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Signs of the Apocalypse, Part XXII: L.A. Rents Decreasing?

LA Rents.jpg
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It's probably one of the biggest cultural shocks for people relocating to Los Angeles for the very first time: the high cost of living, specifically renting. While most natives don't bat a single eyelash at $1200 studio apartments or $2500 two-bedrooms, the recently arrived are dumbfounded by exorbitant rates for totally mundane, even run-down apartments (Westwood Village, anyone?).

But since the times, they are a changin', rent prices in L.A. might be the next to feel the effects of these brave new economically challenged times. Reports the LA Times:

After rising for several years, rents in the Los Angeles area are declining because of the economic recession and depressed home prices, researchers, real estate agents and property managers say. The lower local rents match a national trend, according to a report released Wednesday showing apartment rents fell in 54 out of 79 U.S. metropolitan areas in the fourth quarter of 2008. Softening rents add another obstacle to a housing market recovery, economists say, because tenants with low rent payments feel less urgency to buy a home.

Apartments in normally pricey neighborhoods like Santa Monica are seeing decreases of $100, $200, or even $500 per month, and things are only expected to get worse -- for landlords, that is: "The recession will probably pull rents even lower".
This may all be beside the point for those of us dealing with the annual New Year rent increase (my own North Hollywood apartment just got a $100 hike, with our landlord assuring us that "many other tenants are paying much more!", whatever dude). But for those of you looking for a change, an upgrade to a trendier neighborhood, or even a move to more economic locales like the Valley or K-Town, 2009 may be your year to seek out new digs at newly affordable prices. Now if only moving wasn't the most tedious and exhausting process known to mankind....

Photo of the classic Gaylord Apartments by LA Wad via Flickr