the bright side, while these averages may seem tough to a new resident, they are supposedly set upwards by the existence of extravagant luxury rentals in the wealthy areas of town.
You will come across plenty of Los Angeles rentals for under $1,800 per month if you go outside of the city center. And when you do find someplace as cheap, it is heavily advised to have a thorough check of the neighborhood and the apartment to ensure it suits your choice of living.
Since the LA region does not have a monolithic climate, instead several microclimates contain the area, the temperature in some areas such as the San Fernando Valley regularly reaches the triple-digits in summer and it might get quite cold for Southern California during the winter.
By contrast, Malibu rarely exceeds 80 degrees and has only stooped to the 30s a few times. Based on the specific climate in your area, your utility bill can vary greatly. Citywide, the average utility bill is nearly $200 per month for a 915 square foot apartment. The figures fluctuate throughout the year and might vary in accordance with the size of your home, but you may use it as a benchmark.
4. Food Cost
The food in LA is noticeably more expensive compared to the national average. One gallon of milk costs $3.80, and a loaf of bread costs $3.34. A dozen large eggs is $3.45 and 16 oz. of cheese is $5.77.
For a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, the cost is $5.42. Even as a sensible customer, you’ll have to build around $500 into your monthly budget for food costs, just to be on the safe side.
As we discussed the transportation situation in Los Angeles earlier, driving is almost a necessity. And for the residents who want to live car-free, it can be quite a frustrating situation.
The bus lines seem to be never-ending, and unlike Manhattan, it’s not as possible to stand on the sidewalk and hail a taxi in L.A. While the Metrolink offers commuter rail service in Southern California, it is nowhere as practical or sophisticated as public rail transportation in cities such as New York and San Francisco.
The service is also expensive; for a single trip, the local round-trip commutes often cost more than $20.
If you’re a car owner in Los Angeles, separating the vehicle itself, your biggest costs will be auto insurance and gas. Also, based on your ZIP code, your insurance costs will be varying greatly.
Considering the crime rate and level of congestion around your area in particular. The average rate for the metro area is $1184 per year for liability only and $85 per and $541 per year for comprehensive and collision. The rate could be higher for male drivers, and for young ones especially.
The gas prices in Los Angeles are exceeding. As of 2020, a gallon of gas averages $3.74, which is more than California’s average and the national average. Furthermore, the city’s infamous traffic scene makes drivers burn through a tank of gas at a faster rate than in other places.