Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Ryan Vaarsi via Flickr/CC.

Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Ryan Vaarsi via Flickr/CC.

We got official word earlier this month about something most of us in LA already knew. Housing is ridiculously expensive here.

A new study by the listing site Redfin found middle class families in the area can only afford about 12 percent of homes on the market. Housing prices are up, while incomes in the area are stagnant. And that’s leading a lot of folks to find other, cheaper places to live – in many cases, far away from Los Angeles.

It’s part of something bigger going on in other parts of the country as well – where people are leaving expensive large cities, for cheaper, medium-sized markets.

Karen Weise chronicles this phenomenon in this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek, and spoke with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis.

We also hear from Fred Turko, who moved from LA to Richmond, Va. last year so he and his girlfriend could afford to start a family, buy a home, and launch a food photography business.

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  • PHB

    We left 20 years ago, to Atlanta, mainly to buy a decent house. We miss some things, but we go back to LA at least once a year to see family. My siblings and other same-age relatives are who stayed are either in debt to their eyeballs, living 60 miles out, or have slid backwards in economic category. Atlanta isn't as cheap as it was in 1994, and the traffic is worse due to 4 million or so transplants like us, but we're still glad we got out when we did.

  • http://Www.aprilfriges.com April

    After 8 years in LA & feeling as though I was just another shark fighting for the same bathtub, I looked for tenure teaching positions in art elsewhere.
    I’ve been in Pittsburgh since August and have fallen in love. It’s a smaller bathtub, but the sharks are more like guppies.
    The pressure is off, the freedom and support to make art is vast.
    This is one the the most reasonably priced cities with wonderful public transportation – where people mostly commute via bike or bus.
    I miss LA, but I don’t miss having to work 5 jobs to support the lifestyle I wanted to live.

  • http://essentialoliver.com Tasha

    Want to try it out for the summer? I'm in Austin looking to rent out my house – featured on Apartment Therapy last week (Tasha's Colorful & Comfy Austin Home) – or swap the whole damn thing for a studio or one bedroom apartment in LA. I've been in Austin 8 years and need a short change of pace, and access to more fashion resources to launch my brand. One of the things we don't really have in Austin yet.

  • http://www.peachypages.co.uk Jake

    Definitely makes sense to me, places like London near me cost an absolute fortune for what you get. The price of a flat in london you can get a very nice 4 bedroom house in the north of the UK.

  • http://abc-tyres.com/ Steven

    It's so expensive, I don't understand who can afford housing in the bigger cities! It's the same everywhere.

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    Great Article

  • http://evowpthemes.com Evo

    @Steven Yep. It's getting to that point even here in Portland, 1200 a month for a small 2 bedroom. Everything costs too much! At least there are jobs in Los Angeles though!

  • http://curt.cc/a63v7 Curt.Cc

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like

    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you

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    I’ll definitely be back.

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    It is great

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    I don't understand who can afford housing in the bigger cities! It's the same everywhere…!!!

  • http://www.zunest.com/ Zunest

    Exactly, I'm running a real estate agency here in Shanghai and even in a developing country such as China, with still pretty low average incomes in the most dynamic cities, housing starts to be ridiculously expensive and obviously unaffordable for the largest majority of the population.

    Despite the Beijing government initiatives to cool prices down for the past 2 years, China's real estate market has continued to increase amazingly in the current months, which lead many experts to think that the real estate bubble might burst in a near future.

  • http://www.advantagesettlements.com.au/ Advantage

    Look, when individuals are signing long-term leases or home loans, they must be attentive not to lock in too much spending on housing relative to their income, however it is just dumb to believe that people in dense cities need to target the exact same part of their income to housing as individuals in much less largely populated locations. In New york city City it is most likely about ideal to expect half of your expenditures to be going to housing. As kept in mind, a smaller sized fraction of your spending will certainly go to transport than for somebody living in rural America; depending on how you eat, you are likely to invest a smaller sized fraction of your earnings on food. (The very best and least expensive produce of anywhere I've lived was offered in the Bronx.) There are things that need to make up a smaller part of your spending when they become more pricey, however housing is quite not of that nature; you're going to purchase less home, but not by the ratio of the costs.

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    It's so expensive, I don't understand who can afford housing in the bigger cities! It's the same everywhere.

  • http://www.housetohomereatestate.com Norman Risner

    I agree with the article. Most big cities have high property taxes which makes the mortgage payment unbearable.

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