It’s clear that Los Angeles has been growing for the past few years. With the continuous rise of office buildings, shopping centers, and dining facilities, a new wave of residents have entered the downtown area.
However, behind the appealing nature of the location, this spike in demand to live downtown has created immense competition among apartment rental companies. In response to this, developers have begun to build larger and more luxurious apartments, which in doing so has begun to raise rental prices.
This overall transformation has created a major shift of living cost, causing a number of former residents to move outside of downtown.
This is exactly what happened to Ashley Weiler, who moved from the downtown area to Los Feliz, and currently resides in Korea Town.
Weiler came out to Los Angeles from Michigan to pursue a career in fashion. Attending school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM), Weiler quickly became aware of high rental prices in Los Angeles.
“I had a 400 square foot apartment and it was $1100 per month. There weren’t many other options around me that were close to school with as many amenities, so I almost didn’t have a choice,” Weiler said.
Weiler added that her first apartment in downtown was worth the same price as half of her current apartment size. Her apartment now includes a kitchen, full living room, and she lives with two other roommates instead of one in one bedroom.
Weiler’s current apartment doesn’t have any amenities besides water and trash pickup, and there isn’t as tight of security around the area, according to Weiler.
“Although I’m not living in a massive complex with a bunch of crazy amenities, that’s ok because it’s not really my style anyway. I’d say if you’re really going to take advantage of that, then maybe a luxury apartment is right for you if you can afford it,” Weiler said.
One complex in particular is described as just that. The newly developed building Eighth & Grand takes pride in its distinct qualities of luxury living in a popular location.
Residents living here can take full advantage of private concierge service and poolside cabana reservation, workout in a private 5,400 square foot gym, receive delivery service from Bottega Louis, and a number of other personal amenities, according to the Eighth and Grand website.
The starting price for a 1 bedroom apartment at Eighth & Grand is $2310, 2 bedrooms is$3900 and studios are $2190, according to the website.
Estela Arevalo, Sr. Leasing Professional of Eighth & Grand, believes that the spike in apartment complexes going up in Downtown forces developers to get creative with potential services and living styles.
“Downtown is becoming a little bit like New York. It’s an upcoming little city and 'foodie' central. I think other communities have to create new ideas to stand out,” Arevalo said.
In fact, Eighth and & Grand is one of the more than 90 new apartment complexes in downtown that has to fight its way to the top.
Uracha Chaiyapinunt moved downtown in early August of this year, and she agrees that paying $1000 a month is expensive, but understands the reasoning behind this.
“The apartment is in a very convenient location. There are grocery stores, restaurants, bars and a movie theater in walking distance. When looking at where to live downtown, I found that all the apartments in this area for the most part were high-end and expensive,” Chaiyapinunt said.
“That's the kind of clientele developers want to attract - young professionals or older adults who can afford the neighborhood,” she explained.
Both Weiler and Chaiyapinunt are excited for downtown’s upcoming development, and believe that in order to improve the overall area of downtown, gentrification and higher rental prices are expected regardless of the negative impact it can have on those paying for higher living costs.
“As much as I would love to move back downtown, I know at this point in time it’s not the most financially smart decision as a 21 year-old. I will definitely move back when I have more of an established career and don’t need financial support from my parents,” Weiler said.
Samuel Sunito is another resident of the downtown area, living right near Eighth & Grand. He purchased his apartment, a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom loft, which has a rental price worth of roughly $4000 per month.
Sunito picked this apartment due to its close proximity to stores, tight security, safe environment around the complex, and other luxury amenities. Although the price was on the higher end, he felt like it was a great long-term investment.
“It's a pro that the increase in supply of apartments is being met by newer stores and better amenities around downtown, because this increases the demand to live in this area. That also raises the price of my apartment. ” Sunito said.
“If I resold it after 6 months I could make $50 to $70k minimum. That's just based on the comparable resell value of apartments around my area that are the same quality,” Sunito added.
“I definitely have friends who aren’t happy about the rental prices in downtown, and I’m not saying that it’s the best thing ever,” Weiler said.
“However, downtown has been really trying to become a more ‘livable’ place and attract more people of higher socio-economic status. That being said, I think this will have an overall positive impact on downtown and Los Angeles’ economy as a whole,” Weiler added.