How and where is wealth migrating in Los Angeles?
An analysis by the Business Journal of all 270 Zip codes in the county shows that wealth over the past decade has been shifting into more centrally located areas of the Westside like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.
Meanwhile, many of the outlying communities such as Rancho Palos Verdes, San Marino and Calabasas have been posting a lower rate of income growth, according to U.S. Census data and projections provided by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (For a complete list of how all the county's Zip codes stack up, see page 32.)
"A lot of times, people find they don't like to travel that much to find the amenities they like. They get tired of spending their lives on the freeway. They're sort of coming to rediscover the charm of old neighborhoods," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the LAEDC.
The Zip codes with the highest median household incomes offer no surprises No. 1 is Bel-Air, followed by Beverly Hills. Some of the other cities in the top 10, San Marino and Calabasas, have been there before as well. But like some other communities farther away from Los Angeles proper, the rate of income growth in these suburban cities over the past 10 years has been slower than income growth in wealthy communities closer to L.A proper.
Some of the biggest income gains came in Zip codes for communities within the city of Los Angeles.
The 90067 area of Los Angeles, a pocket of Westwood that abuts the Los Angeles Country Club, saw its median household income soar by a whopping 54.7 percent over the past decade, to $109,779.
Santa Monica's 90402, a posh coastal community flanked by Sunset Boulevard and Montana Avenue, jumped 47.9 percent to $109,933.
Meanwhile, Rancho Palos Verdes' 90275 rose only 18.8 percent, or less than 2 percent a year. Farther-out areas also saw anemic income growth. Valencia's 91354 is the 27th wealthiest Zip code, placing it in the top 10 percent of the county total, yet its median household income rose only 19.3 percent over the past decade.
"People with a lot of money don't move out here. It's a little too suburban, not sophisticated," said Valencia Realtor Marjorie Burrows, adding that she sells more homes in the San Fernando Valley than in Valencia.
"The commute is a deterrent," she said. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Valencia to Sherman Oaks, even when there is little traffic.
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