Gentrification Nation: Downtown LA is fastest gentrifying area in the US, report says

The 90014 zip code has seen home values increase over 700 percent since 2000

Wilshire Grand in Downtown Los Angeles (Getty)
Wilshire Grand in Downtown Los Angeles (Getty)

Downtown Los Angeles has become ground zero for gentrification. That’s according to a new survey from RentCafe, which ranked the 20 fastest gentrifying ZIP codes in the country.

Downtown’s 90014 took the top spot.

From 2000 to 2016, median home values in Downtown rose roughly 700 percent. The area also encompasses parts of the Financial District, and includes a cross-section of income levels. But the dramatic rise in home values coupled with an increase in an educated workforce and household income gave DTLA the edge nationwide.

It beat out No. 2 Washington, D.C., in a landslide. Washington’s 20001 ZIP posted a 200 percent rise in home values. Houston’s 77003 ZIP code came in third, followed by Philadelphia’s 19123, which placed fourth.

Rounding out the top 5 was New York City’s 10039, located on Upper Manhattan’s far east side. That area saw home values rise 356 percent during the period surveyed, while household income only grew 32 percent.

The report used the 2000 Census and the 2016 American Community Survey to examine 11,000 ZIP codes for median home value, median household income and population that holds a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Also cracking the top 20 in DTLA was 90013, which came in 12th. That area, which encompasses parts of Skid Row — one of the poorest parts of the city — had a 133 percent hike in home values.

New York also had another — 10026 — which ranked 15th on the list. That area of West Harlem has seen a dramatic rise in the number of new apartments that have been built, along with high-end restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. There were five other zip codes in Brooklyn that made the list: 11211, 11222, 11216, 11237 and 11221.

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In Downtown L.A., gentrification can be seen in the luxury condos available in the Ritz-Carlton Residences or Metropolis, which command over $1,050 per square foot.

For Maranda Blanton, broker at the Agency and a Downtown resident, gentrification became most evident in the new grocery stores that started popping up.

“Now we have a Whole Foods, Ralphs, and every dining establishment is looking for property in Downtown,” Blanton said. “It’s the hub of all art, dining and fashion.”

Her firm is selling condos at the Metropolis, as well as the most expensive rental in Downtown — a $100,000 per month penthouse at Onni Group’s Level Furnished Living.

“It was a hard sell in the beginning,” the Property Lab owner Yvonne Arias Neustadter said, referring to the 90014 ZIP. “But gradually I’ve seen the demand increasing, and it’s become the cooler, hip place to be.”

Neustadter, a former broker at the Westside Estate Agency, has been selling Downtown since 2011. She started her own firm in 2014. The office is now at the glitzy Ritz-Carlton in L.A. Live, a sprawling Vegas-like complex that includes Regal Cinemas, the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre, ESPN studios, the Grammy museum and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill.

But gentrification is not a welcome designation for many residents in a community.

In November, the City Council approved a new plan to guide development while slowing gentrification in South and Southeast L.A.

The growing displacement of low-income residents has also led to the formation of activist groups, such as Strategic Actions for a Just Economy and United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement. Strategic Actions also led the fight in South L.A. against a massive, $1.2 billion planned mixed-use development.

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