Westwood is California’s priciest spot for renters, report says

To live in Westwood, where the average apartment in the 90024 ZIP Code goes for $4,883, "you need a huge group and a landlord who allows that," says one UCLA student.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Bad news for UCLA students: Westwood has been crowned the most expensive area for renters in the state.

With the average apartment renting for $4,883, the Westside neighborhood’s 90024 ZIP Code ranks third on RENTCafe’s list of the 50 priciest ZIP Codes in the nation. Only two areas, both in lower Manhattan, cost more on average.

For reference, that price will get you a 998-square-foot apartment with two bedrooms and bathrooms at the Glendon in Westwood Village.


Four other L.A.-area ZIP Codes join Westwood in the top 50. At $4,391 per month, the Mid-Wilshire area of 90048 ranks 12th, followed by Playa Vista’s 90094 ZIP Code, at $3,808, Santa Monica’s 90401 ZIP Code, at $3,682, and Marina Del Rey’s 90292 ZIP Code, at $3,642.

The study, which used July rent data from Yardi Matrix to analyze the cost of roughly 15 million apartments of all sizes in 130 U.S. markets, also found that rent in each of the aforementioned areas grew at least 3% year over year. The Mid-Wilshire area boasted the biggest increase, at 6%, with Santa Monica close behind, at 5.8%.

“That’s huge, considering these are already highly expensive markets,” said RENTCafe real estate writer Balazs Szekely. “It’s a response to supply not meeting the demand.”

With a steady stream of UCLA students searching for off-campus housing, Westwood faces no shortage of demand. Rafael Franco, a 19-year-old English major, tried the off-campus lifestyle over the summer.

He paid $800 for a shared room in a two-bedroom apartment, but the cost of living and the convenience of dorm life brought him back to university grounds for the school year.

“It’s possible to live in Westwood, but you need a huge group and a landlord who allows that,” Franco said, recalling memories of friends cramming 10 people into a four-bedroom space.

Santa Monica's 90401 ZIP Code, which includes the 3rd Street Promenade, made the nation's top 50 list. The average rent is $3,682.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Westwood has other draws as well. Its proximity to Interstate 405 and Interstate 10 make it a popular spot for young professionals attracted to the location but not yet ready to buy.

“Nearby Century City is a business hub for artists, attorneys and accountants,” said Chad Lund, a Douglas Elliman agent who specializes in the area. “People will pay a premium to have a five-minute commute there.”

Calling Westwood’s combination of students and young professionals a “perfect storm,” he said that land is so expensive that it can be cost-prohibitive for developers to build. If that continues, rent increases may follow.

Rents are rising across the state, not just the city. According to the study, 18 of the country’s 50 priciest ZIP Codes are in California, and the average rent for every single one rose year over year.

That includes San Francisco’s 94105 ZIP Code, whose average rent of $4,666 is up 3.3% since last year, and Cupertino’s 94040 ZIP Code, whose average rent of $3,669 rose 4.4% since last year.

In contrast, Manhattan holds 26 of the top 50 spots, and nine of them saw the average rent decrease year over year.

On Nov. 6, Californians will vote on Prop. 10, an initiative that looks to curb rising rent. If passed, it would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995, which set statewide rent-control limits, thus giving cities and counties new freedom to expand the use of rent control. | Twitter: @jflem94