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Why isn't there more affordable housing in Los Angeles?

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Permits for multi-unit housing construction are up nearly 10 percent in Los Angeles County this year, compared with last year.
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Permits for multi-unit housing construction are up nearly 10 percent in Los Angeles County this year, compared with last year.

In the second part of KPCC's ongoing series on high rents in L.A., reporter Ben Bergman looks at why there are so few affordable places to live here.

This is the second part of KPCC's occasional series "High Rent, Few Options," which looks at the rent affordability crisis in Southern California. You can read Part One here. Let us know what you think in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter (@KPCC).

Ask why the rent is so high in Los Angeles, and you often get the same answer.

  • “There’s certain laws like the law of gravity and it’s called the law of supply and demand,” said developer Carl Lambert.
  • “It’s supply and demand,” said Los Angeles city Councilman Gil Cedillo.
  • “I think in simple terms, it’s an issue of supply and demand,” said Beverly Kenworthy, executive director of the California Apartment Association, which represents apartment owners.


In Los Angeles — a city where fewer and fewer residents can afford to buy a house — rents are the least affordable they've ever been; constructing more apartments would certainly help.

But as KPCC's Ben Bergman explains, developers say that building new housing — especially affordable units — is an agonizing process.

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