Property head-to-head: Silicon Valley versus Los Angeles

In the first of Klippa Relocation’s new head-to-head blogs, we pit Silicon Valley against Los Angeles to provide you with a relocation and rental market snapshot.

Silicon Valley

Once known as the ‘Valley of Death’ because people thought their personal computers would ultimately take over their jobs, Silicon Valley has resisted full automation and remains one of the world’s most popular relocation destinations. 

  • Where? Nestling in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area of California, Silicon Valley is a major employment hub and home to many tech giants, including Apple, HP, Intel and Oracle, to name a few.
  • Premium addresses: Those with the biggest tech salaries head to Palo Alto, renowned for its quality of life, green open spaces and trendy places to eat. Menlo Park, Mountain View and Cupertino are other favoured areas – home to Facebook’s, Google’s and Apple’s headquarters, respectively. The capital of Silicon Valley – San Jose – is reputed to be the most expensive metro area in the US, while we know most of the property stock in Sunnyvale is rental, making it a good relocation spot.
  • Average rental costs: Rental values in Silicon Valley are steady to dropping, according to October 2020 data from rental portal Zumper. Over the last month, the cost of renting a studio apartment remained flat, with an average cost of $1,912 pcm (per calendar month). The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment decreased by -3% to $2,192 pcm, and the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment decreased by -3% to $2,768 pcm. According to Numbeo, Silicon Valley is 19.65% more expensive than renting in Los Angeles.
  • Schools in Silicon Valley: Palo Alto High School and Walter Hays Elementary School both score 9 out of 10 in the Great Schools Rating, while Henry M. Gunn High School, Summit Preparatory High School, Monta Vista High School and KIPP San Jose Collegiate are all highly regarded. It comes as no surprise that there are a number of thriving international schools in Silicon Valley thanks to its relocation culture, including Alto International School, Yew Chung International and Silicon Valley International School.
  • The rental process: In California, a rental application form is filled out by the prospective tenant, which will form the basis of tenant referencing. The landlord or their letting agent may ask for an application screening fee and/or a holding deposit if the tenant can’t move in straight away. A security deposit is almost always due, although there are upper limits set in Californian law: generally up to two times the monthly rent if the rental unit is unfurnished, and up to three times the monthly rent if the unit is furnished. A pre-move out inspection will determine if there should be any deposit deductions and any monies owed should be repaid by the landlord usually within 21 days. Rent controls apply to some let accommodation in Silicon Valley city and the wider county, which puts a cap on how much the rent can rise by per annum.

Los Angeles

Affectionately known as La La Land or simply LA, Los Angeles is America’s second largest city – a location world-famous for its movie industry, iconic Hollywood sign, mega mansions and beautiful beaches.

  • Where? head south down the Californian coast from Silicon Valley and you’ll reach the 470 neighbourhoods that make up Los Angeles. If you’re not in LA to read for a part, you may relocate for the IT or aerospace opportunities.
  • Premium addresses: some of America’s finest real estate can be found in Los Angeles – Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Malibu are probably the best known and most expensive. Also favoured are Hollywood East, Sherman Oaks, Fairfax, Echo Park, Loz Feliz, Silverlake, Downtown and Hancock Park. Our agents say rush hour traffic is a massive issue in Los Angeles (think over two hours to get from one side of LA to the other), so it’s imperative to live as close to your place of work as possible.
  • Average rental costs: Rental values in Los Angeles are taking marginal dips and remain almost 50% cheaper that renting in New York. In the past month to 22nd October 2020, the average rent for a studio apartment in Los Angeles decreased by -2% to $1,495 pcm, according to Zumper. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment dropped by -2% to $1,995 pcm, while the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment decreased by -2% to $2,761 pcm.
  • Schools in Los Angeles: there is no shortage of outstanding schools, with Harvard-Westlake, Flintridge Preparatory, Marlborough, Westridge and Windward leading the private charge. Also with great reputations are the California Academy of Mathematics & Science, Whitney High School and Troy High School. International schools are aplenty, and include the International School of Los Angeles, Le Lycée Français, Goethe International Charter School and Judson International School.
  • The rental process: bypassing the realtor and dealing directly with the landlord or management company is the norm in Los Angeles. As Los Angeles is also in California, the same security deposits and selective rent controls apply.

If you would like to know more about relocating to Silicon Valley or Los Angeles, please contact Klippa for our first-hand advice.

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