Paul Ong’s Research Reveals Los Angeles’ Rent Burden Crisis

Paul Ong

Urban Planning professor Paul Ong’s latest research on the L.A. housing market has been highlighted in the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate’s monthly analyses of crucial real estate and economic issues.

The article, which is a condensed review of Ong’s paper titled “Impacts of the Widening Divide: Los Angeles at the Forefront of the Rent Burden Crisis,” delivers troubling news about the L.A. rental market – that it is the most unaffordable in the country and is the metro area with the largest share of renters vs. homeowners.

Ong writes:

“This affordability crisis has deep roots. Los Angeles has been a majority renter city since 1970. And the disparity between renters and owners reflects an economic divide that has widened over decades.

Our studies show severe housing burden among poor renters has existed since 1970, and that during periods of increasing inequality the burden has grown even more severe. Vacancy rates have risen only slightly – even dipping at times when housing burden has increased. And renters are paying more for the same quality housing, suggesting that neither market forces nor changing housing quality fully explain the increasing rents.

Altogether, the data show that the solution to this long-term crisis is to address its root causes – low incomes and high rents – by increasing both renter earnings and affordable housing.”

You can read the full article here.

Ong and his co-authors Silvia Jimenez and Rosalie Ray also contributed an op-ed piece that was published in the Los Angeles Business Journal (subscription required).

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