Recently, the price of the average home in Los Angeles has soared to nearly $700,000. While this may not appear overly exorbitant to residents of other high-priced cities, like San Francisco and New York, it is bad news for a town in which the median wage is only $55,000. This is a reflection of the sharp dichotomy throughout the city’s haves and have-nots.
The fact that the median home price is now shooting towards 15 times the median annual household income means that even for households with two earners, Los Angeles is increasingly becoming a place where the American Dream of homeownership is permanently out of reach for the average person. This has negative long-term implications for the city as it means that fewer families will be able to afford to form in the first place, driving the city’s young population away or causing them to entirely forgo marriage and children.
At the same time, the huge disparities between home prices and average wages are also causing a crisis in the affordability of rental properties. Los Angeles may now be the country’s capital city for homelessness, an epidemic that has been seen sweeping through the city’s streets, parks and other public spaces over the past decade. The homelessness problem has reached such epidemic proportions that entire neighborhoods have taken to the streets, protesting the appearance of tent cities within their posh enclaves.
Yet, with even the cheapest available rental units being completely unaffordable for lower wage earners, the homelessness problem seems all but guaranteed to continue apace. Many have noted that this has created a distinctly third-world vibe throughout the city of Los Angeles, which once hosted some of the most idyllic and peaceful neighborhoods in the state of California and provided the model for the ideal American family as seen in shows like the Brady Bunch, E.T. and many others.
Now, much of the city has been overrun with the homeless and third-world immigrants, who are often willing to pack 10 or more people into a single apartment, living in squalid conditions that make a mockery of the American Dream.