Is Its Gay Population Why WeHo Housing Is So Expensive?

trulia, okcupid, gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, housing cost
When it comes to LGBT people, WeHo has the greatest percentage.

Wonder why it’s so expensive to buy a house in WeHo? Well, one factor might be that it’s so gay.

That’s a possibility posited by a recent study conducted by Trulia, the real estate website for home buyers and real estate agents, and OkCupid, the dating website. The study ranked West Hollywood as the “gayest” city in the country, with 47.5% of its households occupied by single people looking for same-sex partners and 27.6% by same-sex couples. With 75% of its households occupied by LGBT people, WeHo easily tops the Castro district in San Francisco (66%), Dallas’s gay Uptown neighborhood (59%) and even Palm Springs (55%) and San Diego’s Hillcrest (55%). Based on that Trulia awarded WeHo a “Neighborhood Pride Score” of .75, its highest.

So what’s the connection between sexual orientation and the square foot price of a house? The study admits that that’s unclear. While there isn’t scientific proof that the homosexuality of a city is a factor in housing prices, there are some interesting correlations. According to the study:

The premium to live in a neighborhood with a high Neighborhood Pride Score has increased from an average per square foot cost of $209 in 2012 – a 28.9% premium – to an average per square foot cost of $320 – a 36.8% premium – in 2017.

Across metros, demand to live in communities with higher Neighborhood Pride scores has increased most in New York, New Orleans, and Boston, where the premium to live in gay neighborhoods has increased by 56 percentage points, 52 percentage points and 26 percentage points respectively.

However, demand to live in some communities with higher Neighborhood Pride scores has fallen. The biggest declines are Miami (where the gay population has largely fled to Fort Lauderdale), Buffalo (who wants to live where it’s always cold and gray?), and San Francisco (where the tech nerds have pushed up housing costs, sending the gays running to Oakland). In those cities, the Neighorhood Pride scores dropped by 13.4 percentage points, 9.5 percentage points and 5.7 percentage points, respectively.

While West Hollywood may be the nation’s (and perhaps the world’s) gayest city, the demand among gay people to live in gay neighborhoods in Greater Los Angeles as a whole hasn’t increased as much as it has in other major metropolitan areas. The study doesn’t break out that data for West Hollywood. But in its review of major metro areas, Los Angeles, whose gayborhoods also include Silver Lake, Downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach, isn’t in the top ten.

The study calculates demand according to the increase in price per square foot from 2012 to 2017. New York is at the top of the list, with a price per square foot of $659, up 56 percentage points. Next is New Orleans ($290, 52 points), Boston ($557 (27 points), Louisville ($121, 18 points) and Charlotte ($145, 15 points). The list of ten cities bottoms with Grand Rapids ($103, 9 points). For insight into the value of a gay neighborhood, consider that today a New York City residential property costs on average $567 per square foot. But in a gay neighborhood in the city, it is $659 a square foot.

Trulia worked with OkCupid on the study so that it could get data on the number of single LGBT people in a city. The U.S. Census Bureau provides data on same-sex couples, a practice the Trump administration is considering stopping, but not on single LGBT people. OKCupid was able to provide estimates of the number of LGBT singles from its own research.

  1. This “myth” that gays have fled Miami to go to Ft.laudedale is incorrect.
    Just last week, the CDC released the latest number of gay men living with
    HIV by zip code.
    33139 (South Beach) has 1,800, 4th highest zipcode in the US(after 90069 (W. Hol.),
    10011 (Chelsea), and 94114 (Castro.) this count, for the 1st time, was based on actual
    Residence in 2016, rather than place of residence at time of diagnosis.
    Also, Miami-dade county has a count of over 14,000, while Broward’s (ft. Lauderdale)
    Was just over 10,000.
    The Census “couple” reports are biased toward white, higher educated and income gays
    And against Black, Hispanic gays. This same bias is reflected in much main-stream reporting.

  2. It’s the location with proximity to great amenities (600 restaurants in WEHO & BH alone) and being next to crazy expensive Beverly Hills is one major factor. It makes WEHO look cheap so people keep bidding it up.

  3. for 1800 a month in Buffalo i live in an 7 bedroom house . Its almost too big . I also live within a mile of Delware Park , Grocery store and a dog park .
    Buffalo is great come on up and enjoy the cloudy weather with me .

    Delware Park * Buffalo attempt at central park

  4. @Donald A, the state did not overturn all of the rent control/stabilization laws. Rent “control” was ruled unconstitutional so that a unit’s rent could not be set by the state once a tenant vacated said unit.. We still have Rent Stabilization in that landlords can only raise your rent a certain percentage once a year. L.A. and West Hollywood and Santa Monica have different rules as to what percentage and what buildings fall under their jurisdiction. I know this because for over a 40 year period I have lived in all of those cities. I will say that West Hollywood is the nicest, from my perspective, of the three. Is it expensive to rent here in West Hollywood? Yes. And, it has always been.

  5. Is it not fairly standard across the large-scale apartment rental management industry to offer move-in specials like one month rent-free? I’ve always heard of these move-in specials but wonder if they have any real or long term effect on the overall rental market for the area. Anyone know? Granted I see/hear of them less, but with the exception of med-village (which has been overpriced long before the cost of housing skyrocketed), its only been recently that we’ve had large-scale rental buildings come online here in WeHo, right? I’m also less inclined to look now a days knowing that prices have gone far above what I’m able to afford. Apartment Management Industry Experts??

  6. I really must laugh when people tell me Weho isn’t a gay city. IT IS. It’s not gay friendly, it’s not gay inviting….it is predominantly A GAY CITY. Now that may be hard for some people to accept, so they can keep their heads buried in the sand and keep saying “Weho isn’t a gay city”. I will just keep on saying to myself, “What an idiot” , as they try to convince me.

  7. What I glean from this article is that WeHo is overpriced for its demand. That spells trouble for greedy landlords and opportunity for renters in the future. There are already signs that the market has over reached. The Avalon is having to give one month’s free rent to entice renters. That’s never a good sign for an over priced market. Plus, the percentage that rent is increasing in the market has dropped dramatically from where it was. All leading to signs of a stall if not out right downturn in rental values and thus property values in this over priced market…

  8. It is mostly the commoditization of housing as a financial asset to accumulate wealth at the expense of housing as a right and until communities reclaim housing as a social good it will only get worse with more displaced persons on the street.

  9. So, about half of the city is gay guys. Have you looked at the renderings everywhere about the new Recreation Center at West Hollywood Park and the demographic of the 20 or so people portrayed in the renderings? Not one gay guy or gay couple. Not one. Plenty of teenagers and guys and girls together. This isn’t West Hollywood. Big oops city and your contractors.

  10. The usual % of Weho as LGBT has been IIRC 45 per cent. The stats in this report seems to be households. Since perhaps more LGBT apts/houses are single resident and non LGBT have higher percent of 2 or more residents, that might explain the discrepancy.
    Also it seems they are only listing the west side (90069 which includes Boystown) not the rest of the city so that might explain it.
    But this is how sometimes wrong statistics get lodged in people’s minds.

  11. The answer doesn’t need to be analyzed. Once the State overturned all city/county rent controlled (stabilized) rent rules, landlords increased rents as much as possible and as much as customers can stand. Gays/Lesbians are perceived to have more “disposable” income so they were targeted as likely to pay higher rents. And landlords wanted to make up for the income they didn’t get when restricted. So the answer is simple, GREED – excessive in some cases. As a result many have been forced to relocate. Landlords like it when people move out repeatedly because they can keep increasing rents. They don’t care about the city itself. They are in business to make as much money as possible..that’s all. I’m not being cynical, just realistic.

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