Thinking of Moving to Los Angeles?
Popular opinions about Los Angeles are often contradictory. On the one hand, the city is heralded as a utopia of perpetual sunshine, Hollywood dreams, and free-thinking creativity. On the other hand, LA gets a bad rap as a dystopia of fake people, miserable traffic and unpredictable earthquakes. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. In a city this sprawling and diverse, you can truly create your own reality.
Brace yourself as you begin to look for housing. By some measures, Los Angeles is now the least affordable housing market in America. As both rents and home prices have climbed at a faster pace than salaries in recent years, Angelenos now devote a greater percentage of their paycheck to housing than anywhere else in the country. On the bright side, LA’s patchwork of eclectic neighborhoods offers something for everyone. Read our guide to top Los Angeles neighborhoods, then consult our list of best LA realtors to help make your search easy.
The bad traffic in Los Angeles is legendary. In 2014, Los Angeles ranked second among major U.S. cities in number of hours drivers spend in traffic per year, clocking in at 80 hours per commuter. Some relief is on the way; the Metro Expo Line, which is scheduled for completion in early 2016, will connect Santa Monica and the Westside to Downtown via light rail.
LA’s sunny Mediterranean climate can’t be beat. Temperatures tend toward warm and mild year-round, and the city averages 284 sunny days per year. The only downside is that with a meager 26 days of precipitation per year on average, there’s often not enough rain to mitigate the enduring drought. On the other hand, El Niño conditions can make for wetter-than-normal winters. Also keep in mind that LA has numerous “microclimates”–it can often be foggy and cool at the beach (especially during May and June) while inland areas can be up to 20 degrees warmer.
Average temperature in August (warmest month): 84°F high, 64°F low
Average temperature in December (coldest month): 68°F high, 47°F low
In 2013, Los Angeles became the first county in the nation to reach 10 million people, making it one of the largest economic entities in the U.S. According to City-Data.com, Los Angeles is the biggest manufacturing center in the West, one of the world’s busiest ports, a major financial center, and the largest retail market in the country.
In addition to the entertainment industry, whose presence in the city is strongly felt, Los Angeles is also a world leader in aerospace, fashion, and healthcare. Silicon Beach, a critical mass of tech companies like Google and Snapchat clustered on the Westside, is LA’s answer to Silicon Valley.
Unemployment rate: 5.3% (as of November 2015)
Average weekly wages for all industries: $1,120 (first quarter 2015)