In Affordability, West Hollywood Ranks Next to Last in a List of the Best Small Cities in America

Source: WalletHub
Looking for an affordable small city? Click on the WalletHub map above.

West Hollywood is ranked as the second least affordable small city in America in a recent study by WalletHub, the personal finance website.

WalletHub’s 2020 Best Small Cities in America report ranks West Hollywood as No. 1,267 in affordability among the 1,268 cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 that it measured. West Hollywood also ranks 1,172 among those cities in terms of public safety. 

The most unaffordable city on the WalletHub list is Passaic, N.J., a city of about 70,000 people that various websites rank as 20% to 25% more expensive than the national average. The cities that rank worse than West Hollywood in terms of public safety are mostly in the South, with Alexandria, La., a city of 46,776 people, ranking the worst.

Four of the cities with poor public safety rankings  — Miami Beach and Daytona Beach, Fla., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Atlantic City, N.J. — are tourist destinations, as is West Hollywood, which might explain their relatively low positions in the public safety ranking. One notable ranking is Compton, Ca., which is No. 1,136 in the public safety ranking, 36 points above West Hollywood.

West Hollywood does however, almost rank in the top fifth of all small cities when other criteria are added to the overall ranking, such as quality of life (it ranks No. 23 among 1,268 cities), economic health (ranks No. 422) and education and health of its residents (ranks No. 574). With all of those taken into consideration, West Hollywood is in the 21st percentile of the 1,268 cities.

The WalletHub assessments are done by a group of professors who include Anthony Orlando, an assistant professor of real estate at CalState Polytechnic University; David Fiorenza, an assistant economics professor at Villanova University School of Business; Philip Swicegood, chair of the Finance Department at Wofford College; Fred Smith, economics professor at Davidson College; John Infranca, law professor at Suffolk University, and Jack Furst and John Baen, real estate appraisers and brokers who have taught at the University of Texas.

Affordability was determined by considering the city’s median income, its cost of living, its home ownership rate, housing costs, and the percentage of households with “severe housing cost burden.” Each of those criteria was weighed equally. Given that 78% of West Hollywood’s residents are renters, the city’s low percentage of homeowners likely had a significant impact on the affordability ranking. Another major factor is likely the fact that, according to city studies, more than half of the city’s renters are “rent burdened,” meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on rent and thus may face challenges paying for food, clothing, transportation and medical care.

The public safety ranking included assessments of violent crime and property crime rates and deaths from motor vehicle crashes. Crime has declined sharply in West Hollywood and other cities in Los Angeles County since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

West Hollywood’s high ranking in terms of quality of life reflects its number of restaurants, bars, clubs, and coffee shops. Other factors that went into that ranking included the number of parks per capita and the number of fitness centers per capita. Factors such as the share of the population that walks to work, number of movie theaters per capita, and number of museums per capita likely had no impact.

The economic health ranking took into consideration the median credit score of the city’s residents, the population growth and income growth, growth in the number of jobs, the unemployment rate, the share of the population living in poverty, the foreclosure rate, and the number of residents who filed for bankruptcy in the past 12 months. Those calculations are based on pre-COVID-19 pandemic data.

The education and health ranking includes, among other factors, the average number of COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, the percentage of the population with health insurance, the share of adults in poor or fair health, the percentage of obese residents, and the share of adults with a high school or college diploma.

With its ranking in the 23rd percentile of Best Small Cities in America, WeHo is ahead of other nearby small cities. South Pasadena is in the 44th percentile, followed by Beverly Hills in the 45th percentile, Culver City in the 48th percentile and Santa Monica in the 55th percentile

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Frank
Frank
1 month ago

I take it as a compliment.

David Abrams
David Abrams
1 month ago

It’s really a supply and demand issue. Weho is one of the most desirable places to live in America. Couple that with some of the strictest rent control and land-use policies in America, and no wonder it’s so unaffordable.

We can’t complain about affordability, but then turn around and oppose every new development that intends to build additional housing. More supply, lower prices. It’s old school, but it works. Just look at how commercial real estate rents are in free fall.

James Francis
James Francis
1 month ago

Thank You Hank for Wallet Hub statistics by the compiled information by an independent committee and make it available for public knowledge here on Wehoville as well as Let the people and the West Hollywood City Council aware of these statistics and the grim reality in 2020 of how it has failed in affordability throughout the years to get this Dubious Distinction! Do You see this City Council? The atrocious disappointing outcome Weho. We as a city is second to last when it comes to Most Expensive and Most Unaffordable to live and rent and remain here! Thank You Wallet… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

why should WH be affordable? home prices and rents are based on the free market.

Is NYC, BH or Bel Air affordable? plenty of places throughout LA for people to find a place they can afford.

James Francis
James Francis
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

But we shouldn’t get a choice to remain or get priced out and then move East Ham Shipey. Many places people don’t want to live or move to. The rate of inflation is 5 times higher than the free market. It says greed and money on top of free market. Is this coming from someone who has no worries of being displaced?

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

I’d like to live in Malibu…on the beach…can anybody offer me some help..your $$ would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been looking for an affordable beach front property to call home for some time now. I really don’t want to work any harder or wait any longer. Thanks in advance for your help.

James Francis
James Francis
1 month ago

As West Hollywood gets this penultimate distinction as Least Affordable City in America’s Smallest Cities, might I also state for the record many residents even before COVID who were or still are rent burdened and living pay check if not by virtue of unemployment insurance and spend 50%-70% + of their to pay check in order to live in a rent control dwelling. Look at those who now are out of work, lost their job due to budget cuts, and can never make up back rents owed or those who are elderly, Middle aged or younger disabled, or dual incomes… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  James Francis

James, wish you would write commentary as your insights are thoughtful and thought provoking. You have pointed out the disconnect between the City we were and the City we have become and many long term residents are not covered by the City’s social services safety net. We really need to make a huge investment to keep long term tenants in their homes if we hope to have any vestige of social and economic diversity.

James Francis
James Francis
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thank you for your compliments and words of encouragement Steve. I wish I wasn’t as vocal but being personally impacted this past decade I speak from experience of being priced out before and almost losing housing and having to seek out legal advice or threat of legal proceedings but was advised not to, since retaliation or hikes in rent is hard to prove in instances that landlords did it deliberately. The city has given prime real estate away only to be duped on the lies of maintaining and building housing only to be taken to court and bullied into the… Read more »

James Francis
James Francis
1 month ago

It is unfortunate that a city that garnered support independent status 36 years ago next month for incorporation over the very issue of affordability of its marginalized people or a population. Some of those people would then become affluent while other residents over the next few decades would be economically forced or driven out. Some of those same people or new incoming people who are dealing with disabilities who are younger or more rent burdened that are being priced out of this city all together week by week. This is not encouraging news for residents of this city! Some were… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago
Reply to  James Francis

what is a “marginalized ” person? In America….you make it happen. If you want something you work hard and save for it.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Yup.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago

Fascinating. At least one candidate for city council is bragging on his campaign website about playing a part in making WeHo one of the safest cities in the LA region. Fact-checking should never get in the way of good political spin and bullpucky.

WeHo Poster
WeHo Poster
1 month ago

For Rent signs are up everywhere in my end of West Hollywood, which indicates to me that rents will drop

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Poster

Not for existing tenants, unless an owner is willing to negotiate. What do you think?

Michael Graxe
Michael Graxe
1 month ago

After Covid-19 settles down, West Hollywood is going to be very affordable. There are many vacancies. Landlords are holding out like the second coming is going to happen. But it ain’t. Probably about half the small businesses will be gone. Alice next to the One Hotel is now out of business after lasting a year. And it was not doing well before the virus it. Because the sunset boulevard is not walkable. The Chateau Marmont is no longer a hotel. How many others will be on that list? Unfortunately, the two old John’s and Lindsay Horvath basically know nothing about… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

No surprise. Homeless everywhere……dive bars open till 2AM.
Zero police presence and silly people on the city council. What could go wrong??

Vigilant
Vigilant
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Are we rated No.1 on homeless destinations? Dive bars open for those sliding down the inevitable slope. Fertile scam climate.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

I see zero homeless encampments in West Hollywood proper. I also see zero dive bars in West Hollywood proper. I see a proper correlation.

John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
1 month ago

We seem to spend exorbitantly on Public Safety, what do we get for this money? There never seems that there is any recourse to these findings and mo mechanism in place to actually bring about changes.

Vigilant
Vigilant
1 month ago

Another facade.