LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Home is where the heart is and according to a new study, it's also a place where debt lives.
A new survey from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies says a large majority of Los Angeles have trouble making the monthly rent payment.
But at least one housing expert told KCAL9's Laurie Perez that hope is not lost.
The Derrick family has called a Studio City apartment complex home for six years. And the way housing prices are, they say they could be here another six.
"We're basically stuck here," said Logan Derrick.
Stuck he says because he doesn't think they'll ever be able to find another three bedroom apartment in Studio City in a rent controlled building. And he and his wife have two incomes. As is, they already pay more than the recommended maximum of 30 percent of their income on rent. They say they are glad it's not worse.
"I see my neighbors who I've lived next to for a long time who were here before me have had to leave because rents increased and they've had to downgrade or move in with friends," Derrick said.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University survey found the Derricks are not alone:
It found that in the LA/OC metro area, almost 60 percent of renters are "burdened," which means more than 30 percent of their income goes to rent. In fact, 1/3 of renters in the area are considered "severely burdened," meaning more than half of their income goes to housing,
Nicholas Dunlap is President of the Apartment Association of Orange County.
"Until we see more and more units brought into the marketplace we're going to continue to see increasing rents and higher occupancy as a result," Dunlap says.
But Dunlap says it's not all doom and gloom, and that Los Angeles is streamlining the process for developers to start projects and having them donate to a fund that supports affordable housing. And he's also a bit more optimistic than a recent Zillow Survey of more than 100 housing experts who were not terribly hopeful sounding.
He agrees with the six experts surveyed who think Los Angeles is already in a housing bubble. But parts with the six experts who responded there's significant risk in the next 12 months.
"I think we're going to see some stability with the election coming up next year and so I think the market is going to remain fairly calm," Dunlap said.
That would be good news for both renters and potential home buyers -- like the Derricks who still hope one day to pay a mortgage instead of a rent.
"Oh I mean definitely we want to own a home but I don't think it's gonna happen in this state." Derrick said,
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