Rents Already Soaring Along LA's Unopened Expo Line

Median rent prices jumped from $1,575/month in 2015 to $2,295/month in 2016 (a 46% increase!) along LA’s new metro line

From RadPad, March 17, 2016, 

Last March we decided to map out the impending new rail lines across Los Angeles and overlay median rent prices of 1-bedroom apartments within .5 square miles of each stop. As we noted at the time, with the new rail lines up and running, we expected rent prices to increase in neighborhoods near those stops. And we don’t want to brag, but, (unfortunately) we were right. 

Previous studies across the country have noted how new public transit stops drive up nearby rental prices – we’re talkin’ 25-67%! (Here’s looking at you, Boston). Los Angeles may be especially susceptible to this type of increase, given we have the highest renter and lowest home ownership rate of all metropolitan areas in the country. That said, with the Metro Gold Line becoming the first of the new metro lines to get up and running, we decided to take a look at how rental prices have changed along these new and soon-to-be new metro stops. To do that we analyzed median rental prices of 1 bedroom apartments within .5 square miles of newly running or under-construction metro line stops between last April and this March. Basically, we did a lot of math to tell you how much green you’ll have to shell out to live near the metro lines.

Click to enlarge. Source: RadPad

As the new rail lines become active, they’ll connect Angelenos across neighborhoods, giving renters quick access to parts of the city where they may have never considered living before. Just like you no longer have to be tied to your checkbook to pay rent, now owning a car won’t be quite the LA necessity of years past. For a quick read, check out the map above or the chart below to see how much you’ll be paying to live along one of the new lines, or near a metro station. Or browse some current pads for rent to see the places (and prices) for yourself.

More of a numbers kind of guy? Sit back and relax – we’ve got a ton of data for you to check out below.

Click to enlarge. Source: RadPad

Let’s start with the the now-running Gold Line that connects San Gabriel Valley commuters with central Los Angeles. While the project is now fully completed we’re not seeing quite as big of a rent increase along the gold line as we’re seeing along soon-to-be unveiled stops along the Expo and Purple lines (more on that in a minute). That may be in part because this metro line pushes further into home ownership communities than any previous rail line. The stops with apartment rentals nearby that are up the most along the 11 mile-plus extension? Rental prices near the new Arcadia station (then: $997/mo; now: $1,195/mo) are up over 19% for the last twelve months and pads close to the new Monrovia stop (then: $1,142/mo; now: $1,300/mo) are up 13%.

Expo Line extension – Connects Santa Monica to Downtown

Now let’s look at one of the most talked-about metro line extensions. The $1.5B Expo Line extension will start running in a just two months on May 20th. At that time, it will finally connect central Los Angeles with the westside and the beach – for the first time since the 1950s! Surf’s up! The 15-mile ride from central Los Angeles through Culver City and onto the Expo Line extension will take 45 minutes. Compare that with a car commute that may be measured in hours and number of left-turns-on-red-lights, and 45 minutes is nothing.

Not surprisingly, rental prices are skyrocketing along this route in advance of its debut in already popular Westside communities where rental supply is limited. Most notably there has been over a 45% increase in rental prices near the almost complete Westwood / Rancho Park station (then: $1,575/mo; now: $2,295/mo) from last year. The station, which is located squarely in the “Westside” within Rancho Park and south of Westwood is a short walk from the Westside Pavilion Shopping mall. Prices are now much more comparable to apartments around UCLA in Westwood, which hover around $3,000.

There has also been a 43% increase in median rental prices around the planned 26th St station (then: $2,072/mo; now: $2,970/mo) on Olympic Boulevard in Mid-City Santa Monica and a 39% increase in rental prices around the Bundy station (then: $1,795/mo; now: $2,501/mo) in West Los Angeles.

However, the increase in prices around these new stops may actually mean good news for folks trying to get a rental near the new Downtown Santa Monica station (then: $3,245/mo; now: $2,898/mo) where rental prices have actually decreased 10% since last year (one of the biggest decreases on the map). As renters look towards new living options with transit available along the line east and west, prices are evening out.

The rebuilt Sepulveda station may be the one outlier, offering nearby renters at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Exposition Boulevard in West Los Angeles the best deal (then: $1,795/mo; now: $1,695/mo) on the Expo Line currently. Prices there are actually down 5% since last year.

Crenshaw / LAX Line extension – Connects LAX to Expo Line in Crenshaw

Next up let’s turn our attention to the next two extension projects that are a bit further away from coming online. The Crenshaw/LAX Line extension is expected to open in 2019. The one proposed stop and rental area to highlight on this line is the Downtown Inglewood station at Florence and La Brea (then: $1,100/mo; now: $1,075/mo). The surrounding area is the only one on the line actually down in rental prices from last year. In addition, when it comes online in 2019 the line willtouchdown with the opening of the Rams new stadium in Inglewood. At that time the station will be a quick metro ride and a few minutes walk from the new stadium. How so? The Metro’s Board of Directors is proposing a South Bay line that would originate at the Inglewood station and connect fans with the stadium.

Purple Line extension – Connects Westwood to Downtown

The Purple Line extension is projected to come online in 2023. In fact, they’re currently closing parts of Wilshire for 22 weekends for construction on the project and the The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that it will make $300M available to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) for work on the project. The new line will stretch from Wilshire/Western all the way west to Westwood and the VA Hospital.

While it may be a bit early to plan moving into a rental along the proposed line already, prices are already on the up-and-up. That makes sense as the area is already a highly populated rental area with more supply and demand for apartments within .5 square miles of planned stops than along the Expo or Crenshaw lines. Most notably, apartment prices near the under construction Wilshire/Fairfax stop (then: $1,984/mo; now: $2,818/mo) are up over 42% from last year. Rentals near planned stops at Wilshire Rodeo (then: $1,922/mo; now: $2,400/mo) and Century City (then: $2,100/mo; now: $2,595/mo) are also up over 20% from last year.

The best deals (for now) appear to be at both ends of the line. Rentals near Wilshire/Western (currently the last stop before the new expo line) are up 16% from last year ($1,400/mo) but still hover around $1,600 a month. In addition, the proposed final stop of the Purple Line extension saw rental prices nearby actually go down slightly from last year ($2,087/mo) to $2,052 a month. 

Our methodology for evaluating rent prices?
We took the median rent prices of 1-bedroom apartments (April 2015 – March 2016) that were within a 0.5 mile radius of each rail stop. For most stops, there were more than 20 apartments averaged together. If you live near one of these stops right now and you’re paying less than what we show, it’s most likely because you’ve lived there for several months and rents have gone up since you moved in (lucky you!).