Rent prices in San Diego are rising at a higher rate than most of the country, with the North County seeing some of the highest rents in the county.
A new survey by RentCafe.com shows rent in San Diego is up 5.5 percent from last year.
The average in Carlsbad is even higher, with an increase of 4.7 percent to $2,185. Vista, Oceanside, Escondido and San Marcos have also seen rent increases.
Molly Kirkland, the Director of Public Affairs for the San Diego County Apartment Association, said a lot of people moved to the North County because it traditionally had higher vacancy rates and, therefore, lower rents.
“People kind of flocked there, even if it took them further from work, so I think that’s why you’re seeing lower vacancy rates now in North County and some higher rents now as well,” Kirkland said.
The higher rents are forcing some families to move.
“We had to leave the home where we raised our girls and it was heartbreaking,” said San Marcos resident Nick Thomas.
After about a year in his last apartment, Thomas said he started getting rent increase notices left on his door.
"'Hey in 30 days, your rent is going to increase. It's going to go up $100 this month. It's going go up $110 the next month,' and it got to the point where we could no longer afford to live in what was considered to be a low-end community,” Thomas said.
At the same time, he found himself unable to work due to a disease stemming from PTSD.
“That made things even more difficult, you know, trying to keep our heads above water," Thomas said.
Nick, his wife and their two girls moved in with his wife's parents until they were eventually able to get into an affordable housing unit.
"We just got exponentially more lucky than we had been in a long time," Thomas said.
But not everyone in San Diego County is as lucky.
“We’re in a housing supply crisis, and what’s happening is there’s a significant demand out there and it’s pushing rents up because we don’t have enough housing for everybody,” Kirkland said.
Adding to the problem, Kirkland said, the construction of new units isn’t keeping up with the County’s growing population.
“You can see back in 2004, 2005 or so, we were going beyond the estimated 12,000 that we need every year, And then took a dramatic downturn. We started getting closer to some of those production numbers in the last couple years, but now we’ve fallen off again and sadly it’s come at the time when it’s crisis point,” Kirkland said.
All hope is not lost for renters, however.
“In any part of the county, whether it’s East County, North County or South County, you’re still going to have pockets that are going to be more affordable,” Kirkland said. “Carlsbad, obviously a coastal area, is gonna have some higher rents, but you can go inland and find better deals, and that’s certainly true in East and South County as well.”