Moses Kagan on Real Estate

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University Park Rent Survery

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Today, we’re looking at rents in the USC University Park area. It’s an older neighborhood, centered on the University, with loads of old Victorian and Craftsmen homes in various states of repair.

Situated between downtown and South Los Angeles, there is easy access to the 110 and 10 freeways and the Expo Metro line.

Given the proximity to campus, much of the rental housing is geared towards students, pushing rents higher than usual for an area where the median income is under $20,000. Unlike many of the other neighborhoods surveyed recently, there is quite a bit of inventory, albeit at much higher prices.

Here are the highlights of our survey:

  • Median asking rent for one bed / one bath units was $1395 / month
  • Median asking rent for two bed units was $1900 / month.
  • Median asking for three bed /on bath units was $2,200 (the sole 3/3 unit was listed for $3,000)

Aspiring landlords in the area ought to remember that renting to students is not like being a normal landlord. You end up dealing with turn-over every year, loads of wear-and-tear on the assets, and rent collection issues. My strong advice if you’re thinking of becoming a student housing landlord is to get the parents to co-sign all leases and collect very large security deposits. Consider yourself warned!

The fine print: For our rent survey, we looked at apartments for rent in the area defined as USC University Park by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project. Here’s the raw data: University Park Rent Survey 3-12 (1) 

Written by mjkagan

03/14/2013 at 9:32 am

Studio City Rent Survey – December 2012

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You wouldn’t think it, but there are definitely people out there looking for apartments right now (my property management company closed two leases yesterday, with one more signing today).

So, we figured we’d continue our surveys of asking rents in different parts of LA, this time by taking a look at Studio City in the Valley. Here are the numbers:

  • Just two studio apartments available, at $850 and $1685 (the second one hardly qualifies as a studio!)
  • Median for 1b/1b units is $1299, ranging from $1195 to $2096
  • Median for 2b/1-2b units is $1795, ranging from $1495 to $2500
  • Nine 3 bedroom units are available with a median of $3600, ranging from as low as $2200 up to $3980

A few other interesting things to note:

  • Almost all units in the survey come with parking, which is pretty normal for the Valley but a stark contrast with older areas like Silver Lake and Echo Park;
  • At the higher end of the price ranges for each unit type, most of the units are in larger buildings with pools;
  • The most expensive listing we found was for a 6 bd / 5.5 ba house, at $8500. At that rent, don’t you just buy?

The fine print: Our survey was based on a search of the apartment listings on Craigslist for units located in Studio City on December 21, 2012. We only included listings where an address was available and the property fell within the boundaries of Studio City as defined by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project. For the raw data, click here: Studio City Rent Survey – 12.21.2012.

Written by mjkagan

12/26/2012 at 4:50 am

Posted in Rent Survey

West Hollywood Rent Survey – November 2012

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This week, we’re looking at rents in West Hollywood. Keep in mind that West Hollywood is its own city, separate from Los Angeles and with its own rent-control law. Also, West Hollywood has historically had a fairly progressive view on development, meaning that the city is dense and there are lots of apartments.

All of that said, let’s check the rents for November 2012:

  • Median rent for a studio apartment was $1225 / month, with 50% of the units having parking
  • Median rent for 1 bed / 1 bath apartments was $1599. There was quite a range – the cheapest 1/1 was $1195 and the most expensive was $3550;
  • Median rent for a 2 bed / 1 bath was $1900. Supply was limited, with only nine units on the market when we checked.
  • Median rent for 2 bed / 2 bath was $2298. Almost all units had parking and there were plenty to choose from, with 34 units on the market
  • Finally, for families, there were five 3 bed / 2 bath units on the market with a median rent of $3200.

The fine print: Our survey was based on a search of Craigslist apartment listings using the keyword “West Hollywood” on 11/4-5/2012. We checked all addresses to ensure the units were in West Hollywood (as defined by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project); any units without an address specified were removed from the survey. For the raw data, click here: Final West Hollywood Rent Survey – Nov. 2012

Written by mjkagan

11/14/2012 at 9:29 am

North Hollywood Rent Survey – October 2012

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This month, we’re taking a look at North Hollywood rents, mostly because I’m curious about why people are paying such high prices to buy apartment buildings there.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • North Hollywood is huge; there are way more apartments there than in other neighborhoods we’ve looked at previously, so the numbers are more statistically significant
  • Because the Valley was developed relatively recently, almost every unit has parking
  • Generally, the closer a unit is to the Hollywood Hills, the more expensive it is

That said, here are the highlights of our survey:

  • Very few true studios were available. Median rent for studios was $822 / month
  • Median asking rent for one bed / one bath units was $1110 / month
  • Median asking rent for two beds with fewer than two full baths was $1300 / month
  • Median asking for two bed / two baths was $2095 (driven by a lot of vacancy at the very top of the range)

If you’re interested in renting in North Hollywood, it might be worth checking out the NoHo Commons, a new building with lots of vacancy. They’re offering loft-style studio units of 800-950 sq ft for prices ranging from $1480-2056. I was going to link to their website, but it’s down (great marketing!). Here are a few listings.

The fine print: Our survey was based on a search of the apartment listings on Craigslist for the words “North Hollywood” on October 18-20, 2012. We only included listings where an address was available and the property fell within the boundaries of North Hollywood as defined by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project. For the raw data, click here: North Hollywood Rent Survey – Oct. 2012

Written by mjkagan

10/24/2012 at 7:31 am

Posted in Rent Survey

Venice Rent Survey – September 2012

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Time for another look at rents in a gentrifying (gentrified?) neighborhood in Los Angeles. This time, we’re heading over to the Westside to take a closer look at Venice.

Here are the highlights:

  • Median rent for studios was $1,275 (lower than I would have expected);
  • Median rent for one bed / one baths was $2,575;
  • Median rent for two beds was $3,690; and
  • Median rent for three beds was $4,300;

Interestingly, for 1/1s and larger, almost every single unit came with parking, which is definitely not the case in some other gentrifying neighborhoods (Silver Lake and Echo Park, for example).

The most expensive unit on the market is the Venice Beach Penthouse, a pretty amazing two bed on top of a building right on the beach. That one will set you back $12,500 / month. (For what it’s worth, that’s your payment on a $2.5MM mortgage!)

The cheapest unit was a $900 studio about a block from the beach. But don’t get too excited… you have to share a bathroom with the other units on your floor. Still, it’s $900 in Venice.

Finally, a note about the data in this survey: It’s only the 17th of September as I write this. Usually, apartments don’t rent until the third weekend of the month. But when I went back to pull out the best deals to post here, all of the ones I liked were already taken. That, right there, may be the most salient data point of all about the Venice apartment market.

The fine print: Our survey was based on a search of the apartment listings on Craigslist for the word “Venice” on September 13, 2012. We only included listings where an address was available and the property fell within the boundaries of Venice as defined by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project. For the raw data, click here: Venice Rent Survey – September 2012.

Written by mjkagan

09/18/2012 at 4:28 am

Los Feliz Rent Survey – July 2012

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It’s time to continue our regular survey of Los Angeles rents. We do these surveys to give renters, landlords, developers, lenders, and appraisers access to up-to-date information on the rental market. This time, we’re focusing on Los Feliz.

Things to note:

  • This was a whopper of a survey, because Los Feliz is a huge neighborhood, stretching from Western all the way over to the LA River;
  • There are different sub-neighborhoods in Los Feliz, including the apartment-dense section to the west, the extremely pricey single family homes north of Los Feliz Blvd., and the walkable, restaurant- and bar-studded Los Feliz Village at the northern ends of Vermont and Hillhurst;
  • Generally, supply decreases and price increases as you move from east to west west to east.
Now, to the rents:
  • Median rent for a studio is $885 (seems like a steal!); only one out of the ten available came with parking
  • Median rent for a one bed / one bath with no parking was $1,400; adding a parking space increases the price to $1,568
  • Median rent for a two bed / one bath with no parking was $1,700; adding parking takes you up to $1,952!
  • Median rent for a two bed / two bath with parking was only a bit more: $1,988 (though there were only three available)
  • Median rent for the few three bed units available was $3,292 (at least all of them came with parking!)

Here are a few great deals that we came across:

The fine print: Our survey was based on a search of Craigslist apartment listings using the keyword “Los Feliz” on 7/24/2012. We checked all addresses to ensure the units were in Los Feliz (as defined by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project); any units without an address specified were removed from the survey. For the raw data, click here: Los Feliz Rent Survey – July 2012 

Written by mjkagan

07/25/2012 at 4:24 am

Atwater Village Rent Survey – June 2012

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Continuing our look at Eastside rents… As usual, we looked at ads posted on Craigslist for apartments within the boundaries of Atwater Village as defined by the LA Times neighborhood mapping project.

A few things to note:

  • These are asking rents; you could potentially negotiate them down
  • This particular survey took place towards the end of the month, so these units do not necessarily represent the best deals that were available this month
  • The survey size is very small, because there aren’t many units in Atwater (which is mostly a single family home type of place). There were only 12 bona-fide Atwater Village rentals available when we looked at the data.

That said, here’s a few interesting nuggets from the survey:

  • 2 beds are getting quite expensive. There’s one particularly unappealing listing at $1300 / month. Otherwise, you’re looking at $1800+ with a median of $2100. That’s approaching Silver Lake numbers.
  • Studios in Atwater are clustered in the Rancho Los Feliz development on the west side of the village. There were multiple units available and the rents seemed to fall as the month went on. If you’re looking for a deal, I’d get in touch with them and try to bargain.
  • The supply of 1 beds was vanishingly small – only two were available, with rents of $1295 and $1450.

The fine print: Our survey was based on a search of Craigslist apartment listings using the keyword “Atwater” on 6/27/2012. We checked all addresses to ensure the units were in Atwater; any units without an address specified were removed from the survey. To download the raw data, click here: Atwater Rent Survey – June 2012.

Written by mjkagan

06/28/2012 at 4:57 am

Echo Park rent survey – May 2012

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Just completed our semi-regular rent survey for Echo Park north of the 101, and the results are pretty interesting:

  • Median asking rents for 1 bed / 1 bath apartments was $1,450, up a whopping 26% since February
  • Median asking rents for 2 bed apartments was $1,995, down by 15% compared to February
  • Median asking rents for studios was $1,043, basically unchanged from our February survey
  • The three 3 bed / 2 bath rentals available ranged from $2,590-3,195

A few other observations:

  • As of May 25, there were only 24 units on the market in Echo Park north of the 101. That’s a really small number given Echo Park’s name recognition.
  • Many of the units look to have been renovated recently. It looks like word is (finally!) getting out among property owners that tenants are willing to pay for higher quality product

The fine print: As always, our survey looked at Craigslist postings tagged with the name of the neighborhood (in this case, Echo Park) and cross-checked against the LA Times neighborhood map. In this case, we arbitrarily removed the piece of Echo Park south of the 101, which has very different demographics and rental rates. Here’s the raw data: Echo Park Rent Survey – May 2012

Written by mjkagan

05/28/2012 at 4:03 am

Rising rents

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We’ve just turned over a few units in properties in Silver Lake and Echo Park and, boy, is the rental market heating up.

We posted a studio at one property in south Silver Lake right by the border with Echo Park for $1,300 (up from $1,200, I think). The unit and the building are both great. But there’s no parking. And the location, while pretty good, is not A+.

Would you believe we had 20 requests for showings in the first three days after posting the ad, even though it was March (not exactly prime rental time)?

Now, obviously, this is anecdotal. Our properties are not like everyone else’s (they’re much nicer, first of all). But my hunch is that other landlords in the area are feeling demand increase, too.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: The easiest way to make money as a landlord is to buy at a sensible price with a fixed-rate mortgage and have your rents increase. Your costs (property tax and mortgage payments) are mostly fixed. So every $1 of rent increase ends up being pretty much pure profit. And each $1 of rent increase adds $10-12 of value to your building.

Not too shabby.

Written by mjkagan

04/03/2012 at 7:13 am

Is Echo Park 24% better than Highland Park?

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Landlords must think so. After all…

A 1 bed / 1 bath apartment in Echo Park rents for $1,150, compared to $925 in Highland Park. That means EP comes in 24% higher, even though in Highland Park you almost always get parking and in EP, you almost never do.

Here are the other highlights of our survey:

  • Median asking rent for a 1 bed / 1 bath apartment in Echo Park was $1,150 (and these were mostly without parking)
  • Median asking rent for a studio was $1,050 (and there were only 5 on the market)
  • Median asking rent for a 2 bed / 1 bath was right around $2350 (though this was based on just 4 units)

Two more things worth noting:

  1. The total number of apartments available in Echo Park was 24. That’s an incredibly low number for a neighborhood with such a strong brand.
  2. A lot of the units we saw were in fairly rough shape. I’m kind of surprised that EP landlords haven’t spent the money to upgrade their units… because I know you can do A LOT better on the rents there if you do!

As always, our survey looked at Craigslist postings tagged with the name of the neighborhood (in this case, Echo Park) and cross-checked against the LA Times neighborhood map. In this case, we arbitrarily removed the piece of Echo Park south of the 101, which has very different demographics and rental rates. Here’s the raw data: Echo Park Rent Survey – February 2012.

Written by mjkagan

02/20/2012 at 8:45 am

Posted in Rent Survey