LOS ANGELES — A shift in demographics. Affordable apartments transformed into luxury condos. A coffee shop called something like "Brew Slut."
The signs of gentrification take many forms. A newly opened art gallery can serve both as a communal space and a harbinger of the displacement to come. Remodeled homes might boost a street's curb appeal but then drive up rents in the ensuing months and years.
There are plenty of ways to tell when gentrification is coming to a community; rising home prices and an influx of trendy shops are classic omens. But in the modern market, developers are flipping houses at the highest rate since 2000, and the houses they churn out are often homogeneous: boxy, black and white, minimalist. They're adorned with trendy house number fonts and chic drought-tolerant gardens, and they can be an obvious sign of gentrification on the way.
Take a stroll through your neighborhood and keep an eye out for these trends. If you spot a few, gentrification may be on the way. If you spot a bunch, it might be well underway.
The gentrification font
If Neutraface starts speckling the homes and fences around your neighborhood, your rent might soar soon.
The sleek typeface and its many knock-offs have become so commonplace that they've become a meme, and the Guardian even declared it "the gentrification font." It crowns countless brand-new builds across L.A., and like certain wines and cheeses, it pairs well with cheaply done fixer-uppers or the aforementioned box houses.
"The Shake Shack font has invaded," said Steven Sanders, a Highland Park resident who has lived in the rapidly changing neighborhood since 2015. When Sanders moved there, the median single-family home value was around $463,000, according to Zillow. Today, it's $1.002 million.
There's nothing specifically wrong with the font; it's clean, modern and easy to read. Ironically, it's named after Richard Neutra, an iconic architect who often stressed affordability in his work.
If a for-sale house has a Neutraface house number, the listing price will probably be anything but affordable.
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