Unaffordable Housing and the Great LA Exodus

LEAVING LA-We have spent considerable time exploring the factors driving Family Millennials away from Los Angeles. Today we show the lure of other places. 

NewGeography has a number of articles describing the areas which are competing for middle class Angelenos. They all share the common element of Affordable Opportunity. Four articles are: 

September 20, 2016, NewGeography, “Lone Star Quartet,”  by Aaron Renn. 

This article gives an over view of Texas and shows the breadth of opportunity which Texas offers. 

December 3, 2016, NewGeography, Opportunity Urbanism: The Tech Edition,” by Ryan Streeter. 

This article describes the tech job market in Austin, one of Texas’ most desirable areas. Austin not only has a university but it is the state capital with an established music scene. As such, it has a decent chance of attracting young Millennials who can later effortlessly transition into Family Millennials without moving thousands of miles away.

April 8, 2017, NewGeography, The Ghost of Mamie Eisenhower,”  by John Sanphillippo. 

Good picture essays are fantastic. This article documents small towns that abound in other parts of the nation and have decent weather. Their decline has become ancient history, and their renaissance has already begun. The best place to enter opportunity is on the ground floor. 

April 6, 2017, NewGeography, “Seven Ways Life Has Gotten Better in Rural America,” by Aaron M. Renn. 

For people who love open space, convenience, and who can telecommute, the rural areas probably provide the most opportunity. People have not yet begun to talk and write about the coming impact of Virtual Presence. Soon wall size monitors, directional mics, and cameras which can track you as you walk about the room will be common. When people are liberated from the small monitor, we will enter a telecommunications era more revolutionary than what the smart phone has brought.   

These and other NewGeography articles give us a sense of the advantages of moving to smaller cities, smaller towns and even to rural areas sooner rather than later. When one adds together Virtual Presence, long range electric, self-driving cars and the economics of our times, we see that the future of the American family lies in low density communities. 

Work Book for LA Family Millennials 

In planning for a family, Millennials will do some basic calculations. The housing costs in Austin or the exurbs in the South or in rural areas will be one third to one half of a detached home in LA. While everyone’s financial position is different, the extra housing cost to live in LA is about $36,000 per year. If one includes two children in private school, the extra cost will increase by about $40,000 more per year. (Private LA schools range from $11K to $32K per year per student.) That means it costs about $75,000 extra per year to live in LA. 

Away from Los Angeles, that $75,000 can be divided three ways: (1) $25K/yr. for normal living expenses like vacations, clothes, cars, restaurants, (2) $25K/yr. for retirement, and (3) $25K/yr. to up-grade housing, e.g. six bedrooms, home offices and an acre of land. 

For an LA family who is not earning enough to save $75K per year by moving, relocation to a low density, growth community means the difference between paying exorbitant rent for a small apartment and owning a home of their own with a yard in a decent school district.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.