Ready to leave your snow boots and high utility bills behind? California’s famed weather and laid-back lifestyle are huge draws for New Yorkers who are ready to ditch cold winters and sweltering, sticky summers. In L.A., you’ll still face pricey housing and high taxes like in NYC, but you’ll definitely appreciate lower grocery, health, and transportation costs. And you’ll thank L.A.’s mild climate when you see how low your utility bills are.
Relocating from New York City to Los Angeles is a huge move (2800 miles, in fact!). Here are some key bits of information to help with your transition.
What to Know About Moving to LA from NYC
From housing to taxes, here are some highlights of what you might expect with your transition to the La-La Land:
Housing and Cost of Living
If you’re thinking of buying a home in L.A., plan on a median home value of $752,508 and keep in mind that home appreciation grew 5.7% in 2019. Because the City of Angels is so massive, you’ll see a wide range of prices depending on your location.
In L.A., 58.5% of households are renter-occupied. As of summer, 2020, zillow.com reported a median rent of $3,500, while bestplaces.net reported a lower rate of $2,908. Renting or buying, you’ll pay just about as much for L.A. housing as you did in NYC. In both cities, housing costs are almost triple the national average – 298.2 in L.A and 294.3 in NYC. But in general, Los Angeles is 8% less expensive than New York City.
As a Los Angeles resident, your food and grocery expenses will be 12% lower, transportation costs will be 9.6% less, healthcare expenses will be 26% lower, and hallelujah – your utility expenses will be almost 61% lower than in NYC.
When developers constructed freeways throughout the Los Angeles metro, the car was king. At the time, city planners gave little thought to public transit. Today, L.A.’s freeway system is outdated and overcrowded, and commutes are usually slow-going and frustrating.
If you’ve relied on NYC’s sophisticated public transportation, L.A.’s minimal public transit and jammed freeways will require an attitude adjustment – and you may need to buy a car. Only 10% of Angelinos use public transportation, and they spend an average of 31 minutes snarled in traffic on their one-way commute. In NYC, the average one-way commute is 41 minutes, but 57% of residents use public transit. If you want to avoid that daily hour of commuting stress and frustration, find a home that’s close to work.
Maybe you didn’t need a car in NYC but plan to buy one in L.A. to get around. Be sure to budget for gas, maintenance, licensing, and taxes plus the initial outlay. You can also try the various transportation options that attempt to ease the commuter crunch – light rail, limited subway, expanded bus services, and Amtrak rail service.
The City of Los Angeles sales tax rate is 9.5% – about 1% higher than the NYC average sales tax of 8.5%. However, if you shop in the L.A. metro area, from .15% to 3% may be added to the 7.25% state’s base sales tax rate, depending on the locale.
California state income tax rates range from 1% to 13.3% among ten income brackets. If your taxable income is between $53,980 and $286,492, plan to pay 9.3% CA state income tax. According to bestplaces.net, on a taxable income of $60,000, you’ll pay $2,421 in California compared to $2,942 in New York.
LA property tax rates are more affordable than in NYC. If you buy a $700,000 property in Los Angeles, you’ll pay an average 0.755% property tax rate for a total of $5,285 annually. In Greenwich Village, the average property tax rate is 1.925%. Yearly taxes on a $700,000 property would be $13,475.
Economy and Job Growth
The 2019 annual job growth in L.A. saw a 0.73% increase. Job growth over the next ten years is forecast to be 34% nationally and 35% in Los Angeles. By comparison, NYC’s job growth increased by 0.54% in 2019, and over the next ten years is predicted to be 31%, a bit weaker than L.A.’s.
You should be able to find your niche among the great variety of employment sectors in the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, including culture, media, technology, entertainment, education, financial services, and international trade.
Weather and Climate
Los Angeles not only has fantastic weather, but it’s a casual, laid-back city where sandals and shorts are the norm. As soon as you move, you’ll notice the distinct weather and climate differences between the two cities. White in winter and wet in summer, NYC gets an average of 47” of rainfall and 25” of snow. Warm in winter and dry in summer, L.A. only gets 15” of rain and zero – that’s zilch – snow.
In L.A., you’ll enjoy 284 sun-kissed days a year. Although NYC gets 224 sunny days, many of those are chilly if not downright cold. The average January low in the Big Apple is 26° F, and the average July high is a muggy 84° F. L.A.’s average January low is 46° F, and the average July high is a comfortably dry 84° F.
New York City may have a legacy of high crime rates, but today it’s a relatively safe city. On a scale from 1 (lowest) to 100 (highest), the violent crime rate is 28.2, and the property crime rate is 24.9. The violent crime rate in L.A. is a fraction higher at 29.1, while property crime is 35.1. Before moving from NYC to Los Angeles, it’ll pay to do your homework and investigate which areas are safest.
Although L.A. has many highly-rated schools, NYC spends about twice as much per pupil. NYC dedicates $25,000 per student while L.A. spends about $12,807. The high school graduation rate in NYC is 81% while in L.A., the rate is 6.1% lower at 76.4%. Greatschools.org is a terrific resource if you’re trying to find quality schools in Los Angeles. The site offers education quality ratings with a link to real estate that’s for sale near each school.
If you’re looking for top-rated higher education, both cities offer some of the best. Columbia, New York University, and The New School are just some of the 18 outstanding NYC colleges and universities. Of the ten institutions of higher learning in Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, and the California Institute of Technology are top-rated.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
NYC, with 8,400,000 residents, is the nation’s most populous city. L.A. follows in second place, with a population of 4,058,000. Although both cities are ethnically and racially diverse, NYC’s African American population is about 15% higher than in L.A., while the Hispanic population in L.A. is almost 20% higher than in NYC.
The density you’re used to in NYC will likely be more intense that any area of sprawling L.A. The City of Angels’ density is 8,500 residents per square mile while in NYC, 27,000 people live in each square mile.
Both cities are significant players on the cultural scene. L.A. has over 100 museums. NYC has 89. Both towns host major sports teams. And both attract millions of tourists annually – 42 million for L.A. and 55 million for NYC.
Los Angeles sprawls throughout a large basin that’s bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and surrounded by mountains on the north and east. These geographical features offer incredible recreational opportunities – from surfing to snow sports or exploring the fantastic deserts like Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, or Death Valley. Los Angeles’s diverse geography truly sets it apart from many U.S. cities.
Best Neighborhoods in Los Angeles
From a vintage mid-century modern home tucked up into the Las Feliz foothills to a beachside cottage in Venice, you can choose from over 160 neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Encompassing the famed Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, or WeHo is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the L.A. metro area. This affluent incorporated community of 36,000 is the most walkable city in California, giving residents easy access to shopping, nightlife, and dining. Read more about moving to West Hollywood here.
Living in Downtown puts you at the epicenter of everything L.A. The density of high rises and condo housing lends a tiny NYC vibe. World-class entertainment at venues like the Walt Disney Concert Hall or Staples Center, home to the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings, make Downtown living an exciting adventure. Check out more on Downtown living here.
Historic Highland Park, located in northeast Los Angeles, is one of L.A.’s first subdivisions. Residents here come from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. The hilly neighborhood borders Pasadena on the north, and with the 110 running along its southern edge, commutes into downtown are relatively short.
With only about 14,000 residents, Atwater Village is one of L.A.’s more compact and intimate neighborhoods. Tucked in between Glendale, Griffith Park, and Los Feliz, residents of this neighborhood enjoy ethnic food in village cafes and restaurants. Home prices average $1,270,000; however, rent is reasonably affordable at around $1,450.
Super-desirable Silver Lake is one of L.A.’s coolest neighborhoods. Stylish boutiques, trendy cafes, and locally-owned businesses make ethnically diverse Silver Lake feel unique and cosmopolitan. Sunset Blvd, the major thoroughfare in southern Silver Lake, will take you west to Hollywood or south to the 110 or 101.
East of Hollywood and south of Griffith Park, Los Feliz is a charming neighborhood with a walkable business district. In Griffith Park, locals enjoy 53 miles of trails, horseback riding, golf, or Griffith Observatory stargazing. Home prices average $1,500,000 in this hip vintage neighborhood, and the median rent is $1,500.
Housing costs in multi-ethnic Koreatown run half of Los Feliz prices. The largest Korean population outside of Korea lives here; however, an even higher percentage of residents (53%) is Hispanic. As you might expect, Korean-Hispanic cuisine fusion is incredible. Koreatown is centrally located with easy access to the metro area via three freeways.
Cost of Moving from New York City to Los Angeles
On average, it costs about $3500-4500 to move from NYC to LA. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff almost 2800 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best New York City to Los Angeles movers now!