The Real Deal Los Angeles

Stable but unaffordable: Cost of living in SoCal remains steady

L.A., Long Beach, OC among ‘most stable’ in the state: report
By Gregory Cornfield | February 13, 2019 03:20PM

From left: Los Angeles and Long Beach ranked among the most stable places in terms of cost of living the past decade, according to SmartAsset (Credit: Wikipedia)

Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County are among the places offering the most -stable rates for cost of living in California, a new report shows.

While Southern California may be home to some of the most expensive rents in the country, residents’ purchasing power has remained about the same over the span of the last decade, according to financial tech firm SmartAsset.

Among eight cities or regions surveyed, the combined L.A. and Long Beach area ranked fourth on the list with a 1.2-percent average change to the cost of living. Orange County tied with Sacramento with a 0.8-percent average change.

By contrast, San Francisco’s average change in cost of living was 3.2 percent, while purchasing power dropped by 4.5 percent. Bakersfield topped the list as “most stable” in the state, with the lowest average change in cost of living at 0.6 percent.

SmartAsset, a New York City-based financial advisory firm, calculated the cost of living for each area by examining factors such as changes in prices for basic goods, rates of inflation, unemployment, wage growth, and average rent.

Rent prices in Los Angeles rose almost 7 percent to $2,461 per month in 2018 due to persistent demand and low inventory.

Nearly two-thirds of employers surveyed by USC and the L.A. Business Council two years ago said they had reconsidered the cost of living when negotiating packages for top-level recruits to reflect higher-than-expected prices. But real estate professionals in California also said they had not seen the mass exodus that had been anticipated after changes to the federal tax code.