Los Angeles housing most expensive in the nation

AEquator new study by the University of California, Los Angeles concludes that LA has the least affordable rental homes in America, and other reports rate California as the worst state both for renters and mortgage-payers (see map). The UCLA study reports that tenants in LA spend on average 47% of their gross income on rent—a higher share than in any other city.

Some of California’s green rules drive up rents—and hurt the environment, too. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), signed by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1970, allows almost anyone to sue to block any development, and is used by the slow-growth lobby to thwart vertical expansion. “The irony is that CEQA is now preventing us from building high-rises near public transit, which would improve the environmental quality by allowing people to walk more and not use their cars,” says Richard Green of the University of Southern California.

Developers seeking to build in LA today find that they have to scale back their projects to get them built at all. Construction began on Ponte Vista, a cluster of 676 homes near the Port of LA, earlier this year. The original plans called for three times as many units, but the project was cut back after neighbours protested about the extra traffic it would bring. In February a judge struck down what he called a “fatally flawed” plan to build taller, denser buildings in some parts of Hollywood, after community groups sued under CEQA, complaining that the plan would “Manhattanise” Hollywood.

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