Cost of living in Los Angeles

When you’re considering a move to the USA, where you settle will impact on the cost of living. The price of property, lifestyle and schooling varies wildly from state to state. Los Angeles, on the attractive Californian coastline, is a popular location for British expatriates. We take a look at the expected cost of living in Los Angeles.

General comparison to UK

The average cost of living in Los Angeles is comparable to London. British expatriates may even find it a little cheaper than the UK capital. However, it is still among the more expensive places in the world to live.
According to the Cost of Living Index Rate, published and continuously updated by Numbeo, Los Angeles ranks 50th in a list of over 540 countries. For context, London is ranked at number 37. The Cost of Living Indices are relative to New York City. Therefore, with a score of 77.66, Los Angeles is indicated to be more than a fifth cheaper to live in than New York.
In a direct comparison with London, Los Angeles is shown, through user-submitted data, to be lower in cost when it comes to consumer prices and eating out. Rental prices are fairly similar, but groceries are quite a bit higher in Los Angeles.

Property in Los Angeles

As with any international relocation, one of the biggest costs to consider is the price of renting a home. The average cost of a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre currently stands at around $3,750 (approximately £2,825) a month. For prime rental locations, this will be significantly more, but in line with prices in any other global city.
Rental properties in Los Angeles have not quite reached the high demand of other US cities, like New York or Boston, but the best homes do get snapped up quickly. Expect to pay for a minimum of a month’s rent upfront, as well as one or two months’ rent as a security deposit.
Buying a property in Los Angeles can be quite competitive, and this does push the house prices up. However, purchasing prices are lower than in London, which means you could get more for your money. The median sales prices for a home in Los Angeles is $839,000 (approximately £632,820), according to statistics from Trulia. The real-estate website states you can expect to pay around $662 (£500) per square foot. The Market Trends report shows that house sale prices have seen a steady increase recently – up 12% in the last year.
Of course, property and rental prices depend on where you opt to live in the city, and the type of home you choose. Find out more in our detailed accommodation guide.

Lifestyle costs

Basic utilities are generally cheaper in Los Angeles than they are in London, and many rentals will include services. However, you will find that mobile phone costs and internet charges are quite a bit more expensive. According to the data on Numbeo, your internet connection is likely to cost over 43% more.
Apart from accommodation costs, the two other big factors that affect the cost of living are school fees and health insurance. Given the USA doesn’t have a national health service, you are required to have your own comprehensive health cover. While many employers will provide this, you may need to consider paying extra for more cover or to add on family members.
When moving to the USA, don’t forget to add sales tax to the cost of products when shopping. The sales tax varies throughout California, but most places in Los Angeles charge 9.5%.
Find out how Cadogan Tate can help you with your move to Los Angeles in our dedicated Moving to the USA hub.