23% of LA renters could afford to buy: Zillow

The rent vs. buy debate is one for the ages. But how many L.A. renters, if they wanted to do so, could actually afford to buy a home?

A new study by listings website Zillow shows that nearly a quarter of market-rate L.A. renters have sufficiently high credit scores and incomes to afford a median priced home in the region, a much higher share of the population than in many other parts of the country. The nationwide average is just 14 percent of renters, the report shows.

In the L.A. metro area, approximately 22.7 percent of renters met the criteria, compared to just 19.4 percent in New York and 16.2 percent in Denver. The median home price in the region is $572,500, Zillow shows.

Meanwhile, more Americans are choosing to rent rather than buy than in any time in recent history. Young adults in particular are opting to wait longer before buying homes.

“When faced with hurdles of high prices and low inventory, first time homebuyers are renting longer than ever before even if they are qualified to buy,” said Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “San Jose, San Diego and Seattle are among the most competitive places for buyers, and the going isn’t any easier for renters — as they are competing against throngs of financially sound applicants with strong credit and high incomes.”