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

Vacancy rates increased from 4.1% to 4.7%, the Southern California Rental Housing Association reported

ACI Apartments

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 a modest 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 despite a decline in home sales in November, 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 where they were at this time last year, a good sign in spite of the lack of housing inventory.”

Historically, November has been 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 with ocean views and that went for $8.6 million.

On the rental side, the Rental Housing Association reported that 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 but up slightly from a year ago, when it was $1,915.

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

Within San Diego County, Coronado posted the highest rents in November, an average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $2,970 and with an average rent of $4,380 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to Zumper.

El Cajon was ranked as the most affordable city by Zumper, with monthly rents at $1,300 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,590 for a two-bedroom apartment.

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 to live within San Diego County most often looked most within San Diego proper, followed by Chula Vista, El Cajon and La Mesa.

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