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Los Angeles is very diverse and so are its housing prices. First-time buyers are circling east LA neighbourhoods like Boyle Heights, Echo Park and the unincorporated parts of East Los Angeles, according to Smith. They are looking for bargains and finding them. "People are also looking in North Hollywood and south Pasadena, and in the valley," she said.

For those who want to buy a pied-à-terre in town, downtown LA has become popular for its walkable restaurant and nightlife scene. Housing stock ranges from $1 million apartments at the Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live to a gritty live/work warehouse for $250,000.

Los Angeles can tend to be somewhat of an intransigent city, so think about if you are here to stay or if your job could change. It can be hard to sell a house in the current climate, so if your plans are not firm, look for a rental. These days it is a great option. "For $1,350 you can live in a prime West Hollywood neighbourhood with direct sunlight all day, views of trees that are green year round and you can walk to everything you need," said Roth. "Oh, and walk-in closets."

Further reading
Brand X: Free weekly magazine and blog from the Los Angeles Times
: Local coverage of events, restaurants and other urban concerns
LA Comprehensive city coverage and entertaining blogs on restaurants, music and gossip

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