Apart from being the US’s second largest city and known for its movie industry, Los Angeles sits on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, backed by mountain, wetlands and forests.
If you are considering moving to Los Angeles, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in La La Land.
Quick Los Angeles Facts:
- Population: Over 4 million (2017 estimate). The Los Angeles metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 12 million.
- Official Language: English (de facto) with 224 languages being spoken in Los Angeles
- GDP Per Capita: $65,212 USD (2017 estimate)
- Hollywood Sign: The original Hollywood sign used to say Hollywoodland
- Currency: US Dollar (US$). As of early 2017, £1 = $1.25, €1 = $1.08, $1 CAD = $0.75, $1 AUD = $0.77
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Los Angeles
- New York City – $775+
- Canada (Toronto) – $1,268+
- UK (London) – $1,461+
- Australia (Sydney) – $1,030+
- Ireland (Dublin) – $1,615+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – $1,596+
- Hong Kong – $1,068+
- Dubai – $2,903+
- Singapore – $1,966+
2. Los Angeles City Housing Costs
Property in Los Angeles is expensive, although not as expensive as New York.
Monthly Rental Prices in Los Angeles
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $1450+
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $1000+
- 3 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $2500+
- 3 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $2000+
Los Angeles City Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: $5,187.07
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: $2,152.78
Los Angeles Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in Los Angeles compare with other cities around the globe.
London is 4.39% more expensive
New York 49.34% more expensive
Toronto is 40.59% cheaper
Sydney is 1.18% cheaper
Paris is 35.79% cheaper
Dubai is 9.03% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. Sharing is a way to save on living expenses. You will probably have to share a bathroom but you will save at the end of the day. A cheaper option is to share a room. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect roommate: Easyroommate, Kangaroom, SpareRoom, Trulia, Metro Roommates and RoomLaLa.
- Different areas – different prices. Like all cities upmarket areas attract high prices. Try and live close to where you work, as the traffic is awful in rush hour. The cheapest areas in Los Angeles are in The Valley. You have to be able to deal with the heat in these areas as the average temperature is 5° – 10° hotter than the city. Hollywood is central and has some reasonable areas to live in. Hollywood East and Los Feliz are further east and have some green spaces. Silverlake is for the hipsters and has some great houses but it is expensive. Downtown is popular for its loft apartments but its position makes it expensive. Hancock Park has some amazing apartments for those with lots of money.
3. Los Angeles Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Los Angeles, with its ethnic diversity, has restaurants and food to suit everyone. There is a strong Mexican and Japanese influence, but you will find most countries represented on the food front
- Inexpensive Restaurant: $10 – $20
- Takeout Coffee: $3.25 – $5.00
- Bottle of Coke: $1.25 – $3
- 1L (1/4 Gallon) of milk: $0.71 – $1.19
- Loaf of Bread: $2.20 – $3.86
- 12 Eggs: $2.00 – $4.00
- 1kg Chicken: $6.59 – $15.43
- 1kg Beef: $5.84 – $19.84
- 1kg Apples: $2.20 – $6.61
- 1kg White Rice: $3.00 – $6.80
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- London restaurants are 9.83% more expensive and groceries are 21.28% cheaper than Los Angeles.
- New York restaurants are 22.41% more expensive and groceries are 32.47% more expensive than Los Angeles.
- Toronto restaurants are 19.17% cheaper and groceries are 16.38% cheaper than Los Angeles.
- Sydney restaurants are 8.48% cheaper and groceries are 6.82% higher than Los Angeles.
- Paris restaurants are 0.41% more expensive and groceries are 1.60% more expensive than Los Angeles.
- Dubai restaurants are 21.36% cheaper and groceries are 23.38% cheaper than Los Angeles.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: Los Angeles has an exceptionally large number of independently owned grocery stores and ethnic stores as well as the usual supermarket chains. There are also lots of farmers’ markets and shops which sell health foods and organic foods. Popular supermarkets are Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Vons, Pavillions and Smart and Final, which is a great place to bulk buy.
- Find Cheap Eats: With a little bit of effort you can find places which offer excellent food at affordable prices. Have a look at Timeout, TripAdvisor, LA Weekly, Business Insider and LA Eater.
4. Los Angeles Alcohol Costs
Los Angeles is described as the entertainment capital of the world and as such, has some of the best bars and nightclubs.
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: $4.00 – $6.90
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: $5.00 – $8.00
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a supermarket: $1.96 – $3.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: $2.00 – $4.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: $12.00 – $20.00
How to drink for less in Los Angeles
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays.
- Everyone in LA loves their food and drink so there are many bars, clubs and restaurants that offer specials and happy hours. Try The Independence in Santa Monica, Sunday to Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and enjoy $5 signature cocktails. The Morrison in Los Feliz, offers $6 cocktails, craft beer, cider and bar food every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Have a look at the following website for more ideas – Welikela, LA Eater and Gayot.
5.Los Angeles Transportation Fares
Unlike most major cities in the world, Angelenos tend to drive to work which causes massive traffic jams in rush hour. There is a relatively good bus and rail system which serves most of Los Angeles which is run by Metro.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single Metro – $1.75
- One day ticket – $7.00
- Monthly season ticket, unlimited – $100
How to save money on public transport
- Buy a 30 day student pass for $24
- Buy a 7 Day Pass and get unlimited travel for $31
- Buy a bike. Depending on where you live and work, cycling around the city may be an option.
- If you live relatively close to where you work, you can walk to work.
6. Cost of Internet in Los Angeles
Internet prices in the States are expensive compared with many other countries in the world. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
Los Angeles boasts 300 days of sunshine per annum. July is its hottest month which an average temperature of 72°F (22°C) and the average temperature in its coldest month is 55°F (13°C). January is the coldest and wettest month, where the average rainfall is around 3 incesh (79mm).
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: $35 – $60
- Summer Dress: $25 – $60
- Running Shoes (Trainers): $60 – $120
- Business Shoes: $75 – $150
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): $109
- Deodorant: $3.93
- Shampoo: $5.57
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): $3.91
- Gym membership: $29.99-$70 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: $12-$15
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Los Angeles
Driving in Los Angeles in the rush hour requires patience.
If you’re moving to Los Angeles from within the US, you’ll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new one.
You can drive on a foreign license for up to 12 months as a tourist but after that you will need to get an American license. If you are working or studying in the US, you can drive on your foreign license for 30 days. If you want to exchange your foreign driver’s license you have to follow the process here.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Los Angeles:
- Volkswagen Golf: $22,980
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): $0.76
- Other fees (if any): The average cost of state and local taxes, license, title and registration fees is $665 per annum
Ways to save money driving in Los Angeles
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Car Pool World, Rideshare, Zip Car, and Uberpool.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber or Lyft.
9. Taxes in Los Angeles
California has some of the highest taxes in the United States, and no matter where you live in the State, you will pay federal and state taxes. To learn more about the different taxes in the States go to Immihelp, USA taxes and California Franchise tax board.
Sales Tax in Los Angeles is 9% and is added to most goods and services. Generally, the price you see on an item does not include sales tax.
If you own your home, you will be subject to property tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about property tax in Los Angeles at Property Tax.
Finally, if you decide to buy an apartment or house in Los Angeles you’ll have to pay real estate transfer tax.
10. Flight Costs from Los Angeles
If you do make the move to Los Angeles, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- London: $143
- New York: $164
- Toronto: $103
- Vancouver: $100
- Dubai: $394
- Sydney: $480
- Melbourne: $465
- Cape Town: $615
- Hong Kong: $373
Other Los Angeles Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Los Angeles but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Relocating to Los Angeles Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city, especially one a large as Los Angeles, can be rather daunting. Here are a few tips about settling in Los Angeles.
- Meetups: There are many Meetup groups to choose from. You will definitely find something to join which will help you to settle in.
- Attend local events:There’s always lots going on in Los Angeles. Have a look at Timeout, LAWeekly, Welikela and Discover Los Angeles.
12.Moving to Los Angeles with a Family
Los Angeles has a lot to attract families. There are beaches, surfing, hikes and lots of art, drama and social events.
- New parents (or parents to be):There are free and paid antenatal classes and courses. Have a look at Cedars Sinai and Eisnerpedcentre.
- Live in a family friendly area: Sherman Oaks in The Valley is a favourite with families. It’s close to Malibu and only 20 – 40 minutes from Hollywood. Burbank is also an affordable family area which is considered safe and friendly.
- Find things to do with the kids: Los Angeles is fun place for kids to live. Have a look at the following sites to be inspired – TripAdvisor, Family Days Out, Smart Destinations and Free Things for under 5s.
13. Moving to Los Angeles for Work
People move to Los Angeles for a variety of reasons: a job, the movies, the surf. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
The employment rate is higher than the national average but if you have experience in entertainment, tourism, IT or aerospace you should be able to find employment.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary: Salaries vary enormously depending which industry you are in. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Los Angeles, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Monster, Indeed, Snag a Job, Craigslist and LA City. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Los Angeles from Australia
There are 25,000 Australians living in Los Angeles, probably attracted by the surf and the climate.
- Size comparison: If you compare the population size of Los Angeles with a city in Australia, then the closest would be Sydney. Sydney’s population is slightly larger than that of the city of Los Angeles.
- Join expat groups: There are a number of expat groups enabling you to meet fellow Aussies. Try InterNations and Expat.com.
15. Moving to Los Angeles from Canada
There are over 22,000 Canadians living and working in Los Angeles. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size: Montreal, with its population standing at almost 4 million, is very close in size to the population of the city of Los Angeles.
- Expat groups: Meeting up with fellow Canadians helps the moving process. Link up through sites such as InterNations and MeetUp.
16. Moving to Los Angeles from the United Kingdom
Los Angeles attracts a lot of people from the UK, probably because the sun shines. Although it could be the draw of possible fame and fortune.
- Size: The city of Los Angeles is around half the size of London when you look at population size.
- Expat groups: If you want to get together with others from the UK who are experiencing the sun and surf, then go to InterNations and Meetup.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Los Angeles you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
Guides to other cities in California
- Long Beach
- Menlo Park
- Mountain View
- Palo Alto
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Silicon Valley
Guides to moving and living in other American cities