Survey Finds Rents Down in San Diego for First Time in 5 Years

ACI Apartments

Renters finally got some relief as rent dipped for the first time in recent years.

Good news for renters and homebuyers comes this month with word that rents have stabilized or dropped slightly in San Diego County while the price of existing homes rose by  1 percent in November.

The Southern California Rental Housing Association reported that overall rents in San Diego County declined slightly for the first time in the past five years, with vacancy rates rising from 4.1% to 4.7%.

“In general, a vacancy rate of 5% is viewed as healthy for the San Diego market, indicating a reasonable supply of rental housing inventory, so this upward trend in vacancies is positive news,” the Rental Housing Association said in its Fall Rental Rate Survey.

$665,000 Median Home Price

Meanwhile, the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors reported that the median price of a single-family home nosed up to $665,000, which the association reported was 5% higher than a year ago.

Condo and townhome prices rose to $431,350, which the Association of Realtors said was nearly 9% higher than a year ago and about 1.5% higher than in October.

“As we approach the end of the year, there’s still no sign that the economy is wavering,” said Kevin Burke, president of the Association of Realtors. “Mortgage rates are down more than a percent from this time last year, a good sign in spite of the lack of housing inventory.”

Historically, November is a slow month for renting and buying residential property as fewer people move during the holiday season.

Reflecting that, the Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing single-family homes dropped 13% from October to November and townhome sales were off 24% from October.

$8.6 Million Home

The most expensive home sold in October was a newly built Solana Beach home that went for $8.6 million.

On the rental side, the Rental Housing Association reported the average monthly rental rate countywide among all apartment types was down 1.3% from its spring survey to $1,922 compared with $1,948. The Rental Housing association reported a slight increase in YOY numbers however, rent was $1,915 this time last year.

Zumper, an apartment listing service, had slightly different figures in its survey of rental rates in November.  Zumper reported year-over-year rental rates were down in some cities within the county and up in others.

Coronado posted the highest rents in November within San Diego County. Average monthly rent in Coronado for a one-bedroom apartment came in at $2,970. A two bedroom apartment would put you back 4,380 a month, according to Zumper.

El Cajon ranked as the most affordable city by Zumper.  Monthly rents came in at $1,300 for one-bedroom apartments and $1,590 for two-bedroom apartments.

Hot Spots

When it came to picking a new place to live, “overall, San Diego residents were still mostly interested in living within the San Diego metro area, though Los Angeles made it into the top five before some of the other metro cities,” said Crystal Chen, Zumper marketing manager.

“Taking away the San Diego metro area, there was interest in Los Angeles, Vegas, Long Beach, Phoenix and Santa Barbara,” Chen said.

People who searched Zumper for places in San Diego County often looked within San Diego proper, followed by Chula Vista, El Cajon and La Mesa.